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Heaven and Hell - David Coulthard

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Category: Daily Telegraph

Great Holidays...

Which was your best holiday?
I’m not big on holidays and would never block two weeks off in my diary for instance. I tend to tie holidays in with work – I’ll grab a few days holiday in Dubai when I’m in Bahrain racing and a week in Thailand between the Malaysian test and the Malaysian Grand Prix. My business is a year round business and so it’s difficult to completely switch off; I pretty much always have to do at least an hour in the gym in the morning and always watch what I eat so it’s never truly a holiday For that reason I don’t have a best holiday as such -I’m always very happy wherever I am and try to make the best of it but a place I enjoy is The Maldives because the service is discreet and there’s a lot of privacy, the water is a nice water temperature and it’s not too difficult to get to. I enjoy Thailand too because the food is great and the people are very gentle and the service is always wonderful.

What’s the best hotel you’ve stayed in?
I like the Amanpuri in Phuket and have been there several times. There’s a very laidback atmosphere but the service and the food is wonderful too. It isn’t a big hotel, it’s made up of individual Thai style bungalows with their own private beach and that along with the wonderful service and food, makes it very special.

What do you need for a perfect holiday.
Exercise facilities are a must and a spa is always good. I need water of some description although I don’t like lying on a beach and getting sand between my toes so a pool would be better. I only read books when I’m on holiday, the rest of the time I read magazines and newspapers so a few books are required and I like a nice bar to sit and have a cocktail at.

What do you always take with you?
My gym equipment and my ipod with ipod speakers - I like background music rather than being plugged in and cut off from everyone around me. I also take my Speedos for doing lengths in the pool. They’re so much better at cutting through the water than trendy longer trunks which I do wear but not for swimming. I only wear them walking from my sun lounger to the pool but even then I get some questioning glances from other people sitting round the pool. I’m a good sleeper and can sleep almost anywhere so I don’t need a special pillow or anything like that.

What’s your best piece of travel advice?
Unless you’re going to space you will be able to buy whatever it is you need and no matter where you are going, you will not need 16 pairs of shoes. I’ve got much more economical with my packing as I’ve got older I know very well how hotel laundries work and pack accordingly.

…and disasters

What was your worst holiday
I’ve been really lucky and can hand on heart say I’ve never had a bad holiday but that’s probably because I’ve never been on a package holiday or a conventional holiday really. and also because I’m pretty unadventurous.

What was your worst experience on holiday?
In the eighties my family was in Portugal and we all got food poisoning. I just had a dodgy stomach but my Mum ended up in hospital which wasn’t very pleasant at all.

What’s the biggest packing mistake you’ve made?
I’ve never forgotten anything or packed the wrong things, I’ve just packed too much but I’ve definitely learned over the years and now have a rule that I take three of everything – three pairs of jeans, three T Shirts, that always works well.

Which is the worst hotel you’ve stayed in?
Most of my traveling has been through racing and so I’ve been lucky enough to stay in reasonable places and my experiences have largely been good. Nor am I experimental, if I go somewhere and like it, I go back time and time again. I always look for the positive and even in a mediocre hotel you can have a really nice receptionist or the chamber maid is friendly.

What do you avoid on holiday?
I avoid cheap holidays. I think you get what you pay for and this is especially true when it comes to holidays- I’d sacrifice other things to ensure I had a good time on holiday.

What do you hate about holidays?
I accept airports as part of my life but I hate the whole process of getting ready to come home – the packing and relearning how to walk in shoes. I always arrive home exhausted.

Where to next?
Apart from travel for races, I don’t plan very far ahead. I’ll just look at my diary, see where I’m going to be and if I feel like it and am able to, I’ll take a break for a few days. I’ve never had the urge to go and see somewhere and I’m the world’s worst sightseer- I always feel that there will be plenty of time for that in the future.

It is what it is: The autobiography by David Coulthard published by Orion £18.99

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