My Life In Travel: Charles Worthington
'In Bangkok I ate some nuts in the dark. The bag was full of big black ants'
Saturday 21 August 2004
What is your first holiday memory?
What is your first holiday memory?
Going to Mallorca when I was five. It was my first time on a plane and my first trip abroad somewhere hot and sunny. It was so exciting.
What has been your best holiday?
About five years ago I spent Christmas in New York with my parents. We stayed in the penthouse at the Four Seasons Hotel. It snowed on Christmas Day, which was absolutely perfect. People were ice-skating by the giant Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center; it was like being on a film set.
Where is your favourite place in Britain?
York, my home town. Whenever I go back I feel proud that it's where I am from. It's got the Roman wall round it, and the architecture in York Minster is stunning.
What have you learnt from your travels?
I combat jet lag by sleeping as much as possible on the plane. And if I do have to take more than hand luggage, I courier my suitcases ahead of me. Having your clothes pressed and waiting in your hotel wardrobe when you arrive makes you feel instantly at home.
Are you an independent traveller?
I like DIY travel. I like to think about where I want to go, then the hotel I want to stay in, and organise it independently.
Who would be your ultimate travelling companion?
Karen from Will & Grace. If I was travelling with her and anything went wrong, she would demand a private jet and it would happen.
Are you beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I love skiing and watersports, but I also love great galleries and museums, and I'm equally happy to lie on a beach and soak up the sun. It's nice if you can combine all three.
To which place have you lost your heart?
St Tropez. I now have a home there. People expect it to be full of glitzy high-rise hotels, with Gucci and Prada on every corner, and it's really not like that. None of the harbour buildings are repainted, so they have a romantic, crumbling quality to them. Along the huge beach there are no hotels, just restaurants, cafés and bars. You've got the fun and madness in the summer if you want it, but just a short drive away you're in the country. In the winter St Tropez takes on a completely different feel - it's a sleepy fishing village and the huge fancy yachts are replaced by wooden fishing boats.
What has been the worst thing that has happened to you on holiday?
It was on a trip to Bangkok. I had only just arrived and, being tired, I went to bed early and woke up in the middle of the night absolutely starving. There was a big bag of nuts that I had opened when I arrived, so I began eating them in the dark. After a few mouthfuls I started thinking that they tasted a bit strange, and I felt something moving in my hand. I turned on the light and realised that I'd been eating my way through handfuls of nuts and big black ants, and the only thing nearby that I could wash them down with was a bottle of whisky.
Where is the most overrated place you've been?
Barbados. The beaches were average and there were no wonderful towns to wander around. It is just a quick fix of sunshine for most people.
Which is the most underrated place?
Hydra, one of the Greek islands. There are no cars - you get around either by walking, by pony and trap, or water taxis. There is absolute tranquillity and it has such a natural feel. When you pull into the harbour it's very dramatic - there are mountains on both sides, with wonderful villas and shacks cut into them.
Where would be your trip of a lifetime?
I'd start off with a safari in Africa, which I've never done before, then for complete contrast head to Aspen to do some skiing. After the exhaustion of that, I'd fly on to Thailand to an amazing spa, finishing in England on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas by a log fire at my house in Kent with family and friends.
Where are you going next?
To St Tropez - I'm really looking forward to it.
Charles Worthington is a celebrity hairdresser and produces a range of hair-care products
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