Our favourite hideaways, worldwide
We visit every hotel
We spend months scouring the globe for beautiful boutique hotels, and we only choose places we have personally visited and which meet our meticulous selection process. This makes our handpicked collection a treasure trove of hidden gems.
We write honest reviews
We leave the glossy talk to others. Instead, we pride ourselves on writing 100% honest reviews for all our hotels. In other words, we tell it like it is – both the highs and the lows – so that you can make the best decision.
We'll get you the best deal
You'll pay the same as booking directly, or less. That's a promise. And if you do find a better like-for-like price, we’ll match it and give you an extra £50 voucher. Plus we have exclusive offers and extra perks for members - such as free room upgrades, champagne or spa treatments on arrival.
We offer free travel advice
Our award-winning team of hotel specialists are on hand to provide FREE travel advice tailored to your individual needs. No chatbots. No algorithms. Just super-friendly people with a passion for travel. Call them today on 0117 946 7072.
Our Kids Collection
As our growing family started having families of their own, we began seeking out hotels that could deliver the wow factor for parents. That’s why, in 2011, we launched our pioneering Kids Collection with the UK’s first child-friendly rating system that rewards hotels for their facilities – including all those thoughtful little extras which families crave. Today, our Kids Collection spans over 900 hotels worldwide, each and every one carefully inspected and selected by adults and children – the toughest judges! Check out some of our favourites
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Director, Research and Content
Top tip: Packing cubes – once you start using them, there’s no turning back.
Dream destination: South Chile for the volcanoes, lakes and clear night skies.
Nikki developed her flair for uncovering secrets through 10 years working as a senior consultant to the world’s largest investigations firms. Here she located hidden assets of former foreign heads of state, investigated environmental and human rights issues and provided critical intelligence to some of the UK’s most significant corporate mergers and acquisitions.
With her love of travel and adventure, a degree in Geography from Exeter University, and a natural thirst for discovering the special and unusual, Nikki spent her time between investigations contracts seeking out some of the world's most unspoilt locations. She has travelled in over 40 countries, including most of South America where she enjoyed two years painting surreal murals in mountain villages, sampling the local cactus juice and avoiding piranhas in the Amazon. After many years of friends using her as a source of new and interesting places to stay, the internet has finally provided the perfect channel through which she can share her discoveries.
Geographical expertise: South Africa, Bali, Thailand, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Spain (including Mallorca), Cornwall, Scilly Isles
Director of Operations
Top tip: Avoid getting ill on flights by pre-loading with First Defence spray
Dream destination: Iceland - a magical ‘otherworldly’ country steeped in mystery and beauty.
Having been bitten as a teenager by the travel bug whilst travelling in South America, Aidan never quite escaped the draw of making the most of every holiday. With a degree in Commerce at Edinburgh University and a decade ensconced in the aerospace industry, a return flight to his passion of travel was realized when his wife Nikki Tinto asked for help in expanding i-escape. Having always wished to marry work with pleasure, what could be better. After all, even before joining the business, a good many i-escape hotels had already been savoured. With a growing team, and a deep desire to preserve the unique edge that i-escape has won, Aidan brings with him management experience from a hi-tech industry and inside knowledge to run and deliver its increasingly busy operation.
Geographical expertise: Brazil, Spain (including Mallorca), Bali, Iceland, South Africa
Director of Hotel Partnerships
Top tip: Don’t get stung for car hire extras: buy your own annual excess policy and inflatable kids’ seat
Dream destination: The barefoot-bliss Thai island of Koh Phra Thong
After a childhood in Greece, a baccalaureat in France and a Modern Languages degree from Cambridge, Michael segued naturally into the travel industry by founding a programme of adventure holidays in his favourite parts of Greece, later expanding to other European countries. A decade later - having added fluent Italian, a German wife, and various explorations in Africa to his multinational CV - he met Nikki and Aidan in London, and decided to jump headfirst with them into the online travel industry. He vividly remembers his first trips to review and photograph i-escape hotels in Zanzibar, wielding a new-fangled digital camera - this was the year 2000 - and a laptop to file his copy online (using solar power and dial-up connection). During the next decade he visited over 500 properties in 20 countries for i-escape, working in between trips as Editor, Rates guru and Linguist-in-chief at the i-escape office, before settling into a full-time directorial role. Outside the office, he enjoys river swimming, playing ultimate frisbee and choral singing. He has also written guidebooks for Sawdays, Sunflower, Lonely Planet and Cicerone.
Geographical expertise: Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Zanzibar, Morocco, South Africa, Thailand
The Hotel Specialists
Favourite escape: The freedom of Greek island-hopping on a slow ferry.
Top tip: If travelling with kids, pack plenty of snacks, pens and tissues.
Dream destination: Bali, Mexico, Japan, Sweden - I can’t choose just one!
Kate spent 5 years working in some of London’s top restaurants and felt that she would like to combine her love of travel with her appreciation of good food and where to find it across the world. Kate has had varied travel experiences from living in North Carolina and California, USA, to backpacking in India and the Greek Islands as well as many a short break exploring in Morocco, Spain, France and Italy and wherever else good food can be found. She brings with her enthusiasm and energy and will look forward to assisting with your booking enquiries, responding to feedback and advising you on where to go and what to eat.
Geographical expertise: Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Bali, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, USA
Favourite escape: Walking through a forest to watch the dawn prayers at Kobo Daishi temple in Japan.
Top tip: Pack a big smile and an open mind.
Dream destination: I’d love to snorkel my way around the islands of Palau.
Ben's first travel experience was a year in Australia aged 21; he drove vast distances in a beat-up plumber's van and did any job available to keep going (even busking!). After this, all his daydreams and hard work focused on future adventures, and the following years were spent travelling around India, SE Asia, China and Central America, living out Indiana Jones fantasies in Angkor, Tikal and Rajasthan en route. He originally moved to Bristol to work in an account management role, then a student lettings agency. But such was his determination to work for i-escape, he kept applying for roles here - and we're delighted he persevered so hard! He now looks after bookings in Italy, Morocco, India and Sri Lanka.
Geographical expertise: Italy, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, India, Morocco, Mexico
Favourite escape: Taking a four-day cruise down the Mekong, from Thailand to Laos.
Top tip: Be respectful, try not to judge other people’s customs, and keep an open mind!
Dream destination: Costa Rica for the wildlife, volcanoes and stunning beaches.
Having grown up in Poland, Marta relocated to England at the tender age of 8 and is a Londoner at heart. But, after completing her Psychology degree in Bristol, she fell head over heels for this vibrant city and decided to stay. As a strong believer in, ‘Home is where the heart is,’ Marta has not been afraid to venture out into the unknown. She spent 6 months travelling across the USA’s East Coast and has done two major road trips across Europe (stopping over at 7 different countries). Most recently, Marta backpacked through South East Asia, finishing the trip in the Middle East. Although bilingual already, Marta is studying advanced Spanish and hopes to discover more of South and Central America soon. She is thrilled to be using her passion for travel and languages to help create unforgettable i-escape holidays.
Favourite escape: Swimming with horses in Cape Tribulation at the Top End of Australia.
Top tip: Bring a toiletries bag, binoculars and the right shoes!
Dream destination: South Africa, Costa Rica, Borneo - anywhere with great birding.
Nadine believes that one should say yes to every invitation and possibility of adventure. This has taken her to places far and wide from Australia to Zimbabwe via SE Asia, Rajasthan, Mexico & Guatemala, Turkey, Morocco, Cyprus, Brazil & Argentina, Myanmar, the British Isles and, 5+ years in wonderful San Francisco. After a long career in film and TV, she's the point person for new hotels joining i-escape and sets up review trips. Excitingly, she also oversees i-escape's pioneering Kids Collection now she has 2 young ones of her own and isn't slowing down on the travel front! And she still does cartwheels everywhere she goes.
