My life in travel: Jean-Yves Thibaudet

'I always stay in the best hotels! I'm very particular'


First holiday memory?

In Romania with my parents, on the Black Sea. We used to go to Romania most summers to a resort called Mangalia, which is just near the Bulgarian border. I have memories of going there from the age of about five.

Best holiday?

St John, in the US Virgin Islands. I've been going for quite a few years; it's a fantastic place with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It's my idea of a vacation – beaches, the sea and the sun. It's also easy for me to get to.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Gifford, which is a little village outside Edinburgh. I often went to stay at Yester House, which is on the estate of the late maestro Gian Carlo Menotti. When I had to learn a new piece I'd go there for 10 days to learn it, because it is such a quiet and peaceful place.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I will never be able to pack lightly! With all the travelling I do through work, you'd think I'd be a pro but I still pack three suitcases for a long weekend. I pack for all eventualities.

Ideal travelling companion?

My sudoku book.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm definitely a beach bum.

Greatest travel luxury?

Flying on a private plane is the ultimate luxury for me, because flying is just not fun these days with the airports and security being so much more stressful. However, I don't fly private all the time – it would be hard to justify.

Holiday reading?

Restaurant menus! I do like to read but I don't have much time when I'm abroad. The only time I have to read is just before I go to bed or on a plane, but I tend to fall asleep after reading a few pages. I don't read as much as I'd like to.

Where has seduced you?

French Polynesia. I like the islands that people are less familiar with, such as Moorea, Bora Bora, the Marquesas and Tetiaroa, which was owned by Marlon Brando. It really feels like paradise there.

Better to travel or arrive?

It's better to travel on Singapore Airlines' new First Class Suites. I could live on that plane. It feels like the best place in the world.

Worst travel experience?

When my luggage doesn't arrive with me. Considering the amount I travel, it hasn't happened too often. It's more difficult when I'm on tour, because I'm moving from one city to the next and if the bag hasn't caught up with me when I'm leaving for the next place, then it becomes very complicated. There has only been one time when my luggage never arrived, on a trip to Russia in 2001. Of course it had all my scores in too, which was a real tragedy.

Worst holiday?

I'm very choosy and I do a lot of research to make sure I get it right. I can't really afford to have a bad holiday because I don't have much time off.

Worst hotel?

I always stay in the best hotels! I'm very particular about where I stay.

Best hotel?

The Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. I stayed there a couple of months ago – it was obscenely decadent. The Oriental in Bangkok and the Peninsula in Hong Kong are two more great hotels.

Favourite walk/ swim/ride/drive?

I loved horseback riding on the beach in Moorea with Belle Epoque, my white Arabian horse. Sadly I don't do it anymore because it's too much of a risk and my insurance wouldn't allow it. I learnt to ride in Moorea as a child.

Best meal abroad?

A meal at the China Club in Beijing two or three years ago. It's a fabulous member's club in an old palace that is about 400 years old, so it feels like you're going back in time. The food was wonderful and so unique. The dishes just kept arriving and they were all unbelievable.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I unpack all my luggage and tidy my hotel suite so that I feel at home.

Dream trip?

Egypt, the Himalayas and Patagonia are places I would love to visit. I'm fascinated by the culture in Egypt and would like to see the Pyramids and temples and go down the Nile. I'm not a climber so I'd like to see the Himalayas from Tibet or Nepal, and the tip of South America looks fantastic.

Favourite city?

Los Angeles, where I live. The weather is great, and when I come home from a tour I love the fact that I can sit by my swimming pool. The quality of life there is great. I feel relaxed and happy in LA. The minute I touch down at LAX I have a smile on my face.

Where next?

To the Maldives but I'm still deciding which island to go to. Obviously I'll be doing my research but at the moment I'm thinking about the Four Seasons' new resort.

Interview by Sophie Lam

Jean-Yves Thibaudet appears at the Lucerne Festival performing Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, with Lorin Maazel and the New York Philharmonic on 2 September, and Messiaen's Turangalila Symphony with Mariss Jansons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on 7 September

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Jodie Stimpson crosses the finishing line to win gold in the women's triathlon
Commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Visitor Experience volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary role: Old Royal Naval College: To assist the Visitor Experien...

    Telesales Manager. Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Day In a Page

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game