10 Questions For (14): Tamara Heber Percy of Mr & Mrs Smith

Happy to present to you Tamara Heber Percy of Mr & Mrs Smith, a wonderful collection of funky hotels.

tamara-heber-percy-and-son-tom-oct-08
Tamara Heber Percy and son Tom

1) Who are you?

I’m Tamara Heber Percy, founder and director of Mr & Mrs Smith, the boutique hotel specialists.

2) What do you like about what you do?

Apart from the travel which comes with the territory and you couldn’t do this job unless you loved travel I’d say the thing I love most about my job is the feedback we get from customers as they are constantly (and pleasantly) surprised with the experiences they have at hotels we recommend. I also love new stuff, so getting to know about new design, interiors and innovation in the hotel world.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?

The lack of time to do anything else: when you run your own business you work long hours. When you travel, there’s the jet lag, the whirlwind of meetings. I just wish there were more hours in each day.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.

The Smith Travel Blog started because we realized that we had a lot of great content and information that didn’t really fit into the main website. We have teams of staff who are travelling all the time, as well as our Smith Spies (our term for people who keep our info on each destination up to date), all having great experiences that we wanted to share with our customers. We are also in contact with some great people in the industry – from Michael Caines the Michelin-starred chef to Anouska Hempel who are happy to share their experiences with us. We felt it was time for us to introduce another voice to Smith, to open up what happens behind the scenes a bit more, and to engage customers with a more personal and responsive tone.

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

A road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas. The coastal road is just stunning. Also, I love Ibiza – it sounds corny but I was actually brought up there so the island has a very special place in my heart. You certainly don’t need to be a clubber to go there. I’m also a massive fan of the New York city break – I love the buzz of Manhattan life.

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

I spent my honeymoon at the Royal Malewane in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. It’s a boutique safari lodge with its own giraffe-frequented watering hole, mahogany four-posters and a Bush spa.

The penthouse suite at the Hotel on Rivington would be my next choice. Not only is it spectacular in itself with a rooftop Jacuzzi and all the luxury trimmings, but the views of New York are incredible.

Finally, I loved my recent holiday in Ibiza – two weeks in a stunning self-catering villa – we really pushed the boat out and felt like rock stars for a fortnight.


A stunning view from the Hotel on Rivington Penthouse Suite

7) Your top 3 most memorable food experiences to date and why?

Lunch at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons for my husband’s birthday.

Dinner at Gramercy Tavern in New York – it’s not new, funky or modern but always delivers great food and a fantastic atmosphere.

Coffee at Monmouth Coffee – without a doubt the best coffee in London.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?

That’s a tough one, because generally all my travel experiences have been good. Of course, we check out a lot of substandard hotels when researching for Smith but I wouldn’t say that was a bad experience.

I’ve had a lot of boring experiences waiting for delayed airplanes but since I have become a BlackBerry addict, that time just seems to fly by (sorry!).

When I was a teenager I backpacked around the world. In Jakarta I stayed in a youth hostel which I’d arrived at very late one night. When I woke up the sheets were covered in blood and I was covered in bug bites, and when I looked down the floor, I was met with a carpet of rat droppings. I decided from that moment on to up my accommodation budget.

9) Can you offer the readers 3 travel/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

I love the Thames in London. I used to live on a Dutch barge moored in Chiswick so being near water is important to me. One of the nicest walks in the whole of London is along the river from Hammersmith to Chiswick.

My favourite hotel in London is Anouska Hempel’s Blakes – I got married there. It’s the original boutique hotel and I’ve never found anywhere more intimate or sexy. There’s no high-end spa or high-tech conference facilities as this is all about couples. One of my favourite things to do in place is amble around the markets: Borough for incredible foodie treats and exotic ingredients; Spitalfields for arts, crafts and leather, and Portobello for, well, anything really.

My (current) favourite restaurant in London is Yauatcha – yummy dim sum!


Tamara’s Dutch Barge at Chiswick

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

What does the future hold for Mr & Mrs Smith, perhaps? It’s quite an exciting time for us. As well as really exploring what we can do with the Smith Travel Blog, we’re also exploring other media and formats. You can expect to see our first foray into online TV before long and an extension of the services we provide to mobiles (we already have a bespoke BlackBerry application). We’ve also got big developments happing in the States – we’ve already got a S-specific site – and, although I don’t want to give too much away, you may see some Smith-related goings-on in the Asia-Pacific area before too long!