Favourite escape: The coast of Portugal with nothing but a car booked.
Top tip: Read the 3 star reviews. They will be the most honest opinions.
Dream destination: A month-long road trip in South America.
Having grown up in Hungary, Marta was always just a few hours of driving away from exploring different countries and cultures. After moving to the UK to study Sociology and Journalism, she has decided to settle and make Bristol her base. She enjoys travelling anywhere as long as she gets at least one opportunity to swim in some cold water and visit some local eateries.
Favourite escape: Watching the sunrise from Laikipia Plateau in Kenya.
Top tip: Always ask locals for restaurant recommendations.
Dream destination: Bhutan, to discover why it’s the 'world’s happiest country'.
Lucy inherited her parents’ love of new cultures and aimed, as an adult, to spend as much of her free time discovering the world as possible. So she backpacked through Central America, bused through Europe, and drove through Morocco, meeting fascinating people and seeing unforgettable places along the way. But each journey made her yearn for more. So she concluded that the world of travel shouldn’t just be reserved for leisure time, and began weaving her love of travel into a career. She is now thrilled to be able to spend her days writing (and daydreaming) about beautiful properties in exciting destinations across the world.
Favourite escape: Witnessing the northern lights dance across the night sky in Iceland.
Top tip: Go solo! Travelling alone is something everyone should do at least once in their lifetime.
Dream destination: 'Island hopping' in weird and wonderful Japan.
Alice has always had a passion for the natural world, which led her to complete a degree in Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University. This is where the travel spark was ignited; after self-publishing a travel guide on the special Cornish town she called home during her university years, she embarked on her first solo trip around Australia and New Zealand, meeting amazing people and ticking off many a bucket list item along the way. Now settled in Bristol, she's keen to keep working through that list at every given opportunity.
Favourite escape: Watching Tango dancers in Buenos Aires while devouring the best steak known to man.
Top tip: Keep a travel journal so you can re-live your adventures in years to come.
Dream destination: Norway's Valldal valley.
Anna put her career in advertising on hold for a year so she could discover what the world had to offer beyond Manchester. She adventured around South America, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Vietnam, writing about her discoveries along the way. Upon her return, she moved to Bristol and continued with a career in marketing - which has led her to join the lovely team at i-escape. She continues to travel when possible, only now it’s with two small children in tow, who thankfully share Anna’s enthusiasm for adventuring (with the occasional ‘ice cream’ bribe thrown in).
The Rates Experts
Favourite escape: I’m still searching for the ONE!
Top tip: Book in advance for the best deals and avoid big mainstream chain hotels.
Dream destination: I want to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Rio’s Copacabana beach.
Katya caught the hospitality bug during five years working in some of the most luxurious hotels in the UK. She managed to combine a full-time job with her economics education, and loves her new role heading up i-escape's Rates & Channels team. Growing up in Bulgaria during the transition between communism and democracy left Katya with few opportunities for international travel, but she's now making up for lost time with recent trips to Menorca, Greece and Italy, as well as local adventures in the Brecon Beacons and Cotswolds. She's now looking forward to a new chapter of family travel.
Favourite Escape: Playa de Famara, Lanzarote
Top tip: Get up early: you get more holiday for your money!
Dream Destination: Maldives, so I can lose myself on a deserted island
Born and raised in Andalucía, Laura graduated with a tourism degree from Granada before moving to Tenerife, where she lapped up the peace of the off-season and the freedom of the sea. After adventures in Germany and Portugal, as well as travels through mainland Spain, Laura decided to jump at the chance of a new life and job in the UK, where she has been living since. Her most recent holiday was a campervan road trip in Switzerland - spectacular! She's already thinking about the next trip...
The Web Team
Favourite escape: The [Esc] button
Top tip: A ‘Water-To-Go’ bottle will save you from waterborne bugs. It also saves money while reducing plastic waste. No excuses.
Dream destination: Bed - most of my dreams seem to end there.
In his own words, Leon's into 'pretty much everything', and isn't one for sitting still. He spends his spare time doing Capoeira, gymnastics, photography and climbing (to name a few interests), and is currently learning the guitar and Spanish. His favourite travel memories include the Atacama Desert in Chile, Easter Island's mysterious stone heads, and travelling overland from Hungary to Wolverhampton. Next on his list is Japan (where he wants to see the crazy contrasts of ancient and modern, try a sand bath, take the bullet train, watch a Manga film and take in a traditional drumming show, amongst a million other things!), after which he'd like to visit Egypt's ancient sites. Luckily for us, he still has time to squeeze in work as part of our growing web development team.
Favourite Escape: My home office when the little ones are unruly.
Top Tip: Don’t over plan and let adventures happen naturally.
Dream Destination: Hmm, let me peruse the i-escape portfolio ...
Jess lives in sunny Somerset with her family, and once her children reached school age she took the bold step - in the pandemic year of 2020 - to retrain as a software developer. After graduating from Mayden Academy's excellent bootcamp, she refined her coding skills at i-escape, updating and improving some key pages such as the hotel listings page. When her computer is switched off, Jess enjoys crafting and selling handmade nursery mobiles from her Etsy shop (Good Wool Bunting). She hopes to pass on her love of crafting to her children, and hope one day to teach them to code as well!
We're looking for another gifted, enthusiastic, full-stack LAMP developer. See our jobs page for details.
Finance & PR
Favourite escape: The Canadian Rockies, and Sequoia, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks.
Top travel tip: Don't forget your travel adapters!
Dream destination: New Zealand.
When not drowning in paperwork keeping our financial records up to scratch, Julie can be found out on her bicycle. She's just got back from a cycling holiday to Tuscany and Umbria, and is already planning her next trip. She's similarly obsessed with wildlife photography and has shot wild bears (with a camera) in the Canadian Rockies and Sequoia, Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks. But she loves home soil, too, and spends her remaining spare time visiting art galleries and volunteering at her local Foodbank.
Alex Reynolds joined Four Corners in 2011, following a stint in London handling the PR for some seriously top end hotels, resorts and spas in exotic locations around the globe. She loves a challenge, be it organising an amazing one-off press trip, arranging her own travel adventures (preferably with some tasty cuisine involved), or trying to be one step ahead of the pack in predicting the post-covid travel landscape.
She is backed up by Carole Pugh, managing director of Four Corners. Carole describes herself as "a veteran, a specialist, and a safe pair of hands", and is equally delighted to see coverage for her today as she was when she started out in PR over 20 years ago.
Our Contributing Writers
As a small boy growing up in a grey country, Tom Bell spent most of his time daydreaming of far-flung exotic lands. After paying off his university overdraft, he headed for Australia with a deep conviction that he would find an Australian wife, thus ensuring himself a life of idle, sun-drenched pleasure. Unfortunately for him (but not perhaps, Australia) he was deported two years after he arrived. Although he is still searching for an Australian wife, he passes his time writing the Alastair Sawday British Hotel Guide and has visited many places for i-escape in Spain, France, Portugal, Vietnam and Switzerland.
Guy Hunter Watts
Guy’s life changed when, after graduating in Spanish from Bristol, he discovered Crete and the Mediterranean. After a decade of drifting from beach to beach, he spent ten years leading tours in India, South America and Mongolia before putting down roots in Andalucia, where he combines work as a walking guide with freelance writing. His first taste of travel writing was when he set off in a battered old van to visit nearly 300 B&Bs in France for the Sawday guide. Since then he has reviewed hotels for i-escape in Andalucia, Portugal, South Africa, France, Morocco, Tanzania and Namibia, and written his own walking guides to Andalucia. Guy knows his mountains as well as most shepherds, and recently charted a new coast to coast walk, linking the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. His most valued possession: his walking boots.
