Mercer Hotel in New York gets a thumbs-up from the jewellery designer, Jade Jagger, for its hospitality and cosy green environment.
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OT: What does a holiday mean to you?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: It’s family time, always. Before my daughter was born, Abhishek (Bachchan) and I would take a lot of holidays; now Aaradhya is my constant travel companion. Travelling is an integral part of my job and I love it! Abhishek and I love flights: we’re psychotic that way.
OT: Your most favourite places in the world?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: I’m very quick to feel at home in any place. So, don’t even get me started on my favourite places! (laughs) South Africa has a special place in my heart. When I went there for the Miss World pageant in 1994, I realised I’d be away from everyone for a month. I had this sense that my life was going to change and it did! Immediately after that, I went to London, to spend a year there as Miss World.
Dancing atop the Great Wall of China for Jeans was an unusual experience. In fact, I owe it to (director) Shankar, who has made me see parts of the world that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Machu Picchu, for instance, where we shot for Robot.
Visually, I loved Tunisia and Slovakia while shooting for The Last Legion. I was bowled over by Tunisia’s spectacular beauty. The places were quaint and simple. Slovakia was familiar because I’d been to Prague. It’s amazing how a place can be so cold and yet so green.
OT: What do you do in a place that you haven’t been to before?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: I’ll go out and experience a place. I love walking: that way, you feel the pulse of the place, get to connect with the people and the culture. Yes, I’m recognised anywhere, and I’m responsible about it, but I don’t mind it. People come up to shake hands or bless me.
OT: Do you remember your first overseas trip?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: I must have been eight; my dad was a marine engineer, and we went to Japan. Travel was a way of life for us and often we had our bags packed permanently.
OT: How is travelling different now?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Everything is rushed. Everything is a 14-hour or 18-hour flight to ‘just an overnighter’; I do it so often and there are always commitments to juggle.
OT: What do you bring back from your holidays?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: Memories, lots of them! Friends for a lifetime and, sometimes, clothes and lots of toys for my daughter! Occasionally, I pick up quirky things such as feathers and curios.
OT: What places would you like to visit?
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan: I would like to go to the polar regions once Aaradhya is a little older.
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