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Interview with Lorne Blythe, Owner of Flavours Holidays

Lorne Blythe born in Edinburgh now divides her time between Italy and Edinburgh. She is the owner of Flavours Holidays which organises getaways for people who want a cooking holiday, a painting vacation or a week practising Pilates in Italy. Flavours is a specialised niche market tour operator, and has been offering luxury holidays since 1998. It was formed primarily to offer guests luxury cooking and painting holidays in Italy. The aim was to set these up off the beaten track as they really wanted to impart the true flavour of Italy. Each destination offers a private villa with its own swimming pools and large kitchens boast some of the most stunning views in Italy. In addition they had a mission to cater for solo travellers and provide a convivial holiday experience without the dreaded single supplement. Lorne Blythe What is it that you do exactly?
Primarily I think it is to keep the Flavours brand growing and moving onwards and upwards. Every year we add new products and are always looking for exciting venues. In fact we have just added Venice to our list and in 2014, Amalfi will join our enticing choice of beautiful destinations. We began with cooking courses but have expanded to include Pilates and painting. People keep telling me I am in charge of the vision and yes, I do spend a lot of time travelling, sourcing and talking to local producers, catching up with group visits. I am always on the look-out for something different. I might also be checking up on new chef recipes to ensure they are typical from the specific region. They must also be suitable for guests to cook themselves at home. Sometimes it is simply looking through itineraries and establishing new venues. It’s a very satisfying job.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Honestly, it is seeing happy clients at the end of their holiday. Their satisfaction makes me happy in turn and it’s really thrilling to greet old faces from previous years. I think I am also proud of offering singles holidays. We cater for all kinds of solo travellers from those who are recently divorced, widowed or simply alone and wanting an alternative, I guess.
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
This was difficult. But staying at the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco just about defines luxury service and customer experience for me. It was a brilliant opportunity to pinch ideas from the States, Napa Valley and it was a fantastic food tourism inspiration for me. The Pezula Resort Hotel in South Africa was an absolute haven of peace and tranquillity. Nestled into the coastline of the Western Cape it was unforgettable. Basically its natural environment brought home to me just how important the surroundings can be for holidays and I think I have managed to bring some of that back with me. The last one on my list is Boathouses. I had to choose Scotland because it is in a league of its own. The Dipper Boathouse is at the end of a single track road and is 5 star and built for couples hanging enticingly over the loch. I was smitten and had the opportunity of being completely chilled; it was bliss.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
May I admit to it being my wedding lunch this year in a 21212 private room. It is a Michelin-starred restaurant in Edinburgh run by Paul Kitching and it is divine. The menu changes weekly but something like nugget of smoked salmon, mackerel, haddock and caviar, spinach, olives, cashews and mushrooms, fregola, curried cream really floats my boat.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
Flavours often goes to the Royal Academy’s London Summer exhibition and it’s always filled with people like Tracy Emin, Mariella Frostrup and the glitterati. I do my very best not to feel overwhelmed but secretly I enjoy sneaking a quick gawp from behind my programme notes.
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Lorne, and congratulations on your recent nuptials. Where did you go for your honeymoon? 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 Telegraph.

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