Abigail lived in Hong Kong for three years from 1997, writing and editing books for China and Vietnam. She travelled around the region frequently, from weekends in Shanghai to months in Thailand. After editing books in Lonely Planet’s London office, she worked on their India, Rajasthan, Delhi & Agra, Portugal, Wales, Tunisia, Best of Rome, Africa on a Shoestring, Britain and England guides, as well as contributing to Out to Eat – London, the Gap Year Book, Code Green and the Africa Book. Other travel journalism has appeared in The Guardian, Marie Claire, Wanderlust, the LA Times, the Denver Post, Toronto Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle, and Sawdays guides. Having once spent the night in a yard with chickens and goats in Mauretania, writing for i-escape has introduced her to a new, wonderfully comfortable realm of travel.
Originating from Wensleydale in North Yorkshire, Jane graduated in Architecture from Oxford Poly, then lived 6 years in Split, Croatia, before moving to Athens, Greece. She has travelled extensively through the Balkans and has written about Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Greece for various guidebooks including Footprint, Insight and Fodor’s. She also writes occasional articles for The Observer and The Telegraph. She loves hiking, sailing, camping and drinking red wine, and has a special penchant for almost-impossible-to-get-to beaches. She speaks English, Italian, Croatian and Greek. For i-escape, Jane has reviewed hotels in Croatia and Greece.
While growing up in Cornwall, Lesley didn’t see much of the world beyond Daymer Bay and Bodmin Moor (her parents’ idea of long-haul was a trip to Somerset); and she didn’t board a plane until she was nearly 30. She’s been making up for it ever since, and when she meandered into a career in journalism (from art school to editing, via a succession of dead-end jobs) she decided to go freelance so she could travel whenever the mood, or the money, took her. Writing for the national press (The Guardian, The Telegraph and the The FT, among others), her specialist subjects are property, interior design and travel - a combination which perhaps explains her love of hotels. Aside from writing reviews for i-escape, she is currently researching a new guide book - to Cornwall.
Emily fell in love with travel at a young age when her parents took her to Paris for the day - it wasn’t the sights that did it for her, it was the strawberry ice cream. She spends all of her free time (and money) on exploring the world, and is often teased for seeking out ancient ruins to explore. She’s fallen in love with Rome, Santorini, Nice, Sardinia and many more, but a piece of her heart will always be in Portugal’s Eastern Algarve, which she visits several times a year. She decided she needed to travel more after studying English Literature and Theatre at university, and reading Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. A year's maternity cover in the editorial department here at i-escape has only cemented her conviction.
Abi gained her first taste of travel as a toddler when her globe-trotting parents took her interrailing around Europe, followed soon afterwards by a round-the-world tour. She has been exploring ever since, with recent highlights including monkey-watching in Japan, safaris in South Africa’s Karoo, crossing salt flats in Argentina, and travelling from Toronto to Vancouver by train in the footsteps of her Canadian grandmother. She studied French and Spanish at the University of Bristol (spending a year in Paris and Barcelona) and began her career in PR before deciding to put her love of travel - and writing about it - to good use as i-escape's Deputy Editor. After 7 years she left to focus on her interior design, travel and lifestyle blog These Four Walls, but she still loves checking out new hotel gems for us whenever she can.
Ever since interrailing around Europe aged 18, Liz has spent most of her free time and money travelling: she's backpacked around 6 continents and dreams of going to Antarctica but hates the cold. Highlights were island-hopping around the Caribbean, camel-trekking in the Sahara and trying to pitch a tent on Bolivia's salt plains. Liz spent over 10 happy years at i-escape HQ, where she rose to head the editorial team, writing newsletters, blogs and hundreds of hotel reviews. She still has a few travel dreams left in her locker, including a snowmobile tour of Spitsbergen in Norway to see its polar bears.
Melissa's taste for travel began during a month-long expedition to Malaysia; since then she’s taken every opportunity to discover pastures new. From babysitting lion cubs on a South African reserve and adrenaline-fuelled sports in New Zealand to trekking the Atlas Mountains and foodie pursuits across Europe. Having studied English Literature, she then joined i-escape's editorial team, working her way up to Assistant Editor, before embarking on a freelance writing career.
Glenda began her eclectic career in her native country of Canada, where she worked as a radio and television journalist in a range of jobs from news presenter to reporter to documentary producer to occasional weather girl! After a stint on the stage as an actress and a sojourn in the Caribbean performing live shows for corporate retreats, Glenda moved to London and entered the new media world. For 8 years she worked here at i-escape.com, handling bookings across Europe as well as writing our monthly newsletter and making trips to review hotels in Spain, Morocco, Greece, Amsterdam and the UK. In 2010-11, she and her husband Pete travelled the length and breadth of the Americas, updating our reviews and seeking out new gems.
Anna’s love of travel began at a young age on family holidays in Europe. Not keen on spending every day sitting on a beach, her parents combined sun, sea and sand with ancient ruins, mountain walks and city sightseeing. A field trip to New Zealand while she was studying Geography at Exeter University fuelled her desire to travel further afield: many short- and long-haul trips followed. After five years of managing projects at a content marketing agency and a sabbatical spent exploring California, New Zealand and Tokyo, Anna is combining her interest in marketing and social media with her passion for travel at i-escape.
Sarah de Vere-Drummond
Sarah has fond memories of growing up on the Caribbean island of Barbados - mostly in the sea with mask and snorkel, or on it with a board. Reluctantly, she moved to England to pursue a career in marketing - including 7 years as i-escape's own marketing manager - but always jumped at the opportunity to escape the British rain and visit hotels in more exotic climes. Highlights include trips along the Amalfi and Dalmatian coasts and, more recently, an epic trip taking in Sri Lanka, India, southeast Asia and Indonesia. It was this trip that sowed the seeds for her, in 2019, to start a new adventure living with her family in Sri Lanka, where she now works as a hotel marketing specialist.
Christabelle fell in love with Argentina - and an Argentine man - at 16, but had to leave true love behind when the Falklands war started. After acting at the National Theatre, making short films, and working at Channel 4 and the BBC, she returned 20 years later – and fell in love all over again. Endless overnight buses, an incident at 6,500m on Mount Llullaillaco, and even a series of unsuitable Argentine men did not dim her passion for the place. She travelled the entire country to write the Footprint guide, and of course to seek out the finest Argentine estancias for i-escape. We loved her writing so much, we then sent her to Chile, Stockholm and [pts:costarica:Costa Rica]. She now lives in Norfolk with her husband, son and their cat, and works as a scriptwriter.
After a degree in Social Policy, a gap year interrailing around Europe, a stint in a post production company, and a second gap year in Australia, Daisy finally realised that her real love has always been travel. So she got a job as a bookings consultant at a certain award-winning, Bristol-based boutique hotel website, where she spent 4 happy years helping people book their perfect hideaway, and reviewing new openings in Wales, Lisbon and France. We wish her luck with the next chapter!
Laura Dixon is a seasoned travel writer who has contributed to The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller, National Geographic Traveller and many more. In 2012 she won editorial freelancer of the year at the Southwest Freelancer awards. For i-escape, she helped us launch our kids collection in 2011, and has reviewed hotels in Sri Lanka, Scotland, Madeira, Iceland, Venice, France, Belgium and Catalonia.
A born adventurer, Nic's travels have taken her to more than 80 countries across 6 continents - mostly with the help of a big orange Land Rover. In between epic overland trips from Bristol to Sydney and Bristol to Cape Town, she studied French and Spanish and worked as a travel guide editor at Footprint for 8 years. Since then, her freelance career has seen her write and edit travel content for Time Out, Google, Bradt, Telegraph Travel, Sawday's, Explore and JLA - as well as a 6-month stint in the i-escape office. Nic still loves to travel and now drags her family on adventures with her, whether it's wild camping on Dartmoor, kayaking on the Isles of Scilly or heading round Iceland in a campervan.
