Jewellery designer Monica Vinader reveals her travel inspirations, from stone-buying trips in India to her favourite Mexican hotel
I love Marrakech. I first travelled there when I was 18. I went from the city to Ouarzazate and Zagora, down the amazing Drâa Valley, which has incredible kasbahs. It was an unforgettable trip. I’ve been so many times since – each time I feel like I discover something new. I admit I always dedicate some solid shopping time, and on my last trip I bought some beautiful carpets from one of the most interesting dealers in town, who works by appointment only.
When it comes to hotels I’m quite fussy, as I used to be in the hotel business. I always look for great service and a simple aesthetic. One of my favourite places is Hotel Esencia in Tulum – it ticks all the boxes, including a gorgeous beach.
I stayed recently at the Mandarin Oriental in Marrakech, which has amazing service. But the best thing was having our own private riad with pool, set in gardens. A real retreat from the hectic streets of the medina.
My favourite travels are with my husband and daughter. For us, there’s nothing better than a trip to Mexico, where we combine days on the beach with visits to Mayan ruins, colonial towns like Merida, and museums – Mexico City’s archaeological museum is a favourite. It’s filled with Aztec and Mayan wonders.
I’m very careful with the sun, so if I go to the beach I’ll always bring a hat and a tube of La Roche-Posay sunblock. I always take my Havaianas, and I love Ancient Greek sandals, paired with Lemlem cover-ups to slip on for lunch. On long-haul flights, I always take a big cashmere scarf – I buy them via friends in Jaipur who have the softest, lightest scarves.
As a child we spent a lot of summers in Biarritz in France, staying at the grand Hôtel du Palais, which is right by the beach. I still love it there. We still shop in the same bakeries and bring back the same espadrilles and Basque linen from Jean Vier. We took my parents and family for Dad’s 80th last year and it’s great to share with my daughter and niece the same things my sister and I enjoyed when we were little.
I love Mexican tacos. If you know which street vendors to go to they can be amazing. There’s a speciality called Tacos al Pastor – delicious, and the best hangover cure after a night of tequila and dancing.
I buy and cut all my stones in India, where I’ve been going for years. I adore the colours of Jaipur and what people wear – it’s so uplifting. Bar Palladio is great for drinks and supper and I love staying at Samode Haveli, a beautiful traditional mansion that feels like a real oasis in the city. I always try to discover something new – once I managed to arrange a visit to the Jal Mahal (Water Palace) in Jaipur, which is not generally open to the public.