What the SLH Team have missed most about travelling

All the while the pandemic has pressed pause on travel, it’s the little things we’ve missed most as a team. The smallest, simplest moments of a holiday have never felt so far away, but it hasn’t stopped us from daydreaming, reminiscing, and fantasising about both past and future trips. From feeling the sun on our faces and our toes between the sand, to the smell of sun-cream and the first sip of a tropical cocktail, here are the simple pleasures we are most looking forward to experiencing again soon.

Jessica Sparkes – Head of Marketing & Digital

The smell of sun-cream and after-sun, hearing, “it’s 30 degrees and sunny skies today” on the approach to landing, hot sand under my bare feet, finding a beautiful local restaurant tucked away in a cobbled street, escaping the day-to-day routine!

Laura Bizayi – Senior Campaign Marketing Manager

That first whiff of foreign air (preferably the hot air that knocks you when you’ve touched down). Getting into my room, unpacking and getting myself settled (I can’t live out of a suitcase!) Then the holiday starts! First order at the bar… I LOVE a cocktail menu.

Waking up early, getting a coffee in hand and watching the sunrise. Likewise, waiting and watching the sun go down in the evening, preferably by the beach. Watching sunrise and sunset just has a special connection with me, I completely zone out and I feel reflective and very grateful, joyful, and free.

Choosing my first meal on a foreign menu, I love trying new things and nothing beats true, authentic flavoured food – I love finding small side street restaurants, food shacks, street food trucks, and family-run small eateries. Exploring. Just walking, taking in the sights, scenery, appreciating the local area.

The feeling of being disconnected. No matter the type of holiday (since not all are necessarily ‘slow’), a holiday for me is a time to just mentally relax, switch off from the normal every day hustle and bustle of life, breathe slower, take time out for myself, reset and recharge.

Jemima O’Lone – Creative Lead

Coffee and a croissant at the airport. The wave of heat that hits you when you step off the plane and the scent that is different in every country. Coca Cola – I don’t drink it at home but for some reason it tastes delicious on holiday. Prawns, gelato, local honey, tomatoes, peaches and slightly salty sparkling water. Your first holiday swim, late night European markets, looking out of your window in the Alps to see the snow falling. I miss it all!

Abi Tottenham-Smith – Head of Social & Brand Content

Exploring new destinations on foot or on bike. The feeling of excitement when you first check in to you hotel room. Discovering local restaurants and foodie delicacies. Playing cards with wine and snacks on the balcony before dinner. Just the escape from the usual routine.

Chloe Frost-Smith – Senior Content Editor

The utter bliss of being barefoot, this is a true feeling of holiday freedom for me. Breakfast in bed, wearing an impossibly fluffy hotel dressing gown and slippers. Freshly squeezed orange juice, because it’s always better abroad. The smell of bread from a French bakery, cycling into town to browse an early morning market, stalls brimming with fresh fruits, pastel-coloured soaps, honey and jam jars, straw hats and rattan bags.

Lying on the beach after a dip in the sea and just letting the sun slowly dry your skin. The gentle sound of the waves lapping the shore. Washing away the salt from your hair in an outdoor shower. Sitting on a balcony just soaking up the last rays of sunshine, letting a cooling layer of coconut-scented after-sun sink in before getting ready for an evening of night markets, and eating alfresco.

Pegi Amarteifio – Global PR & Communications Consultant

Late night packing the night before a holiday – always done with a glass of wine in hand. Breakfast at the airport. The drive from the airport to the hotel taking in all the scenery. Long, lazy days of sunbathing and chasing the sun with the sun lounger until it disappears.

The nap back in the hotel room after being in the sun. Getting dressed up for dinner at the hotel – everything always looks so much better on with a tan and in a different location. Not feeling guilty for drinking bucks fizz at breakfast. Shopping to finding local artefacts to decorate my home with.

Suzanne Drew – Director SLH Finance and Data Protection Officer

I miss the excitement that I feel travelling to the airport, the first glance of a new destination as you land, the little thrill I get when I go through passport control and I know I am in a foreign land and even the journey to my final destination, where everything is new or seeing familiar and loved landscapes. Just the expectation of what awaits.

Mariano Porcelli – Head of Reservations

The feeling of freedom when you know that on a Friday night you can book a London-Barcelona flight at 8pm for the next morning at 6am to go see your best friend. Of course, I miss learning about new cultures, meeting locals, trying new food, but…airport smell? Jetlag feeling? Long haul flights? Gosh, I miss that!

