My life in travel: Olga Kurylenko

'The Great Barrier Reef was amazing... Australia is like being on another planet'

Actress Olga Kurylenko is a spokesperson for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. To watch the latest campaign, visit

First holiday memory?

St Petersburg. When I was eight years old, my mother took me to see the culture and do some sightseeing. I remember the big palaces where the tsars used to live and the River Neva, because we walked along its banks. It was summer, so the weather was beautiful and hot. Everything was bright and golden.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

London. I love it, that's why I live in the city. I've been there three years. I was first attracted to it because I started to make more English-speaking movies. For a while, I was living out of hotels, which was crazy, so I thought I might as well just live there. I love Chelsea and Notting Hill, all the parks and walking around when it's sunny. I like having tea at Fortnum & Mason too, which is very touristy, but I'm into all that.

Best holiday?

The South of France. I love Provence especially. I've always wanted to get a house there. Last summer, I went on holiday there and I really enjoyed it. I've been before, but this time was special. It's so quiet and peaceful. I went on some beautiful hikes with friends and we just cooked food all the time and talked. We were near the mountains, which is not as touristy at the coast.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Take all the things you need with you. Don't assume you can get it there. Pack all your books and your drawing materials – I don't like to get stuck without things to do. Also, take a huge bag of medicines, so you can be your own doctor.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

If someone says "we're going to the beach'" I'm already filled with anxiety. After one day, I always feel I need to take a walk or go see something. If a beach is near a city, that's a perfect combination. Then I can go and explore with my backpack. I like discovering and sightseeing.

Greatest travel luxury?

Once you fly in a private jet, you realise that it's a pretty good luxury, because you never have to wait. I travel so much that I'm always at the airport, checking in luggage or standing in queues. It's obviously not an affordable luxury and I'll probably never have one myself, but I did fly in one when we went on tour for Quantum of Solace and also for Oblivion. When you have access to one … wow!

Holiday reading?

I'm not really into reading summer bestsellers. I feel like they're a waste of time. I usually read things on psychology or philosophy. I'm interested in why people behave in certain ways and how we develop. That stuff fascinates me.

Where has seduced you?

India. I went there for a holiday and stayed at the Taj Lake Palace in Udaipur in Rajasthan. It was fascinating. We just had the best time. We walked everywhere – around the streets and the markets – we went shopping, we took a little boat tour on the lake, we ate amazing food. It was just relaxing and peaceful. The people were great, too. I didn't necessarily see beautiful things or an easy life, but I saw the reality and that's what I like.

Worst travel experience?

I was stuck on a yacht in the Mediterranean once with people I didn't really connect with. It was difficult because we were at sea so I couldn't just leave. I just didn't like the subjects they spoke about, so I didn't want to participate. I left four days later.

Best hotel?

I love rooms with space. I usually come with big suitcases for work, because I've got to carry things for premieres and press events, so I always need lots of room. The Waldorf Astoria hotels are definitely for people who travel a lot and need to stay for more than a day. They become like home.

Best meal abroad?

Japan. I've tried the most amazing dishes there. They realised how adventurous I am, so they would put the most weird-looking things in front of me, things that even Japanese people don't eat, to see if I would.

Greatest adventure?

Australia. I went to see the Great Barrier Reef and it was just amazing. You put a scuba mask on and swim along these lines of coral, amid all these beautiful colours. Apart from the sea, Australia has amazing forests and incredible animals, too. It's so different from what we have here. It's like being on another planet.

Where next?

Los Angeles, then Toronto. I still haven't been to Kenya, which everyone raves about because of the wildlife, so I'd like to go there. And a trip to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia would be nice.

election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Dining Room Head Chef

    £32K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Dining Room Head Chef to work for one of ...

    Guru Careers: Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Chef

    £27K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pastry Sous Chef / Experienced Pastry Che...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'