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Interview with Grant Thatcher, Publisher and Founder of LUXE City Guides

Grant ThatcherFormerly an actor with the RSC, Grant Thatcher began the series of LUXE City Guides back in 2002. There are now more than 30 guides, including the best of the best from 20 in-the-know residents in each location. What is it that  you do exactly?
I’m Editor in Chief which encompasses everything from designing the covers and handmade box sets, to overseeing our blog LUXEtasy.com, and our new LUXE City Guides Mobile apps which span seven different handset brands including iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia and 34 models. It’s no wonder my hair is grey!
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
When you consider that so many people in the world today don’t get to travel at all, the fact that I do it for a living is a great luxury. We’re the only city guide series in the world that sends staff editors to the city we’re researching to work hand in glove with our city resident editors, checking and refining the draft until we have the perfect LUXE mix, so even though research tends to be really expensive and grueling (14-16 hour days are the norm) we do at least get to see a horde of things that most visitors would never experience. Add to that our fascination with shopping, artisanal, bespoke and custom-made goods and at least we get to window shop while we work!
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
Tricky! Because of my job I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in some pretty amazing places around the world and the very best of them are special not because they are expensive or exclusive (quite often the contrary) but because they have that essential ‘It’ factor which may be personality, service, location or quirk. Im not remotely interested in gold taps and Rolls Royces, but seeing as this is a blog devoted to luxury, then my choices would be Villa Feltrinelli, The Connaught, and the Tirta Enning suite at CSE Estate in Bali – but I had a fab time campervanning around New Zealand not so long ago (if you don’t count the chemical loo…!)
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
I loved the rustic, super-simple, eat with your fingers Indonesian food at Waroeng Tugu in Bali. It’s tiny and very basic, you sit at heavy wooden trestles, in an open-sided, traditionally-styled kitchen, the chef decides what he will cook and you will eat – it’s delicious, quiet, romantic and far from the madding crowds.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
My lips are sealed. When I travel for LUXE I always like to stay under the radar as you get to observe better, and for the most part I think the truly rich and famous are the same. I imagine being really famous must be a royal pain in the butt – incognito is the new luxury.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wishlist?
Syria. Im a nut for archaeology and am longing to visit Palmyra, and get down to some serious souk retail therapy in downtown Damascus.
Thank you, Grant.  I wasn’t familiar with Palmyra but Googled it and it does indeed look amazing.  Good luck in getting there. If you would like to be interviewed on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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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  1. Luxury is cost related. Grant Thatcher’s answers show that great travel is not related to monetary cost. As he says he is “not remotely interested in gold taps and Rolls Royces,”. He was kind enough to go on to quote three costly places to stay, but it is clear that he prefers more basic accommodation. His guides are not exclusively luxury related and will cover small bistros and B&B’s.

  2. The piece about eating with your hands reminded me of a recent dinner at Opaque (not affiliated) Its dining in pitch darkness which is an amazing experience by itself.

    Also, I don’t fully agree with the previous commentor in that luxury is not always about money. Sometimes the experience is itself the luxury and it may not even cost any money.

    I also took a campervan across New Zealand and being able to wake up on a beach, have my coffee in hand and view an amazing sunrise without anyone around was an experience I’ve never come close to even in amazing beach resorts.

  3. i love the LUXE guides they are a handy pocket sized guides that give you the inside track, well worth getting, next time i’m going to try one of their mobile apps.

  4. Just want to say loved you in midsomer murders and lovejoy, I have been trying for ages to get copies, wish you were still acting but good luck with your job now.

    Take care
    Lori x

  5. Just viewed the Poirot thing and started looking for more of Thatcher’s work. Discovered here he’s responsible for my very favorite City Guides!

    Would give a lot for him to be back on screen.

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