Globetrotter: Nicola Mendelsohn loves Heathrow but loathes JFK

Nicola Mendelsohn, executive chairman of ad agency Karmarama, frequently travels to America and China. Here's what she recommends doing, and how to travel.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Where do you travel?

My travelling has increased in the last couple of years, and often it's to America or China. I've been to Silicon Valley four times in the past year and I also went to Beijing and Shenyang.

What do you do when you get there?

One of my trips to Silicon Valley was a trade mission with UKTI to learn more about the newest tech trends. The biggest difference between the Valley and the UK is the speed of change and Americans' ability to embrace failure better than we do. In China, I develop relationships between the Chinese and advertisers. When Chinese brands want to expand, the first place they'll aim to sell is the UK.

Favourite city?

San Francisco. It's very distinct from any other city in America. It's quite small, very self-contained and pretty friendly - and it's close to the Valley.

Favourite airport?

Heathrow. It's not easy to navigate quickly but it's a great place to hang out. The worst airport is JFK. It's devoid of personality, they don't think about customer experience and the food and level of security are horrendous.

Most essential travel item?

On a flight I'll always take shampoo, a scarf you can fold up small, a hair bobble to sleep with and my Kindle.

Favourite hotel?

I love Soho House in New York. It's unique; it has a relaxed feel about it and the swimming pool on the roof is wonderful. My favourite restaurant is the Bazaar in Hollywood, run by Spanish chef Jose Andres. It specialises in food similar to Heston Blumenthal's and does the best mojito, poured into a glass full of cotton candy.

Worst ever travel experience?

Two years ago, when the heavy snow really disrupted flights. I was coming back from a company trip to Geneva. About 50 of us were trying to get back, and all the flights were cancelled. We did manage to get on one of the few flights going to London, but we had to pay with cash, so there were massive queues for the cash machine. It was like Armageddon.

Next stop?

I'm going to Brazil in February, another fast-growing country. I'll be stopping off in Sao Paulo and Rio, and from there I'm going to Mexico.

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