Travel Maven Samantha Brown Talks About Her Most Luxurious Stays

Samantha Brown is best known for her shows Great Hotels, Girl Meets Hawaii, Passport to Europe, Passport to Latin America, Green Getaways, Passport to China, Great Weekends and Samantha Brown’s Asia. Two years ago, she moved from Travel Channel to PBS and created her new show called “Samantha Brown’s Places to Love.”

This weekend, The New England native will return to Boston for The Travel & Adventure Show to discuss her PBS show, upcoming travels and being named the godmother of the new extraordinary AmaMagna set to sail on a cruise along Europe’s legendary Danube River from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary in July.

Photo Credit: Samantha Brown

We caught up yesterday with Brown to hear about some of her favorite most luxurious stays, what’s on her own personal travel bucket list and the best piece of travel advice she has received.

You spent your younger years growing up in New Hampshire. How does it feel to come back to New England?

I love New England. It’s my home and I come back regularly, but I have never spoken in Boston before. I don’t know what has taken me so long (laughs). New Englanders are my family and friends. There is no pretentiousness about New Englanders, which has made me appreciate everything I have.

Favorite places in Boston?

I haven’t been to Boston in so long. The last time was there, I walked all over Beacon Hill. What surprised me the most is that Boston is just so beautiful. It brings back memories of taking my older sister to college. I feel like I am young again when I come back.

Photo Credit: Samantha Brown

Tell us about some of your favorite most luxurious stays.

The most luxurious hotel room I have ever had was in Macau, an island off Hong Kong. It was at the MGM and my hotel room was something like a 5,000-square-foot villa. The bathroom alone was 1,000 square feet all made of marble. It even had its own karaoke room that was soundproofed. I wasn’t going to leave until I sang “Time After Time.” (laughs) I also love Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica. It’s like staying in someone’s beach house. With travel, luxury has always been there. When you are out with people, that’s a luxury in itself. We connect with people now through texts and email. Travel allows ourselves to slow down. You can learn and be inspired by it. It doesn’t have to be an over-the-top experience; it’s an everyday experience that you get to be a part of.

Best travel experience you have had so far?

I have had so many. For me, I would say meeting people and being able to be part of that in a short time. When I travel, I go into neighborhoods and meet people. When I was in Prague, I went from a beautiful city to a communistic area and met someone who made strudel for one Euro. It was an experience that was real and I have found that’s what our audience wants.

What is your favorite city?

New York City. I have lived here for 25 years and there is a diversity here not like any other city in the world. I would say Boston is the most American city for its history. I also love Mexico City. It is really coming into its own. People are now beginning to look at it as a destination to celebrate the cuisine.

Would you say social media has changed the way people view travel?

Yeah, I definitely think it’s an idea everyone can be a part of. Travel is something not just consumed, but discovered. Traveling opens up new worlds and people like to see those experiences.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have when it comes to traveling?

I think that it has to be perfect, and it never will be. Plan B usually turns out better than Plan A anyway.

Photo Credit: Samantha Brown

You have traveled around the world visiting more than 250 cities in 62 countries, but just 40 of the United States. Which states have you not had the opportunity yet to explore?

Just take the middle of America. That’s where I haven’t been yet.

What’s on your personal travel bucket list?

I have definitely always wanted to see Aurora Borealis (northern lights). I would love to see it from a glass dome driven to it by reindeer (laughs). I would also love to go to Egypt.

Best piece of travel advice you received?

That’s a good question. I have gotten a lot of great advice over the years. When I was first on TV, I always felt like I had the pressure to be perfect, but someone said to me once ‘no one expects you to conjugate verbs. Just be polite.’ I think all you have to know is how to say ‘hello,’ ‘please,’ and ‘thank you’ in any language and you can get by on just being polite.

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