Interview with: Tamara Lohan
Company Name: Mr & Mrs Smith
Head Office Location: London
Tell us a little bit about Mr & Mrs Smith
In 2003, James, now my husband, took me on what was supposed to be a romantic weekend in the Lake District… it turned out to be quite the opposite! The hotel was all outdated decor and Corby trouser presses; nothing like what we’d seen in the guidebook at all. We realised there was a gap in the market for a hotel guidebook for people like us – couples looking for boutique hotels with personality – so we decided to publish our own. Since then, we’ve produced eight more hotel guides, only featuring hotels that we truly love, built an online collection of around 1,000 hotels worldwide, created our on and offline booking service, and built a travel club: anyone who books their hotel through us gets special extras on arrival (such as Champagne or a spa treatment, for example), as well as money back to put towards their next trip.
Why is the company called Mr & Mrs Smith?
It’s because we’re all about romantic escapes with your other half; our name is a wink to couples everywhere who fancy checking into a fabulous hotel under the classic naughty-weekend pseudonym. We’ve definitely been around longer than the film with Brad and Angelina, though I have to say that did give us a spike in Google searches for a while!
Who works at Mr & Mrs Smith?
We now have about 100 members of staff spread across four global offices (our headquarters is in London, but a few years ago we also added offices in New York and Melbourne; our newest outpost is in Hong Kong). We manage everything in-house, from design and editorial to tech development, but our largest department is our Travel Team; we’ve got about 30 expert travel consultants globally, so there’s always someone on hand to help you plan a trip or give some expert advice. As of later this month, we’ll have 24/7 phone support too.
What destinations does Mr & Mrs Smith cover?
We have hotels in 65 countries, from Argentina to Australia and everywhere in between. So, whether you’re looking for a Californian road trip, a Greek island-hopping adventure or a Caribbean hideaway, we’ve got it covered.
What service can couples expect if they book their honeymoon with Mr & Mrs Smith?
Our Travel Team take the time to genuinely get to know their clients and find out what they want to get out of their honeymoon; people are often surprised by how personal our service is. It’s really important to us that we match people to their perfect hotel, so whether you already have a detailed idea of what you want to do or you need a bit more inspiration, the team can help make suggestions and walk you through the whole process.
What type of honeymoon packages does Mr & Mrs Smith offer couples?
After a decade in the business, we’re already well known for our expertise when it comes to romantic weekends, but now we have a whole team of experts who really know their stuff when it comes to planning bespoke honeymoons as well. We can now book trips to lots of honeymoon destinations along with flights, from Mexico to the Maldives. One of the most popular places to head at the moment is Sri Lanka, which I think makes for a particularly great trip when twinned with the Maldives; you can start in Colombo at the Wallawwa, then head to The Kandy House, and then to the hill country – the Ceylon Tea Trails hotel is a wonderfully peaceful plantation. Finally, finish with a week at Cocoa Island by Como in the Maldives – heaven!
Mr & Mrs Smith also has The Smith Wedding List. Please can you tell us more about this?
Our wedding list service was set up for brides and grooms who didn’t want another toaster or set of hand towels. It allows guests to contribute to a couple’s dream honeymoon – you can enjoy a luxurious long-haul holiday or just a few weekends away; whatever you like. You’ll arrive at your destination secure in the knowledge that your guests have already picked up the tab!
Do you have a favourite destination for honeymoons and why have you chosen this one in particular?
We took our own honeymoon in South Africa and we loved it. We stayed at La Residence, which is utterly opulent and has wonderfully romantic interiors; it’s on a Winelands estate about an hour from Cape Town in Franschhoek. We then travelled to the Kruger National Park and went on safari, staying at The Royal Malewane and Singita Boulders. It was the perfect mix of romance, culture and adventure.
What is your top tip for choosing the perfect honeymoon location?
Start by checking the weather; there’s no point planning a trip to Thailand if you’ll fly straight into monsoon season. If you want to go long haul, to the Caribbean for example, December or January is the best time of year, so if you’re having a summer wedding you might want to wait a bit before you head off… maybe go on a quick minimoon right after the wedding to keep you going!
Where can I find out more about Mr & Mrs Smith?
Our entire global collection is online at www.mrandmrssmith.com, but if you’d like to speak to one of our expert honeymoon specialists for inspiration and planning advice, give us a call on 0333 355 9217.