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Suitcase Series: Pilar Munne in Barcelona

There is a place for everything, and that applies to your handbag too.

Practical solutions to daily life, that’s what we are always looking for, and a stylish place to hold your bag for the stylish traveller has now been introduced by Pilar Munne.

Varlet is a niche furniture design company based in Barcelona, that specialises in exquisitely designed products that offer the best solution to the nuisance of where to put a bag in a variety of spaces, from jewelry stores to hair salons and hospitality spaces.

“I had the idea to start Varlet in 2016 after observing people in restaurants struggling to find a convenient and safe place for their bags, many times having to put them on the floor or on their laps while eating… and so Varlet was born.”

What exactly is a varlet? Standing bag hangers that are placed next to the table in restaurants to hold guests’ bags so that they may eat more comfortably.

It is growing with success having just received an award for best accessory for hospitality by Hospitality Design Awards in New York and is already a staple in leading hotels and restaurants across Europe, before we expand into the USA next year.

What is the first trip you remember taking?

When I was 10 and my parents took me to Marrakech and we stayed at La Mamounia Palace Hotel. Although I was pretty young, the hotel made an impact on me. It all seemed very exciting, the hotel, the food, the people…

If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?

Architect and designer India Mahdavi. I am a fan of her work and I have read many of her interviews. She seems an interesting person to talk to, not just about design but also about culture and the world. I would definitely try to convince her to design a varlet for us.

How do you recover from jet lag?

When I arrive at the destination, I try to fit into the new time zone as quickly as possible. Also a lot of water and healthy food.

Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?

Wondering around the shops in the airport and probably buying way too many magazines. Also, I can just sit in a chair and amuse myself watching other people.

Biggest lesson from your travels?

We can live in different parts of the world and have different cultures and views on live and death but deep inside, we all care about the same issues.

Do you travel for food, leisure, culture or something else?

Definitely food plays a big role when planning a trip. But visiting well designed hospitality spaces is a must!

Favourite Hotel? Why?

Too difficult to choose. I am lucky enough to have experienced many luxury hotels all over the world thanks to my husband’s job. Let’s say that a memorable hotel was Devi Garh in India for its history and its surroundings.

But the most recent hotel that impressed me and that I felt at home at was At Six Hotel in Stockholm. They have everything I love in a hotel: organic amenities in the rooms, fabulous interior decor, fresh flowers, an art collection through out the hotel and chia pudding, overnight oats and green juice for breakfast! Also, they will soon have varlets in their restaurant so they have women travellers in mind!

Favourite airline?

Singapore airlines. Great service and food and the flight attendants wear the most beautiful uniforms.

What’s on your travel playlist?

Coldplay, Beyoncé, Green Day… and Latin American and Spanish music in general, it always puts me in a good mood. I mean who can be in a bad mood when listening to Despacito, right?

Although more than music I listen to podcasts. One of my favourites is How I Built This, its host Guy Raz is the best interviewer!

Where next?

Copenhagen with my husband and my daughters, where we will spend time together as a family. I will also take few hours a day visiting hotels and restaurants for Varlet. I am particularly looking forward to this trip because we have a dinner reservation at Noma, where I have wanted to eat for years!

What are your must-have travel picks?

I have this Furla set of three pouches in different sizes that I use every time I travel: I use one as a wallet, another one for all my cables, and the other one for on-flight essentials (tissues, hand cream, lip balm, pen…) The bigger one also doubles as a clutch, which is convenient when I travel.

First thing that comes to your mind?

Hand-luggage essential?

Hand cream, lip balm, phone, ipad, book, pen, notebook and a pashmina.

Packing: roll or fold?

Both, but mostly fold.

Time killer on a long-haul flight?

Movies, books, brainstorming on new products for hospitality, catching up on sleep.

On-flight tipple of choice?

No alcohol for me during flights. Too dehydrating.

Bucket list top destination?

Tokyo. I admire the aesthetics of Japanese design and I would love to get lost in the city meeting designers and browsing furniture stores. Also, eating Japanese food all day long sounds like a dream.

Best shopping gem found abroad?

I am not a big shopper when traveling, but I found this natural herbal throat spray in Whole Foods in Miami and it works so well! When I feel that I am getting a cold I use the spray several times a day and it goes away. I make sure to buy several of them every time I travel to the States.

Beach or City?

City always. I cannot lie on the beach for more than 2 hours, I get bored very quickly. I am an urban person. Having said that, I sometimes dream about a country house with an organic farm.

Ultimate hideaway?

Hotel Ananda in the Himalayas. Sunrise morning yoga sessions, Ayurvedic diet, meditation, therapeutic massages, Vedanta classes, trekking through the Himalayas… I cannot express in words how peaceful this place is and how relaxed you feel after a week there.

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Any Questions or Tips to add?