Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Heather Ashton
Occupation: Interior Designer
Hometown: My hometown is Gainesville, FL , but NYC is where I really I grew up.
Residence: Los Angeles, CA
College: University of Florida…GO GATORS!
College major: Building Construction
Short bio: Heather Ashton is an interior designer and Principal of Los Angeles-based Heather Ashton Design. She has been focused on creating beautiful and functional spaces for over a decade. After a short time in fashion working for Calvin Klein under Carolyn Bessett-Kennedy, she began her interiors career working for Andre Balazs and overseeing The Standard Hotel, Hollywood’s Purple Lounge Project under Shawn Hausman. Heather then spent many years working with award-winning designer Mary McDonald before serving as lead designer on Palihouse Holloway Hotel in West Hollywood. Soon after, she joined Evan Cole’s visionary venture H.D. Buttercup as Creative Director overseeing all aspects of design, construction and merchandising for both the LA and San Francisco stores and sourcing unique product from all corners of the world. She most recently completed the renovation of the restaurant at the famed San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Other past projects include The Spyder Club, Privilege Nightclub and Tasca Wine Bar as well as consulting with Ace Gallery.
How often do you fly? When I was the Creative Director at H.D. Buttercup, I was in the air more than I was on the ground….and I loved it. Now I travel as often as possible, usually once a month to keep the design inspiration fresh.
How many countries have you been to? 15
How many continents have you been to? 4
Earliest travel memory: When I was about 7, my father moved to Denver from Florida and I would fly alone to visit him in the summers and at Christmas. It was so great back then, because the flight attendants were so sweet and would let me pretend to help them. They always took great care of me and really set off my love of getting on a plane and the adventure it promises.
Favorite American city: New York. A quick trip—just wondering the streets—always yields great design sources just walking the streets, but I love International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in May too…also a great time of year weather-wise to be there!
Favorite international city: Paris. I love the design shops in the 7th Arrondissement, especially on the Rue Jacob. I really was inspired by the atmosphere at Beaux-Arts and Belle Epoque Restaurant/Bar for The San Francisco War Memorial Opera House project this summer. I also make Maison et Objet my big work excuse to be there twice a year.
Least favorite country: I have had great experiences in all of my travels. India was challenging, but still amazing and I can’t wait to go back.
Country with the meanest immigration officers: USA
Favorite World Heritage Site: The Acropolis of Athens, Greece.
Favorite airline(s): Emirates
Favorite aircraft type: G5 of course!
Aisle or window: Window. I like to lose myself in the clouds.
Best flight attendant you’ve ever had: The ones that took care of me when I was a kid traveling alone. Lately, I noticed that the Aegean flight attendants are pretty glamorous!
Favorite airport lounge: First Class lounge in Dubai. Veuve Clicquot and filet mignon!
Favorite U.S. airport: Terminal 2 at SFO. There is a great wine bar, a Cat Cora Restaurant, and the best brick oven pizza and cupcakes at the Ferry Building-inspired eatery. But my dream favorite is the TWA terminal JFK that Eero Saarinen designed if I ever got to experience it…that would have been amazing.
Favorite international airport: Orly in Paris. Love the glass ceilings and weird escalators.
Favorite hotel: Hotel Costes in Paris. I love the design and the dark sexy vibe by Jacques Garcia, one of my all time favorite designers
Favorite cruise line: I have never been on a cruise. I like to get to my destination and explore it fully.
Favorite travel credit card: United Chase Explorer Card. It’s really easy to accrue miles and no foreign transaction fees.
Favorite island: Hydra, Greece. No cars! It’s so beautiful and old world.
Favorite beach: Tulum, Mexico. I have spent the last 6 birthdays in Tulum. It’s now a tradition.
Favorite fancy restaurant: The Four Season Restaurant in New York…Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson timeless perfection
Favorite hole–in–the–wall: Milano’s in New York on Houston Street. Best jukebox ever.
Favorite bar: The Mandrake in Culver City. Because of all the art galleries nearby, it attracts a really creative crowd and the occasional art star to gawk at.
Favorite fruit: Bananas.
Favorite food: French—are you sensing a theme here?
Least favorite food: I don’t really like fish. But, I’m always open to trying new things.
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): On the ground: margarita; in the air: champagne
Favorite travel movie(s): Planes, Trains and Automobiles..seriously, can’t get enough. A Little Romance is so great, too. Everyone should re-see that film.
Favorite travel show(s): I’ll follow Anthony Bourdain anywhere.
Favorite travel book(s): I’ll read Anthony Bourdain anytime.
Right now I am reading: “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt. The way she interweaves antique dealings and art throughout the storyline thrills me. “The Secret History” is one of my all-time favorites.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: Travel + Leisure for the pictures, Jetsetter for the deals, and even though it’s a design heavy site, The Cool Hunter is so worldwide, it’s great for what to see where you are resources.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides Hundredbacklinks.com, of course! Kayak.com! I’m on it daily to dream about my next trip. Editorially speaking, it would be Remodelista’s travel section and NYTimes.com. They are very design heavy and when I travel I always want to see new inspirational design trends and, historically, important interiors.
5 things you bring on a plane: Cashmere wrap, cashmere socks, cashmere blanket (I get really cold), bottle of water and my iPad.
What do you always seem to forget? My toothbrush!
What do you like least about travel? Unexpected delays, I think that’s universal.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? I would hope they would be thinking about me way before hitting the Duty Free store, but I would be happy with champagne.
Favorite travel app(s): I can’t remember how I navigated anywhere before Google maps. Also iTranslate works well in a pinch.
Most embarrassing travel moment: In college, I booked a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for me and my boyfriend, and realized once we were changing planes in Atlanta, I booked the flight to Jackson, Mississippi. Luckily, I convinced the desk agent that it was their mistake and they sent us to Wyoming with drink vouchers in first class. It was a different era of air travel, for sure.
Worst travel moment: It’s bad when traveling for work on a tight schedule, to have flight cancelled. It’s always the worst and never gets better.
What’s your dream destination? Today it’s Marrakech, Morocco, but that will change soon as I’m planning to go this fall.
Favorite travel charity: Make-A-Wish has a program (EDITOR’S NOTE: This program) that allows patrons to donate unused miles to send kids with life threatening diseases to their dream destination. I think travel and experiencing other cultures is so important to young people and this program helps to make that happen for kids that may not have enough time to wait for that experience.
Best travel tip: Treat every trip as an adventure and full of promise, even when things go astray…it’s about the destination and not the ride, unless the ride is first class!
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