If Artist Residence is not on your hotel travel list, it should be. The small boutique hotel brand – which now has locations in London, Brighton, Oxfordshire, Penzance & Bristol – is founded by young hotelier couple, Justin and Charlie, ones to watch and ones influencing the boutique hotel industry.
They found themselves in the hotel business after Justin’s mother had acquired an old guesthouse in Regency Square in Brighton. But before she had time to do it up, she was severely injured in a car accident. At 20, Justin stepped in and took over the business, bringing, then girlfriend Charlie along for the ride too. The place needed a total refurb but the pair didn’t have the money so instead, posted an ad on Gumtree calling artists to offer their services in exchange for board and lodging. And so Artist Residence was born. Their hotels are now galleries for a diverse range of urban, graphic and street artists including Tammy Mackay, Dan Hillier, Pure Evil, Dan Baldwin and the Connor Brothers.
Now with a 2 year old in tow, Charlie delves into her suitcase psyche.
What is the first trip you remember taking?
Going to Disneyland when I was 3 and being totally in awe of Mickey Mouse and wanting to go on the Dumbo ride over and over… and over again! Oh, and massively developing a fear of sharks (everything is so super-sized when you are little!)
Which holidays have been your favourite to date and why?
I love holidays where there is a variety – when you can relax on the beach and explore is the best! One of my favourite holidays was for my 18th birthday. My dad took my sister and I on safari to Tanzania. It was really off the beaten track and the lodge was run by a really friendly couple – everything was super rustic and so beautiful. Each day was different, from sleeping under the stars under a mosquito net by the river, an early boat ride with all the hippos (although looking back can’t believe we did this!), walking for hours on end, visiting the hot springs and watching a stampede along the damn. All topped off by a trip to Zanzibar for beach and exploring in Stonetown.
Where or what is your escape?
The sun! It just instantly makes me feel revived and happy.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your travels?
Check the weather forecast and pack properly, making sure you have everything you need. Also researching the best places to eat, visit and things to do beforehand.
What’s your idea of a luxury holiday?
Design that is inspiring, service that makes you feel good, attention to detail… and a great spa always helps!
Where do you get your holiday inspiration?
Recommendations from friends, Mr & Mrs Smith is always a really reliable source, Citizen Femme is my new favourite go to… and Instagram.
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
I find Nick Jones super interesting and have so much admiration for what he has achieved. I watched Bohemian Rhapsody on the plane recently so my other choice would be Freddie Mercury – and I think Rami Malek is amazing!
How do you recover from jet lag?
Sleeping as soon as I get on a plane and having a power nap when I arrive.
Your flight’s delayed an hour and your phone’s out of battery. How do you pass the time?
Reading my kindle – or if I am travelling with my son then he always keeps me on my feet!
Qatar without a doubt!
What’s on your travel playlist?
I am more into audio books… am just finishing ‘The Power of Habit’ which is super interesting.
Where next? Why?
We are craving to go back to The Peligoni Beach Club in Greece – it’s really family friendly and I love their barefoot luxury vibe and being able to windsurf and play tennis all day. It’s perfect if you have children too.
What are your must-have travel picks?
For me having enough sleep is one of the most important things, so my eye mask from Asceno, to lavender oil, comfy tracksuit bottoms, ear plugs and lightweight clothes!
For hot countries, nothing beats a dress from Realisation Par as they are super light weight to pack, don’t tend to crease and are great for day and night.
First thing that comes to your mind?
Phone and hand cream.
Packing: roll or fold?
Can I say both?
Inflight book or inflight film?
50/50 – Depends what mood I am in.
Time killer on a long-haul flight?
A film and sleeping.
Holiday tipple of choice?
Local cider – and in hot countries a Pina Colada (yup I know!)
Bucket list top destination?
Best shopping gem found abroad?
A canvas that we bought off the street for £50 in New York that we got framed and is now in one of our bigger sea view rooms in Brighton. It’s of a white horse and think there is something so mystical about it.
Beach or City?
Currently the beach – so much more relaxing with a toddler!
Ultimate holiday treat?
Going to the spa.
For more Suitcase Series interviews, click here