Jo’s career has taken her from teaching 7-year-olds in Battersea to copywriting for Sawdays and i-escape. On the way she's written a guidebook to Cardiff, edited a listings magazines in Amsterdam, compiled the family pages for Bristol's Venue magazine, and taken time out to bring up two children and one small fluffy dog. As a child she was whisked off on train journeys to Finland, Scandinavia, Austria and France; later she lived with hippies in San Francisco and survived a heatwave in New York. Her favourite holidays are slow ones - a jaunt around Wicklow in a gypsy caravan, a week of gastropubbery in Suffolk.
On her tenth birthday Clare made a day trip to Boulogne, ate a cheese omelette served by a gentleman with a beret and has been hooked on France and its food ever since. She went on to study French and Spanish at Cambridge, worked in Paris as a Reuters correspondent, and wrote two guidebooks - on French Villas (Sawdays) and Normandy (Cadogan) - as well as co-authoring Lonely Planet’s Career Break Book. She has also travelled widely in South America, Spain and Greece, and is currently deputy editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, for whom she writes hotel reviews and edits the food and book sections. She also writes for BBC Good Food, BBC History and France Magazine, and for i-escape has reviewed hotels in France and Britain.
Nicolas’ closest brush with the travel bug was a cold he caught, aged 6, from the air-conditioning in the Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens. Unaccountably, life has since buffeted him from Hamburg, where he grew up, to London, where he studied, to Jeddah, where he was chief sub at one of the worst newspapers in the world, and finally to Bangkok, with regional detours motivated more by necessity than any curiosity about people and culture. Yet while nothing could improve his opinion of travel, the years did sharpen his eye for aspects of short-term rental accommodation that can make the ordeal more (and, crucially, less) tolerable. He is the author of the Saudi Arabia guide in the Culture Smart series and an editor with the Chosun Ilbo of Korea, a country he has no plans to visit. For i-escape, he has reviewed hotels in Thailand and Cambodia.
Having grown up in Somerset, Norm (which isn’t his real name, but that’s another story) spent time in Serbia, London and Cambridge before coming full circle and returning to his home county. It was whilst teaching English in Serbia that he fell in love with the Balkans and eastern Europe as a whole – so much so that he has since written Rough Guides to several places in the region (Budapest, Slovenia, Romania and Montenegro). He has also contributed to UK titles, including Scotland, Ireland and Wales. When not on the road or at his desk listening to Balkan gypsy brass, he can occasionally be seen erecting marquees on The Rec in Bath.
Joyce Copeland loves nothing better than bumping down an unpaved road to a unique hotel the rest of the world hasn’t yet discovered. She began her career as a writer and managing editor for Endless Vacation magazine, published by holiday exchange pioneer Resort Condominiums International. She veered off course during the 90s, writing marketing copy for Silicon Valley tech companies and authoring four career-related books. Today she works closely with Brand Tango, an award-winning marketing agency, writing copy on projects ranging from websites to corporate brochures and her feature articles appear in travel industry trade publications. Joyce's review trips for i-escape have included Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Morocco, Greece, Tuscany, Istanbul and California.
Belinda has been a passionate - if not particularly talented - skier for almost 20 years, ever since her first snowy foray to Serre Chevalier in the French Alps. Today there is barely a resort she has not visited nor a slope she has not swooshed down (speed rather than style being her forte), and she has reviewed many of her favourites in France and Switzerland for i-escape. Her love of travel has also led her to experience hot destinations, with recent adventures including a walking safari in Zambia, jet-skiing around Jamaica, a hardcore yoga retreat in Kerala, and scuba diving off the Great Barrier Reef. All of this makes her sound rather intrepid, but she remains at heart a devotee of luxury, lavish creature comforts and superb interior design.
While studying English Literature at the University of Bristol, Amie took her first steps in overseas travel, interrailing through 8 European countries and losing herself (literally) in the Medina in Fes, Morocco. She then embarked on a 3-month adventure through South East Asia - highlights included watching the sunrise over temples in Bagan, spotting crocodiles and orangutans in Borneo and exploring cathedral-like caves in Phong Nha, Vietnam - before returning to a variety of editorial and marketing roles, including a 2-year stint in i-escape's marketing team.
Emma has had a varied career, encompassing physical training and several years' work at i-escape, where she handled the UK portfolio and helped with reservations. Her love of travel has taken her from the vineyards of South Africa to the deserts of Namibia, and from the beaches of the Caribbean to the kitchens of Thailand. Her most recent review trips were to South Africa and Italy, two countries which she loves.
It was a cruise around the Med in her early teens which made Emily realise she could get used to a life of sunshine and café culture. At the age of 15 she upped sticks and moved to Dubai with her mum, spending the next few years studying at an international school and enjoying the delights of desert living. She returned to the UK to study events management at Leeds Metropolitan University, but after graduating (having realised that the world of events would leave little room for travelling), she left again to go backpacking. Highlights of her trip included Kho Tao and Kho Phi Phi in Thailand, Queenstown in New Zealand, and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. Since joining i-escape, Emily is finding it hard to choose where to go next, but her dream would be seeing polar bears in the Arctic.
Geographical expertise: Croatia, Turkey, Italy, Australia, Thailand
Viv Monahan is a freelance investigator, travel consultant and writer. Her two published novels, Dangerous Games and Storm Fever, which were written under her pen name, Vivien Leyland, feature exotic destinations as characters in their own right. With Masters Degrees in Philosophy and Spanish, Viv suffers from terminal itchy feet, a condition that, over the last decade, has been partially alleviated by frequent, long trips to Bali. After several years of being used as an informal travel consultant by various internet forums (and family members), Viv has sought out a collection of eclectic hideaways on small but beautifully formed islands and in Marrakech for i-escape. Thanks to two expensive language courses, she now speaks taxi-Indonesian almost fluently.
Cat began writing about travel and design for UK and Australian magazines over 15 years ago, whilst working as an architect in Sydney. It was a six month sabbatical from Richard Rogers that first gave her the travel bug, taking Cat through Asia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Japan, after which she settled in Australia for a few years. Now back in the UK, Cat continues to mix her two favourite things - architecture and travel: she runs her own private practice and freelances for i-escape, reviewing hotels in Jamaica, Mexico and the UK.
Caroline Sylger Jones has been a travel journalist and author for over 30 years. She is the founder of site Queen of Retreats, and the retreat editor of Psychologies magazine. Caroline is also a published poet.
Emma is a freelance writer specialising in travel, who ended up in Sri Lanka in 2003 after a year spent writing her way around the world. She has penned pieces on subjects as diverse as Honduran politics, the Bolivian pampas, scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, Sri Lankan ballooning and London’s Theatreland, and her work has been featured in Get Lost, High Life, The Sunday Times and Oryx. Emma is also the author of Culture Smart! Sri Lanka and co-author of The Asia Villa Guide, and regularly travels overseas on updating missions for Rough Guides; recent trips have included Australia, India, Hong Kong, Borneo and Cambodia. Emma frequently luxuriates in boutique hotels across Asia (all in the name of work) and has reviewed i-escape properties in India and her adopted home of Sri Lanka.
An award-winning photographer specialising in travel, reportage, portraits and weddings, Cathy gained an early appreciation of beauty growing up with artist parents in a Gloucestershire mansion. While reading English at Exeter University her maverick spirit led to a near-fatal Devon cliff fall, but she survived to forge a career as a freelance feature writer, editor and photographer, and in late 2013 set up Humans of London, celebrating the capital's diversity and humanity. Now blissfully Hastings-based, she has so far reviewed and photographed hidden oases in India, Sri Lanka and Italy for i-escape. You can view her portfolio here.
