My Life In Travel: Paul Oakenfold

'When we took off again, one of the propellers stopped'

First holiday memory?

Camber Sands in Sussex with my parents. I think we stayed at a Pontin's resort. Elvis Presley died while we were there. My parents were big fans so it was quite a shock.

Best holiday?

Ibiza with four friends about 20 years ago. I'd been before, but this was the first time we had enough money to hire a villa. It was then that we really discovered the club scene and when it all started for me.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Brighton – for the Lanes, the restaurants and the sea.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I've learnt a tremendous amount, particularly the practical side of life – things you can't learn from books.

Ideal travelling companion?

Friends. I recently took seven friends to Madonna's show with me as I'm supporting the tour. We had such a laugh.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm an adrenalin junkie. I really enjoy my work so I never feel the need to relax. Because I travel so much DJing, I don't really take holidays. I would get bored if I was on a beach for two weeks.

Greatest travel luxury?

My Tumi luggage.

Holiday reading?

I love anything by Hunter S Thompson.

Where has seduced you?

Asia: I've been going for 20 years now and go at least once a year. I went backpacking in Beijing 20 years ago, when there were mainly pushbikes rather than cars. I love the whole continent, but particularly places such as Thailand, Japan and Bali.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive. I travel so much and it has changed dramatically since 9/11. You do notice the standard has dropped – security is a hassle. These days, I arrive at the airport at the last possible minute; I don't like hanging around.

Worst travel experience?

A flight in the Caribbean. We were flying on a twin-prop private jet going to St Lucia and had to wait for the plane to be refuelled. However, they forgot to put the fuel cap back on and when we took off, diesel was leaking out of the plane. We had to turn around and land again and when we took off again, one of the propellers stopped. Thank God you can fly on one propeller.

Worst holiday?

A holiday in Sardinia where we arrived at the hotel to find that it wasn't finished. They were decorating the floor above our room so there was banging and drilling from 9am every day. When we complained, the people at the hotel didn't care. Having stayed at thousands of hotels, I've noticed it's a growing trend.

Worst hotel?

There are too many to mention. The worst are those where the staff don't understand service, don't take care of their customers and don't enjoy their job.

Best hotel?

Claridge's in London oozes class. It's very British, very relaxing, and the staff are great.

Favourite walk / swim/ride/drive?

My favourite walk is from St Paul's Cathedral across the Thames on the Millennium Bridge to Tate Modern. It's a walk that merges old London with new culture. Having nearly drowned at the age of 12, I don't like swimming – call me old-fashioned, but I like lying by the pool with a cocktail. Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park in Los Angeles is the best place to go for adult rides, and my favourite drive would be anywhere in an Aston Martin!

Best meal abroad?

Sushi in a restaurant in LA called Goa. The food melts in your mouth and the hip surroundings of the restaurant, bar and club are wonderful.

First thing you do when you arrive somewhere new?

I get out of the hotel and explore the vicinity.

Dream trip?

I'd love to visit Tibet and have all the time in the world to explore and take in the culture. I think it would be as far removed as I can get from my own lifestyle.

Favourite city?

Shanghai. It's a city of such fast change and feels so alive. Over the past decade I've seen the skyline completely change. On one side of the Bund you have old Shanghai, with all the colonial buildings and culture and street markets. On the other side is somewhere you'd imagine the future to look like. Las Vegas is another favourite. You can do anything there, 24 hours a day.

Where next?

I'm going on tour with Madonna and we're going all over South America. I'm looking forward to Buenos Aires, which I love for its energy and spirit. I like that it's a bit dangerous, too – it makes it alive.

Paul Oakenfold's residency continues at Rain nightclub, Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas every Saturday until summer 2009 (

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