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News & Advice

My life in travel: Dawn O'Porter

'Miami Beach is gorgeous and the city has such a buzz'

Television presenter and journalist Dawn O'Porter has written her first novel, Paper Aeroplanes, which is available now (£7.99; Key Books).

First holiday memory?

Ibiza with my grandparents. I used to live with them as a child, so they took my sister and me to stay at the Fiesta Hotel Tanit. It had a kids' club where we would put on performances. It was one of those classic package holidays.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Guernsey, where I was brought up. It's such a beautiful, idyllic place. A lot of my school friends never left and I completely appreciate why. You can surf and sunbathe, or walk around a beautiful cobbled town. You step off the plane and all your woes seem to disappear.

Best holiday?

My honeymoon last December [with the actor Chris O'Dowd]. We started off in LA and drove to Vegas for two wild nights, before flying to Miami and on to Saint Lucia. Afterwards, we went to New Orleans for New Year's Eve and back to LA. It was a really indulgent, amazing trip.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To feel at home anywhere. Because most of the travelling I do is work-related, I'm very good at arriving – whether it's the Outback in Australia or a city in America – settling in quickly and getting on with my writing.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I dream of being a beach bum, but I never have the opportunity. Although I've travelled loads, I've been on so few real "holidays", so I fantasise about that two weeks in Goa, eating and chilling out in hammocks.

Greatest travel luxury?

Spas. At Jade Mountain in Saint Lucia, there was a therapist called Alison, who gave me the best massage I've ever had. She had big soft hands and chatted to me the whole way through.

Holiday reading?

I tend to take lots of smaller books on holiday and try to get through as many as possible. Recently, I've read Lucky Bunny by Jill Dawson and one by the Scottish crime writer Val McDermid.

Where has seduced you?

Miami. We stayed at the Soho Beach House, which was incredible. We got upgraded to the penthouse, which felt like staying in a Cuban apartment. I love how buzzy the city is, but also how gorgeous Miami Beach is.

Worst travel experience?

A flight from Germany to Russia when I was making a series called Extreme Wife for Channel 4. It was a long, hot and sweaty flight, in a grim aeroplane with disgusting food.

Worst hotel?

We booked a suite in New Orleans for the last three nights of our honeymoon. It was dark, miserable and stank of damp. Eventually the hotel moved us into a cute room above reception, with French windows looking out over the street.

Favourite drive?

The Pacific Coast Highway in California. We drove up to the Napa Valley from LA for Chris's 30th birthday. You've got to do it in a convertible and pretend you're in a movie: hair scarf, big sunglasses, loads of music playing.

Best meal abroad?

The night the chef came and cooked us wagyu beef in our hotel room at Jade Mountain, Saint Lucia. It was like butter in your mouth.

Favourite city?

New York. I've been there six times and I'm just starting to get to grips with it. I always feel a deep sadness whenever I have to leave.

Where next?

I've never been to Italy, so I'm hoping to get there before the end of summer.