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Heaven and Hell - Amanda Wakeley

Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Category: Daily Telegraph

Fashion designer Amanda Wakeley , 45 lives in South London with her boyfriend financial guru Hugh Morrison.

Great Holidays

I love travelling and especially enjoy feeling connected to the elements in some way which is why I love skiing but cruising on our boat last summer for two weeks was my dream holiday. We had just bought her and it was our first holiday on her. We joined her in Naples and then sailed round Capri, The Amalfi coast, Positano and the Aeolian islands. It was incredibly romantic because this was the area where we first met. I love sailing; it’s so peaceful and is a great holiday because you completely switch off. Even though I’ve been around boats all my life, I still feel as if I’ve got a lot to learn about them.

Best Hotel
This is difficult because there are so many great hotels in the world and it depends what my needs are: on a business trip the Peninsula in Hong Kong takes a lot of beating because the service is outstanding. To be pampered and live in luxury, I’m torn between the Devi Garh in Rajasthan in India and the Amankila in Bali- both are luxurious retreats which have everything you need. For pure escapism and the Robinson Crusoe experience, nowhere beats Mnemba Island off Zanzibar. It takes only twenty minutes to walk round the entire island and the only noise you can hear is doves cooing.

What do you need for a perfect holiday ?
It depends on the time of the year but I need enough peace and quiet to still my mind. Sailing and skiing are both great because you can switch off from work and concentrate fully on the job in hand, When I’m somewhere warm and not engaged in an activity, I enjoy the thinking time.

What do you always take with you?
My Hermes pashmina always comes with me because it’s great on the plane and I use it instead of a bulky hotel bathrobe too. Holidays are the only time I get to read and so I always take books. I’m not a great fan of fiction, I prefer biographies or travel books; I always like to feel like I’m learning something. My ipod comes too and my boyfriend is a pretty vital ingredient.

What’s your best travel advice?
Zone out- So much is out of our control when we’re travelling that to remain calm you have to accept that. For most of us life is pretty stressful but travel should be about pleasure and enjoyment. A couple of years ago I was returning from Florence and was delayed for 24 hours which was pretty infuriating but Cathy Lette and Victoria Hislop were on the same flight and we ended up having a great time. I think that’s what you have to do.

Worst Holiday
A few years ago friends and I rented the most beautiful house in Koh Samui for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. It rained from the moment we got off the plane until the moment we got back on. And not light rain; this was real tropical, monsoon downpours. At that time of year we were all desperate for some sun and however much we tried to laugh it off, it was really disappointing. Even coming home on the plane we all felt damp.

Worst Experience
Water skiing is a passion of mine and a few years ago in Fiji I was trying to teach one of my friends. I was in the water with her and she was trying o get out of the water onto the boat when we heard this tearing noise which was her hamstring ripping. It was awful because she was in so much pain. Of course there’s nothing you can do but ice it and rest and in time it heals, but it was horrible at the time.

Packing Mistakes
Like everyone else, I always pack too much. It’s at a ridiculous level because I pack enough clothes for about twelve different looks and end up wearing about a third of them. I used to get wound up about it and think how stupid I was being, but now I just accept that that is how I like to travel. Who cares?

Worst hotel
This is perhaps unfair but I had only been at The Oberoi in Delhi for twelve hours when I got a dose of the infamous Delhi Belly. The restaurant there is beautifully decorated and is all minimalist chic but I wouldn’t go back. On my return home, when I told people I hadn’t been well about four different people guessed where I’d been staying because the same had happened to them.

What do you always avoid on holiday?
I’m happy to avoid routine on holiday. I love the freedom to come and go whenever I please which is in stark contrast to my working day at home where every hour is accounted for.

What do you hate about holidays?
Two things: unpacking and coming home to two weeks of piled-up post. I’ve recently persuaded my housekeeper that she’s great at unpacking so I just need to talk her into sorting though my post and I’ll have cracked it.

Where to next?
I would love to go to South America and will happily go back to India which I loved, just not to the same hotel.

Amanda Wakeley will show her new collection for Autumn / Winter 2008 on the 11th February during London Fashion Week.

Amanda Wakeley Flagship Store,
80 Fulham Road,
London. SW3 6HR
020 7590 9105

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