“I didn’t expect the emotional impact that travel can have on people, whether on a couple, an individual or a family,” she says. “It’s been really satisfying and I’m grateful to have the work that I have.”
A glance at her CV makes it easy to understand why the question would give her pause. A former B&R guide and European hotels director, she’s spent 17 years with B&R facilitating memorable experiences. As a Trip Designer based in Milan, Georgia draws on her years of expertise to craft memorable—and often emotionally impactful—experiences.
“With Bespoke, it’s very personal, which makes it very different each time,” she says. “So I’m thankful that I have the past experience of being a guide because I can take that into the Bespoke planning. I always appreciate the opportunity to get very creative with them while allowing them to guide that planning process.”
As a columnist for The Slow Road, Georgia draws upon her experience as a guide, a hotel expert, an Italian resident, a trip designer and, above all, a facilitator of fun.
I didn’t expect the emotional impact that travel can have on people.
Years in Travel Business: 19 years on a full-time basis; working in hotels since 1986
Years with B&R: 17 (yikes!)
Countries/Regions of Expertise: Italy (Piemonte, Lakes area, Veneto, Dolomites, Cinque Terre, Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia, Amalfi Coast, Sicily) and France (Burgundy, Provence)
Countries visited: Austria, Australia, Barbados, Bahamas, Bulgaria, England, Ireland, Fiji, Puerto Rico, Poland, Hungary, Germany, Monaco, Netherlands, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Spain, Switzerland, Slovenia, Indonesia, China, New Zealand, Morocco, Egypt, Singapore, Turkey, Israel, Greece
Countries lived in: Italy (currently), France, Switzerland, Canada, USA, Australia
Trips planned: 145 Private trips, 20 B&R Published trips
Q&A with Georgia
What’s your favourite trip you’ve ever taken?
A romantic giro d’Italia (Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Dolomite mountains and Lake Como) led by a former B&R Italy Trip Planner (who now happens to be my husband), who hooked me on all things Italian.
Favourite hotel in the world?
A challenge, as there are so many fab spots that my work has led me to. Stand out: Villa Tre Ville – maestro Franco Zeffirelli’s former home, discretely situated at the water’s edge outside Positano, on the Amalfi Coast.
Favourite restaurant in the world?
In general, trattorie with mama in the kitchen and no printed menu. Specifically, D’O, Davide Oldani’s Cucina POP restaurant.
What’s the top destination you haven’t been to, but want to visit? (And why?)
Norway’s arctic Lofoten and Svalbard Islands . . . time to expand my horizons.
How did you get started with the company
A school friend (and former B&R guide) encouraged me to apply for what I expected would be a one-time summer job. That was 17 years ago…
Everyone at B&R has their fair share of wanderlust. When/how did you first get bit with the travel bug?
When I was 11 years old my grandfather had a two-year work contract in Indonesia which inspired a family trip to Java, but also Hong Kong and Singapore. The local experience in Bandung was unforgettable and exposed me to a previously inconceivable world. That deep cultural immersion paired with stays in hotels such as the Peninsula Hong Kong during the same trip, offered an early introduction to exceptional hospitality as well as the thrill of being well outside your comfort zone in a foreign land.
After 17 years, you’ve worked with George Butterfield a lot. Do you have a favourite story/moment?
Watching George sabre an enormous bottle of champagne (Balthazar, I think) at B&R’s 30th anniversary celebration.
What’s your preferred method for immersing yourself in a country or region?
Ideally, finding locals ahead of the travels to set the trip framework in place. (I’m guilty of being a somewhat obsessive planner.)
What’s the best meal you’ve ever had? (And where was it?)
How to choose!? Most recent best meal was in a tiny alpine hut in the Dolomites earlier this month. I arrived by horse-drawn sled to a cozy cabin serving 18 diners a gastronomic menu of Michelin-star calibre fare, with exceptional wines from small producers in the Trentino region. Magic.
Favourite bottle of wine?
All those enjoyed in the company of truly great friends.