Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh
Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh

Louis Walsh on Iceland, American airports, and his life in travel

'I might boycott America if Trump becomes president'

Nick Boulos
Monday 21 March 2016 11:09

I was brought up in the countryside but I'm a city boy at heart.

I still love exploring rural Ireland but it's places like Venice, Amsterdam, Paris and Stockholm that I love most. I don't like long flights so I prefer to do shorter city breaks in Europe.

Childhood holidays were always spent close to home.

I'm from a small village in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, and one of nine . So, we didn't have much money growing up. That meant going on holiday to Aunt Evelyn who lived in Dublin. We caught the train and I remember arriving there for the first time and being blown away. It felt like the biggest place in the world.

Sharon Osbourne got me drunk in LA.

We went to the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel, where she's always holding court. She tells the best stories and we both got so stupidly drunk that we were asked to leave.

Avoid South Beach in Miami.

It's so noisy and a bit tacky, if you ask me. I have a place in Miami and go all the time, several times a year. I love just walking around. My advice for first timers? Go to Surfside instead, it's much nicer.

Bermuda is beautiful.

I went there a few years ago to film Judges' Houses for The X Factor and had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be the most charming island. I was a bit apprehensive about the Bermuda Triangle but it was all fine. When we weren't filming, I took long walks along the pink sand beaches and rode a Jet Ski.

Flying used to be fun, but not any more.

It's such an ordeal: queuing for everything, being interrogated at passport control and waiting ages for your luggage, but Dublin airport offers a fantastic VIP experience, called Platinum Services, that I always use. They check you in, take you to a special lounge for a cup of tea and then drive you straight to the plane. You don't even set foot in the terminal.

America has the worst airports in the world.

It's supposed to be a modern and forward-thinking nation but their airports are third world and the immigration officers make you feel so unwelcome. I'm actually thinking about boycotting America if Donald Trump becomes president.

I always enjoy Los Angeles.

The weather is great and people-watching doesn't get much better – I remember bumping into Colin Farrell once – but I couldn't live there. I first went in my 30s when I had to meet some music producers. I didn't know what to make of it. It was a lot flatter than I expected. The London is my favourite hotel. It's right off Sunset Boulevard and it's got a great rooftop pool.

Fall for Iceland: Louis hopes to visit this year

Lake Como was a wash-out.

It rained the whole time, but I still got a sense of its extraordinary beauty. I know I'll return there one day and see it at its best.

I have reservations about Madrid.

The whole bullfighting culture puts me off visiting. I just don't understand why anyone would watch something like that. It's horrible.

London never lets me down.

I've been going for 30 years and I never get bored. I have a house there but prefer to stay in hotels. The Kensington is my favourite, it's small and homely with great staff and excellent room service. I always have room 110. It's a beautiful suite with a four-poster bed.

I'm desperate to go to Iceland.

It seems that everyone is going at the moment and I've heard such great things, so it's definitely on the agenda for this year. I've heard the 101 Hotel is the place to stay.

Former X Factor judge Louis Walsh will appear on ITV's new celebrity motoring challenge show, Drive, in April

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