Rachael is a globe-trotter with a writing addiction. Her work as a travel journalist is published in newspapers, glossy magazines, inflight literature and travel guides internationally. Her byline appears regularly in the The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne, DestinAsian, Emirates / Etihad / Jetstar / Virgin inflights mags and more. She's also a corporate speaker, a media trainer, an author of two books and a contributor to three anthologies. Oh, and a prolific ski journalist. In fact, there's not much in the world of travel writing she doesn't do. For i-escape she has visited hotels in Australia and Cambodia.
Ben’s always had travel in his blood, thanks to mixed French-English parentage, as well as frequent (and fascinating) childhood holidays. He was only 12 when he first visited Kenya, and was fascinated by the wildlife. This led, via an overland trip from Nairobi to Cape Town in his gap year, to a Zoology degree, then a job at STA travel, followed by several happy years as Rates Manager in our own head office. He now lives in southern Spain with his partner, where he runs a boutique guesthouse - using all the expertise gathered from his trips and his i-escape insights.
When she was just 19, Sophie kick-started her passion for travel with a 6-month adventure around Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and USA. Highlights included island hopping in Fiji and snorkelling with (non-biting!) sharks. This convinced her to study Tourism and Hospitality at Plymouth University, during which she travelled whenever possible - everything from a month inter-railing around Europe to a luxury fam trip in the Maldives! After several years based in Bristol and working in our head office, Sophie moved to Devon, where she lives with her husband and their sausage dog, Seb.
After spending her teenage years in Prague, Charlotte spent two years living and working in Mexico and South Korea as an English teacher. She finally ended up at Bristol University and graduated in French and Spanish, having spent a year of her degree in Bordeaux and Mendoza (Argentina) getting to grips with the languages and the local wines. She spent several happy years in the i-escape office, putting her language skills to use and assisting with booking enquiries, before embarking on new adventures in Latin America and Bristol.
Clair's passion for travel goes back to age 19, when she worked her way around Australia, before journeying across Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and her all-time favourite destination, Laos. A decade of adventures later, Clair moved to Bristol where she honed her skills as a marketer and fundraiser in the charity sector, followed by a busy year in i-escape's head office sharing and sharpening her digital marketing know-how. She spends most of her spare time practising yoga, exploring South Wales, walking in the Brecon Beacons and visiting Newquay to spot dolphins.
Joe Cawley is a freelance travel writer and author based in the Canary Islands, published in The Sunday Times, Daily Express, New York Post and others. He's medically compelled to travel to alleviate sporadic bouts of island fever that leave him with a nasty rash and an uncontrollable urge to scream obscenities at the top of his voice. His first book More Ketchup than Salsa, about swapping life as a fishmonger in Bolton to be a British bar owner abroad, was voted 'Best Travel Narrative 2007' by the British Guild of Travel Writers. He likes the British Guild of Travel Writers. A lot. Joe is also the owner of local destination site My Tenerife Info.
As a young girl growing up in South East Asia, Emma soaked up as much information as she could about the many cultures that surrounded her. However, this thirst for knowledge simply kindled her curiosity about the seemingly infinite amount of the world she has yet to discover. So she diligently set about rectifying that. While studying journalism and public relations at university in Bristol, Emma did a stint in i-escape head office, as well as trips to Singapore and Italy, before moving to Berlin for adventures new.
An award-winning travel writer, content strategist and journalist, Antonia has contributed to (among others) The Guardian, The Times, Frommers, Sawdays guides and whatsonwhen.com, as well as helping launch The Observer travel supplement, 'Escape'. Her travels have taken her to Australia (where she didn't sleep inside for a month), France, Greece, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Brazil (where she rose to the challenge of reporting on the Carnival) and the US, wher she now lives. For i-escape she has reviewed hotels in and around New York.
Mary-Anne first travelled to India over 25 years ago, and fell in love with it immediately. Dozens more trips followed, then specialist roles at prestigious UK travel companies, before setting up her own Indian hotel representation business - MAhout - in 2000. Now considered one of the UK’s leading experts on India, she continues to root out the best new hotel openings and act as their ambassador in the UK. Needless to say, we (and you) hear about them first.
Yasmin Boland has been a full-time writer since she was 20 and is one of those Australians who lives by the maxim "have laptop, will travel". You'll find her either in Sydney or in Paris; or somewhere between the two. Besides staying at some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka and southern India on behalf of i-escape, she has written two books - a fun non-fiction called Cosmic Love and a novel titled Carole King Is An Alien - and contributed to She, Playboy, Elle, the Sydney Morning Herald and the London Evening Standard.
With a kaleidoscope of corporate gigs spanning over two decades, Maia has called Singapore, London, NYC, Toronto, Cape Town and San Francisco home and has travelled to 60+ countries. Moonlighting for i-escape, she loves meeting up with friends in far flung places to unravel quaint boutique gems, preferably those with a resident pooch and a mean cocktail list. Favourite destinations: NYC, Iceland and her friend's beach hut in Churchhaven, South Africa. Still on the wishlist: Slovenia, Bhutan, Madagascar.
Since studying in Togo and France, Emma has always been a bit restless. She has worked at the European Parliament and World Bank in Brussels, for the UN in Kenya, and for a London charity, before settling down for five years of economic and political analysis of Latin America and Asia. But aside from the occasional work trip to Mexico, China and Hong Kong the longed-for jet-set lifestyle eluded her so, after marrying her like-minded travel buddy Duncan, she jacked it all in to bum around Latin America, Australasia and South East Asia. With the notable exceptions of a stomach bug on the Inca trail and floods in Australia, they have loved every minute.
Living in the north of England, Helen appreciates the merest flicker of sunshine and doesn’t mind travelling big distances to find it. While she likes exploring a city’s nooks and crannies, she can also do lazy very well: hiking across hills or testing the softness of sand are both fine with her. She has written travel and hotel features for The Telegraph, Times, Sunday Times Travel Magazine, Guardian, Condé Nast Traveller and Sawdays guides.
Emilie has built a playground in Chile with Raleigh International, backpacked around Bolivia and Argentina, learned Spanish in Barcelona, interrailed through western Europe and taught tourism in Weston College near Bristol. In 2009, after 2 years handling i-escape enquiries in those regions, she travelled around Central and South America to visit charity projects, before settling on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, from where she creates amazing tailormade tours for i-escape guests.
Holly is a London-based travel and entertainment journalist and podcaster, whose weekly podcast The Travel Diaries has included such legendary guests as Sir Michael Palin, Rick Stein and Yotam Ottoloneghi. She is also a contributing editor of Country & Town House Magazine, including their annual Great British Hotels guide, and of Luxury Explorer. Her written work has appeared in The Times, The Guardian, The Telegraph, Condé Nast Traveller, Evening Standard, The Independent, Metro, The Week, Tatler, Brides, The Spectator and more; while her reporting has been aired on the BBC and on ITV’ (Good Morning Britain).
Sarah is from Austin, Texas - for her, "the greatest city in the greatest state in the USA"! But she also loves all things Hispanic, having lived in Madrid for 2 years, and travelled extensively throughout Spain, as well as Western Europe, Japan, Greece, Turkey, India and Mexico. She has an MA in Spanish from Bristol Uni, the city where she now lives. To escape the British weather, she's always looking for sunny places to kick back and relax. Favourite travel moment: watching the sunrise from the summit of Mt Fuji after an all-night climb.
