Irene Forte, daughter of hotel mogul Sir Rocco Forte, spends her days and nights in hotels, planes, and airports. As a key player in her dad's hotel empire, Forte oversees all the training and development programs, as well as the spa and fitness programs, for dad's 11 hotels around the globe, like the Hotel Savoy in Florence and the Hotel de Rome in Berlin. As an avid health and beauty fanatic, Forte has been the mastermind behind the brand's new, cutting-edge holistic wellness programs. In between summering in Greece and her upcoming trip to St. Petersburg, the Brit stunner shared the in's and out's of travel, including what beauty products to steal off the plane and who makes for the worst airplane seat mate.
Where are you headed this summer? I’ve spent a lot of time in Greece this summer. The vibe is relaxed and fun; the sea is beautiful; and the food is exceptional. There are so many delicious, charming and authentic restaurants like Kiki’s and Spilia in Mykonos – my favorites! I really enjoyed going around the Aegean islands – so charmingly remote and such beautiful water. I am heading to St Petersburg to our hotel there, Hotel Astoria, in a couple of weeks. I haven’t visited St Petersburg in a long time and I love the city, full of wonderful architecture and beautiful palaces.
What are three places on your travel bucket list? On my bucket list is Bhutan, where I am hoping to go on my next big trip, hopefully next year. I would also love to visit Japan during flower blossoming season as it’s meant to be beautiful.
Favorite airport lounge or restaurant? I don’t tend spend that much time in airport lounges- although the Heathrow Terminal 5 Concorde room is quite impressive! As per airport restaurants, I usually just go to Pret A Manger for my staple food as I can grab it and go!
Best or worst person you have ever been seated next to on a plane? Definitely people that eat things like McDonald's or Burger King that they’ve brought on the plane with them.
Best freebie you've stolen off a plane? I love stealing all the mini samples of face and hand creams on long-haul flights. They’re very useful given that I often do short work trips and travel with hand luggage a lot.
What’s the greatest travel advice you have ever received? My father has had to travel so much for work – he tends to stick to one airline and they know him as a valued customer, therefore receiving great service; I've started to do the same. I have adopted a great piece of advice from my aunt, [Rocco Forte Hotels co-founder] Olga Polizzi. She never travels without a cashmere shawl – as it always gets cold at some point during a journey and it's great to rest on if you want to nap.
Airline with the best or worst food? I tend to stick to my Pret that I picked up before the flight!
Go-to travel outfit? If it’s for leisure, I love traveling in Back Label lounge wear. Back Label uses 100 percent organic materials for their clothing, so they feel amazingly nourishing. They use ingredients such as: milk protein, seaweed cellulose, organic cottons & fleece and eucalyptus. Everything they do is just really simple and elegant, and incredibly comfortable which is perfect for traveling.
Name five essential pieces of clothing/accessories that are always in your suitcase: Newton Running Shoes - I don't go anywhere without my Newton Running Shoes. I think they are the best trainer on the market at the moment for sports. They're always in my handbag or suitcase. Back Label sports gear - as I always try and squeeze in gym sessions wherever I am. I never travel without a pair of high heels – I always bring my Stuart Weitzman wedges during the summer, and a pair of platforms during winter. And then the rest totally depends on my reason for travel.
Name something that always saves you when you are traveling... Gaylia Kristensen anti-aging Cream (for the day). This Australian brand is truly amazing. It took Gaylia six years to create this one cream. Unlike a lot of brands on the market that include modern technologies, Gaylia’s products are the only ones (that I know of) to have successfully pioneered naturally derived technologies rather than synthetic. All the Forte Organics products are rich in organic, natural, as well as active, Sicilian ingredients. The base of the creams is an oligomineral water, magnesium sulphate-rich, from the Sicilian Madonie Regional Natural Park, as well as the organic olive oil that we produce at Verdura Resort in Sicily. This night cream smells delicious and it's extremely nourishing and hydrating.
What's a big packing mistake to avoid? Panic packing! It inevitably leads to a very heavy suitcase and all the wrong clothes. Always look at the weather forecast and your itinerary to plan as much as possible.
Most luxurious hotel bathroom you've ever seen? The bathroom at the Kipling Suite in Brown’s Hotel, London, is absolutely beautiful! It’s finished in Arabescato white veined marble, with a huge free standing bath and a big double shower. There are two lovely wicker chairs by the large French windows, so you can sit and watch the world go by after a relaxing bath.
Best hotel spa treatment in the world?
I don't travel very often to non-Rocco Forte Hotels anymore. However, I really like paying a visit to Lime Wood in the United Kingdom now and again, which has a wonderful spa.
Favorite off-season destination? I love going to Verdura, our resort in Sicily. It’s wonderful because there is so much to experience there. Either you can completely relax and enjoy the spa and delicious restaurants, or you can choose from one of huge array of activities available like tennis, golf, cooking lessons, wine tasting just to name a few. Personally, I love going for a long hike on one of the routes outside the resort – you can explore the antique ruins of the surrounding areas whilst exercising and experiencing some of the most amazing views.
Best souvenir you have ever picked up on a trip? When I am in Brussels, at Hotel Amigo, when you arrive they have the most delicious biscuits from Maison Dandoy – the world renowned biscuit makers just over the street from the hotel. I always bring these back home. In Edinburgh, we have the brilliant Scotch bar at The Balmoral. If I’m in need of a gift for a male friend, I will go and chat to the Whisky Ambassadors in the bar and they’ll recommend me a bottle of something great to bring back.
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