Thai Pad Beach-pool-sun is my favorite kind of holiday. I need three days just to unwind. Then I realize that I really need to stay three weeks, but I don't have the time.
I recently stayed at Amanpuri in Phuket after making my presentation for the Science Hub master plan in Singapore. It's a lovely hotel, designed by Ed Tuttle, who's done many of the Aman resorts. Tuttle has thought of the perfect room. It's the reverse of the Starck hotel.
Fly in Style Unfortunately, the airlines haven't perfected the design of airplane seats. If you could swivel in them, they would work. You need to be able to change your position. On British Airways, the angle between your body and the footrest in the first-class seat is not a straight line, so it's really bad for your back. Virgin Atlantic has brilliant service; they give massages. They used to have enormous sofas by the bar in Upper Class. Even though they were ugly, it really made a difference. I could get up and stretch my legs.
Shop, Look, and Listen! I obviously like shopping—I'm a shoe fetishist—but only at certain times of the year. I prefer to shop in cities that I go to often and really know my way around. Otherwise, I don't have time. New York is always great, because there's variety: department stores; small, cottage-industry shops in NoLIta; uptown and downtown. I like Jeffrey—it has the best shoes anywhere. And the new Prada store, considering the hype. The salespeople are very nice. Shopping is a good way to get to know a city, because it's not really about shopping. It's about walking around with friends, looking at stores, watching people—seeing where they have lunch and what they're wearing. It's really more about life on the street than actually buying things.