At just 22, Charlotte won Vogue's Talent Contest for writing and traded in a round-the-world ticket for a full time job at the magazine. She moved to Harper’s Bazaar as Arts and Entertainment Editor, making the occasional trip to New York and LA to interview Hollywood stars (which was not, she admits, a hardship). In the meantime she continued to explore the world – Costa Rica, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, Australia, India - and somewhere along the way became an unofficial tour operator for her friends. After writing for The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Conde Nast Traveller, Charlotte re-joined Vogue in 2006 as a contributing editor, where she remains today. But she’s a gaiters and rucksack girl at heart - give her a tent under a desert sky over a five star resort any day.
Diana von Cranach
Diana calls herself an "Egyptologist, interior designer, hotelier and rawfully good chef", which pretty much sums up her multitudinous and quirky talents. To which we'd add "an occasional reviewer for i-escape in Asia" - she's checked out hotels in Singapore and Malaysia for us. And she could hardly be better qualified: Diana owns one of our all-time favourite hideaways, Puri Ganesha in Bali, and runs amazing raw food workshops and spice tours too. On that note, she's Cordon-Bleu trained and speaks 5 languages, including Indonesian (her husband is from Bali).
Kate must have caught the travel bug as a kid; though thoroughly American, she spent five of her childhood years living in various western European countries. She is now subjecting her own three children to the same fate. They lived five years in India - where Kate reviewed some knock-out properties for i-escape - and are now settled in Amsterdam. When she isn’t freelancing or making peanut butter sandwiches, Kate writes novels for young adults.
Jake spent over 13 years working in media in SE Asia, first as Editor of FHM Asia, then as Chief Copy Editor for China Daily newspaper in Shanghai, and finally as Editor-in-Chief of Time Out in Hong Kong, where he was awarded SOPA’s ‘Scoop of the Year’ for his interview with dissident Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei. Jake loves exploring far-flung islands and has worked as a news reporter in the Cook Islands, a travel writer in Tonga’s Vava’u islands, and a proofer in Fiji. His dream is to one day sail across the South Pacific – just as soon as he gets his seamanship sorted!
Back in 1992, Davina left the corporate world to embark on an adventure that began with smuggling a fax machine into Moscow and ended with a trek through the Andaman Islands dodging spears. On the way she helped Mongolian contraband dealers, hitched to Tibet courtesy of a lecherous Chinese truck driver, was wined and dined by the Minister of Tourism in India, met Bertolucci on the film set of Little Buddha and nearly died of altitude sickness. To get her breath back, she reviewed hideaways in [pts:SouthAfrica:South Africa] and the Caribbean for i-escape. Davina now makes a living as a spiritual healer and writer.
Melinda finally got her first passport as a 20-year-old journalism graduate and left the shores of her native Australia on a working holiday taking in Fiji, Mexico, the USA, Germany, Austria and much of Eastern Europe. After more than a year on the road, she washed up in the UK with a tattered backpack and not a penny to her name - and has been based there ever since. Over the last two decades, she’s built a career in television, directing and producing high-quality factual programmes for Channel 4 and the BBC, and lapping up the travel that goes along with it. She is currently working on an MSc and planning her next international adventure.
Since leaving her native UK in 1998, Samantha has lived in 7 countries and travelled to over 30 - from solo backpacking adventures to top-end travel agent familiarization and media trips. Her speciality is southeast Asia, including Vietnam (where she lived and worked for nearly 10 years) and Bali (where she now calls home). As a full-time travel writer and consultant, her titles include Vietnam (for Rough Guides), Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (for Insight and Luxe), Bali (Frommers) and southeast Asia (Rough Guides).
Meg's degree in English Literature and her love of surfing, combined with her work as an intelligence risk analyst and a screenplay script advisor, served her well when she and her photographer husband left the Middle East to scout the entire length of Brazil, checking out fabulous hideaways for us at i-escape on the way. Meg now owns a vintage poster gallery in the UNESCO world heritage-lauded Fort in Galle, from where she keeps us up to date on new openings across Sri Lanka.
Emma Love has been a freelance travel and lifestyle journalist for over 7 years, but the travelling bug struck long before that. Favourite countries she has visited include India, Brazil and Costa Rica; but on a summer's day, she is just as happy on a beach in Cornwall. She is a Contributing Editor at Conde Nast Traveller magazine and, for i-escape, has reviewed hotels in France, Vietnam and Jamaica.
Jenny has never found it easy to stay in one place for long. She grew up in Luxembourg and the UK, moved to New York for two years after university, before living briefly in Madrid and then London. After several years working there for Condé Nast Traveller and Time Out Guides, she packed her bags again and moved to Germany: first to Hamburg, and then Berlin, where since 2007 she has worked as a freelance translator, editor and writer. She loves nothing more than exploring new cities and going for long rambles in the English countryside.
After an extended stint in various corners of Latin America, Leon returned to London and to editorial jobs on various travel websites. His writing career was put on hold due to accidentally becoming a musician after joining a band. After the best part of a decade touring, he returned to the world of travel writing and – having stayed in more than he could remember – honed in on hotels. He has since reviewed over a thousand to date for all manner of online publications, and having upped sticks to Mallorca, he has also writes extensively about the island.
As a hotel insider for i-escape, Rachel likes unveiling the new and unique. After working as an editor for magazines and newspapers in Europe, she quit her desk job and set off to Asia and Australia, where she travelled - and was a general dogsbody - around Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and elsewhere. She edited and wrote about those countries for Time Out magazines and guides, CNNGo and Associated Newspapers, before returning to the UK to set up her own writing, PR and branding consultancy.
Lucy got the travel bug at university and spent a year at Berkeley in California as part of an exchange programme. It was a year of new experiences; her first camping trip in Yosemite and surviving an earthquake. After a few years working in London she got itchy feet again and quit her job to go backpacking round South America for a year. When she returned she landed her dream job on the travel desk of the Independent, but after eight years decided to go freelance, moving up to the Scottish Highlands. She now writes for newspapers such as the Guardian, Daily Telegraph and the Times, magazines from Conde Nast Traveller to Olive and has contributed to guidebooks on Scotland (Frommer's) as well as writing the last three Wallpaper* city guides to Edinburgh – her favourite city.
Shelley is a freelance journalist and author in Austin who has written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian and Texas Monthly, among others. She loves yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. Shelley has performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But she doesn’t know how to whistle.
After finishing university with a Masters in wanderlust (and, more officially, a degree in English), Kate spent years funding trips through soul-destroying jobs - until she realised that if she lived abroad, it would feel like a holiday every day. So she upped sticks to France, and is now settled in Paris, fluent in French and married to a Frenchman. Her travels have taken her across South and North America, the Middle East and Asia; but shamefully she has never been to Australia, despite the fact that her sister has been living there for over 10 years (it's next on the list!). For i-escape she contributes to the entente cordiale, reviewing hotels in France.
When Michael got his first credit card in college, he bought a plane ticket from New York to Mexico - and he’s hardly stopped since. After a stint as a copywriter at Reader’s Digest, Michael suffered a case of temporary insanity and bought a B&B in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country, before jumping ship to the Caribbean to manage an eco-resort (and pen a guidebook to the tiny island of Vieques on the side). Next stop was Singapore, where he mixed exploratory weekends around Southeast Asia (and hotel reviews for i-escape) with a directorship at a publishing company. He now writes and blogs from his home in Philadelphia, PA.
Jo is utterly fascinated by countries, cultures and food. She’d return to Rajasthan, Positano or Cairo, or travel solo around the world again, in a heartbeat. Current goal: travelling with carry-on baggage only. Jo worked in marketing agencies in London before setting up her own consultancy in Cape Town. A corporate comms strategist and writer, she’s also a travel and fine art photographer and has been published on National Geographic’s Intelligent Traveler website and several blogs.
