10 Questions For (1): Jennifer Knoepfle of Better Living through Travel

I would like to introduce a new 10 Questions for: category as a sort of variant of “My Interview with”, because:

  1. I’m always insatiable curious who is behind a certain blog or website. Their “About” page or category is one of the first I use to hit
  2. It is an excellent tool for community building in the Travel Bloggers scene (Don’t forget to visit the newly started Nerd’s Eye View Travel Blogger Forum | A New Travel Community. It has over 70 members by now! [Ed: It has since the post date replaced by the Ning Based TBex or Travel Blog eXchange)
  3. It is an excellent way of introducing new Travel related Bloggers on the block to my readers.

The questions are more or less modeled after my first (and thus far only) interview by Paul Johnson who was among the fellow Travel Bloggers who inspired me to go on with what I did here at Happy Hotelier. If you’re interested scroll down on my About page. The questions also cover more or less the main areas of focus of Happy Hotelier.

Thus far I have sent out only a handful of invitations, and the response was overwhelming. So the start is promising.

Here is the first edition:A new Blogger on the block who concentrates on sharing hotel and dinner tips

Jennifer Knoepfle

10 Questions for: Jennifer Knoepfle of Better Living through Travel

1) Who Are you?
My name is Jennifer Knoepfle, I am 31 and I live in Los Angeles, CA. Although I was born In Houston, TX, I have lived in California since I was ten and very much consider myself a Californian, much to my Mother’s chagrin. By day (and most nights) I work in the music business as the Director of Membership for a non-profit organization called ASCAP. I’m no travel writer by profession but certainly a loyal enthusiast, considering travel to be my most dedicated hobby.

2) What do you like about what you do?
Not surprisingly, the number one thing I love about what I do is the traveling. My job requires me to travel on a monthly basis so I am able to incorporate my passion into my everyday life.

3) What don’t You like about what you do?
I am really lucky, there really isn’t anything I don’t like about my job.

4) You’re a Blogger at Better Living through Travel, please tell us all about the blog and your aims with it.
I decided to start Better Living through Travel as a way of sharing my experiences with my friends and family. As they knew I dedicated a large portion of my life to seeking out the best hotels in any given place, they would come to me for advice and suggestions. The blog was a way for me to organize all my experiences in a way that could be accessed by other people. Lo and behold, once I started the blog, I quickly discovered that there were many people out there (not just my friends) that found my suggestions useful. I hope to use the blog as a way to share experiences and hopefully help people discover a hotel that might be really special to them. In my humble opinion, the cornerstone of any great vacation is a suburb hotel.

5) What are the 3 best destinations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
1. El Calafate, Argentina:
El Calafate is home to some of the most spectacular glaciers in the world. I am so thrilled that I was able to see them in person, as they are disappearing and someday may no longer exist.

2. Gordes in Provence, France:
I spent two weeks driving around Provence last year and it was a incredibly memorable experience. The south of France has such an amazing feel, so different than the rest of the country. The people are great, the landscape is beautiful and the food is delicious.

3.Chianti, Italy:
Any place that you can start drinking wine at mid-day is okay in my book. I loved Tuscany for several reasons, but the biggest attraction for me is the Italian obsession with the preparation of great food! I’ve never eaten as well as I did in those two weeks. In fact, there are even dishes from that trip that I still crave all the time.

6) What are the 3 best accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?
1. The Home Hotel – Buenos Aires, Argentina:
I just did a post about why I love this place so much. Instead of boring you with the answer twice, you can read about it here: Home is Where My Heart is

2. The Hotel Healdsburg- Healdsburg, CA:
This hotel just has a really great vibe. The rooms are ridiculously comfortable, the beds are like marshmallows and the soaking tubs are enormous. The set-up and the decor is really inviting and relaxing and all the rooms are suites, so you really get great value for the price.

