Kate Maxwell


My section editor went on maternity leave yesterday and I’ve been left running Condé Nast Traveller’s “Word of Mouth” pages, about eight at the front of the magazine, on what’s hot around the world. Leaf through September’s copy in a sweaty panic.

But I’ve already edited most of it so answer stringers’ e-mails, meet a travel PR for coffee to discuss the impending launch of a mammoth hotel in Abu Dhabi – it used a year’s supply of South African gold and is the world’s largest, most expensive hotel – then stroll to Sketch for a press lunch. The men and women have been segregated and I share my table with two girls from Marie Claire and two from highbrow art magazines. None of us finds it easy concentrating on the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s superlative collection of Asian art with three exquisite, primary-coloured starters gazing up from the table.

Back at work I research results of our Readers’ Travel Awards, then meet my boyfriend to check out a new barrestaurant in Shoreditch for “Word of Mouth”.


Arrive bleary-eyed at 8.30am for a farewell breakfast for the head of the Spanish tourist office. A few sausages-on-sticks later, I write the last caption for September, file the copy to subs and brief the designer about a map of Ibiza for a “Zoned in” piece I wrote on a weekend there last month.

Overhear lift conversation on the way to lunch: “I love your handbag.”

“Really? Everyone outside Vogue House hates it.” “That’s because they don’t understand it – it’s perfect.” Do some research into hotel trends for the October issue and leave work at 5.30pm to take a train to Brighton – I’m doing a piece on “boutique Brighton” – and, on arrival, check into Hotel du Vin. It’s a change from last weekend’s accommodation, a diminutive A-frame tent pitched in a swamp in Glastonbury.


Spend most of the day traipsing up and down the seafront, checking out hotels, wind whipping my hair into dreadlocks. Beginning slightly to resent Brighton’s boutique boom – there are so many places that merit a mention I’ve been left very little pub time. Eventually manage to meet my boyfriend and friends and drag them to a club with the promise of free entry – the hotel I’m staying at tonight has put us on the guest list.

After an altercation with the Rod Stewart lookalike on the door, only two of us get in free, the other six pay.

August’s Condé Nast Traveller


Wake to a knock on the door and a hangover breakfast of the first order – Bloody Mary, the works. Hope the general manager didn’t notice the clothes-strewn room as she delivered it. I’d always thought it was de rigueur to chuck stuff liberally around a hotel room but discovered on my tour yesterday that even hen party-goers fold their pyjamas. Read the paper in the pub before heading back to London.


Arrive with blisters after walking to work – I relinquished my gym membership as a cost-saving measure recently and this is the substitute.

Send a feature idea to Media Guardian – my first pitch for months – and receive the illuminating response: “Thanks for the idea, unfortunately I will say no.”

Meet the PR from a new Algarve golf resort – she’s interpreted my slightly ambiguous “Word of Mouth” role as spreading the good word of the magazine and waxes lyrical about the merits of viral marketing. I show her the section in the July issue and she blushes. Spend the afternoon editing a missing page for the September issue – a piece on Guatemala that makes me want to book a flight immediately – and writing my Brighton piece.

Go to Brixton after work to view a flat, the result of my posting “are you thinking of selling your flat” fliers through every door of my favourite road in an act of desperation.


Share mylift ride to the sixth floor with two dogs – a Pekinese in a handbag and a Dachshund. It’s not uncommon to encounter one dog in the lift but two is rare – it’s obviously going to be a good day.

Answer e-mails then walk to Covent Garden for a hard-hat site inspection of The Hospital, Dave Stewart’s “factory of ideas”, with studios, gallery, restaurant and members’ club.

Edit a short piece on a spa in the Philippines and make some calls about a profile of an attractive hotelier couple opening new properties in Koh Samui and Vietnam. Leave with Peter, the associate editor, to sip champagne at the Ritz for a hotel function, negotiating the Formula One extravaganza on Regent Street on the way.


Interview the designer of a new hotel in Puglia and write the copy.

There’s a problem shooting Fez for a “Zoned in” piece – the photographer, despite being based in nearby Marrakesh, is refusing to do it for the amount of money offered. Investigate other options. New York is a possibility.

The photographer relents: he’ll shoot digital to save money.

Go to a “Christmas in July” press day en route to meeting my dad at the Berkeley for afternoon tea for a piece for the magazine. Explain that the cakes are in the shape of dresses and handbags from this season’s fashion collections. “That’s a bit pretentious, isn’t it?” he says. Roll back into the office and start to plan November’s “Word of Mouth”.

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