The favourite places of Carlos Melia

The favourite places of Carlos Melia

Bastiaan Ellen

Carlos Melia (44), Argentinian born, a citizen of the world now living in New York for the last 10 years. From a very young age, he was exposed to the world of luxury travel and lifestyle. Luxury travel curator, travel agent and blogger, servicing, the leisure, corporate and fashion segments, with emphasis on mainstream bespoke travel, destination weddings, event planning and luxury gay travel. He talks to Mr Hudson about his passion for travel, and some of his favourite places.

Tell us about yourself

If you ask me to list you the countries where I have lived and work, it will actually be easier to give you the ones I haven’t! I hold a Bachelor Degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. I have worked for all ends of the travel and hospitality industry worldwide. From my current position as a travel agent and blogger to a successful background in working for restaurants, hotels, airlines, cruises among a few others. I am part of VIRTUOSO Luxury Travel Network, the leading group of global travel consultants.

Over 25 years of travel experience precede me, earning among colleagues the mote of “Little Marco Polo”. Jetsetter-Bonvivant I curate the world of Luxury Travel & Lifestyle by experience one destination at the time. On the corporate side, I plan travel experiences for NBCUniversal’s VIP guests and top executives. and work with Fashion brands coordinating their corporate travels as well as planning fashion shows showrooms and special events around the world. On the leisure segment, I have a large portfolio of affluent clients from New York and Silicon Valley planning personal trips for Tech Real Estate and Hedge Fund owners CEOs and their families and friends. As of 2018 I have partnered with LIVunLtd Concierge & Lifestyle Management as their expert Travel Agent – for their exclusive wide network of luxury buildings and hotels in Manhattan as well as their travel and hospitality curator and influencer for their ongoing social media and blog LIVELY.

I have founded LGTNetwork – Luxury Gay Travel Network. This network was created to connect mainstream travel and hospitality suppliers to leading LGBT travel professionals and press narrowing the existing gap between them through educational information and networking. I seat as a founding member of the Belmond Hotels Trains and River Cruises LGBT Advisory Board for their global collection of iconic properties. As well as founding member of the Travel Agents Luxury Advisory Board for Bürgenstock Selection – first-class Swiss hospitality.

What makes your work special?

I have spent the last 3 decades travelling the world, scouting and curating the world of travel from backpackers to luxury, one destination at the time. My first-hand knowledge of destinations, hotels, suppliers worldwide. My key contacts within all layers of the Travel Industry worldwide. I also think that my approach to travel planning is quite relevant. I do for a living, what most people want to do for 10 to 15 days of their year. My approach is to explore the world and absorb as much as possible from experiences, locations, etc and match this with the needs/wishes of each particular client.

What destination has lived up to the hype?  

Oh well, so many over the years, but I am always eager to discover a new one. Some regulars on my list are Peru, Thailand, Myanmar, and Botswana. From 2018 I have added as new to my long list, Slovenia, Cappadocia – Turkey and Tunisia.

What destination hasn’t?

I am not a huge fan of the Caribbean I must say. Destinations like Jamaica are not really my type of experience. Nothing against them, I just do not connect with this type of experience.

Thailand | Photo: Andrzej Suwara

Thailand | Photo: Andrzej Suwara

What is your favourite place in the world?

I would have to say Thailand. I love it there, I am happy when I visit – all day long. I love their culture, their people, the access in a matter of seconds to the extreme of luxury and then back to raw reality. I love taking Bangkok as my Asia Hub and from there explore;  I have done it many many times, and I am always looking forward to the next one.

What is it about travel that you enjoy most?

The excitement of the unpredictable. I have travelled extensively, since a very, very young age. I have been around the world at least 3 times or more. I have seen and experienced plenty – I am finding it more and more difficult to be surprised. So I think I am on an eternal quest to authenticity and to discover the true soul of a destination, beyond any globalized cliches.

What is the best hotel you’ve stayed at?

I would have to say that the best hotel experience I have had, and every-time I return – always lives up to it, is the Four Seasons Tented Camp in the north of Thailand. There you spend your time coexisting and interacting with the Elephants, the locals and the Mahouts – the elephant whisperers and caretakers. It is just a magical experience.

What does your ideal trip look like?

Leisure mornings, long breakfasts, late morning exploration, lunch among the local crowds at hole in the wall locations, afternoons over uniquely curated experiences, a Dirty Martini at a fabulous bar to start my evening, a fine dining gourmet soiree, and a lovely hotels to sleep at which can go from ultra luxury to local charming boutique hotel.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve met while travelling?

My true self. I am amazed at the things I discover of myself when travelling. It is like I am introduced to an alternative version of myself depending on where in the world I am.

What is your best-kept travel secret?

See the world with your own eyes, and then make your own conclusions.

Any recommendations for gay travellers?

Live outside of the stereotype. We are able to do so. Let’s honour that, and explore the world without any restrictions.

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