Simon Pardoe is a director and co-owner of The Healthy Holiday Company, which owns three luxury healthy holiday brands: fitscape, destination yoga and in:spa. Established in 2003, the company is now the UK’s leading provider of healthy holidays with a selection of large private villas and boutique hotels in Italy, Spain, Morocco, France, Greece and India.
What is it that you do exactly?
One of the reasons why I love our business so much is that it involves me in so many different ways, so there’s really no such thing as a typical day. However, my primary role is to develop and expand the business. I look after the negotiation and contracting, so I travel a fair bit. In the office, most days there’s some requirement for discussions with partners or agents; meeting with new or existing members of our team of yoga teachers, chefs, fitness trainers or nutritionists; discussing or planning promotions or marketing initiatives; talking with our staff about ideas for running the business better or making the holiday experience for our guests even more exceptional.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Providing the environment and the expertise for our guests to return from their holidays looking and feeling amazing. It’s fabulous that so many of them write or call us to say what an incredible time they had and how much they’re looking forward to booking their next trip.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
For both summer adventures and winter skiing in the mountains, I would always choose Hotel Rosa Alpina in the Italian Dolomites. It’s a charming family run 40 bedroom Relais & Chateaux hotel with exquisite service, wonderful food and a superb spa. The hiking in the summer is incredible and the 740 miles of piste in the winter makes it an ideal base for a ski trip.
My favourite place in Africa is Tongabezi, an exceptional lodge on the banks of the Zambezi. I first visited Tonabezi 20 years ago and it has slowly evolved to become a truly fabulous 16 bedroom suite lodge with awesome river views. It is on a par with anything anywhere in the world, but for Zambia it’s astonishing. My favourite times to visit are April and October.
For a romantic getaway, you can’t beat Turtle Island in the Yasawas, Fiji. It’s a private island with 14 guest cottages (called bures) and 14 different beaches, pristine azur seas surround it and it feels delightfully remote, yet fabulously luxurious. A Robinson Crusoe environment with first class accommodation and fine dining. It’s where The Blue Lagoon was filmed.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
A tough question! Probably discovering Gordon Ramsay at his first London restaurant in Chelsea in the early 90s before he became famous and his prices became exorbitant. Most memorable was the starter of green bean cappuccino with truffle oil served in a coffee cup.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
We have a lot of celebrities and high profile guests on our holidays but, as you would expect, I am not prepared to divulge any secrets!
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I would love to explore the coastline of Croatia on a yacht with my family. Hopefully next summer!
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Simon. Sadly I have never been, but I’ve heard lots of good things about Turtle Island.