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Interview with Tahnya Butterfield of Style Clinic

Tahnya ButterfieldTahnya Butterfield is ‘Head Honcho’ for Style Clinic by Astin Brown Inc., having previously worked in the hotel industry, human resources and organisational development consulting. She is a relentless collector of successful talent who immerse themselves in generating dynamite bespoke luxury shopping tours, style guides and precision personalised itineraries. What is it that  you do exactly?
My days are surrounded by laughter, good music and by about 4pm the urge for an equally good glass of wine.   Some of my time is spent trailing intrepid stylists and shoppers around the world – email and Skype keeps me on their shopping and lifestyle heels to find the best places for shopping and culture devotees to shop, curl up and be indulged. I enjoy pouring over the generosity of luxury travel and fashion writers to help unearth treasures for our itineraries. I feed my market information to the gorgeous Wendy Tomlins who develops and hots up our group and personalized itineraries. Teasing and introducing the travel trade and those who search for the best in bespoke travel planning is my job too.   I dedicate time for Blue Sky planning and keep up the daily actions to expand and grow the business.   I also look for opportunities to develop and facilitate style clinics to help support the campaign “Stopping Violence Against Women, In Pakistan”.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love discovering new, known and unknown places to shop, eat and be spoilt. My radar is always on.   I enjoy hearing people compliment what we do, receiving unsolicited feedback  that we have created an experience that they never though about before. Knowing that the experience we dream up then go on to create will be logged in someone’s memory and every photograph taken or note written will be a trigger and story that will be shared and revisited.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
1. The Four Seasons Sydney with full frontal penthouse view of The Harbour Bridge and Opera House on New Years Eve is like cracking magic. 2. I rarely revisit resorts and normally steer clear of   destination resorts. I am definitely a switcher but I have done two repeat 4 Night stays in 2006 with my beautiful family at JW Marriott Resort, Phuket, Thailand. The rooms are gloriously large, spotlessly clean and maintained like no other given that it gets plenty of family traffic. The Children’s Club is organized with loads of well planned activities for all age groups. The restaurants are sumptuous and score above average. We particularly like the sense of space, you never get the feeling of full occupancy. This resort makes place for families, gen X ,Y and boomers. There is the dreamy SPA and it  offers one of the best cocktail lists I have seen in a long while. 3. The Presidential Suite – the Maya Ubud Spa and Resort, Ubud Bali – magnificent. A sumptuous bungalow, an over-the-top sized pool and staff who spoil you. If only all that was my home!
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
I would say dining alone in QANTAS first class – like a star studded celebrity sipping bubbles by the bottle.   Never has a twelve hour flight passed so quickly! More recently the most overlooked experience was drowning a glass of red wine without realising that at $26US it was the cost of a good bottle of Chianti. Somewhere posh in Boston my sister took me.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
The US President Bill Clinton sat next to my table at the celeb-frequented Manta Ray, Cowpers Wharf, Woolloomooloo when he was last in Sydney. I did notice that he didn’t bring attention to himself with his small security entourage, he has a great contagious laugh, would not be described as tall and appears to be a fan of plaid shirts and chino’s aka middle American’s fixation with Ralph Lauren’s uniform. I was in Chicago – looking for the freeway exit to the airport, running late as usual and trying to find out where to return my hire car. In front of me was a yellow Ferrari slowing the pace of the building traffic. People were hanging out of their car windows trying to get an autograph, waving and horning – for who, I wondered. As the traffic slowed Michael Jordan reached out to passing cars with his autograph, and all the while I stuck behind him, with no escape! Martha Stewart. Up close and personal at a Barnes and Noble book signing for her latest Homekeeping Handbook and more recently at Art Basel Miami Beach viewing a wealth of contemporary art.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wishlist?
I would like to learn how to pack just one pair of shoes. And learn how to say ‘no’ to buying more because, even though every country and every city have shoe ‘must have’s’ they can be a curse when you are trying to jam other shopping in the suitcase. Every flight I look down the gangway of the passengers coming toward me. I sit fingers crossed hoping that someone with lingering body odour, excess gas, cold or cough is not sitting next to me. I wish for passenger screening for these pariahs. I want to click my fingers and just be there! I want the above, and to stay with my family and friends at  Bali Villa Sungai   or a villa from the collection, then sneak off for a few days with my husband to the new Bulgari Hotel Bali sitting on the hilltop of Uttawata.
Thanks, Tahnya. And may all your future flights be free of smelly fellow passengers!

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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