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Meet the SLH Marketing Team

A creative think tank of travel experts specialising in luxury brand positioning, we’re proud to be a small yet mighty team of independently minded individuals. Each with our own unique skill-set, from illustration, graphic design, content creation to copywriting, our marketing knowledge spans across three continents and the same number of decades. Here’s a little bit more about the people behind the brand…

Richard Hyde – Chief Operating Officer

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • On a work experience week at the Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam a guest called to complain about the soap not soaping. He didn’t realise it had a thin plastic wrapping. That person was Bill Gates.
  • My first job was advertising microwave ovens. We put a massive billboard on the Cromwell Road with a 25 ft rubber chicken. Within 24 hours it had disappeared, never to be found again. But someone in Earls Court must have it.
  • I am a big reindeer fan. On a visit to Lapland to see Father Christmas (he does exist), I befriended a reindeer with one antler called Nobby. I paid for his upkeep for a year and got an ownership certificate. If you enjoyed the Chernobyl series on Sky, spare a thought for all the wildlife in Scandinavia, which caught the brunt of the radiation fall out. Another sad fact, there are no wild reindeer left in Scandinavia. Every single one is accounted for and tagged.

Which destination is top of your bucket list?

I’ve always wanted to cycle from New York to San Francisco, but apparently it is better the other way due to the prevailing wind, but it’s not the same to end 6 weeks of pain in the East River rather than the Pacific Ocean.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

A hard question but I’ll say the new Kontiki Yacht experience around the Ecuador coastline.

Where is your happy place?

In a large double bed with the family, watching an old Sophia Loren movie and Jennifer Lawrence whispering bed time stories in my ear.

Your most memorable travel experience?

Going on a moped tour of Lahore in Pakistan. Just the friendliest people and most exotic markets. Shame it’s ruined by internal strife.

Abi Tottenham-Smith – Head of Social Media

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I am a big musical theatre fan and love nothing more than a cheesy musical. I have been dancing since I was a kid and still like to do classes and workshops every so often now to get my fix!
  • I have worked and lived in both Singapore and NYC for a few months each. Even though I have bought a flat in London and have a dog, I still have an urge to live somewhere else for a short period of time – anyone in NYC want to house swap?
  • I studied Fashion Marketing at university and always thought I wanted to get into the fashion industry – particularly mens fashion. After a short stint in the fashion industry and then the world of beauty, I moved into travel and couldn’t see myself anywhere else now!

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

I had a trip to South Africa booked to visit friends before lockdown which sadly got cancelled so I am desperate to re-arrange that as soon as possible! I am also craving a wilderness escape in Canada and it would be a dream to one day visit Bhutan – it sounds like a truly magical country and it still seems like it is relatively untouched by tourism.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

There are far too many and I had already mentioned in my previous interview that I was desperate to visit Sikelia, Trout Point Lodge and Petit St. Vincent but now on top of these I love the look of Hôtel Crillon le Brave in France, Villa La Madonna in Italy and Villa Geba in Montenegro.

Where is your happy place?

On Compton Beach in the Isle of Wight. I have been going there with my family since I was a child as my grandfather bought a small coastguard cottage on the island at an auction in the 1960s. My parents now rent it out during the summer but we try to go down as much as possible when it’s available. It’s the one place where you can truly relax, go on long beautiful walks, play board games by the fire and turn off from city life!

Your most memorable travel experience?

We arrived on a tiny island in the Philippines in the middle of the night and had to get to our accommodation on the opposite side of the island. We managed to find a lovely man who took us in his tuktuk – little did we know the roads meandered through thick woods and hovered over steep cliffs and our new pal was a maniac on the road… two hours later we arrived shaken but unscathed and hiked down to the little hut we had booked. We had no idea where we were or what the surroundings were like but woke up in the morning to the most incredible view over a river, in the middle of nowhere. We ended up staying there for three nights and enjoyed swimming in the river, hiking the cliffs and relaxing in the hammock (mostly psyching ourselves up to take the journey back again!)

Maddy Morgan – Director of PR Worldwide

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I once went to circus school to learn how to be a trapeze artist.
  • In the 90s I was a clog dancing champion and went on tours of Europe and the US.
  • I have visited pretty much every corner of California – it’s my specialist subject.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

It’s not a destination so much as an experience – I would love to take an extended trip with my family and follow the sun and the surf around the world. No fixed agenda just pure freedom and the opportunity to take forest school to the next level for my kids!

