It is with great pleasure that I can announce that a very good friend and well respected journalist, Anisha Shah will be contributing some of her wonderful travel writing and experiences through several guest posts exclusively for Hotel Insight. I’ve known Anisha for a long time and have always been a big fan of her work and I am incredibly pleased that she will share with us some of her engaging writing and opinions, with a strong focus on hotel experiences from all around the world.
Having hosted her own BBC radio show to then being seen on TV reporting News for the BBC and most recently filming and reporting Olympic athletes for the BBC’s Olympics 2012 coverage, Anisha has very recently turned freelance to follow her passion and love of travel. Much of her year is spent travelling the globe or ‘jetsetting’ as her friends insist on calling it. But Anisha’s travels are a contradiction, as much as is her personality. She has a keen interest in areas of conflict which have landed her in some tricky situations on the ground, (namely insisting on meeting people staging a sit-in in Bahrain’s Pearl Square roundabout during anti-government clashes, as well as narrowly escaping troubles in Sri Lanka’s Columbo and Lebanon’s Beirut). But, she says, this could happen anywhere and won’t put her off exploring a beautiful and cultural destination. She admits to being obsessively keen on emerging destinations (her 2013 picks include South Sudan, Ethiopia, Panama and Senegal).
Anisha has a penchant for uber-luxury properties – you won’t find this traveller staying in sub-standard accommodation, so I can’t wait for her to share her experiences with Hotel Insight. Her favourite hotels are traditionally classic, regal and elegant, which is clearly reflected in her hotels of choice; maybe not the usual choice for young women. Anisha explains, “I’m happiest surrounded by eons of history, either a converted monastery (Hotel Monasterio, Peru) or former / current palace (Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace India) with royal affiliation, in classic luxury, surrounded by older people who can teach me about life and have tons of experiences, adventures and tales to recount.’
Let’s get to know Anisha – over to you!
Why travel? – Life is a passing moment. From being a hyper-active child whose greatest fear was missing out on a single moment to now being a grown-up child with still the same fear, I’ve lived so far as though it were my final day. It’s been exhausting yet exhilarating! This innate eagerness and excitability means I’m forever multi-tasking and juggling, dreaming of the next destination as soon as I arrive at the first and I’m constantly on the go. We’re blessed to be here and I refuse to lose or waste a second. Travelling is the best teacher, enabling us to see, learn and appreciate the world. Every single travel experience has given me new meaning, through a chance conversation with an inspiring local, unique encounter with phenomenal nature or lesson learned through personal observation. I cherish those invaluable experiences.
If you open your heart & mind on travels, the rewards are limitless. I love the sense of perspective it gives and appreciate the deeper understanding I gain about the plight of human beings on this planet, as one species. Travels have also given me a deeper respect for nature and the environment.
Best trip? – Traversing Indonesia for a month, from being the only tourist in Borneo’s Kalimantan that day, surrounded by wild Orangutan twice my size, to the Borobudur temple at dawn, to ending on my birthday on a secluded private candlelit beach, a sumptuous meal with private Chef and sommelier.
Peru, Ecuador & Galapagos: Machu Picchu at sunrise felt like watching from the heavens and deep sea snorkelling in Galapagos with sharks, sea-lions and marine iguanas unbeatable.
Private island luxury favourites include Mustique – riding a horse through the shallows of the sea discovering untouched beaches and celebrity homes. Maldives for snorkelling through crystal azure waters to breakfast every morning from my water villa past Manta ray and reef sharks.
1-line unique destinations? – Essaouira: Morocco’s fishing port, whitewashed buildings & labyrinth alleyways of art galleries. Oman: deep respect of tradition and culture and dramatic mountain and ocean scenery. Kuwait: low-key luxury and intriguing culture (& hour-long spectacular fireworks for 50th Liberation.) Lebanon: unadulterated natural beauty, wonderful mix of cultures & delicious mezze and wine. Rio de Janeiro: World’s biggest party at carnival, with Samba beats, Cachaca & an all-night parade Jamaica / Barbados: incredibly warm people, stunning beaches, laid-back cool. Vienna: classic luxury, European culture in form of museums, galleries, theatres & coffee houses.
“Travel and I share a life-long love affair. He stole my heart from the moment he whisked me off at mere weeks old and has had a hold ever since; always will”.
I’m very excited about being able to diversify my blog and freshen it up with some fascinating travel and hotel insights from what I can only describe as an acclaimed and respected journalist. Anisha will have a particular focus on the hotels she visits and share with us her insights into different aspects of hospitality from all over the world. Hearing from the eyes of a traveller is something as hotel professionals we must always keep in out minds, so I’m confident that Anisha’s work will be thought-provoking for all of us (and a great read too). Please join me in welcoming Anisha, and her first post, featuring an incredible hotel concierge experience will be published shortly.