1) Who Are you?
I’m Keith Jenkins, the Founder & Publisher of the Velvet Escape luxury travel blog. In 2008, I left a ten-year investment banking career to travel the world. During my travels, the financial sector collapsed. Unable to find a job in banking after returning from my round-the-world trip, I started blogging about my travels. It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!
2) What do you like about what you do?
I get to travel the world and work according to my own terms.
3) What don’t you like about what you do?
As the owner of the company, I oversee all aspects of the day-to-day operations and of these, financial administration has never been one of my strongest points.
4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.
I started the Velvet Escape blog in December 2008 and since then, I’ve won various awards and the blog has been featured by the likes of Lonely Planet, National Geographic, CNN, BBC Travel and the New York Times. In a nutshell, Velvet Escape is about getting out and exploring the world in style, and being inspired by our travel experiences. I cover destination tips, gastronomy and hotels, as well as culture, architecture and nature. My aim is to inspire people to travel and learn from immersive experiences.
5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
- Experiencing the incredible nature of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador.
- Any of my food experiences in Costa Brava (Catalonia, Spain) or in Emilia-Romagna (Italy).
- A helicopter tour of Cape Town. The views of the city, Table Mountain and the coast were simply phenomenal.
6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
- Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita – an incredible resort with stunning villas! See: http://velvetescape.com/four-seasons-mauritius-anahita/
- Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur – some of the best views of the Petronas Twin Towers! See: http://velvetescape.com/grand-hyatt-kl-review/
- Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador – amazing design lodge nesteled in the cloud forests of Ecuador. See: http://velvetescape.com/mashpi-cloud-forest/
7) Your top 3 most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?
- Moscato di Scanzo meditation wine in Lombardy, Italy – this wine is simply exquisite and is guaranteed to make you dream away! See: http://velvetescape.com/moscato-di-scanzo/
- l Celler de Can Roca – one of the top-3 restaurants in the world every year, a meal here is a feast for the senses! See: http://velvetescape.com/heaven-el-celler-de-can-roca/
- Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid – one of my favourite markets in the world, I could spend all day here just eating and drinking my way around! See: http://velvetescape.com/mercado-san-miguel/
8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?
Whoa, this is a tough question. I can only think of two I’m afraid.
The absolute worst accommodation experience I’ve ever had was in a hotel in Rotterdam (which closed down some time ago so there’s no point mentioning it here). The room was dirty, dusty and swarming with mosquitoes. I was booked there for one night but left after an hour when they couldn’t give me another room! That’s the only time I’ve ever left a hotel prematurely.
When it comes to food experiences, I’ll never forget that ‘cardboard’ burger I had at the airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I was so hungry but even then, I threw it away after a few bites. It was just too gross to eat.
9) Can you offer the readers 3 destination/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?
- Visit the Food Hallen in the Kinkerbuurt for some gorgeous food/wines
- Have a drink at the SkyLounge at sunset
- If you love architecture, stroll around the Rivierenbuurt/Oud Zuid neighbourhoods to admire the ‘Amsterdam School’ architectural style, a unique brand of Art Deco.
10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?
Which 3 cities would you definitely return to again and why?
They would be Montréal, Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro.
- Montréal – from Old Montréal with its gorgeous historic buildings to the city’s striking architecture and arts/design scene, fab restaurants and lovely parks, this city has tonnes to offer. Most of all, I love the energy in this city, a unique brand of joie de vivre that never let’s you go once it has you in its grip!
- Rio de Janeiro – the home of samba, Copacabana, Ipanema, the Sugarloaf Mountain and the Christ Statue, Rio is exotic, breathtaking, vibrant and laid-back all at once. There’s just something magnetic about this city!
- Cape Town – another stunning harbour-side city which I can’t get enough of! The views from the top of Table Mountain are bewildering, as is the drive around the Cape Peninsula. Cape Town is a lively hodge-podge of markets, historic buildings, colourful neighbourhoods like Bo Kaap and terrific restaurants and cafés.
Thank you Keith for helping me out with this interview. Especially now I’ve completed number 50, half a century in cricket terms.
Please go on with your blog as you are a super blogger and example for many. I love Velvet Escape and admire the fact that you are one of the happy few who are able to live from blogging.
I’ve used this opportunity to change this blog’s header photo from a surfer in a storm in Scheveningen into a sculpture in Pesaro in the Marche in Italy as you fell in love with Emilia Romagna and I with the adjacent Marche region in Italy.