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

Brazil has been on my wish list for a long time so Kenoa – Exclusive Beach Spa and Resort near Maceio is top of the list. It describes itself as an eco-chic design hotel where luxury is defined by earth given beauty – I feel relaxed just thinking about it!

Where is your happy place?

For me it’s Portugal – I spent a lot of time there growing up and then studied at university in Coimbra. I go at least once a year and love the fact that when I’m there I feel completely at home and not a tourist. The smell of pine trees will always be one of the most evocative scents for me and takes me straight back to hot summer days in Algarve.

Your most memorable travel experience?

I worked at an orphanage in rural Sarawak for a year when I was 18. The locals were incredibly generous taking us on trips to visit their families in nearby longhouses and including us in special occasions like weddings – it’s a cliché but there really is nothing like a totally immersive travel experience. One of them who I hadn’t seen for 20 years just sent me a video message out of the blue for my birthday in June which was the most amazing present. If I’m allowed a second one it would be filming on Alcatraz and being left alone in the cell block while the crew went outside to shoot the sunset. I’m not sure many people get to experience that and it was terrifying!

Dana O’Malley – PR Director Americas

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I used to live three blocks from the White House.
  • I was on the field for an AC Milan v Chelsea match.
  • I’m half Trinidadian, half American (by way of Eastern Europe).

Which destination is top of your bucket list?

Japan has been on the top of my bucket list for a few years now and I’m determined to get there soon! I’ve always been infatuated by the culture and food, and can’t wait to explore the cities and further afield.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

I would love to visit Dar Ahlam in Morocco. It’s a very special retreat situated near the Moroccan desert which caters to your every whim.

Where is your happy place?

Anywhere with my husband! We’re always ready for an adventure and experiencing new things, especially with our young daughter in tow.

Your most memorable travel experience?

Pimalai Resort & Spa in Koh Lanta, Thailand holds a special place in my heart. We spent our honeymoon at the resort basking in the sun, enjoying private dinners on the beach and taking a boat tour to visit nearby islands.

Juliana Tan – PR Director Asia Pacific

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I take care of Public Relations in Asia Pacific, and live on the sunny shores of Singapore.
  • During my free time, I enjoy photography and jewellery making.
  • I have recently taken up gardening too, inspired by the farm-to-table concept that I see at many SLH hotels.

Which destination is top of your bucket list?

North America! I have travelled to almost every part of Asia Pacific, but have not ventured to the Americas yet. I was supposed to visit this November, so that is definitely top of my list for 2021.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

I would like to go to Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm Hotel in Spain. I love to eat, and just reading up about the hotel makes me hungry – for their fine Spanish cuisine and culinary adventures at their organic farm and vineyard. I am especially looking forward to meeting their special residents who live in the 30-hectare evergreen oak tree forest – the indigenous Churra sheep, near extinct Verata goats and endangered woolly Mangalica pigs. The hotel is committed to preserving indigenous, rare and endangered species in the Duero Valley. If the place is good enough for Christopher Columbus (who reputedly once visited, restored and modernised the 14th-century Dominican monastery), Hacienda Zorita Wine Hotel & Organic Farm Hotel is definitely good enough for me to explore!

Where is your happy place?

Cliché as it sounds, the Kingdom of Bhutan warms the cockles of my heart. I was intrigued by a place which seems to have stood still in time, by their very colourful culture and historic architecture. Beyond The Tiger’s Nest and Dzongs, there’s so much more to explore in Bhutan, like staying in a farmhouse, making your own buckwheat noodles from scratch and ending the day with a hot stone bath (you can try a luxurious version at Gangtey Lodge and Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary). Most of all, the sincere and welcoming hearts of the people I met left the deepest impression, so much so I started to read up on the Kingdom after I returned home, and I am planning to go back again soon.

Your most memorable travel experience?

My first safari to Botswana was an eye-opener, literally. Being a city dweller, the concrete jungle with its gaudy lights, deafening noises and rushed footsteps were what I was used to. During the week I was on safari, I was greeted with glistening sunshine accented with the happy chirping of birds and the rustling of leaves as wildlife walked alongside. I learnt to stay still and just observe the animals, thoroughly enjoying the antics of the young. The entire experience enhanced my senses – by day three, I was able to clearly see the vast plains lit solely by the moonlight and interpret the calls and footsteps of wildlife; our safari guide (interestingly, his name was Fish) taught us well!

Jessica Sparkes – Head of Digital Performance

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • Recently, I reignited my love for musical theatre, completing a beginner course and singing ‘I dreamed a dream’ in the end show.
  • I have a little Maltipoo pup called Gus. We like to do tricks together, currently we are learning to dance.
  • I’ve tried every last minute holiday diet available.