Bilingual in French, and proficient in Spanish, German and Greek, Heidi has been living in and between these countries since 1988. She contributes regularly to magazines ranging from Real Travel and Easyjet Traveller, to the LA Times and Delta Sky. Recent trips have seen her blowing dust out of her brassiere in Dubai, having tea with Moroccan Bedouins, getting hopelessly lost in Montenegro, being pummelled by beefy masseurs in Istanbul and ending up, relatively unscathed, on Crete and Rhodes - where she has reviewed hotels for i-escape. Proud owner of a motorcaravan, she travels for six months of the year researching material for her features.
At the tender age of 18, during a tough 8-month challenge in Africa, Harriet caught not only the travel bug but also malaria. Undeterred, she has since backpacked the globe (Southeast Asia, Central America, Indonesia, Australia and Sri Lanka) with occasional stops at boutique hotels, courtesy of The Times, Time Out and i-escape.com, to satisfy her luxury cravings. Following their recent wedding, she and her husband embarked on a year-long trip around the world, encompassing the Americas, the Pacific islands, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, India and finally her favourite: Sri Lanka.
Rhiannon is a freelance journalist writing mostly on travel - with a penchant for community / green/ outdoor travel, plus anything with a hint of tartan! She is the author of "Higher Ground: How to Travel Responsibly Without Roughing It", which examines the impact of our obsession with travel, the up- and downsides of carbon offsetting and other schemes, and how best to make decisions about the regions you visit, the transport you take and the places you stay. For i-escape she has reviewed hotels in Scotland and northern England.
Rachel is a freelance writer and editor who divides her time between London and Athens. A regular contributor to Conde Nast Traveller, National Geographic Traveler, High Life, How To Spend It and Time Out guides, she has also written documentaries, screenplays, and comics. Her latest book, Secret London – An Unusual Guide, explores the hidden face of her home city.
Being half-Italian and having grown up in Indonesia, Italy, Brazil and England, Clemmy was always a bit of a nomad. But if home is where the heart is, then home is the whole of the South American continent. She has recently spent a year travelling around Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, updating guidebooks for Footprint and Rough Guides. She’s also worked as a content editor for Frommer’s Unlimited, and freelanced for magazines such as Food and Travel and Sunday Times Travel. She speaks five languages and loves to discover a destination through food. She’s currently pondering where life will take her next, but as she specialises in eco and nature travel, she’s hoping it will be the Galapagos Islands.
Claire is a travel writer, editor and photographer. She is a Cuba travel expert but, when not sampling mojitos and salsa-dancing around the island, she can be found exploring Guatemala, Vietnam, Laos and parts of Morocco. She has reviewed properties in Laos, Vietnam and Guatemala for i-escape.
Sarah cut her travelling teeth on InterRail, spending summers in France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Bitten by the travel bug, her trips gradually grew longer and more exotic, from two months exploring Turkey, to a year travelling from Mexico to Chile stopping off at most points in between. Now a freelance travel writer for Wanderlust, The Guardian and The Independent among other publications, her work has taken her from luxury beach lodges in the Indian Ocean to wooden huts in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
Kate is a specialist in Asia and Africa. She studied in Indonesia before living in India and then Laos, working for Audley Travel and Exotissimo along the way. She’s witnessed the great migration in Northern Tanzania, eaten with thousands of pilgrims at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, come face to face with a Komodo Dragon, trekked through the Himalayas, and seen blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka. When she has a free minute, she loves nothing more than taking photos, cooking, country walks and a trip to the pub.
A perpetual globetrotter in some 70 countries, Australian travel writer Lara Dunston and photographer-husband Terence Carter have authored over 50 guidebooks, including Dorling Kindersley, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Footprint, AA and Fodor's. As if that's not enough, they also shoot photos and films; their work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Wanderlust, The Independent, USA Today, the Sydney Morning Herald and BBC History. After a 2-year 'Grand Tour' of HomeAway properties, they finally settled in Cambodia, where they write their travel blog 'Grantourismo' as well as occasional guide- and cook books.
Having grown up in southern California, Emylou has fond memories of hot, dusty roadtrips to Mexico in the back of the ancient family campervan, bartering in Spanish from a young age and eating the local chilaquiles as soon as she could walk. Her lust for travel has continued to grow, and she's since completed 4 solo round-the-world trips (and countless mini-adventures), filling her passport completely by the age of 24. Highlights have included climbing temples in Myanmar, watching a solar eclipse from a raft on the Ganges, and narrowly escaping landslides in Guatemala.
Rupert is a British photojournalist and film maker with a passion for travel and a knack for hotel PR. After a decade working as a financial news reporter, covering energy, oil and mining in Latin America for FT Business and Platt’s, he moved to full time travel journalism and filmmaking. His work has featured in leading lifestyle magazines, travel guides, architectural journals, and articles on gastronomy and ecotourism in Spain, Portugal and Latin America. Over the past ten years he has worked out of Lima, Buenos Aires, Rome, London, Madrid, Barcelona and Seville. He is currently based in Lisbon.
Christianne lives and works in London where she is a communication coach and speechwriter. In a parallel world, however, she lives in beautiful hotels and travels the world, which is why working with I-escape is such a natural fit. Over the past 20 years she has visited Central and South America, Cuba, India, Sri Lanka, Africa, Vietnam and Australia; and lived for a while in Italy, which still makes her go funny in the head whenever she goes there. For i-escape, she has been to Rome, Vietnam and Sri Lanka and is currently plotting how to continue exploring with an opinionated young daughter in tow.
Laura is a freelance lifestyle and travel journalist who has been curiously exploring the world since she was caught trying to crawl out of cat flap at 9-months old. She spent several years in the Middle East, editing Business Traveller Middle East and contributing to in-flight magazines and Time Out guides, before moving back to Blighty. For i-escape, she has reviewed properties in Spain and Slovenia.
Rosanna took a break from her career as a food and drink editor to spend a year travelling around Asia and Europe. Highlights included Japan in the koyo season for the autumnal colours (and the karaoke); and climbing Iceland’s Kerið volcano, which felt like being on another planet. She then worked for a while in i-escape's editorial team, before moving to a new role editing B2B publications. Alongside her obsession with words and photos, her search for the next amazing adventure remains as strong as ever. Rosanna is most content when watching sunrise from a mountain-top temple, or sunset from the beach with a beer; or anywhere far from tourist crowds and selfie sticks.
Born in Hong Kong and raised across five continents, Saskia has long felt the pull of places new. Reading History at Cambridge, she revelled in exploring interests piqued by childhood memories of Asia. Food-filled Southeast Asian adventures and an extended European road trip preceded a serendipitous move to Sri Lanka in 2017. Falling for an island which conjured echoes of lychees gobbled on Mauritian family holidays and dances in steaming Vietnamese monsoon downpours, Saskia has now made her home on Sri Lanka’s palm-fringed south coast. When she’s not hyphenating adjectives to capture her latest travels, Saskia divides her time between sourcing antiques for her next interiors project and growing a sustainably focused T-shirt brand with friends.
Lucia is a communications manager, editor and NUJ-accredited photojournalist with over 20 years' experience of the media. With her comms hat on, she has worked with BBC Radio, the Environment Agency and the Department of Education, while her writing clients include the Financial Times, Guardian and Rough Guides. For i-escape, she kickstarted our Mexico portfolio back in 2002, before settling in Chichester.
Rachel is a Scottish freelance journalist who covers travel, society and culture for a variety of publications, with a particular interest in ethical and rights issues. She has strong connections with East Africa and was based in Zanzibar for several years, where she got a taste for taarab music, the smell of fresh cloves and snorkelling with squid.