Magali Berardelli – VIP Reservation Executive

I miss the spontaneity and the rush of arranging last minute trips.

Katrin Holtkott – Barter Room Co-ordinator

Arriving at your destination in the evening, and gazing at an amazing view from your bedroom window, balcony, or patio for the first time the next morning in daylight.

Packing every summer shoe and outfit combination known to mankind – but walking in your bare feet for most of the stay. Hearing local languages and birdsong.

I cannot wait to dust off my passport, and practise packing a suitcase again – it has been so long.

Oswaldo Sampaio – Head of Quality Assurance

Peace and quiet in your own world, lost with your thoughts, just relaxed and happy. Not knowing what to have for dinner, wanting everything. Wondering where you are, tracking the in-flight location and the hours left to arrive. Waking up to the smell of breakfast coming from the plane galley. Meeting the most amazing crews. Being surprised and delighted with a welcome cocktail or in-room treat on arrival…Can’t wait to fly again!

Christopher Grime – Head of Product Integration

Meeting the people. Sampling food I have not had before. Experiencing new cultures. The joy of the journey – I appreciate it is not always joyful, but I always try to maintain a child like enthusiasm and anticipation for what I am going to see. Seeing some of the places I have researched in the previous weeks or even in some cases over many years. I find the more I see, the more other places make it on to my wish list!

Rafael Pirassinunga – Operations Manager – World of Hyatt Partnership

The smell of freshly baked pastries on a Parisian morning.

Stella Psarra – Senior Revenue Account Manager, Europe, Middle East & Africa

I miss the feeling of anticipation, which starts from the moment I book the flights and hotel and peaks a couple of days prior to travelling. I miss the smiles and welcome gestures from the air crew when I board on the plane.

Being Greek, I really miss the Aegean Sea, its smell when I am on a boat, its wonderful colour under the sun and its peaceful sound in the night.

I miss the moment when I look through the window of my hotel room to the view for the first time – either a city, mountain, sea, lake, garden or any view which I see for the first time from that particular spot. That’s the most calming moment for me and I always look forward to it.

Chloe Musumeci – Senior Revenue Account Manager, Europe, Middle East & Africa

I miss the smiles of the people when crossing a new country, I miss the feeling of adventure that a new place gives you, I miss the crowded busy airports and the sunsets, they always remind me of the amazing day I have had and what awaits.

Floriana Cosentino – Revenue Account Manager, Europe, Middle East & Africa

First thing I miss is packing a bag! I miss feel pampered. I miss checking out the toiletries, scents and amenities in hotel rooms. I miss having the buffet breakfast with homemade pastries with a sea view while wearing my swimwear ready to head to the beach. I miss the turn down service, to find that pleasant little treat when returning to my room.

Mark Wong – Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific

Food! There’s nothing more satisfying than ordering my must-have dish at my favourite restaurant. In Kyoto, I always order a hearty bowl of burnt miso ramen at Gogyo; a sampler plate of creative desserts at Koi Dessert Bar in Sydney; or a simple plate of succulent roast goose meat at Yung Kee in Hong Kong.

Juliana Tan – Director of PR, Asia Pacific

I miss the days of travelling around with my camera, capturing moments I want to remember, from places which spark a happy memory, amazing landscapes filled with kind people whom I have met along the way. I still keep in touch with some of them, and arrange to meet up when we visit each other’s countries.

Khim Yeo  – Revenue Account Manager, Asia Pacific

Sitting on the undholi overlooking the sea in the Maldives. Soaking in a hotel’s beautiful bathtub – 137 Pillars Suites Bangkok has a big bathtub, I love it. Heritage Le Telfair also has an amazing bathroom with an indoor and outdoor shower.

Jill Liu – Sales Manager, China

Sitting beside the sea and feeling the soft wind, at that moment it seems like everything has gone except the blue sea.

Anna-Lisa Hafgren-Willis – Regional Manager – Americas & Travel Trade Relations Manager

The joyous anticipation of an upcoming confirmed trip. Experiencing a new destination’s sights, smells, tastes, language and culture. Meeting new people and learning about their culture. Staying in a beautiful guest room with walls other than mine!

Lita Moreno – Sales Manager, Southeast Americas

I personally miss the exciting new scents when you arrive abroad. Every country has a different smell!

Read more about our definitive list of all the little things that bring you joy here.