Which destination is top of your bucket list?

Argentina Wine Trails, Cambodia and the Philippines.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

There are far too many to choose from! Finca Serena for the ultimate, European, countryside escape. Huvafen Fushi Maldives – you just need to view the hotel gallery to understand why! And Le Barthélemy Hotel & Spa because I absolutely love the Caribbean and this is another beautiful location to tick off my list.

Where is your happy place?

The minute I buckle up my seat belt on a plane out of here! The happiest of places is when I have my toes in the sand, face in sunshine and reading a book.

Your most memorable travel experience?

I did a sunrise climb of Mount Batur in Bali a couple of years ago. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and probably for the best. A pick up time of 2am, three hour trek in the thick darkness of the night with head torches and then climbing towards the top on my hands and knees! Once you have made it to the top of the volcano, you see the most incredible views across Indonesia with the sun rising over the horizon. There was also a guitarist singing “Hotel California” – such an incredible experience.

Laura Bizayi – Senior Digital Campaign Manager

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I was born 11 weeks premature and weighed just the same as a bag of sugar.
  • I have a 6 month old Pomapoo called Luna, so we have the same initials (LB).
  • I once took part in the world’s biggest egg and spoon race at school.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

Maldives. Philippines. Mykonos. I’m more of a sun searcher, I admit.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

Kenoa – Exclusive Beach Spa & Resort. New to SLH and looks completely lush. I haven’t travelled to South America yet and this is the perfect excuse!

Where is your happy place?

Honestly, anywhere (mostly) abroad where I can appreciate the beauty, locality, food and culture of a destination. I genuinely love travelling, so my happy place changes. Besides this, anywhere with my Pomapoo puppy Luna, she’s my forever happy place.

Your most memorable travel experience?

I loved South Africa. I visited Cape Town and Johannesburg. The thing that topped South Africa as potentially my favourite holiday is the beauty – the driving routes are absolutely incredible (but scary, the cliff-edges terrified me every single day!), while Cape Town as a place is eye-opening, particularly post-apartheid, and more so since I was travelling with my husband who is African. I’m particularly happy we now have some new hotels in this destination, and would certainly go back and drive the Garden Route to see more of the country and visit The Cellars-Hohenort, The Plettenberg, and The Marine.

Sorry, I also have to mention Bali. We visited for our honeymoon so it’s got to be top of the list. Balinese hospitality is just so lovely and not like anything I’ve experienced before. We stayed at Viceroy Bali and it’s a true gem!

Jemima O’Lone – Digital Content & Design Manager

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I used to be a chef and for the last six years I have made hand-painted cakes for weddings and events.
  • I adore skiing and winter tends to revolve around when and where I am going.
  • Like many others in my team, I love dogs and always have my eyes open for my own – I’ll know when the right one comes along.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

Bhutan for this once in a lifetime itinerary.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

Halcyon House for interiors and Dar Ahlam for the experience – apparently it is life changing.

Where is your happy place?

Meribel, France – where I lived for three winters. I try to visit every year and this year I was lucky enough to visit Le Coucou, a super stylish ski-in ski-out hotel. Look out for the beautiful mural of owls on the ceiling of the reception.

Your most memorable travel experience?

Touring the local cafés and eateries of Mumbai – my favourite city because it is so vibrant and full of life.  A must visit is Café Leopold, which is still littered with gunshot holes from the famous scene in the book Shantaram, unsuspecting Café Olympia where you will eat the most incredible food for £1 and Chowpatty beach for Pav Bhajis.

Chloe Frost-Smith – Digital Image & Content Executive

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • I was born in Hong Kong and spent my early childhood in Tokyo, Japan – my first holiday was to Bali when I was six weeks old (wish I could remember it!)
  • I studied Classics at university, which means I can read as many ancient languages as I can speak modern languages (in fact, I am probably more fluent in the ancient ones – useful, I know.)
  • I am an Advanced PADI scuba-diver and qualified shark specialist with dives logged all over the world, including the Maldives, Turks & Caicos islands, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Egypt, and Greece.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

It’s impossible to choose just one, so here are my top three:

  • Iceland – to ride ponies across black beaches with volcanic views.
  • Morocco – to shop the souks of Marrakech, and explore Chefchaouen (the Blue City) or Ouarzazate in the High Atlas Mountains, the gateway to the Sahara Desert.
  • Egypt – I still haven’t seen the pyramids (despite writing my dissertation on Cleopatra) and would love to take a trip down the Nile.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

It would have to be Castello di Reschio – I dream of watching the weekly dressage performances in their Teatro Equestre, and would love to ride around the ancient Umbrian estate, followed by making my own pizza in an authentic alfresco class. I would also love to experience the Wild West at one of our American ranches, Rawah Ranch and Riverview Ranch both look incredibly rustic and rugged. In fact, any of our horse riding hotels would top my wish list.

