Our Reviewers

Meet the expert team

Professional reviewers – HEADER_01

Our Reviewers

Who’s behind LuxuryBARED’s factual and credible reviews? Quite simply, our incredible team of professional reviewers. They are some of the most respected names in the luxury travel industry.

Our team members have all worked in the luxury travel business in different capacities for years, some with careers spanning more than 25 years. They are uniquely qualified to assess and appraise luxury hotels, resorts and cruise lines, to uncover ‘the truth without the hype’. They know what to look for: nothing much gets past them, making them the top reviewers in the industry. And since they understand the world from our members’ perspectives, members are invited to contact any one of them for advice.

So, how do we review? Our professional reviews are written from first-hand experiences, are totally impartial, and represent a snapshot of the time we experienced in each hotel, cruise ship or resort.

As we review, we dine at the host’s restaurants, sleep in the beds, visit the spas, put the service to the test, and more. Our opinions are unbiased, based on what we experience during our visit. We are fully independent, meaning that we usually pay to stay, but on occasions when we do accept a complimentary room night, we do so with the understanding that this doesn’t guarantee a good review. And we never accept free press trips. We’ll always give an honest assessment, offering you the most real and credible reviews out there.

  • Grant Holmes

    Grant Holmes

    Grant is LuxuryBARED’s Founder and CEO and is passionate about the luxury travel industry with a career that has spanned thirty years. Born and educated in New Zealand, Grant’s career has taken him to the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. More recently he spent ten years in the Middle East specialising in consulting services to the luxury travel and hotel sector. Whilst Grant’s reviews ‘take no prisoners’, they are always entertaining and humorous.

  • Claire Parsons

    Claire Parsons

    Claire keeps the wheels turning at LuxuryBARED and has been travelling all her life with the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Asia and Africa amongst her favourite destinations. She’s held several positions in luxury travel, including sales director for Elegant Resorts, and was a founding member and executive director of the Eden Luxury Collection. She now loves helping LuxuryBARED’s members find the perfect holiday. When she’s not doing that, Claire enjoys being at home in the Cheshire countryside with her teenage twins and two spoilt dogs.

  • Alison Holmes

    Alison Holmes

    Alison is a global nomad. She has lived in several continents, learning about different cultures, foods and experiences. She now lives in Switzerland from where, she says, “It’s easy to hop around Europe.” This is precisely the expertise that LuxuryBARED draws upon for its reviews, in addition to her knowledge of luxury brands and travel-related products. Travel is Alison’s life: “I go somewhere different every day.”

  • Tara Taylor

    Tara Taylor

    Who doesn’t love to explore, to meet new people and discover a different place every day? Well, not Tara for sure. Her working life involves product management for LuxuryBARED, so she’s in touch with those ‘in the know’ in the industry, forging relationships to provide our members with insider services, information and many exceptional benefits. She’s on the road a lot and writes reviews on location to help us all make better choices when it comes to planning future forays near and far. She’s off to Paris soon – yet again – the art, the food, the boutiques and the sound of all those popping corks! Oui, la vie est belle…

  • Bill Matz

    Bill Matz

    Bill is a consultant to the aviation industry and has been for much of his career. He has extensive experience travelling and his job has taken him to more than 103 countries; logging over 300,000 miles in the air, 200 nights in hotels (that’s alot of nights away), and 52 nights at sea in the past year alone. As he flies around the world putting airline lounges, cabins and in-flight service to the test, he also writes reviews based on his experiences for LuxuryBARED.

  • Sarah Mason

    Sarah Mason

    Sarah started her career at The Savoy Hotel in London, is a regular blogger for Inside Chic in the USA and maintains her own travel blog. She currently lives between London and New York, was raised in Ghana and The Netherlands, so travel is in her DNA. Sarah currently owns and operates Mason Rose Private Travel, which specialises in high-end leisure and experiential travel for her global clientele.

  • Sandy Lowther

    Sandy Lowther

    Sandy has worked in the travel industry for the past 27 years, and particularly the luxury market for the last 12 years. Having worked for the UK’s leading luxury tour operator during this time, she has brought first-hand knowledge of what to expect from a luxury hotel to LuxuryBARED. Her travels have taken her all over the world, often getting to grips with tricky situations, so knows a thing or two about the operational side of travel. This knowledge is invaluable for our members.