Gemma has been crazy about Africa since she was old enough to play with her first cuddly lion toy. She took off for the Dark Continent at the age of 17, and spent the best part of the next ten years vagabonding through Eastern and Southern Africa, writing Lonely Planet guidebooks and coffee table books to Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique and Madagascar - plus a few reviews of safari lodges for i-escape. These days she's a freelance travel writer/photographer based in Sydney.
Robyn used to be an adventure guide before she lost a member of her tour in a jungle in Costa Rica for 24 hours. She also walked an entire herd of hapless tourists into the middle of a gun-toting drug cartel on the border of Guatemala and Mexico. She’s tried to get a Botswanan elephant drunk on marula fruit, experienced three natural disasters in one week in Nicaragua and driven a NASCAR in Tennessee. These days she’s a freelance travel writer and likes things a little slower, with a slice of lemon... things like Tuscan villas, Parisienne pied-à-terres and South African wine farms, for example!
Sue’s yearning for travel began with the Ladybird books to India and Australia (she still remembers how to escape a bush fire). She went round the world in her gap year and has been travelling, writing and photographing ever since. She wrote the biennial Courvoisier’s Book of the Best, a global guide to superlative hotels and restaurants, and has written travel articles for The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Conde Nast Traveller and BA Highlife. An Indian sojourn led her to found the charity Jaisalmer in Jeopardy, to save the fortress city in Rajasthan, while travels in Nepal led her to co-found the charity Asha Nepal, adopt her daughter, and embark on a documentary film, I Am Belmaya.
Emmanuela grew up in Greece - her mother is Greek, her father English - before moving to the UK to study Events Management at Plymouth University. After an inter-railing trip around Europe (in which she visited 10 countries!), and a stint in corporate travel management, she joined the team at i-escape to work in the Rates & Distribution team - a perfect role for a methodical, number-crunching perfectionist like herself. She now works in the fast-moving world of recruitment, which she loves. At the weekends Emmanuela is a budding mixologist and enjoys concocting new cocktails - with "mixed success", to borrow her own pun. She’s also a keen music fan, and loves attending live gigs in her hometown Bristol. She still loves to explore the Greek islands and mainland.
Liz attributes her inherent wanderlust to an enviable childhood spent in South East Asia, South America and the Caribbean. After a stint at the BBC she worked for a while as Promotions Editor for Conde Nast Traveller, which took her to some of the finest hotels around the world. This led her to a round-the-world trip from Patagonia to Mongolia, and then on to teaching. For i-escape she has reviewed island hideaways in the Maldives and magnificent haciendas in Chile.
Ros divides her time between Sicily and Cornwall and is the author of several guidebooks to Italy and Mediterranean Europe, including the Rough Guide to Italy. She has made TV and radio programmes for the BBC – highlights were eating snake in Shanghai, sharing snails with the founder of Slow Food and climbing a live volcano. Fascinated by landscape and mythology, Ros is currently investigating the theory that Homer was a Sicilian woman, in between teaching creative writing to university students.
Michelle has lived a nomadic lifestyle ever since leaving Scotland for London at the age of 19. During her degree course in Spanish and Latin American Studies, she taught English to Spanish students in Murcia and travelled by bus from Mexico City to Guatemala, Belize and the Yucatán. A career with British Airways followed, the highlight of which was the opportunity to fly as a courier on board Concorde. With her husband’s job taking the family stateside, Michelle then lived in Orlando and Phoenix, before returning to Scotland for an MA in Television Fiction Writing.
Gail is a travel writer and journalist specialising in ethical travel and the Middle East. She has written for The Observer, Telegraph, Guardian, Sunday Times, Independent, Wanderlust and CNN Traveller. After a Masters degree in Medieval Studies, Gail lived in a medieval Cumbrian castle, listed historic buildings for English Heritage and led walking trips in Europe & the Middle East. She's now studying for a PhD in Creative Writing, and tutoring Cambridge University's online writing course.
James' impressive CV covers editorial directorships at both Time Out and the travel start-up Secret Earth, as well as content production at tech giant Moravia, and copy editing at Cadogan Guides and Minerva Press. But of course we like to think it all started when he visited Amsterdam and Prague for i-escape, way back in 2004-5. Our portfolios in those cities have evolved somewhat, but his writing and insights remain spot on.
Abi embarked on her first big travel adventure at the age of 19, when she backpacked around Southeast Asia, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South America. Even whilst studying history at Cardiff University, she managed to fit in a hitchhiking trip all the way to Morocco. After 6 years working for food and drink clients at communications agencies in London, Abi joined our marketing team, helping with our newsletters and social media coverage, as well as reviewing hotels for us in UK, South Africa and Morocco.
Sam first fell in love with travel while road-hopping on both coasts of the USA. He's since gone on to explore 17 countries across 3 continents. Whether living with a family in Tanzania, hiking the Cinque Terre or paragliding in Nepal, it's all about finding a unique experience. One of those led him to i-escape HQ, where as Head of Marketing he found new and inventive ways to create a travel buzz - even in the midst of a pandemic. He is now bringing his marketing expertise to the recruitment sector.
Born in Cape Town, Meg has always answered the ocean’s call, swapping the UK for Australia, where she trained for her Divemaster. Later, driving New Zealand's North and South islands, she developed a passion for “The Road Trip” and ended up crossing Europe and Central Asia all the way to Mongolia. On her first trip to India, her life changed course again and, in 2013, she moved to New Delhi, from where she runs her own hotel blog and consultancy service.
Olivia’s love of travel stems from family holidays in Europe as a child, and a trip to Japan at the age of 18. This was cemented during her university degree in French and German, when she spent a winter visiting as many Christmas markets as possible in northern Germany, and a summer in Bordeaux working in a wine museum. A stint in i-escape's Rates Department made the most of her combined skills in languages and maths, before moving on to become Global Sales Manager at a software company.
Yorkshire-born Emma has made a career out of hunting down amazing places to stay, eat, drink and sleep. She wrote and edited numerous travel and lifestyle guides during five cocktail-fuelled years at Time Out, before leaving to freelance and argue about broccoli with two small children. Finishing her first novel remains at the top of her To Do List while she’s busy writing for publications including Smallish, Metropolitan, This is Your Kingdom and the Guardian. For i-escape she has revealed all sorts of top secret information about Skiathos, much to the annoyance of her Greek mother-in-law.
Lyndon has a passion for language, landscapes and good food, and the list of places he hopes to explore gets longer by the day. After completing his master's degree in English Literature at York University, Lyndon worked as a marketing assistant at i-escape HQ for a while, before moving to senior marketing roles at Triodos Bank and Together for Short Lives. To keep his wanderlust whetted, he helps edit the lifestyle, culture and adventure magazine Another Escape
Lisa is a London-based freelance photographer and travel writer who was a founding member of i-escape, visiting and photographing many of the 300 places with which we launched back in 2001. She specialises in adventure travel, as well as skiing, luxury travel and aid projects. Lisa produces photos, videos and articles for a variety of companies and media outlets, including The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Guardian, American Express Centurion and Tourism Australia. She has visited over 65 countries, and covered subjects as diverse as searching for Jaguar on horseback in Brazil, big cats of Namibia, the Australia Way route (Broome to Darwin), Land Rover G4 Challenge Mongolia, becoming a stockwoman in Australia and heli-skiing in Canada. She was recently featured in the book Modern Muse, a project that reaches out to young women inspiring them to look at business careers as a way to achieve their dreams - see her website.
Stuart and Britt Pearce
Stuart is a photographer and global nomad who moved from the UK to Mallorca with his parents when he was just 8 years old. He lived for a while in London and Los Angeles before returning to the island to pursue his photographer career with his wife Britt Rohde. Over the last 20+ years they have built up a highly successful business, ranging from travel photography to yachts, interiors and lifestyle shoots. He has absolutely no connection with the footballer of the same name who infamously missed a penalty in the 1990 World Cup.