Where is your happy place?

Underwater, on a horse, or on the slopes in a pair of skis (or one if you catch me after après hours…) When I’m on dry land, I am happiest on the beach in Southwold sharing fish and chips with my boyfriend and our new family puppy, Truffle.

Your most memorable travel experience?

Spotting a mother bear and her cub from a chairlift while skiing with my sister in Whistler, coming across dolphins on a cliff-walk off the coast of Ireland with my boyfriend, watching the sun rise over the temples at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, taking part in the early morning alms-giving ceremony with the local monks in Luang Prabang, swimming with sea turtles in the Tobago Cays, milking a buffalo in Laos in an all-white outfit (this did not end well), a beachfront yoga session on Petit St. Vincent, and living out my Gertrude Bell fantasies horse riding across the desert in Morocco with my father – sorry, there are too many to choose from!

Becky Underwood – Senior Marketing Manager

Three fun facts about yourself…

  • At the age of 14, I completed a World Challenge expedition to Tanzania, which involved climbing to the summit of Mount Meru, roaming the safari plains of the Ngorongoro Crater, dancing with the Maasai whilst learning about their customs, and completing local community projects such as rebuilding a primary school. This was a transformative experience as we were totally immersed in the culture, living alongside the villagers.
  • I’ve always been fascinated by architecture and property design and hope to be able to build my own house one day, perhaps I’ll even make it on to Grand Designs. For the time being, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect plot of land!
  • Back in 2009, I was awarded by Nottingham University for a piece of research carried out on the tourism industry and turtle conservation. A whole eight years later I planned my first trip to Costa Rica and was able to experience turtle conversation in person in Tortuguero National Park. It was magical observing newly hatched turtles dig their way to the surface of the nests and scuttle across the beach to the surf of the sea.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

I love the thought of completely switching off and escaping to the rugged and captivating scenery of Norway with just a backpack. In summer I’d explore by rail, kayak or boat, taking in the colourful towns and waterfalls dotted along the Fjords. Come winter I’d cosy up in a boutique hotel in front of a log burner or fire, master a snowmobile and experience my first taste of reindeer!

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

It’s close to home, but The Fish Hotel in the Cotswolds has been on my to visit list for a long time. Perhaps it’s the child in me, but I am desperate to escape back-to-nature and relax in one of their quirky hill-side huts and treehouses. For me the perfect stay just wouldn’t be possible without a soak in the outdoor bath or hot tub. Plus, it’s impossible not to be intrigued by a hideaway hut named ‘Boaty McBoatface’, which comes with its own private lake and island.

Where is your happy place?

There’s something that soothes my soul when I’m by the British coast. The waterways, small inlets and little villages surrounding Chichester are close to my family home, so I often escape to Bosham and Emsworth. The Deck is a great little restaurant overlooking a working yacht harbour, where you can settle in for hours over fish and chips or a coffee and cake. Then swing by the fishmongers to pick up a catch of the day for dinner.

Your most memorable travel experience?

The views from Santorini will never leave my memory. Whether it was an early morning breakfast on our balcony, or a lazy afternoon dip in the infinity pool, I was never able to divert my gaze away from the view of the Aegean Sea. So much so we took the caldera-edge pathway walk to Oia, over rough trails, to admire the captivating sea view. A particular highlight was the sunset boat ride we took in a traditional sailing boat, a great way to enjoy nature’s spectacle and to escape the crowds.

Clive Ritchie – Design Consultant

Three fun facts about yourself…

I brew my own kombucha, play keys and can walk with my feet pointing backwards.

Which destination is top of your bucketlist?

The remote atolls of the Pacific.

The one SLH hotel you’d like to visit, and why?

Pacific Resort Aitutaki, Cook Islands – I’m fascinated by remote islands and this ticks all the boxes.

Where is your happy place?

The lakes behind a town called Sedgefield on the Garden Route, near Cape Town where I spent my summer holidays as a kid.

Your most memorable travel experience?

A few days of bliss anchored at Tobago Cays in the Southern Caribbean on a catamaran – snorkelling around the reef and exploring nearby islands.