As any seasoned traveller will tell you, when it comes to taking a trip, a Luxe Guide is right up there with your passport and ipad as a modern day travel essential. The brainchild of Grant Thatcher, these pocket sized city guides are condensed arbiters of chic, compilations of the best things to do, eat, see, shop and places to sleep in fabulous locations all around the world. Discerning, amusing and bang on the money, travelling with one of them is a bit like travelling with your extremely well journeyed friend. Full of local knowledge and honest reviews they’ve steered hundreds of thousands of people away from shockers and towards the best martini in town all over the world. And, just for us, Grant Thatcher, founder of these little wonders, has given us his special travel tips for 2013. You saw them here first.

What’s the hottest new destination for 2013?

I’ve always had a deep suspicion of ‘hot new destinations’ – I believe you should travel to places that interest you rather than places you are told are ‘hot’ by random travel editors because they have pages to fill and advertising space to sell

What’s your favourite bar in the world?

I’ve been a fan of head bartender Alessandro Palazzi at Duke’s Bar in London for years, his martini is sans pareil and his Vesper is quite simply a weapon of self destruction

Most glamorous city to visit?

I guess glamour is in the eye of the beholder as every city has its downsides and underbelly – walking and combing the streets as we do when researching LUXE means we get to see a lot of different sides of a city and many of them are not what you think! That said, I’m always drawn to the walkability, ancient history and atmosphere of Florence and Rome, particularly at night.

The ultimate hotel as far as you’re concerned?

The Connaught, London – its like being a member of a terribly friendly and well-run club, perfectly located on Mount Street in Mayfair, the whole of London is at your fingertips

What do you never travel without?

Organic lavender essential oil – a million and one uses, and particularly pleasurable on your pillow for long distance flights

Where have you had your most memorable holiday?

I took a tiny, remote cottage last year in the astounding countryside of Derbyshire in the UK, a week of fresh spring air and azure skies, daily 10-mile walks, new frisky lambs gamboling in verdant fields, crackling log fires and unending stately homes and beautiful English gardens to visit. And above all, silence and starry, starry skies.  Peace and quiet, total bliss

Most romantic place to get away?

Villa Feltrinelli on Lake Garda – filthy expensive and worth every damn cent.

What’s the most LUXE-worthy holiday you’re yet to take on your list?

I’d be rather happy with a week or two on board the fabulous charter yacht Si Datu Bua – 40 glorious metres of Indonesian phinisi gently drifiting amongst the Spice Island trade routes, aye aye cap’n.
For more LUXE tips check out www.luxetasy.com and www.luxecityguides.com
Picture: William Furniss