A lifetime’s travel tips from The Rolling Stones’ stylist, lover of all things nautical and champion of Cuban sushi
If I were to be stranded it would be on a Mediterranean island — not sure which one — and
I’d read the complete works of Gabriel García Márquez. Or perhaps The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. My favourite hotel is the George V in Paris.
I’ve got some bloody good memories from there. If Paris and Mumbai were to have a love child, they would spawn Naples. The decadence, the beauty, the pile on pile of history: it doesn’t get much better than that. There’s nothing like waking up on a boat in the Mediterranean, getting up, having an espresso and jumping off the boat. There’s a sashimi restaurant in a rundown marina on the edge of Havana called Santy. You just order whatever they have. It’s beautiful. If a risotto takes less than 20 minutes, it’s not a risotto. When I pack, I “do the onion” and make sure I have layers. I always chuck in a bunch of scarves, and I have very lightweight cashmere and silk jackets that can go over a regular jacket. And then a suit, which isn’t a suit: it’s a pair of trousers and a jacket. People think they are inseparable, but that would be a boiler suit. There are certain things I’ll always have with me. A wireless speaker, a room fragrance — Fico d’India by Ortigia — and kikoys, the Kenyan scarves. They work as a towel, a mop-your-brow, as a bag. And one goes straight over the TV in the hotel room. I can’t stand TVs, they’re incredibly ugly. One of the great things about being tall is that you get put in the co-pilot’s seat on small planes, which means you can smoke out the window, and they’ll give you control of the plane. Once, in Tanzania, we were flying along and I asked, “What’s that over there?” So the pilot told me to take control and have a look. I flew us around the island a couple of times, and even landed the plane. My parents were in Mauritius [when I was growing up], so I’d visit, and that got me the taste for ocean life. But the funny thing was, when you travel a lot as a kid you reach a point, probably in your early teens, when you say, “I’m sick of travelling, I don’t want to go to the Seychelles.” And now I think, what a precocious idiot. I’ve had turbulence where a chap didn’t have his seatbelt on and knocked himself out on the ceiling, and I’ve had an engine fire as we were landing. But nothing too significant. I’m a believer that if there’s nothing you can do, do nothing.