Interview with James Lohan of Mr & Mrs Smith
There’s a special offer of free BlackSmith membership for PSFK readers. How does it work? What are the benefits of membership?
Although you don’t actually have to be a member to book with us, Smith membership entitles you to loads of benefits, rewards and discounts. BlackSmith, our entry-level membership, retails for $20 and guarantees you life-enhancing extras (champagne, spa treatments, dinner for two, cocktails on arrival, etc) during your stay, as well as access to discounted rates, free nights and members-only special offers with hotels, shops and travel services. In addition, we give members five per cent of their booking back after every stay, which we credit into their personal online Smith Vault account and which they can then redeem against a fabulous array of quirky and luxurious gifts in our online boutique. In a nutshell: BlackSmith members get treats when they arrive at your hotel and gifts when they get back. Compared to what else is out there, we reckon it’s the best value travel membership on the market.
Name three hot hotels in your ‘collection’ right now. Why?
We have new collections launching each month – but February is a great month to visit Brazil. Take some time out from Carnival and head for the forests and beaches of Bahia. Etnia Pousada is a hipsters’ hang-out in peaceful Trancoso which has just eight woodland bungalows each styled with a different ethnic influence. In the hands of anyone other than the fashionista/design guru owners, it could all slip into kitsch, but smart, sensitive style prevails – together with an air of absolute serenity and back-to-nature calm.
Verana, boutique hotel on the shores of the Pacific in Mexico is a real undiscovered gem. It’s accessible only by boat trip followed by mule ride, and is made up of a gorgeous collection of thatched-palapa huts overlooking a dramatic vista of jungle and ocean. With in-water massage pools in the spa, cotton-canopied beds open to the balmy air, and a mouth-watering menu of fresh Mex cuisine, it’s the very last word in hide-away luxury.
Our hot European destination for 2009 is south-eastern Sicily. Bustling cities, miles of coastline, and world-class wining and dining, it’s Med living at its most vibrant – Casa Talia is an intimate, seven-room bed and breakfast in the heart of UNESCO-protected Modica, is the brainchild of two Milanese designers – who have used the hotel as a showcase for their classy stylings. Modern features effortlessly complement a layout inspired by Sicily’s rich cultural past, and the result is a laid-back retreat in the midst of the island’s sun-baked countryside. It’s part of our budget-conscious selection as double rooms start at just â¬130/$160 a night.