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 a coffee at an airport wondering how she would feel when she arrived.

In 2006 after a decade of raising her growing brood, she became the first travel writer for Luxury Explorer. She has, on many occasions, taken one or more of her 7 children on her adventures, while the most important holiday of the year is the one where they are all together. Today, as travel editor, she carefully selects destinations and hotels of specific interest, or exceptional quality, and will not include any hotels that don’t meet the criteria necessary for inclusion. Her favourite place is very often the last one, such as the Maldives in March 2017. However, she has a bit of her soul in the Far East, a bit of her heart in Italy, as well as a never ceasing love affair with Provence.

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 – Bali. Most seduced by…The South of France. Favourite cities – London, NYC and Rome. Feels at home -wherever she lays her, one of many, hats but usually West Sussex and London.

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.

Jennie Millar

Jennie has been travelling since she was very young. Born in Hong Kong, and then living in Sri Lanka and Singapore, before finally moving to the UK, she was jet-setting before she even went to school. As a result, she has always been full of curiosity to see the world. In studying Archaeology and later Marketing at Durham University, she seized the opportunity to travel again, visiting ancient sites in Rome, excavating the cold caves in Central Italy and working with a major advertising firm in their Kuala Lumpar office. Although settled for now back in the UK, Jennie enjoys living vicariously through our travel editors' reviews and our clients' bookings, heading up the Reservations and Operations team, and managing the website. Her favourite place she has visited so far is Italy, with the amazing food and culture, however she has her eyes on the Southern states of America and its intoxicating music scene. 

Contributors

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.”

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 viaggio was 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. Just back from China she is currently finalising the details for a round the world trip taking in New Zealand, 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.