If you’re more of a flashpacker than a backpacker, you should check out Angie Silver’s website, Silver Spoon London. It showcases some of the best in luxury travel and gastronomy.
Angie told me she has high expectations of a luxury break. “It’s not necessarily about going to a hotel with marbled bathrooms and grand ceilings. It’s an overall experience. It’s the feeling you get from being there,” explained Angie. “Recently I went to Kenya and stayed in a beautiful luxury lodge with incredible views of the Masai Mara. I went on the safari and got close to the animals. We had a hilltop picnic with a great view. It was an ‘Out of Africa’ experience with memories that will last. It’s that feeling.”
For the luxury experience when travelling, Angie said it’s the details that count. “In terms of service nothing should be too much trouble. The staff should always be willing to help whatever the situation. Another element is being able to do it in comfort and with time on your side, so wherever you are, you do not have to queue. It’s good to be first at the door. A good example is a hotel at the entrance to Machu Picchu, so you are there when you step outside. Or it could be choosing business class over bus travel. It is all about the experience rather than an opulent setting,” she told me.
Some of the best hotels really embrace their unique setting. Angie has stayed in the 13-roomed property adjacent to Ayres Rock in Australia. “Every single room had a view of the rock. Recently one of the most unique hotels I’ve stayed in was Giraffe Manor near Nairobi in Kenya. Giraffes roam the grounds and they come and join you for breakfast. They stick their heads in the window and come back later for afternoon tea, so you get a real opportunity to interact with the animals. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Angie says another great holiday was in the Caribbean. “Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia has the most incredible architecture. Each room has a wall missing so you have a three-sided room with a view over the pitons. It’s incredible.
So which city breaks would Angie recommend? “I loved Cape Town,” she told me. “You can stay in a beautiful hotel with a pool and the weather is great. You can also see lots of history and superb scenery. There is incredible food too. Similarly, Sydney is fantastic for a beach and city break. You get the best of both worlds.”
Generally if you want to experience affordable luxury, Angie says Thailand is hard to beat. “The hospitality is top-level. The hotels are incredible and you’ll stay in a villa with a private pool for the price that you might spend on a city hotel in Europe. Southeast Asia offers great hospitality but it’s also good in the States. It’s different but you’ll find it very customer focused with good attention to detail”
Angie has more tips for making luxurious breaks affordable. “Not going at peak times, when it’s the shoulder season, can be cheaper. Fares and hotel rooms will be lower and you won’t miss out on great weather. You also get the benefit of it not being too crowded.”
So how does she find places that are more affordable but still high end? “I love websites like Mr and Mrs Smith and Small Luxury Hotels of the World. They’ve got a good mixture of budget, boutique and more personal hotels that don’t always cost the earth
You can follow Angie at SilverSpoonLondon.co.uk.