Our Team

Sophie Marchant

Sophie’s love of travel began aged 5 when she was whisked away from leafy Kent to live in South Africa. Intrigued by the open spaces, the veldt, the wildlife, the untamed beaches, and the shift of comfort zone, Sophie soon realized that travel was her preferred way to learn. Returning to England after a degree in English and Film she soon turned peripatetic choosing jobs that involved travel in the film and media sector and was never happier than sipping an airport coffee, wondering how she would feel when she arrived.

After a decade of raising her growing brood, she became Luxury Explorer's travel editor, often taking one one or more of her 7 children on her adventures. And like most mothers believes the most important holiday of the year is the one spent together. Today, she picks destinations of specific interest, or exceptional quality, and her favourite place is very often the last one visited, such as Nihi Sumba. Part of her soul resides in the Far East, and her her heart is split between in Italy and Provence.

During lockdown - while travel has been impossible - Sophie turned her attention to painting, picking up a paintbrush for the first time and re-cycling her travel memories as large format canvasses, based on her love of nature and exotic places.  Her website, Sophie Marchant Art illustrates her prolific work in oil, whilst a collaboration with German photographer Tillmann Pretscher resulted in a collection of entomology art called Forgotten Beauties.

Favourite destination – the next one. Most edifying destination – Bhutan. Most romantic destination – Italy. Most spectacular destination – Java and the Maldives. Most exceptional all-round island romp – Indonesia. Most seduced by…the South of France. Favourite cities – London, NYC and Rome. Feels at home wherever she lays her hat which, this year, has been her Georgian farmhouse in West Sussex.

Sophie  Marchant

Peter Matthews

As a designer by training and with a long career as a brand consultant, Peter has created or co-founded several luxury and tech businesses, including Luxury Explorer, which he now chairs. Peter fell in love with luxury travel in his twenties, a passion he says was sealed the day he first visited Club 55 in Saint Tropez aboard a yacht.

A lifelong foodie and listing fine wine as his hobby, Peter has a natural interest in hospitality and extensive experience advising luxury hotel businesses including: Aman, Azerai, Ballyfin and Corinthia (to mention just the A-Cs) on brand and digital strategies. For LE Peter travels the world seeking out hotels that combine a unique sense of place with design flair and finesse, pitch perfect service and excellent cuisine and wines.

He lives with Sophie in West Sussex and London with some or all of their 7 children, depending on the season.

Peter  Matthews
Silk  Kimsart

Silk Kimsart

Silk grew up in the hectic city of Bangkok, before moving to Christchurch, New Zealand at the age of 11, coming to London to study at University College London.  Silk’s love affair with travel therefore started at a very young age, falling in love with Italy on family vacations and school summer camps taking her to China, Singapore, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. With travel in her blood, Silk has always been curious to explore what the world has to offer, believing that travel can truly enhance one's life experience, through learning about other cultures, philosophies, cuisines and art. 

Like everyone at Luxury Explorer, Silk is a foodie at heart, which is not surprising given her parents are restauranteers. When travelling, Silk appreciates the beauty in everything from different landscapes, to local customs, regional cuisines, arts and crafts to extravagant objets d’art. 

One of the perks of working for Luxury Explorer, helping arrange personalised travel itineraries for clients, is that Silk is constantly growing her own bucketlist. Currently the Amalfi Coast, Japan, and of course the Maldives are on her radar, although, there is no doubt that Thailand will always hold a very special place in her heart.

Silk  Kimsart


Jennifer Hamm

Travelling the world extensively with LE and film production, Jennifer’s suitcase never collects dust.  A mother of four boys and married to a UK film director, she somehow finds time to carve out a career as a screenwriter, travel journalist and blogger. Honours graduate from UCLA in English, Jennifer has been living between LA and London for 20 years, travel isn’t just a way of life – it’s a sport.  Sibling rivalry (she’s the youngest amongst four) has prompted a family competition of ‘who’s been where first…” and last tallied, Jennifer is winning!  From the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and Tuscan regions to the beaches of Thailand and Bali, the magic of the Maldives to the peace of Java and Israel, all travel is met with an opportunity to learn and explore.

Jennifer’s acutely aware of her natural travel rhythm – usually finding that the stress from everyday life peels away around day three and the ‘being there’ moment sets in – when a mind/body/spiritual connection is made.  Asked where her once in a lifetime  destination is?  Antarctica!

Jennifer  Hamm

Kelly Hail

An American based in London and Chamonix, Kelly first caught the wanderlust in the South Pacific, scuba diving the deep WII wrecks of Micronesia, and since then she hasn’t stopped.  Her love of mountains, water and spiritual growth are at the heart of her most favourite travel destinations. Previously, she was a Research Economist for The HRH The Prince of Wales’ Business in the Community and United Nations Environment Programme.  Interested in exploring the off-beaten track along with a bit of adrenalin thrown in for good measure, Kelly became a helicopter pilot 11 years ago. Places that she holds close to her heart: Chamonix, her family beach house in Canada, Treviso, Italy and Laos.


Kelly  Hail

Clio Hare

Clio has had the travel bug for as long as she can remember, having spent summers in Europe with her family from age dot. From France, to Italy, Spain and beyond, she then took matters into her own hands pre university and donned a backpack and embarked upon her own travel adventure around the world, taking in India (still her favourite country to have stepped foot in - the colours, smells, sounds and most importantly people are about as exciting and inviting as it gets!), Australia and South East Asia. She has since spent time in Central and South America but has just had her heart stolen by Africa, where she spent a magical honeymoon in the Sabi Sands on Safari, and Benguerra Island in Mozambique.

