Monday, March 8, 2010

Joss Stone's heaven and hell

Joss Stone

Joss Stone's heaven and hell

Joss Stone, the singer-songwriter, on Costa Rica's rainforests, her favourite London hotels and the importance of travelling light.

Interview by Bertan Budak

Great holidays…

Which was your best holiday?
Costa Rica a few years ago with my hairstylist, Brian. We took a small plane to Manuel Antonio, one of Costa Rica's most beautiful national parks. It has one of the most stunning beaches I've ever seen. We stayed at the Si Como No eco resort, at the heart of the emerald green rainforest, where you're surrounded by trees and exotic creatures. You could be sitting outside eating your breakfast and see a sloth climbing up a tree. I also remember seeing a beautiful neon-blue-coloured butterfly, which I fell in love with. We went whitewater rafting and explored the tropical forest, which was incredible.

And the best hotel you've stayed in?
The Soho Hotel in London, which is amazing. Each room has its own unique design, colour and personality. It's a very trendy hotel and the bathrooms have these wonderful textured walls. I've stayed there on numerous occasions and found the service to be very polite and friendly. They always remember you when you come back, and even which newspaper you order. I also like their sister hotel, The Haymarket – another place with a unique and funky design.

What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Not much, really. Just some lip balm, cash, underwear and someone good to spend it with. I don't need to be surrounded by riches and extravagant shopping places to have a good time. I also don't see the point of five-star hotels. What a waste of money. I prefer to spend my money on souvenirs.
What do you always take with you?
When I can, my dogs Missy (named after the rapper Missy Elliot) and Dusty (named after Dusty Springfield). I'm hoping to take them on my next tour, but I seem to have misplaced Missy's passport, which is really annoying. My dogs are like my family and I love them to bits.
What's your best piece of travel advice?
Always call your bank to let them know you're leaving the country. I travel all the time and my bank constantly turns
off my card, which is irritating. Even when I do let them know, they block my card anyway. I'm with Barclays, but I'm thinking of changing because it's so annoying. I would also suggest that you carry some cash, as you never know when you might need to catch a cab.
Where do you want to go next?
I'm hoping to go to Hawaii with my friend Brian, who was born and raised there. He has visited my home on numerous occasions, so it's only fair that I see his. He has shown me some great video clips of the area where he grew up and everything looks so beautiful. I'm not one to go clubbing on holiday. I'd much rather chill on the beach, and Hawaii looks like the ideal place to do that.

… and disasters?

Which was your worst holiday?

I haven't had any. Holidays are far too short not to enjoy. I've only ever had four holidays in my life, and they've all been amazing. I've been to Greece, Costa Rica, Miami and Turkey, where I stayed in Olu Deniz. It's so beautiful and the water is ridiculously blue. Holidays are rare for me because I'm very busy and when I eventually do get some time off, I'd much rather spend it at home in bed, not in another country.
What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?
Once, I packed three really heavy lyric books. I thought I'd enjoy reading them, but I hardly got around to doing it. My advice would be to travel light and to remember that everything you need is available to buy wherever you go. And let's be honest, you're going to buy loads of stuff when you get there, like clothes and souvenirs.
The worst hotel you've stayed in?
A hotel in Miami. I was only 14 and because of a reservation error my mother and I had to share a bed. On top of that, the place was infested with ants, it was smelly and the walls were very thin, so you could hear the people next door. We were too afraid to eat there, so we ended up either eating out or stocking up on groceries from a nearby shop.
What do you avoid on holidays?
I avoid drinking the water until I know whether it is clean or not. I've heard loads of horror stories of people being ill and coming down with diarrhoea just from drinking the water in other countries. It makes it extra difficult for me because I'm a vegetarian, and most of the salads and vegetables are washed using tap water. We're so lucky to have clean water in Britain.
  • Joss Stone will be playing in London at the O2 on March 11 and the Shepherd's Bush Empire on March 12. Her latest album "Colour Me Free" is out now




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