Intrepid travellers, curious minds and explorers with a zest for life are just a handful of ways to describe our Destination Experts. Real specialists in their fields and decades of experience, they're among the best in the business. They know their destination(s) back to front and inside out; always sniffing out the next villa, chateaux and holiday home to add to our portfolios. With a no-nonsense approach, they only list homes that they would happily stay in themselves.
Now is as good time as any to put a face and name to a country. Wherever you decide to travel, know that you're in safe hands. Buckle up for an enriching, first-class holiday.
Working exclusively with specialist travel companies, I’ve been contracting and working with villas for over 20 years now, seeking out those ‘out of the ordinary’ places and making them available to holidaymakers who don’t want to follow the crowds.
When I was a child, I had a desk with a map of the world on it. Instead of doing my homework I’d study the map and painstakingly circle all the places I wanted to visit when I grew up. Interestingly, France was always covered in pen marks and barely visible.
When I look at all the faded black and white photos of my parents on road trips in vintage cars, standing next to road signs in foreign languages, I’m not surprised that travel has always been my life. Travelling awakens old memories and creates new ones. It's a break from what we know, and an embracing of what we don’t, so that we can be part of the bigger world and become more inspired and more complete human beings.
What I look for in France
I’ve been seeking out special places around Europe for years, but my heart remains in France and all the extraordinary things it has to offer.
You can’t explain in words what makes you say ‘wow’ or makes you feel like a place could be your home away from home. In essence, holidays should be special and transport you somewhere else…even if just for a while.
Having studied art and design, I love discovering unique homes with dynamic architecture and creative interiors. Working with our lovely team at Oliver’s Travels I have learnt that the perfect holiday home is so much more than just luxury accommodation.
Being a Londoner, I’m always yearning on rainy days to sail off on a glamorous yacht or escape to the Amazon Rainforest and never look back! I’m after an adventure, whether there is lots of laughter or it’s a total disaster, nothing is more exhilarating and inspiring than travel.
I believe that you don’t have to travel far to discover new and engaging experiences, delicious food or striking scenery. There is so much to uncover and explore across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. I’m not a fan of painstakingly planning a summer holiday once a year. Instead, I’d much rather avoid airports and enjoy a stress-free road trip, accompanied by a killer playlist in the UK.
What I look for in the UK & Ireland
With famous lakes, moors, beaches and extraordinary wildlife to be found all over the UK & Ireland, there’s enough eye candy to capture anyone's imagination. I love discovering homes rich in history and with a story to tell, but for me, a local pub is always essential!
I’m always on the hunt for inspiring homes that combine outstanding interiors, breath-taking locations and have that unique WOW factor! Individuality, character and style are at the heart of the houses I've handpicked for Oliver’s Travels over the past 6 years.
I’ve always loved the sea. It’s a penchant which often raises its head across our portfolio – I’m a sucker for a good sea view, and consequently many of our villas benefit from stunning seaside vistas and enviable locations a stone’s throw from the coast.
Years ago, I’d had enough with an uninspiring job in the UK, so I threw caution to the wind and ran off to sunnier climes to indulge in a summer season. I wanted some space, some sun, some fun and most pertinently some time to think about what I really wanted to do with the rest of my working life. Greece was the first port of call, and it only took a few months out there for me to realise that all this fun and sun could be a pretty good focus for me professionally.
After Greece it was Turkey, then I left the sun for snow and spent some time in the mountains, before exploring Spain, Portugal, Morocco and everywhere in between. 25 years later here I am, no longer uninspired (quite the opposite, in fact), working in travel consistently proves itself exciting, fast-paced and fulfilling.
What I look for in Spain
I’ve been visiting Spain for over 10 years and adore the country's diversity. I'm always int he lookout for dreamlike villas and homes that offer the WOW factor and stand out from the crowd. I do my best to sniff out the ones with stunning views, infinity pools and ultra-modern interiors.
What I look for in Portugal
I first visited 15 years ago, and immediately fell in love with the gorgeous sandy beaches and golf courses in the Algarve. I look for large modern villas perched on cliffs or villas nestled in private locations alongside one of the golf courses. I have recently focused on the north as well, off-the-beaten-track regions like Minho and Douro, where the focus is traditional homes with a bit of character. Swimming pools are always a must though!