3. Borgo Argenina -Chianti, Italy:
Staying at Borgo Argenina is about as close as you can get to experiencing Tuscany in the same way as the locals do. The Innkeeper is a former fashion designer from Milan who restored an old Tuscan farmhouse into a beautiful Inn. The decor is very much in tune with the region and it feels like as if you were staying in a home rather than a hotel. The owner was more than happy to give us great suggestions on places to see and restaurants to eat. She was a great guide and I am certain my trip was a success largely due to her suggestions.

7) What are your 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?
1. The Pappa e Pomodoro at Malbhorgetta in Chianti:
Quite simply, the best tomato soup I have ever had. I must have eaten it five times on my trip. You see, when I like something, I can be rather habitual about eating it.

2. The Rib Eye Steak at La Cabrera Norte in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
Argentina is a place for steak and this is among some of the finest, maybe even the best, I’ve ever had.

3. The Lentils w/ Sausage at Pura Vida in El Calafate, Argentina:
It’s been two years and I still think about this dish all the time. I’ve tried to make it at home but have never been able to duplicate this special combination of flavors. Pura Vida is a wonderful little hole where they specialize in soups and stews. It is also one of the few places that offers a great variety of vegetarian options.

8) What are your 3 worst destination/accommodation/food experiences to date and why?
Worst Accommodation:
Ojai Retreat in Ojai, California. I had never been to Ojai before and the retreat was recommended to me. It would probably be great for some people (yoga enthusiasts or people who loved absolute seclusion) but for me, it was the seclusion that scared the crap out of me. The house is isolated at the top of a hill, very dark with hardly anyone around. Also, there were giant spiders crawling everywhere!

Worst Destination:
Cancun, Mexico is like vacationing in the worst parts of Middle America. The city has become a total tourist trap and the majority of the restaurants are chains like Tony Romas, Chilis and Pizza Hut. It was very disappointing.

Worst dining Experience:
The First Class cabin of Continental Airlines. I was on a ten hour flight to Europe and I somehow managed to get the upgrade. I know it is airline food, but I thought that the food in First Class might actually taste good. I was soooo wrong, I guess airline food is just disgusting no matter what class you are in.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 tips about the city you are currently living in?
1. Rent a hybrid from Fox rentals if you come here. You will drive A LOT.
2. Take an architectural tour when you are here. Los Angeles is home to many fantastic buildings that are worth seeing.
3. In the summer, see a concert at The Hollywood Bowl. In the winter, see a concert at The Disney Concert Hall.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?
Nope..these were great!

Great answers Jennifer. Thanks a lot and good luck with your blog! I love what I have seen from it. Promise me not to abandon it!

Interesting you mention the Home Hotel. I mentioned it earlier and it got mentioned recently in the New Cool Hotel Rooms book of The Cool Hunter. I made a note to self to check it out whenever my travels will bring me to BA.

Finally on a personal note: You would be a great Agent at Vibe Agent ­čÖé (and no I don’t get paid whatever to plug them).

Last edited by GJE on May 5, 2010 at 10:16 pm

4 thoughts on “10 Questions For (1): Jennifer Knoepfle of Better Living through Travel”

  1. Thank you so much for the mention…this is very exciting. I will make you a solemn promise to never abandon my blog. Take care..

  2. It’s far from being a ‘new’ hotel as Cool Hunting might claim, but I have to agree with you that Home Hotel is also one of my favorites. I co-wrote Lonely Planet’s ‘Buenos Aires Encounter’ guidebook with my husband, and Buenos Aires is about to become our second home.

    Great interview!

  3. After reading what you said about The Ojai Retreat I was shocked. I have never heard such a bad review of the place. I don’t know when this interview was posted but just over the last couple of years the entire Retreat was completely renovated. All the rooms are brand new now. The grounds are beautifully landscaped, there is even a lovely fountain. Because it’s on top of a hill there are beautiful 360 views of the Ojai Valley. I’ve never had any problems seeing at night because there are plenty of garden lights and sensor lights around. Although the Retreat is not for everybody (it is a Retreat and not a city hotel with all the amenities) it radiates natural beauty and tranquility.

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