My Life In Travel: Dita Von Teese

'I would love to go on the Orient Express with a lover'
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The Independent Travel

First holiday memory?

Going to Mackinac Island in Lake Huron, Michigan. It's this lovely small island that has no vehicles of any kind, only horses and carriages and bicycles. It's famous for having the most beautiful antique Grand Hotel, and for the lilacs. When I go back, I usually stay in the room Esther Williams lived in when she was filming This Time for Keeps at the hotel in the 1940s.

Best holiday?

I think every holiday is the best, but I loved the last one I took, which was to Thailand. I spent time at several different spa resorts, but I also really enjoyed Bangkok, where I stayed in an amazing boutique hotel called The Eugenia. They drove me around town and to the airport in fabulous 1940s cars from their collection of vintage Jaguars and Mercedes.

What have you learnt from your travels?

That travel is one of the best ways to spend your money. Clothes and shoes are fun, but the memories you gain from travelling you have forever.

Ideal travelling companion?

A lover; someone that wants to see and try new things, and who is easy-going and adventure-seeking.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I enjoy culture; I'm mostly a city girl. However, much to the surprise of some people, I do also love to sit under a large beachside umbrella, and to swim.

Greatest travel luxury?

Globe-Trotter luggage and first-class flights.

Holiday reading?

Some kind of scandalous old Hollywood star's autobiography. Esther Williams' is terrific, and so is the book Marlene Dietrich's daughter Maria Riva wrote about her.

Where has seduced you?

Paris. I love its beauty and the Parisian landmarks, like the Crazy Horse Cabaret. Stepping out of the theatre on the Avenue George V is so chic – it makes me feel like a real showgirl!

Better to travel or arrive?

I quite enjoy the experience of travel when it goes smoothly, without delays, and with excellent service.

Worst travel experience?

Anytime my bags go missing or are delayed. I hate being without my own things, and I hate not knowing when I will be reunited with my cases.

Worst hotel?

I don't like being in those big Americanised hotels when I'm travelling. Recently I was booked into one of the biggest, most expensive hotels in Bangkok and I felt that I could have been anywhere in the world, which to me isn't the point of seeing a new country. I like eating the local cuisine and really feeling like I'm in another place, so the big chain hotels are all wrong for that. I checked out immediately and went to the charming Eugenia, with the most delightful staff, a beautiful room with a big copper bathtub and delicious food.

Best hotel?

The Hotel Raphael in Paris. I love the old-fashioned rooms, which are very French and decorated in rich red and deep blue velvets, beautiful antique paintings and giant floral tapestries. My favourite room has a little boudoir with the perfect vanity area for doing my make-up and hair. There is a garden restaurant at the top of the hotel with sublime views of the whole city and delicious food. It is such an elegant, sexy hotel; I won't stay anywhere else in Paris, it has become my home away from home and I take the same room every time.

Favourite walk/swim/ride/drive?

A bicycle ride around Mackinac Island in the springtime, with the scent of lilacs in the air.

Best meal abroad?

I loved the food in Thailand.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I put a playlist on my iPod, light a Mariage Frères Amber candle, unpack, then take a bath.

Dream trip?

I would love to go on the Orient Express with a lover. Better still would be to go on one of the rare restored Art Deco era train cars that the rich used to use for travel in the old days – they would just hook up their private car to an existing locomotive. There are some fabulous ones that were absolutely beautiful and ultra luxurious.

Favourite city?

I can find things to love about lots of the cities I've been to. However Paris is my first choice, because I have friends there and it was always my biggest dream to spend time there.

Where next?

I'm going to work in Paris.

Dita Von Teese will be performing at the Crazy Horse Paris from 1-15 February (