The last place you visited? Tulum in Mexico. We explored and climbed to the summit of the Mayan ruins in Coba, swam in the luminous turquoise waters of underwater caves, indulged in magnificent Mayan cuisine, lazed in embellished hammocks, experienced sensory immersions with burning copal incense by mystic shamans, and swayed to rhythmic melodies and aromatic fragrances.
Why there? Although I have been to other parts of Mexico before, Tulum was on my bucket list, and then my husband surprised me for our milestone wedding anniversary in December.
What’s next? Peru, India, Portugal, Morocco, and Cappadocia, Turkey.
Books binged on during your last flight? On my recent flight to the US, I read Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, as well as The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*&#k by blogger Mark Manson.
Flying tips? It’s imperative to keep hydrated, both with lots of water and with a rich moisturiser — I like to use La Mer for my skin. Also, get comfortable quickly with slippers, loose schloomphy clothing, and soothing music to inspire relaxing, soulful moments. And I always do my cross and say a fervent prayer to God for safe arrivals.
Best African destination? Mozambique. My friends own a stunning villa at Vila do Paraiso in Vilanculos, and we’ve often gone sailing, snorkelling, fishing and fun-seeking in this majestic place. Only two hours from home, it’s one of my favourite locations to escape the chaos of Johannesburg. Oh, and did I mention the sleeping?
Fave business class lounge? Not to be biased because my company manages the food-and-beverage hospitality for the Standard Bank Library Lounge and Café Blue at OR Tambo airport, but the lounge truly is world-class in terms of its gourmet à la carte offering, superb interior design, and amiable service — definitely my favourite globally. (Ed’s note: it really is excellent)
Travel beauty essentials? I love my Evian facial spritz to hydrate my skin, cashmere socks for in-flight comfort, spearmint Dentyne gum, and a petite bottle of Portrait of a Lady perfume by Frederic Malle to keep me smelling fresh and fragrant.
Restaurant you’d travel to just to eat at? Alinea in Chicago — chef Grant Achatz is a legend.
Best meal you’ve eaten on a trip? So many of my trips have been specifically about food and I’ve even curated culinary trips to exotic destinations, so I’m hard pressed to choose only one. Highlights include an extended lunch celebration for a party at Scorpios in Mykonos, Dimitris Ammoudi Taverna in Santorini for freshly caught fish, Girafe in Paris, HaSalon in Tel Aviv, and Bazaar Mar by José Andrés in Miami. None of them are haute cuisine, but more glam, delicious food in perfect environments.
Stellar food destination? Totally unbiased — Greece — for flavour, diversity, health, availability at all times of day and night, and good value for money. I highly recommend it. I also love the food scene in Lebanon, Cape Town, and Miami.
The best surprise? After a morning bike ride, followed by a refreshing swim in a hidden cenote, we arrived at the boutique-hotel jewel of Coqui Coqui in Coba. It’s deep in the Mayan jungle outside Tulum. I had no idea that we were going there and I had always wished to, so my sense of surprise and delight was immense. I had the same sense of overwhelming wonder, gratitude, and humility when I first laid eyes on the ancient Treasury in Petra, Jordan, last year, and the moment I sensed the magnitude and stillness of the Grand Canyon in Arizona over Christmas last year.
Experiential travel jaunts you’d recommend? I have led culinary trips which included a spiritual excursion to a working Orthodox monastery in northern Greece, foraging through forests and vineyards, and indulging in antique ouzo distilleries in Athens. I’m planning similar experiential gastronomic outings in Miami and Cuba.
London or New York? New York — the pulse, the people, the pacy perfection.
Best hotel? North Island in the Seychelles — the concept, design, and luxury are unparalleled.
Relaxing getaway? Blissful barefoot moments at our family island home in Serifos, Greece.
Dirty weekend destination? Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas.
Top museums and galleries? The Acropolis Museum in Athens never gets old; I visit it repeatedly. I suppose, like Amal Clooney and the entire Greek population both in Greece and the diaspora, I hope and pray that our antiquities will be returned to their rightful place soon. I also love the Louvre, and the Met in New York.
If money was no object, what holiday would you splurge on? I would take the entire Crease clan: my mom, sister, nephew and niece, hubby, children, girlfriends, and animals to Bora Bora.
The best place you’ve ever visited? The place where I’m most me would undeniably be Greece — all of it. From the mountains to the valleys and villages to the gentle, forgiving Mediterranean Sea.
• From the July edition of Wanted 2019.