Travel Album

A sense of place

Issue 2 · Summer 2015

The hotelier and designer Olga Polizzi celebrates the places, experiences and memories that have shaped her approach to travel

my childhood holidays

We were six children and we travelled with my parents and my grandfather. We had to be dressed smartly and none of us was allowed to carry anything by hand. My father ran the catering at the airport, so we always arrived in time for lunch there and we all had to eat the same thing – no messing about!

scent of a woman

My favourite perfume without doubt is Cosmic by Solange.

flavours of childhood

Tomato sauce on the stove takes me back to my father’s village up in the hills not far from Rome, where my aunt Pace cooked us endless delicious meals.

my go-to accessory

I have hundreds of necklaces – I only like big and bold, which can make any dress more glamorous.

transforming tresanton

Tresanton [Polizzi’s privately-owned hotel in Cornwall] is a seaside hotel. All the rooms have sea views. Antique furniture with glittering chandeliers or gold leaf would look out of place – painted furniture, blues, greens and yellows work well, as does local art and tongue-and-groove panelling.

a recent favourite

Transylvania in Romania was a revelation – I would love to go back. It was wonderful walking through the flower-strewn meadows with herds of horses and flocks of sheep, and passing through small villages.

what i bring home

I always bring back lovely locally-made fabrics, baskets, necklaces – the usual.

checking in

I like small quirky hotels like Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, or the less small and quirky Splendido in Portofino, which has the best swimming pool in the world. I also love the Hotel de Russie because it has the most peaceful and romantic garden right in the centre of Rome.

favourite city

I love Berlin – it’s a great city. Hotel de Rome, a Rocco Forte hotel, is in the perfect location for seeing all the important sites. It’s a strong classical building, which in its severity allows a contemporary interior reflecting the buzz, youth and glamour of Berlin. The hotel is within walking distance of Museum Island which is one of the most exciting museum complexes in the world, particularly the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum. in particular.

travelling light

I try to only take hand luggage and plan ahead so as not to over-pack. My hairdryer and my own creams are a must, as are a comfortable pair of shoes for tramping around the hotel and a big necklace to jolly things up.

design philosophy

Whether I’m designing one of my own hotels or one of our Rocco Forte properties, I start with the location and style of the building. I get to know the city and read its history. My design approach aims for comfort. I like incorporating different eras and styles of furniture and objects. I now like vibrant colour, which makes a change from the greys and beiges I used in the past.

a family affair

I can’t seem to get rid of my family! They still come on holiday with me. When the girls [TV presenter Alex Polizzi and her sister Charlotte] were small I used to go on holiday with my parents. They would stay in a hotel (one of ours) and then would rent a house for all of us, so they could get away when they had had enough of us!

art scenes

I like using local art in all of our hotels, to continue the feeling of the city. Hotel Amigo in Brussels has artwork by Magritte and subtle references to Art Nouveau throughout, and Brown’s Hotel in London has works by Peter Blake and Bridget Riley. I love wandering around the shops and fairs and buying things that catch my eye – it’s the best bit. Brussels is a particularly good hunting ground.

Credits: Corbis, Getty Images, Peter Horree/Alamy

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