  • Andrea Burns

    Andrea Burns

    Andrea’s luxury travel background is rooted in copywriting; she held the position of magazine editor for a leading luxury tour operator for more than ten years before joining LuxuryBARED. A eureka moment in the Greek islands after university led her to pursue a career in travel. Stargazing in Uluru, Australia, and visiting Machu Picchu, Peru are amongst her favourite destination highlights.

  • Laura Jeffrey

    Laura Jeffrey

    Laura Jeffrey is our Asia expert. Having travelled extensively and independently from an early age, Laura spent five years with one of the most exclusive tour operators in London, managing its Asia department before setting up her own company, Passepartout. With more than a decade of luxury travel experience under her belt, Laura spends three to four months on the road every year, reporting back to LuxuryBARED from the places that matter.

  • Alex Wix

    Alex Wix

    Alex enjoys spending much of her time in Morocco and North Africa but her love of travel started with a journey to Asia. Since then she has visited some 40 countries and cultural destinations to keep her first-hand knowledge up-to-date. In her role as the founder and director of Wix Squared, which specialises in the creation of luxury holidays and inspired events, she is uniquely qualified to identify those places that LuxuryBARED wants to bring to the attention of its members.

  • Nick & Zoe Varian

    Nick & Zoe Varian

    There is no one better qualified than Nick to review luxury hotels for LuxuryBARED. He has spent 35 years in the travel and hotel industry, more than half of which was at Orient Express Hotels where he became the youngest, and longest serving, Vice President. During his time there he was also Managing Director of the international Trains and Cruises Division, a Director of the Hotel Cipriani, Venice, and Head of Global Hotel Development. Now retired, Nick chairs Strange Cargo, an arts company based in Folkestone on the south coast of England. He is married to Zoe, a cultural historian, who is currently an “ambassador” for the Folkestone contemporary Arts triennial. Together, they travel the world with an interest in lesser-known cultural hot spots.

  • Diana Cherry

    Diana Cherry

    After working at an innovative expedition company offering excursions to the developing world, Di was asked whether she, herself, would rather holiday in a tent or hotel. Her answer was, “hotel, 5 star, with spa”, so a move into luxury travel was inevitable. After a winter managing one of the best chalets in the Alps, she set up Oxford Private Travel, the ‘non-ski’ affiliate of the renowned Oxford Ski Company. Her passion for the finest hotels, destination trends and operational excellence, enabled her to compile a collection of the best of the best, to which she added her Encyclopedia-like knowledge of exclusive villas. She needed all that expertise to start Saranta Associates, a sales consultancy for luxury travel brands worldwide, as well as providing high end leisure travel advice to global private clients.

  • Dan Taylor

    Dan Taylor

    Dan has an investment background, but luckily for us, he is also somewhat of a wordsmith. And he likes to travel to exotic destinations where his penchant for all things luxury takes him to places LuxuryBARED wants to go. Based in the Arabian Gulf, Dan travels widely between the desert, Europe and his native Australia. A bit of a foodie tragic, trips are often engineered around the hip and the hot of a destination’s eating (and watering) holes.

  • Rachel O'Brien

    Rachel O'Brien

    Rachel has worked in the travel industry for over 25 years, of which 6 have been spent working for one of the UK’s leading luxury tour operators. She has travelled extensively and lived in Abu Dhabi and Cairo for several years, experiencing different cultures. Her favourite destinations include the Middle East, Egypt and the Indian Ocean, and one of her best travel memories is cruising down the River Nile.

  • Will Whitham

    Will Whitham

    Our debonaire Social Media Executive, Will, is quite the adventure traveller. Admittedly, the majority of it has been done laden down with a backpack through hostels, jungle huts, and beach shacks, but, while he hasn’t yet embraced a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk, he’s put those days behind him. With a penchant for the finer things in life, Will’s passionate about merging luxury travel with local cultures while discovering new experiences. He’ll still insist that some of the best meals he ever had were enjoyed sitting on plastic chairs at streetside cafes in Vietnam.

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