I interviewed Cleo Anderson, a world-class luxury travel expert and owner of The Anderson Media Group, an award-winning luxury PR agency. Cleo shared her travel experiences and insights on hotel design, service, and more throughout the interview.

Molly Schofield: Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about your PR agency.

Cleo Anderson: I founded the award-winning luxury lifestyle PR agency The Anderson Media Group. We work with standout brands in the luxury lifestyle space, from gourmet foods to luxury hotels and resorts. I’m also the host and Executive Producer of a luxury travel show, Wanderluxe, with Cleo Anderson.

MS: You are known for being an expert in luxury and travel. How do you define luxury travel?

CA: Luxury travel takes you out of your everyday life and on a delicious journey through wherever you are visiting. There is an element of being lost in what feels like a dream if luxury travel is done right. This could be due to the location itself, with amazing views and backdrops, or the excellent curation of an experience by the hotel or resort. For me, luxury travel ultimately centres around the guest. Does the attention to detail feel personal? Do you feel heard and seen by your host? Has thought been put into your experience? All these things factor into luxury travel, which is done right in my mind.

MS: What advice would you offer to hotels looking to create that ‘luxury’ experience?

CA: It’s all about the guest. The tiniest things can either make the guest feel ‘seen’, or alienate a guest. It’s for the hotel – and, most importantly, its staff – to understand this fully and be self-aware enough to deliver on that. This can mean anything from providing something special that the hotel knows the guest personally likes – for example, a gift like chocolates – to making meaningful eye contact with a warm smile. Guests can feel what is genuine, and what is not.

MS: When you visit a hotel for the first time, what do you look for in terms of service, design, and quality?

CA: Well, it always starts with a genuinely warm welcome. That is something that kicks off the experience in a positive way. I’m always blown away by a beautiful lobby or a charming view that lets you know exactly where you are; something that reflects the country, island or city in some way. The design should also reflect this in some way. Ultimately, though, the service stays with you – were the people you interacted with kind and genuinely interested in ensuring you had a memorable stay? These are the things I ponder long after I have left a place, and these are the things that I think about when considering whether I will ever return to that place.

MS: Finally, you have travelled to some of the most amazing places in the world – which places stay in your mind the most?

CA: The George V in Paris stands out to me for service. I spent a landmark birthday there with a group of girlfriends some time ago, and the attention to detail by the staff was at the next level – from the very warm, welcoming service to the server at breakfast, remembering how I like my eggs in the morning. The Four Seasons understands the concept of the guest feeling ‘seen’. I recently stayed at the Bvlgari Hotel in Bali and loved how the design of our villa was very clearly Balinese – there was a wonderful sense of place being there, and again, the service was marvellous. Anantara’s Qasr Al Sarab stands out in my mind for the sheer beauty of the design and the beautiful desert views – it’s simply stunning. I also love the Hotel Bel-Air for its discreet inconspicuousness. They know how to do private luxury just right. Consequently, as a result of having experienced what makes the luxury experience at a hotel memorable, we will soon be offering consultation.

Interview by Molly Schofield,

Senior Publicist

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