My Life In Travel: Ronan Keating, singer-songwriter
'New York is where I like to go to wind down'
Saturday 12 March 2011
First holiday memory?
Going down to Killarney in County Kerry. We'd spend pretty much every summer holiday there as a family. I've got great memories and it seemed that the summers were longer and brighter then. I have three brothers and a sister, so the energy during the drive down was brilliant.
Nevis, where Yvonne and I got married. It's a wonderful place and one of the Caribbean's more rural islands. We've got a friend from St Kitts who had some land there and recommended it to us, so after visiting we decided to get married there. We've been back since, for a friend's wedding as it happens.
Favourite place in the British Isles?
The west coast of Ireland is a wonderful place to hide away. I love Scotland, too – visiting Glasgow and Edinburgh and playing golf in places like St Andrews and Loch Lomond. I love wintry weather as much as the sun, so Ireland and Scotland are perfect for that.
What have you learnt from your travels?
How to pack. I travel an awful lot – I was in Australia five times last year. I know what I need when I travel. Airport security has changed the way that we pack, so whereas I always used to travel with hand luggage I now have to check in my bags.
Ideal travelling companion?
My wife Yvonne. She potters at airports which drives me mad because I like to get straight on board, especially for a long-haul flight. Other than that, we travel very well together.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
I'm definitely an adrenalin junkie – I enjoy anything from hiking to something that'll give me a bigger thrill.
Greatest travel luxury?
I think that good luggage is something everyone should invest in. I used to have all the Louis Vuitton luggage – it's wonderful but it doesn't wear very well and it weighs a ton. The new Samsonite collection is brilliant because it's very hard wearing and incredibly light.
I have an iPad and that has been brilliant for movies, games and books.
Where has seduced you?
The Hôtel Costes in Paris. It's a brilliant hotel. I love the street it's on – the Rue St-Honoré – and I love the cosy and romantic vibe of the hotel. I feel very at home there.
Better to travel or arrive?
I enjoy travelling and I try to make the most of it. I like to eat in good restaurants and see as much of a place as possible. Most of the time I travel for work, so I can fly in a good class and arrive rested.
Worst travel experience?
In the early days of Boyzone I made the mistake of booking a cheap holiday in Tenerife. I didn't think about the fact that I was in a band and had to leave after a couple of days because of all the attention.
These days, my worst experiences are when flights go askew. I was on tour with my band last year going to Australia. I was on Singapore Airlines and the band were on Qantas for some reason. The planes were side by side at the airport but I got delayed and missed the connection so arrived a day behind everyone else.
I did a charity walk across Ireland two years ago for the Marie Keating Foundation. The walk was 420 miles and we stopped at the nearest hotel every evening – they turned out to be some of the worst hotels I've ever known. One had no lobby; there was blue tarpaulin covering the floor and my room was like a cell. The door was too small to get my bag through.
Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, for the location and the décor – there's a fireplace and big sofas in the lobby and the rooms are just beautiful. I go to the K Club in Ireland with my family quite regularly, and Gleneagles is great, too. I'm a big fan of the Hotels du Vin, particularly the ones in Bath, Bristol and Glasgow. They've got great wine lists.
The Pacific Coast Highway up to San Francisco is one of the best roads in the world. When I can, I rent a Harley-Davidson and take a ride up it and it's wonderful. Over in County Clare there's a place called Doonbeg and the walk along the coast there is just magic.
Best meal abroad?
I love Nobu; there's one in Melbourne that I ate in recently, and I went to a wonderful Hakkasan in Abu Dhabi. I also love a good steak and a bottle of red wine, and Marco Pierre White's restaurant in Dublin is great for that.
I want to take a motorcycle across America and go sailing somewhere, spending some time going from place to place. I've been lucky enough to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and I'm going to the North Pole soon, so one thing I would love to achieve one day is climbing Mount Everest.
New York – I have a lot of friends there and I like to walk the streets and hang out there. It's somewhere I like to go and wind down.
I'm touring around the UK and then going to Sydney for my solo work. I'm looking forward to eating in the great restaurants there.
Ronan Keating releases a new album with Burt Bacharach, When Ronan Met Burt, on 21 March
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