Mr & Mrs Smith site

My observations:
First a Big Thank You, Tamara for being my guest! You are a hell of an inspiring lady!

You got me convinced to acquire my own Blackberry. Albeit to be able to take reservations while on the road. Typically when I am underway to fetch some clean linen, I always get calls about our vacancies.

I would like to congratulate you with your portfolio of hotels and the Blog: If “Damien” Cronian coins the blog one of the best corporate blogs in the industry he means it and I concur! But not only an excellent bunch of hotels that you have, I believe your keen eye for detail and things to do in the neighborhood of a hotel makes the brand standing out between the best of the best.

One small remark. I tried this summer to book a small hotel in the South of France to find out there was no way of checking their online availability. I believe that unnecessary in these times. I’m a notable late booker, because only at the last moment, when there are really no guests, we take off, but I can imagine the same applies to busy people….

And finally a small question: Does the blog has two Tamaras? The Tamara featured under contributors got married in Ca… Hey where are your contributors’ Bios?

Last edited by Happy Hotelier on Saturday, October 17, 2009

High Five (6): Green Honeymoon, Killer Waves, Frank Loyd Wright tour, Time Management and Ultra Boutique Hotels

Gorilla High Five

Happy Hotelier’s High Five (5):

  1. Top 10 Most Dangerous Waves in the World by Rhys Stacker of Matador Trips. I’m not a surfer myself, but the photos are fantastic!
  2. The Mistress of Taliesin a wonderful story in Last Exit Magazine about a guided tour to the home built by Frank Lloyd Wright for his mistress who as a ghost still haunts you.
  3. Globorati | Top 10 Ultra Boutique Hotels

Read more about Happy Hotelier’s High Five.

If you want to draw my attention to a post, please use the Contact Page or give me a message at Twitter

 

5 tips becomes less as the links disappear.

Wheatherbill: Betting for Good or for Bad wheather

WheatherBill Logo

WeatherBill will pay refunds to Itravel2000 customers if it snows five inches (12.7 centimetres) or more on Jan. 1 at Calgary, Halifax, Montreal or Toronto airports.

This quote from The Star drew my attention to WheatherBill

What is WheatherBill

According to its site:

WeatherBill is the first service to provide affordable and easy-to-use weather coverage to protect revenue and control costs for the millions of businesses impacted by the weather.

WeatherBill coverage is safe and reliable. There is no unnecessary paperwork, no claims process, no proof-of-loss and no waiting for payment. WeatherBill is the only service that enables customers to customize, price and buy weather coverage online in just minutes, and pays automatically when good or bad weather occurs.

In addition to weather coverage, WeatherBill provides free services for businesses affected by the weather. Our free weather correlation tools help individual businesses understand how weather impacts their financial performance. Our research reports provide insight into the ways weather affects all industries. We believe every business should understand how the weather affects demand, yields, costs, schedules and the bottom line. WeatherBill can provide the earnings protection critical to every weather sensitive business.

In order to create an account with WeatherBill, you must meet several eligibility requirements. They are listed as follows.

  1. You must be acting for your own account.
  2. You must be based in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Norway, or The Netherlands.
  3. You must meet the definition of “Eligible Contract Participant”. We have made it simple for you to determine if you qualify as an ECP – when you register for an account you will be asked several questions that will determine your eligibility.

    In short the requirement is assets of over US $ 5mio for pools, assets of over US 10 Mio for corporations or individuals, unless a Committee designates you as eligible.

So its not for the lesser to do of this world…..

The site gives examples of possible contracts.

WeatherBill has its own Blog

A recent Blog Entry refers to the following publication and clarifies it a bit:

Priceline.com Includes Potential Hurricane Season Destinations In New Sunshine Guaranteed Vacation Packages Promotion for Fall 2008

Get a Full Refund for Airfare, Hotel, Rental Car & More If Rain Ruins Your Vacation

NORWALK, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Travelers who missed their first chance to book a Priceline Sunshine Guaranteed vacation package now have another opportunity. Today, priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) www.priceline.com announced a new Sunshine Guaranteed promotion for late Summer/Fall 2008 that will refund customers if rain ruins their vacation.

