Ana Silva O'Reilly, better known as Mrs. O Around the World after her blog of the same name, is one of the top rated luxury travel bloggers in the world. Her blog, which has found mention on reputed forums like USA Today and The Huffington Post, has 15,000 unique visitors and 30,000 page views, every month! Mrs. O’s blog posts are all about things she likes: great holiday destinations, business class flights, five-star hotels, cocktails, shopping, adventure, luxury cruises, trains, etc.
Mrs. O has a considerable following across different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and has, over the years, engaged audience from all over the world, especially Europe, Americas and Australia. Originally from Lisbon, Portugal, Mrs. O, the city girl, moved to the quiet English countryside some years back after falling in love with an Englishman!
Why did you create www.mrsoaroundtheworld.com, was there something specific you wanted to achieve?
I started a blog to share my personal trips with friends and family – the fact that I built a loyal community was a very nice bonus, but I never set out to do something with the scale and dimension that it currently has. But I travel and write the same way – offering my personal experience and only mentioning places that I have actually been to.
Has any luxury destination or hotel been a disappointment for you?
I was not keen at all on Moscow – in fact, it is one of the places I left early. I also wasn’t madly in love with Brussels, I felt it was quite dull. But one place that everyone loves and I don’t, it is Geneva, in Switzerland – I have tried many times and although it is pretty, it loses any personality when the sun sets.
I had an awful experience travelling to Morocco a few years back, but all the negatives caused by a cancelled flight and the worst customer service ever.
What would a luxury hotel or a 5 star airline have to do to exceed your expectations as a luxury traveller?
I think adding personal touches are key – and sometimes it is as simple as being addressed by name every now and then. Easy for an airline and more and more common in special hotels. When you are on a business class or five star hotel, you just want things to work as expected and relax.
Innovation in services and facilities is the name of the game in luxury travel. Is there anything that you feel hasn’t caught the attention of luxury hotels or five star airlines which they can add?
I think consistency is key and that is difficult to scale on a global level as the service delivery depends on actual people. You can think of an airline where you had 4 fabulous flights and then one day the crew is having a bad day, doesn’t smile, but still brings you the food. Same goes for hotels.
Alentejo is your secret place. Tell us something about the luxurious charm that you find in this enchanting paradise?
Its simplicity – there are quite a few boutique options around, based on the same concept: small number of rooms, very personal service, great design and, above anything, fab food and wine. It is not as well known as other parts of Portugal and it is only 90 minutes away from Lisbon airport.
Is skiing the only adventure sport that matches the opulence of your luxury travel?
I am not very sporty at all – and do not even pretend to be. I like skiing (only in the mornings, as the afternoons are perfect for naps), but my husband loves it even more and has skied all his life. I have started a good 10 years ago and love the mountains – but I hate bling, so it all has to be quite cozy.
What have been some of your pet peeves as a frequent luxury traveller?
Car rental companies – this is without a doubt, as far as I am concerned, the worst part of my travel experiences. There is no consistency and I just wished companies actually cared – and it is all so random, one day it is good, the other will be atrocious. Difficult to pick one over the other as there are no real differentiators.
I also really do not like back-seat huggers – i.e. those who grab the back of your seat in order to get up from theirs. Use the arm rests, that is what they are there for.
You really seem to love the Maldives. How different you think it is from beach destinations in Europe or Americas?
It is true paradise and so so so pretty. And of course, you are limited to the number of people in your hotel/island, so no crowds. Obviously being so remote means that there is no shopping, or you are limited in terms of dining, but that is the price to pay for such perfection.
Cruises, great hotels, cocktails, shopping…is there any other facet of luxury travel you like to explore?
Those make me pretty happy, thank you very much. I am less keen on cruises, and more on train travel (I have recently been on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and adored it) and of course, a good flat bed up in the sky. The transportation bit is important to me and all part of the travel experience.
This interview with Ana Silva O'Reilly is a part of Travel Trolley's ongoing 'Best of the Travel Bloggers' series. We are interviewing popular travel bloggers who encourage and inspire people to travel. Check out all the bloggers we have interviewed and learn about their interesting experiences, adventures, travel stories as well as useful holiday tips. (Photos Credit : Flytographer)