Paula McColgan, Director of Sales & Marketing at The Goring is a hands-on and high-energy leader with over 25 years’ experience in global luxury hotel sales and marketing. Paula most recently held senior positions at The Carlton Tower Jumeirah, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, London, Kimpton Fitzroy London, The Lanesborough and the Oetker Collection. Other hotel groups Paula has worked for during her impressive career include: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, St Regis Hotels & Resorts and Forte Hotels & Resorts.
Paula’s wealth of experience within the luxury and London hotel industry perfectly complements The Goring which opened its doors in 1910 by Otto Goring and is now the only five-star luxury hotel in London that is owned and run by the family that built it.
Lux Nomade caught up with Paula from The Goring who shared her travel inspiration, packing tips and bucket-list destination with us…
What’s been your most memorable trip and why?
My most memorable trip would have to be my first trip to the Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok. This was during my late twenties whilst I was working for the Mandarin Oriental Group. This trip was memorable because it was the first time I experienced true personalised luxury and I was blown away. I was just amazed at how attentive and knowledgeable the staff were of each and every guest, two examples particularly spring to mind. The first was the lift attendant whose memory for which floor every guest was staying on impressed me daily (the hotel has 331 rooms!). The second was when I was sitting by the beautiful Chao Phraya River enjoying breakfast one morning and a telephone with an incoming call was brought to me and I just remember thinking how on earth did they remember where I was let alone who I was! I really hope to return some day.
What’s your favourite ever hotel?
That’s a tough one but it has to be Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como. Located in Blevio on Lake Como’s quieter eastern bank, to me, this hotel effortlessly blends glamour and relaxation in the most stunning of locations. I last visited two years ago on a family holiday where we enjoyed days upon the water in the hotel’s boat exploring the lake and waterside towns.
Where or what is your escape?
My escape is upon the beaches of the Wild Atlantic coast of Donegal in northwestern Ireland. Filled with uninhabited coastlines and mountains, it is rugged and untamed, wet and windy and you feel like you are truly in the middle of nowhere. The area also has some delicious places to eat, for amazing sea food head to The Cove Restaurant in Dunfanaghy and for the best ice cream The Shack in Dunfanaghy is not to be missed!
If you could go anywhere tomorrow it would be…
Can i give the same answer as above? There are so many hidden gems in Ireland and along the Wild Atlantic Way that I would still love to explore, and also revisit the classics of my home county.
What’s your idea of a luxury wellness holiday?
Wellness is something different for everyone. To me, it is about spending time in a tranquil location with easy access to plenty of natural open space where I can walk, unwind and reset. I think that is why I so enjoy spending time at Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como and upon the quiet and windswept beaches in Donegal.
My top bucket-list destination is…
At the moment I have three. Firstly, Croatia, specifically the beautiful coastline and cities such as Zagreb and Dubrovnik with its beautiful harbour. Secondly, I think the landscape of Iceland is wonderful and seeing the Northern Lights there would be fabulous. Finally, Venice via the London to Venice Orient Express must be on there. My husband and I have been busy planning these three trips for quite some time now and I hope we can visit soon!
If you could sit next to anyone – dead or alive – on a long-haul flight, who would it be?
My husband… or George Clooney
What is your jet-lag recovery tip?
My top tip to fend off jet-lag is to keep busy, moving and get plenty of fresh air. I often go for a long walk as soon as I land at a destination as this combines all three!
What is your suitcase stalwart?
My trusty Samsonite suitcase, I have had it for years and it comes on every trip with me.
What is your number one packing tip?
Less is more. You don’t need 10 pairs of shoes! Use small wheeled luggage or a holdall that qualifies as ‘carry-on’ wherever possible – I appreciate the benefits of packing light when you don’t have to queue to check-in a suitcase. Similarly, wear slip-on shoes – they can be easily removed through customs. Comfort is key when packing and dressing for the road, if somewhere cold I will make sure to bring my wonderful cashmere socks by the White Company). For warmer travels it will be a floaty print dresses by Anthropologie.
I never travel without…
Lip balm, glasses, eye drops and contact lenses. Glasses being the most important!
In my beauty / toiletry bag I always bring…
Lip balm, Blistex Intensive Moisture for lips – I am addicted, Aesop Aromatique Hand Balm and their Hydrating Face Cream, various Aveda hair products, my glasses, eye drops and contact lenses.
For more information and bookings visit http://thegoring.com