Famous Flyer: Deborah Hutton

Hutton rates driving through Provence as her best holiday experience.
An African safari and the Maldives are on Deborah Hutton's wish list.

WHICH WAS YOUR BEST HOLIDAY?
Renting a car in Paris and driving to St Tropez over four days. I stayed at little inns and ate at great restaurants through Provence, really getting a feel for the country. It ended with the madness of St Tropez, which is FUN in capital letters.

AND THE BEST HOTEL YOU'VE STAYED IN?
The Soho in London – I love the position and it has the most divine suites – and the tiny, tiny Eichardt's Private Hotel in Queenstown. The interiors are by Virginia Fisher, who does all the Huka Retreats. It's right in the centre of Queenstown with a great little bar downstairs. You go in for five minutes and the next day, they're like, "Hello Deborah, that was a pinot, wasn't it?' They really get you.

WHAT DO YOU ALWAYS TAKE WITH YOU?
The same as everyone else – my iPad, my earplugs, and eye mask. I do have a little baby travel pillow I always squeeze into an air suction bag, so I have the consistency of a good pillow.

WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A PERFECT HOLIDAY?
There has to be a great golf course – that's generally what I look for first. It's also got to be warm, with a beach (though I can do pool), with good friends and good restaurants.

WHAT'S YOUR BEST PIECE OF TRAVEL ADVICE?
I always photocopy my passport and credit cards, and I always split my credit cards up, leaving one in the hotel safe and one in my wallet. It's gotten me out of trouble before, when I had my bag stolen in Ibiza (surprise, surprise!).

AND YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE ON HOLIDAY?
My pals booked a "divine design hotel" in Koh Samui. The pool's filtration system was broken, and it was green. And there was no restaurant, you ate in bures on the beach. And then the weather turned. No pool, rain and sitting cross-legged on the beach, eating bad Thai? I booked a flight back to Bangkok and checked into The Peninsula hotel.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PACKING MISTAKE YOU'VE MADE?
Leaving it too late to pack, because I then pack too much. You just hate yourself on long-haul trips every time you have to repack.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO GO TO NEXT?
At the top of my list is an African safari and the Maldives. I would stay at one of the Evason resorts in the Maldives. They're just heaven on a stick. I see photos of the beautiful water and think, "That's just me". And I want a cocktail and I want one with an umbrella. To me, that screams "holiday!"

Deborah Hutton is an ambassador for NRMA's Living Well Navigator, livingwellnavigator.com.au.


Interview by Belinda Jackson

This feature by Belinda Jackson was published in Sydney's Sun-Herald newspaper's Traveller section

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