What I look for in Croatia
I’ve been locating villas in Croatia for 18 years and I've seen the number of villas multiply tenfold, and the quality is insanely good. In Istria, I look for villas with extensive gardens and preferably within a short drive of charming villages. Along the Dalmatian Coast, it's all about the super modern villas with outstanding waterfront locations.
I have worked in the travel industry for over 20 years but have always preferred to be involved in specialist travel rather than the bucket and spade beach holidays. I'm not a long-haul fan especially as Europe has an abundance of places to offer only a short hop from home. Soaking up gorgeous scenery around crystal-clear Italian Lakes, island-hopping along the Adriatic Coast, tasting wine amidst endless grape fields of Alsace or cruising the Danube which cleverly meanders through the Balkans.
The best way to have a successful career is to start from the bottom and not skip any steps in gaining experience. My first season in Dubrovnik as a holiday rep was a face-off with real life and real problems while subsequent seasons showed me what living on a sharp edge is like. Don’t get me wrong - it was great fun too!
Speaking foreign languages has led me to some remarkable places. I’ve accumulated total fluency in seven languages and working knowledge of another four by working overseas, which developed a virtual passion for foreign cultures too.
What I look for in Italy
I've recruited holiday accommodation across Europe for over 20 years, and still, my heart remains with Italy. Very often I get taken aback by locations and villa designs, but the true test is the scent when I walk inside. It almost always tells me stories about the place, the owners and the way villa is kept. You can throw glitz and sparkle at a property, but if it “doesn’t smell right” I will not take it.
What I look for Ski
I start with gateways with a great choice of flights, then fulfil the criteria that is most important to our customers - proximity of ski lifts and type of slopes, resort atmosphere and amenities.
I came to travel quite late! Having first trained as a chef I thought I’d try a season as a rep. That was the start of a love for Turkey & the Mediterranean, and since then, I’ve worked for many years overseas, working for many boutique tour operators.
As a child, we often travelled, mainly in the UK but the annual holiday always included an adventure that was spoken about for years to come. In Bulgaria, we spent many days in a mineral swimming pool only to read at the end of the holiday that time in it was to be limited to 20 minutes. Then there was the journey to France in the family VW Beetle, during the wettest June France had experienced for decades. It was so wet even frogs came into the tent for shelter!
Travelling is a huge part of my life; you meet different people and of course taste new foods. There are also the enriching customs, which gives you such insight into local life.
What I look for in Greece
For me, Greece is about the beautifully-bewitching island scenery, moreish Ouzo and knock-out beaches. I spent nearly 20 years in the Med, so my eyes are trained to look out for places off-the-beaten-track. Luxury is key, however the villas still need to be homely and comfortable to holiday in. I also look for owners that take extra care of their guests so that they can just relax and have a perfect time.
What I look for in Turkey
After a 17-year stint in Turkey, I can honestly say that I've fallen head over heels with the country, the people and the food. As a chef, I know the best places to eat and it's not always the gourmet places as sometimes street food can be the best-kept secrets. I look for a bit of everything, from villas with impressive views, luxury pools but also a little quirk about them. If the villa has character, then it's usually a yes from me.
What I look for in Cyprus
After many years spent exploring the Mediterranean, I must say that Cyprus should be on everyone's radar. It's arguably the best choice for winter sun without the hassle of long-haul travel. Most properties in Cyprus are newer, but I look for ones with lots of services, facilities and their own character. In the winter months pool heating is a must.
As one of the younger members of the Product Team, I find myself immersed daily in decades of my colleague’s industry experience. Coming predominantly from a hospitality background, I have an eye for high levels of service and luxury products – two aspects that Oliver’s Travels strives to maintain through owners and holiday villas.
During my time working in management in health and leisure, I was lucky enough to encounter individuals who were conditioning themselves for challenging goals abroad. Their biggest tip was to never ‘skimp’ on the cost of equipment. So the next time you know you’ll be doing lots of walking abroad, pay for a gait analysis and let a professional recommend some excellent footwear.
My curiosity for travel stems from studying Heritage and Social Tourism Policy. I love nothing more than setting foot into the unfamiliar! I still hold my swimming instructing qualifications, so I’m looking for the ideal blend of challenging physical activities (preferably water related), food, music and a bit of nightlife.
What I look for in the Caribbean
With the Caribbean as your playground, you can't help but look out for villas with unbelievable views. While all the other components have to fall into place, if your holiday snaps aren't giving your family and friends holiday envy then we haven't done our job correctly!