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Interview with Karen Gee, Managing Director of Journeys of Distinction

Karen Gee is Managing Director of Journeys of Distinction, a specialist tour operator selling luxury escorted tours from the UK to a wide range of destinations worldwide from New Zealand to Russia and from South America to India. The company offers a very high level of customer service and Karen regularly meets with customers to get their feedback including going undercover on a Journeys of Distinction holiday once a year. Every destination is carefully researched and every holiday is carefully planned using only the very best hotels to ensure the perfect experience. Karen has extensive experience in the travel and leisure industry having previously in escorted touring, package holidays, camping holidays, cruise, theme park and travel shopping channel sectors. What is it that you do exactly?
I’m Managing Director of Journeys of Distinction which means I get involved in lots of different things, from researching destinations and planning our next range of brochures to negotiating prices and reading customer feedback. No two days are the same!
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
People often think that the highlight of my job is the travel that I’m lucky enough to experience but actually what I most enjoy is hearing from customers about the fabulous Journeys of Distinction holidays they’ve just had. I tend to get a lot of correspondence from customers and I just love reading about their experiences and what made it special for them. In fact I quite often get invited to customers homes for tea and cake so I can hear more about their travels in a very relaxed, personal way.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
1. Wildflower Hall, Shimla, Indian Himalayas – Situated at 8,250 feet in the Indian Himalayas with breathtaking views, Wildflower Hall was Lord Kitchener’s private residence in the 1900’s and it’s my favourite hotel in the world. Grand and glamorous, plus they do a mean gin and tonic. 2. Skycity Grand, Auckland, New Zealand – Not for anyone with vertigo, this ultra contemporary hotel has a very modern and elegant approach to hotel design and decor. Not to be missed is Orbit, their highly acclaimed revolving restaurant in the revolving tower which, once you’ve got over the lift journey which takes you up 190 metres, the food and wine are great and the 360 views of the city make it particularly memorable part of the tours to New Zealand. 3. The Imperial, New Delhi – This stylish Art Deco hotel is simply the best hotel in Delhi to my mind and is minutes away from the restaurants and shopping of Connaught Place. There’s an all-cream colour scheme throughout the hotel and every room is slightly different so it makes your stay unique. The rooms have really comfortable beds, perfect thread count bedlinen and a delicious coconut lip balm in the bathroom. Sometimes it’s the little touches that make the difference.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
Enjoying a Himachal Thali dinner at Wildflower Hall in a private dining room lit only by two hundred candles and a roaring fire and being served by Udit, the perfect butler who can predict your needs before even you know you need it. With over twenty different delicious Indian dishes, the whole atmosphere was just wonderful and was an experience I will never forget.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
I’m the absolute soul of discretion and wouldn’t even dream of saying!
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
I’m looking forward to travelling through China next month and my wishlist for this trip is a Kindle and a plentiful supply of Jo Malone.
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Karen. We wish you well on your trip to China… but haven’t you kind of ‘let the cat out of the bag’ with regards to your next ‘undercover’ trip?! 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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