September 06 2011
This week, as usual, my day starts at my apartment in Monte Carlo, where I like to go for the weekend to recharge my batteries – although this doesn’t mean that business is not done. Abercrombie & Kent sends people to the four corners of the world and everywhere in between in great luxury, so there is a lot to keep an eye on to make sure that we are always giving the type of service that we are renowned for. Fortunately, I have a great team of people around the world who are the best in the business.
This morning my alarm went off at 5am, as I had to get a flight to London. I usually wake up naturally at about six, and never have trouble getting out of bed. I think this comes from my army days in the Fifth Inniskilling Dragoon Guards – and although those days were in the 1960s, the discipline has stayed with me.
I got up and made myself some freshly-squeezed orange juice, a coffee and some papaya – I find that I cannot start my day properly without breakfast – and then left the house at 6am ready for a 7.30am flight to Heathrow. The journey is the perfect time for me to read some papers and see what’s going on in the world. Because we have customers and staff in more than 100 countries, it’s important for me to keep up to date with national and international news; so I read The Times, the FT, the International Herald Tribune – and the Daily Mail for the gossip! But I have to say, with all the technology we have now and the ability to find out so much information within seconds with just the tapping of a few keys, I often wonder how we did things way back when.
We landed at Terminal 5 and, as usual, it only took me about half an hour from wheels down to get to my car. I drove into London and had a meeting about a fantastic trip to Istanbul and Kenya we have coming up with some clients in China. We are the first western high-end travel company to be allowed to work in China, taking clients overseas, and it is a really exciting bit of business. The meeting went on for an hour or so, then I sat down with Caroline, my PA, who has been with me for ever. She is the gatekeeper, and makes sure that I am where I am meant to be and at the right time. In some ways, I sometimes think, you can forget all the brilliant technology that has been invented – everyone just needs a Caroline to keep things running smoothly.
We chatted until lunchtime, when I left our offices and went for a quick walk. If I can, I always like to get out of the office for some fresh air, even if it is for 10 minutes, just to stretch my legs. While out I grabbed some sushi; I usually do something quick and light for lunch. Afterwards I met some of my management team to discuss upcoming projects. The great thing about A&K, and what keeps me filled with enthusiasm, is that every day I know we have people around the world setting out on trips that will fill them with memories to last a lifetime. It is my job to make sure that those trips are the very best they can be – and to think of ways to make things even more luxurious!
After work was wrapped up, I was scheduled to meet an old friend for dinner so went home for a shower and change of clothes before heading out to Santini, a great Italian in Belgravia. I got home at about 10.30pm and had a quick chat with Caroline to make sure that nothing had happened that I needed to know about, then it was to bed. I read for a bit, as I sometimes do – anything from a thriller to a financial magazine – but it never takes me long to fall asleep – usually thinking about the next big trip.