Just Back From London: Moby
'Hotels are strange places, where people do very public things but they also do very intimate thingsits such an odd contrast. '
OCCUPATION Musician, restaurateur, author
HOME BASE New York City
DESIGNING ROOMS Currently on tour for his album Hotel, Moby has seen his fair share of check-in desks. So what would his ideal hotel room include?"Big windows looking out on Lake Geneva, and curtains that block the light," he says.
SLEEPING WITH THE BAND Moby camped out at the K West Hotel & Spa (Richmond Way; 44-870/027-4343; www.k-west.co.uk; doubles from $175) during his London shows. "It has become a rock-and-roll hotel," he says. "Whenever you stay there, you're bound to see at least five other bands. Needless to say, the bar scene tends to be really fun."
EAT YOUR VEGGIES For this outspoken vegan, who owns a café himself, in New York, called Teany (90 Rivington St.; 212/475-9190; dinner for two $30), finding a decent meal on the road is challenging. "Most cities have good vegetarian restaurants, although it can get tricky," he explains. "In the old part of Lisbon, Terra-Restaurante Natural [15 Rua da Palmeira; 351-213/421-407; dinner for two $28] has a fantastic vegan buffet. And after our concert in Moscow, we had a great meal at Jagannath [11 Kuznetsky Most St.; 7-095/ 928-3580; dinner for two $35]."
What do you always take with you when you travel?
I don’t want to sound like too much of a geek, but the most essential thing I have is my Powerbook laptop—it does everything. It stores all my photographs, keeps me informed, it’s how I communicate with friends, I listen to music on it, I make music with it. I also always bring a pair of Sony noise cancellation headphones, which on airplanes are the greatest thing in the world. I mean I know how they work technically, but they work so well it’s kind of miraculous technology. When you’re flying and you just push a button and suddenly all the airplane noise just disappears.
Where do you go on vacation?
When the Hotel tour ends in December, I’m hoping to take some time to travel for fun. Places on my list that I’d like to visit: Patagonia, Antarctica, Papua New Guinea. I’ve flown over Micronesia a bunch of times but never actually stopped there, so I’d love to spend some time there. I’m also interested in going to Nepal, but politically it’s such a troubled place that I don’t know if I’d be able to go there anytime soon.
Does a country’s political situation ever affect your travel decisions?
I’ve been to quite a few trouble spots in my life. I was in Israel during the intifada. I remember before I went there I was very apprehensive, but when I finally got there it was, for the most part, a very safe place. I was also in Serbia and Kosovo and Bosnia during their wars, so I guess trouble spots don’t bother me so much. But when something is so egregiously unstable as Nepal is right now—I try to stay away.
Why did you name your most recent album Hotel?
On the one hand it was the fact that I stay in so many different hotels and have such a love/hate relationship with them. If you fly from New York to Australia, by the time you finally get to your hotel you’re exhausted and the hotel represents everything you want—a bed, a shower, Internet access. But after a while, the sterility and anonymity of a hotel can drive you crazy. Hotels are strange places, where people do very public things but they also do very intimate things—it’s such an odd contrast.
Have your travels shaped the type of music you create?
Music in different countries has become a lot more provincial. It seems like 90 percent of the music that’s popular in the United States doesn’t really make it overseas. Sometimes things that are really successful here just don’t translate. And vice versa. For example, a lot of German music never leaves Germany. As a musician you end up immersing yourself in each country’s regional music culture and sometimes it seems depressing and provincial but other times it’s a source of inspiration.
What’s your favorite concert location?
The most spectacular venue in the world is the Gorge in Washington State. It’s about three hours from Seattle and it’s an outdoor stage facing the Snake River Canyon. And it’s huge—it’s something like 15 miles long and about five miles wide and it’s just this really dramatic, spectacular canyon.
The Terra Restaurante Natural, located in Principe Real, serves an extensive vegetarian/vegan buffet filled with choices including Portuguese and International cuisine. The 18th-century building has a shady dining patio with 100-plus-year-old trees, and the inside is filled with heavy, rustic Portuguese wooden furniture, tiled floors, and blue and white azulejos. The buffet is served on country-style ceramics at a long farm table and include choices such as caldeirada (fish stew), marinated white asparagus, vegetable kebabs, sushi, burritos, and stuffed pastry corn shells with pumpkin. The desserts include arroz doce conventual - sweet rice with cinnamon.
Rock star Moby started this Lower East Side cafe with his ex-girlfriend in response to the lack of vegetarian and vegan food in the area. With its soothing white-and-green color palette and natural lighting, it’s something of an oasis for laid-back living in the city. There are nearly 98 loose-leaf teas on the menu, along with light fare, such as scones, English pasties, and vegan desserts (Gluten-free treats are available, too). You can get specialty coffee drinks or beer and wine here, too. Teany invites you to linger and absorb some of the calm before heading back out into the city again.
K West Hotel & Spa
South Beach meets the East Village at London’s cutting-edge K West Hotel & Spa. Noel Pierce, of Pierce Design International, fashioned 220 calm rooms, blending soft taupes, creams, and browns with stainless steel and sandblasted glass. Even cooler than the décor are the guests (mostly media mavens and touring musicians), who keep the scene at the K Lounge rocking all night long and recover the next day with holistic treatments at the Asian-inspired spa.