The Daily Telegraph - Travel - - Front Page -

Al­ways in my house in the South of France, with my fam­ily and close friends – noth­ing com­pares be­cause it’s the most idyl­lic set­ting, with the calmest at­mos­phere and bril­liant views. I try to go there as of­ten as pos­si­ble be­tween April and Septem­ber. I love vis­it­ing St Tropez – scratch the sur­face and you’ll see there’s more to it than the op­u­lent glitz and glam­our of the wealthy peo­ple who fre­quent it. I love ex­plor­ing the cob­bled streets with the tiny shops and the twice-weekly mar­ket. I love peo­ple-watch­ing from one of the cafés over­look­ing the ma­rina. If I want to es­cape, I visit the nearby vil­lage of Ra­mat­uelle, for a fresh-basked brioche and an aper­i­tif, while read­ing the Tri­bune.

The best and most ex­cit­ing city in the world is New York and has ev­ery­thing for the per­fect hol­i­day. In the win­ter it can be bit­terly cold but most of the time the sun shines brightly and the sky­scraper views are breath­tak­ing. My stan­dard favourites here are of course Bloom­ing­dale’s and Saks, but the new craze is down at Canal Street, where you can find some strik­ingly good repli­cas of Prada and Gucci if you look hard enough. Restau­rants are plen­ti­ful and al­ways good, but my stan­dards are Swifty’s on Lex­ing­ton, La Goulue on Madi­son, Cipri­ani’s on Fifth and, though I sorely miss the ex­tinct Le Cirque, but its suc­ces­sor, Le Cirque 2000 on West 56th Street, keeps the spirit alive. The Ritz in Paris is the epit­ome of el­e­gance, style and fan­tas­tic ser­vice – you feel like you’re in an­other era. In Lon­don, the same goes for the Dorch­ester – I have fond mem­o­ries of it since I was a young girl. If you’re trav­el­ling with young chil­dren, make sure they’re amused enough so they don’t bother the other pas­sen­gers. When mine were young I went to the dis­count store and bought lots of in­ex­pen­sive tiny toys, which I wrapped. I then handed one out ev­ery hour or so if they were good. I’m sure you can rely also on the mod­ern giz­mos avail­able nowa­days with video games that will pro­vide hours of un­in­ter­rupted, trance-like fun for them. Just make sure to have spare bat­ter­ies or a charger at hand and head­phones, so the bizarre sounds em­a­nat­ing from them don’t dis­turb your fel­low pas­sen­gers. To see Sol Kerzner’s lat­est ho­tel ven­ture – the At­lantis on the Palm in Dubai. I couldn’t make the amaz­ing open­ing party and I can’t wait to visit, it sounds in­cred­i­ble: I un­der­stand they have a room where all the walls are a live aquar­ium. cream. I’ve al­ways been care­ful in the sun be­cause I was told when I was 20 that sun on the skin is the most age­ing thing you can al­low, and that the sun­tans that you get in your twen­ties show up as deep wrin­kles in your for­ties and fifties. My first in­ter­na­tional flight to Di­nard in the north of France. I was 14 and it was my school hol­i­days. The plane had to turn back half­way over the Chan­nel due to en­gine trou­ble. We lin­gered in the air­port back in Lon­don for hours and when we fi­nally ar­rived it poured with rain the en­tire time. go by the adage, “Be pre­pared”, so I will take ev­ery­thing for all kinds of cli­mates, be­cause I’ve been in re­sorts in the sum­mer when it’s been rain­ing and freez­ing and in New York in the win­ter when it’s 75F (24C), so you just never know. We took our grand­child Miel on a whim to a sea­side re­sort we’d never been to. The best ho­tel we could find ended up be­ing very filthy and even fiveyear-old Miel said, “Phew, what a dump!” when we left. Need­less to say we’ve never been back. I’m al­ways very wary about tap wa­ter and pre­fer to or­der bot­tled wa­ter. I also try and stay away from those dishes that have nuts or nib­bles at the cock­tail lounge – you never know where pre­vi­ous fin­gers have been.

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