Mark Ramprakash, Surrey cricketer and one time winner of Strictly Come Dancing, talks bout his best and worst holiday experiences.
I’ve been on many great holidays but one that really stands out in my mind was when my parents took my sister and me to Barbados for the first time in 1986. It was a three week holiday over Christmas and New Year and I remember enjoying the great weather at that time of year. We stayed in an apartment on a beach and it felt like we swam all day long. The food was fantastic and we ate in restaurants with fire eaters and limbo dancers. I got to play some cricket too which added to my enjoyment of it all. I fell in love with the Caribbean then and have been back about fourteen times since.
What’s the best hotel you’ve stayed in?
I’ve been very fortunate because I’ve travelled a lot with my job which has involved staying in lots of beautiful hotels around the world, but in terms of sheer luxury I don’t think you can beat the Conrad in Chelsea. The rooms are huge and the bathrooms just magnificent- I love staying there.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
I don’t much like sight seeing or action holidays – I’ve never been skiing in my life because of my job and have hardly even been on holiday in Europe. Most of my holidays dovetail with cricket tours and so tend to be in Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean which suits me perfectly because I love the sun. I like a good beach and swimming pool too. If the hotel has a gym then I would use it and that’s a bonus but it’s not a requirement for a good holiday. Lastly I like good food and a variety of food; not the same offerings night after night.
What do you always take with you?
I always check that my swimming trunks are packed and I take some books too although I’m not a great reader. I try to have a cup of tea around four o’clock with a cake wherever I am in the world and so I pack decaffeinated tea bags too, but if I’ve forgotten them then I’ll have a regular cup of tea.
Best piece of travel advice?
I travel a lot which means that I take the whole process a bit for granted and don’t understand why people get so stressed about it all, you just have to accept that there may well be delays and setbacks, it’s all part of the process.
When I’m on holiday I’m amazed that so many people still burn in the sun despite the amount of publicity surrounding skin cancer. I don’t think people realise how much sun cream they should put on and how often.
My worst holiday was a few years ago when we decided at the last minute that we needed some sun and so we took ourselves off to Lanzarote. The wind was howling and we spent most of the week wearing a fleece huddled in deckchairs under towels. It wasn’t the best week ever. There’s something very depressing about a holiday resort in the rain.
Worst experience on holiday ?
Not long after 9/11 I was on a flight with my parents and two daughters returning from Barbados. It was a night flight and so the lights were dimmed and most people were asleep. About three hours into the flight, the lights snapped on and the crew burst into all this activity; tearing up and down the aisle looking very serious. The pilot announced that there was a smell of burning on the plane and they had forty minutes to reach Azures. Under the circumstances he wasn’t very reassuring which I interpreted as the situation being more serious than he was letting on. It felt like a very long forty minutes.
Biggest packing mistake?
Most people pack too much but on a cricket tour to India a few years ago for some strange reason I didn’t take enough casual clothes with me and I ended up wearing the same clothes over and over again and sending them to the laundry. It began to get a bit depressing and there wasn’t any time to go and buy any more.
In 1987 when I first started playing cricket we stayed in some really horrible places with creaking floorboards and low ceilings which meant you had to bend your head constantly. There isn’t one which stands out in my mind as being particularly bad they were all just very mediocre. The hotel in Lanzarote that we stayed in wasn’t great either. There was a band every night and the noise of them echoed round the hotel and meant we couldn’t sleep -I’m sure if the weather had been good it wouldn’t have been as bad.
What do you avoid on holiday?
I like to keep myself to myself on holiday; I keep my head down and try to concentrate on my family. I don’t see holidays as an opportunity to make friends.
What do you hate about holidays?
I hate jet lag. I don’t mind on the outward journey because I like getting up early and watching the sun rise. I’m not so keen on it on the return journey but you just have to ride it out and it will sort itself out.
Where to next?
I’ve never been to America before – they don’t play cricket there -so a trip there is long overdue. I’m going to tour around a little and I’ve promised the children I’ll take them to Disney; they’re 11 and 6 years old so the timing is perfect, I’m really looking forward to it.
Mark was talking at Ford Fiesta’s Tango at the Tower, to launch the all-new Ford Fiesta - the car the nation is about to fall in love with... Visit www.fiestalovefactory.com for more information