“We were pleased by the positive customer response this summer to our Sunshine Guaranteed vacation packages, and we have decided to offer them again for late summer and fall travel,” said Tom Trotta, priceline.com’s Senior Vice President, Vacation Packages. “With schools back in session, fall can be an excellent time for a crowd-free vacation. We also recognize that rainouts may be a particular concern for some destinations during the peak hurricane season, and we have included many of these destinations in our new Sunshine Guaranteed promotion.” Priceline’s Sunshine Guaranteed promotion includes over 100 destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean, Canada and Europe. Destinations throughout Florida are included, as well as New Orleans, Hawaii, Nassau/Freeport, Costa Rica, Jamaica and San Juan.

Priceline also announced today that, so far, it has refunded nearly 200 packages for families and individuals whose rainy vacations qualified for Sunshine Guaranteed refunds. In addition to refunding 100% of the airfare, hotel and rental car, several of the payments included refunds for Disney theme park passes and other tours and attractions purchased as part of the Sunshine Guaranteed packages.

Hannah Singleton of Rockport, IN, was one of those Priceline customers who qualified for a Sunshine Guaranteed refund for her trip to Charleston, SC. “I purchased the package through Priceline because the price was fantastic and no other service was offering Sunshine Guaranteed vacations,” said Ms. Singleton. “Now, because of the refund, I can take two vacations. Thank you, Priceline.”

It is not insurance, because insurance is against loss or damage. It is coverage of a clearly defined future uncertainty. Close to betting, but not really betting. If I translate the Dutch equivalent contract in English I would call it a chance contract.

I wonder whether the organization of the Opening Party of the 2008 Olympics took coverage…

Update August 13: The Olympics people simply used planes with lots of stuff to make the rain stay away. They simply didn’t need the coverage.

High Five (3): Back to Hotels, African Cities and Art

Gorilla High Five

My High Five no 2 are for:

  1. 11 Bizarre Hotels That Will Knock Your Socks Off, most of them featured at my Unusual Hotels page or on the site Unusual Hotels of the World One minus in the post: I know that “Amsterdam” always draws visitore to your post, but this time the Dock Crane hotel room is actually situated in Harlingen (about 2 hours driving from Amsterdam and without proper Public Transport and approximately half way between Amsterdam and Hamburg in Germany:-).
  2. 10 Insanely Beautiful Hotels Worth Traveling For
  3. 5 African Capitals You Should See in Your Lifetime.
  4. 7 Bizarre Tours You’d Actually Sign Up For…Maybe.
  5. The efforts of Esmé Vos going into the new Hotel Review Site Mapplr.

For some picks I was inspired by the Travel Subgroup of Reddit.

About Happy Hoteliers High Five

A high five is a celebratory gesture made by two people, each raising one hand to slap the raised hand of the other — usually meant to communicate mutual satisfaction to spectators or to extend congratulations from one person to another. The arms are usually extended into the air to form the “high” part, and the five fingers of each hand meet, making the “five”, thus the name.(High Five on wikipedia)

I will not publish it on a scheduled date. I will publish it each time when I have found five persons or sites or posts that I deem worthy a High Five. It even may imply me echoing old news here.

If you want to draw my attention to a post you may e-mail me at gje[at]hetnet.nl or give me a message at Twitter

About The New High Five Logo
I miss a large part of my right hand thumb. Technically I am not even able to offer a High Five: Its more of a High 4 and a half:-)

The Gorilla hand looks closest to my right hand with the small thumb. The photo is from a sculpture by Lisa Roet, born in Australia and currently living and working in Melbourne. She had a couple of her sculptures exhibited at the annual The Hague Sculpture. One sculpture inspired me for my post The Finger of Suspicion.

Presently The Hague Sculpture is being built up again and so the circle is full again.

I am looking forward to bring you a timely photo tour of the 2008 edition which is interesting again from what I have seen.

Quote of the Day (3): Heaven and Hell

Heaven Is...
Hilarious Quote on T-Shirt

Heaven is where the police are British, the chefs are Italian, the Mechanics German, the lovers French and it is all organized by the Swiss.

Hell is where the police are German, the chefs British, the mechanics French, the lovers Swiss and it is all organized by the Italians.

Unfortunately for the creator I forgot where I found this.