Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Kailash and Shivana Maharaj
Occupation: Editors-in-chief, City Style and Living Magazine
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Short Bio: As editors of the international multi-award-winning quarterly print and digital lifestyle magazine, City Style and Living, duo Kailash Maharaj and Shivana Maharaj scour the globe to bring forth the best in food, fashion and travel to their readership.
Navigating the globe with single-minded focus on luxury lifestyle, culinary and adventure travel, the pair have experienced a range of travel standouts from sipping Krug Champagne in Reims, France with a family member to Paul Krug, deep-sea fishing in Mexico and searching for the elusive quetzal in Costa Rica.
The two are fortunate to traverse the world, and have lived in Canada, the Caribbean, France (both are bilingual French/English speakers) and the US.
How often do you fly? 15 times a year.
How many countries have you been to? 40
How many continents have you been to? 5
Favorite American city: Can’t choose, we truly love our American neighbours. Every city has its own character. Like Canada, the US is so vast with such differing geography. You can literally be on the beach and fly into the snow within one day in the same country. It’s unbelievable. Coming from Calgary, Houston feels just like home, yet Galveston a short drive away is like another world. Los Angeles is our closest mega metropolis and a fun excursion especially for work. There are also places like Sedona, where the desert landscape morphs at every turn. We spent one memorable Christmas in Billings, Montana. Then there are places you’ve never heard of which surprise you with their charm like Door County, Wisconsin. Then there is Hawaii which greets you with frangipani scented air the moment you land. There is just so much to explore and discover in the beautiful United States.
Favorite international city: Vilnius has a developed sense of style that is attractive.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Sometimes these places can just be overrun and lack any real sense of place or any feeling. One of our favourite memories is watching the torch being run during the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. It remains seared in our memories and was perhaps the first hometown travel story we ever wrote.
Favorite airline: These days any airline that provides reasonable prices, feeds you something (even cookies; Delta’s Biscoff by the way, is delicious) and has pleasant flight attendants is appreciated. Some of the smallest airlines offer great service. We flew Tunisair on a short 3 hour flight from Paris to Tunis where they served us a meal, greeted us in the most formal poetic French and gave us khaki bags full of goodies. The feta cheese on Cronos Airlines is wonderful.
Aisle or window: Preferably private—window every time.
Favorite U.S. airport: Salt Lake City, Utah has such an amazing view of the Rocky Mountains upon touchdown. We once witnessed a spectacular sunset at the airport—a magical, quiet, introspective moment despite the harried surroundings.
Favorite hotel: We like places that feel like home Spice Island Resort, Grenada; Le Palais, Czech Republic; Granduca, Houston; Augustine Hotel, Czech Republic; Shangri-La in Santa Monica; Sans Souci in Vienna. The Mount Nevis Hotel in Nevis is small but they offered the sort of authentic service that all of the poshest hotels boast about giving but which can sometimes seem forced.
Do you unpack into the dresser/closet? Or live out of your suitcase? Upon arriving we are constantly on the go. Unpacking would be a luxury, but we’ve become experts at living out of our (rarely) neatly organized suitcases.
Favorite island: That’s a loaded question. The archetype of an island, this utopian vision we all seem to carry of a paradise free from worry and labour a place of unlimited abundance and freedom, is incredibly potent. We are still on the quest for this island. Whether it exists in reality is a different question.
Favorite beach: Depends on whether we are looking for a beach to relax, or to enjoy watersports. Diamond Beach on Grand Bahama is a quiet beach, ideal to just sit back and enjoy while Anini beach in Kauai for swimming. Bucco Reef in Trinidad and Tobago has amazing snorkeling spots while watching turtles lay eggs in Matura was a once in a lifetime opportunity. The beaches in Goa are fun for people watching. Cuba has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean.
Favorite fruit: Mangoes, watermelon, coconut, guanabana/soursop, pomerac, chennette and all types of tropical fruits. We also love discovering new exotic fruits.
Favorite food: Homemade.
Least favorite food: (Not quite a food, but spices) sage and saffron. Having said that, if used sparingly by a skilled hand, we would probably still eat a dish featuring these ingredients. Too much raw seafood has given us trouble more than a few times. Being on a tropical island, lying sick in bed for three days is not our idea of a good time!
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): Champagne. Always.
Favorite travel movie(s): Out of Africa, Enchanted April, Roman Holiday, anything that speaks of travel’s power to transform.
Favorite travel show(s): Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam, any series with Rick Stein, Great British Menu, Dishing Up Australia with Al Brown, Highway on my Plate, Two Fat Ladies, Shane Delia’s Spice Journey, Two Greedy Italians, Ushuaia (French television), The Amazing Race, Food Safari, Gordon’s Great Escape. For us this is travel.
5 things you bring on a plane: Warm sweater, sunglasses, writing pad, lip balm, mints.
What do you always seem to forget? Eye drops. The air on the plane is so drying that we usually need something for our eyes.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Champagne.
Most embarrassing travel moment: At Chillon castle in Switzerland, it suddenly started to rain torrentially, and we were caught off guard. Rather than get drenched, we thought quickly and handcrafted plastic bags into rain gear and wore them over our heads and over our shoes (not a good look, but effective). When we came back into the castle for shelter, a startled tour group just stopped and stared at us in shock, and began to laugh hysterically.
What’s your dream destination? Somewhere unexpected: Mauritius, South Africa and Uruguay are at the top of our list.
Favorite travel charity: STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) based in Calgary. They fly critically injured people for treatment using helicopters. Amazing work based on a touching story—how Dr. Gregory Powell turned tragedy into triumph.
Best travel tip: Don’t have any preconceived expectations before travelling. Enjoy each travel destination for what it is. We do not get overly excited before a trip, instead all of our energy goes into relishing the actual journey.