Location: Bahia, Brazil
In one line, what makes you a PUREist?
I’m insane enough to take six years building an eco-luxury eight suite hotel, lodged between deserted beach, jungle, deep Atlantic forest and fresh water lagoon… That looks like a Butterfly from above.
Tell us your story – how did you get where you are today?
At 23 I was a nurse in London working in children’s brain surgery. One early morning, after a long night shift I got home feeling slightly broken. Whilst snacking on nuts on my world map kitchen table, I closed my eyes and tossed a nut up in the air. I vowed wherever in the world it landed, I would go. It landed where my hotel now stands. I put my house on the market the next day and bought a one-way ticket to Brazil. I went to the peanut in northern Bahia and bought a small piece of land. Whilst building the hotel over six years, I spent many nights camping on the beach so I could be up at dawn to start work again. It was a crazy time but I now look at my beautiful property and feel very proud of what I and my wonderful daughter have achieved.
Can you share with us your single most life-enriching experience
Chucking my peanut!!!!!
What does the term ‘experiential travel’ mean to you?
Experiential travel is about creating unforgettable memories. No matter if you spend a week with an indigenous tribe, come face to face with a polar bear or simply experience a destination and its beauty as a local would… “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” – Henry Miller
“I closed my eyes and tossed a nut up in the air. I vowed wherever in the world it landed, I would go.”
Describe your ideal client: how do they approach travel?
We tend to attract people who have travelled a lot in their lives and seek something luxuriously simple in stunning nature – a deserted 50km beach, a trek through the jungle, snorkelling and a picnic at one of the best snorkelling spots in Brazil lazily followed by a bike ride home along the beach, fresh oysters from our oyster farm, organic fruit and vegetables grown on an island we own, surfing lessons, kayaking in a fresh water lagoon or simply having a romantic dinner on a sand bank – one of few places in the world where on full moon you can watch the sun set and the moon rise at the same time.
What made you decide to join PURE Life Experiences and how has doing so benefitted your business?
It has been crucial to our business. Butterfly House only opened in March and with the help of Katy McCann from Suite DNA (www.suitedna.com) and Daisy Bird (www.birdpr.com) we’ve been successfully leaking word out about the property both in the UK and US. PURE was the icing on the cake – we made invaluable contacts (the right kind of contacts!) and friends who will help make Butterfly House a success. We were over the moon that everybody seemed to love my labour of love – we will be forever grateful to PURE and we look forward to next year!
What role do you think PURE has to play in the high-end experiential travel industry?
We didn’t meet one person at the event who didn’t think it was a raving success. What an interesting show with such a close-knit group of fascinating people. We were very proud to be a part of it – experiences have such a big part to play in the high-end travel industry of today. It is a great way to enable travel designers, tour operators and DMCs to present these wonderful hotels and unique experiences to the world.
What other brands and companies in high-end experiential travel do you admire the most?
We love Rich Hallam from Marine Conservation Expeditions. How many people stare with awe at Richard Attenborough’s documentaries? Film producer, Rich, gives you the opportunity to be a part of your own documentary. Simply let him know where you would love to truly discover in the world and he will make it happen in the most magical way. This has to be the definition of experiential travel.
If there were one thing you could change about the travel industry, what would it be?
Tourism has had a hand in ruining some beautiful places in the world – we need to protect it or develop sites in a sustainably conscious way. There aren’t many places left in the world that can still boast a 50km deserted beach that sits at my front door and long may it continue!
Finally, who is your experiential hero?
I would say my own team – I wouldn’t be where I am now without the invaluable support and confidence they have given me to enter the experiential arena. Aside from this, I don’t have a specific hero – we met so many inspiring people and companies at the show. Those who dedicate their lives to preserving and conserving the planet certainly rank highly. I loved Ralph’s story from Jack’s camp in Botswana, dating back generations, he grew up with the local tribes and shaman. This has to have an effect on the people lucky enough to visit his lodges and camps. How to get to the heart of Africa!
“(At PURE) we made invaluable contacts (the right kind of contacts!) and friends who will help make Butterfly House a success”
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