She spends as much time as she can in Europe in the summer months, with Italy being her favourite European country (for the food!). In the UK, St Mawes holds a very special place in her heart, having spent many a very happy short break there over the last few years.

Clio  Hare

Holly Rubenstein

With a father from New York, a mother from West Sussex and family across the US, Holly's taste for travel got started at a very early age - 10 weeks, in fact, when she first crossed the Atlantic. Now based in London, she is a travel, lifestyle and entertainment writer for titles including The Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Independent and the Metro and a presenter and producer for ITV, Getty, Reuters, and Snapchat.

Career highlights so far include interviewing George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Roger Federer and Sir David Attenborough; reporting from and being invited to eat at the World's Best Restaurant in Girona, Spain; presenting from the red carpet at the Brit Awards; leaf peeping in Upstate New York for an upcoming article, and launching her own travel blog, The Travel Flamingo. 

Holly's wanderlust is increasingly insatiable - and when she's not travelling she's already planning her next trip. Thus far her favourite destinations include Hawaii, New Mexico, Iceland and Cornwall, and upcoming adventures will take her to Lisbon, the Cotswolds, Atlanta and Lake Maggiore. Above all, it's Miami that will always hold the most special place in her heart - her second home for many years.

Holly  Rubenstein
Isabella  Lynagh

Featured Reviews

Isabella Lynagh

Born in Italy, Isabella’s childhood holidays along the Croatian coast and islands on her family boat set her up for a life of discovering new exotic places. Curious about other cultures and learning new languages (she’s fluent in four), it’s no surprise she says: ‘I was born with the travel bug!’ A brief stint as an economist, Isabella realised that good food and wine were her real passion. Living between Italy, Australia and England over the past 23 years, in 2016, she graduated as a Health Coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in NY City and enjoys helping people live an energized and passionate life by discovering food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Based in London, Treviso and Biarritz, Isabella relishes mixing cultures and food into her daily life. Isabella’s dream journey: US coast-to-coast road trip!

Isabella  Lynagh

Toby Marchant

Toby is well travelled, but more by necessity than choice. As the CEO of a global business, Toby spent far more time in hotel rooms and on aeroplanes than he would like to have done, but in the process he learned a thing or two about how the luxury travel business worked. At 6’ 4”, he also knows the importance of space in everything from hotel beds to aeroplane seats. He has travelled extensively with his wife and three children, in the pursuit of luxurious pleasure, relaxation and adventure. The visit to Villa Sungai in Bali, which was reviewed in LE, was one such occasion. “My family tend to want to head for either the tropical sun, with diving high on the list of priorities, or for the snow, with Canada a favoured option. I look forward to sharing my luxury exploring in the sun, snow and everything in between.”

Toby  Marchant
Sarah   Surtees

Featured Reviews

Sarah Surtees

Post university, Sarah qualified as a Chartered Accountant specialising in the development of new retail and hospitality concepts for a number blue chip companies. When she realised she was rather more interested in the design than the numbers she retrained as an interior designer and now combines her passion for design with a board role for the Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company. She is a self-confessed Italiaphile and has been studying the language for the past 8 years. She'd love to live in Italy but having explored every corner struggles to decide exactly where. Her most recent viaggios were trips to Lake Garda and the Dolomites and a road trip through Southern Italy, enjoying the largely unexplored regions of Basilicata and Calabria before crossing the Straits of Messina to Sicily.

Sarah doesn't believe there is any set formula for the perfect holiday but generally finds herself happiest somewhere a long way from anywhere with a fabulous view, great wildlife and a top notch chef! Always just back from or just going somewhere friends sometimes despair of ever getting a date in her diary. Recent trips to China and a round the world trip taking in New Zealand, The Brando in Tahiti, Easter Island and Chile. A map nerd, she is fascinated by what lies around every corner and the prospect of joining the dots across the Southern Pacific proved just too enticing.

When not travelling Sarah divides her time between London and West Sussex.

Sarah   Surtees
Hannah  Smith

Featured Reviews

Hannah Smith

Hannah was born into a family of travel lovers, a Mother who flew with British Airways for over thirty years and a Father who grew up in Malawi and Hong Kong, before eventually settling in the Middle East. Growing up, her summers were spent on the beaches of the Cote d’Azur, exploring the back streets of Florence and sailing across to Barano D’Ischia - still a firm favourite. 


At her happiest when the wheels lift up at Heathrow airport, she has spent over two decades journeying to the Middle East where she lived for some time between Dubai & Bahrain, whilst perfecting her (limited) Arabic. Fondest memories include watching the wind sweep across the sand dunes at sunset in Dubai, trekking along the mountainside in Oman and haggling in the magical souk’s and spice markets of Marrakech. 


Today, Hannah spends time exploring South East Asia. Trips to Bali, Cambodia, Vietnam and Singapore are amongst her most recent - with an all-time favourite destination being Amanpulo in the Philippines. Enticed by the palm lined streets, great food and kind locals, South East Asia and Vietnam in particular are starting to feel ever more like home. Sampling the local beer in each destination is a cherished pastime and, as a natural born foodie, also trying the local delicacies - although a line was drawn at eating tarantulas in Phnom Penh. Maybe next time…

Hannah  Smith