The Insider: Melinda Stevens

Melinda Stevens is an award-winning travel editor and columnist, responsible for honing Condé Nast Traveller’s strong voice, visual and world-leading status during her editorship at both the UK and US publications. She is also a Vespa-riding, night-diving, family-loving creature with a soft spot for men’s shirts and slow journalism.  

For me, travel is… 

Realising you are a very small part in a very big and extraordinary world. And all the connections that implies gives you so much more respect and delight. 

Favourite off-grid boutique hotel?

JK Place Capri. Capri is known as such a hub, but go off-season to JK Place and it’s just so handsome, this beautiful mansion on the rocks looking down on the beach. You can watch all the sunbathers shift across the beach as the sun moves across the sky. Michelle Bonän does the design, which is divine. You then hire your little scooter and explore the rest of the island, all its shiny blues and lemons.

A hotel whose interiors you felt the most aligned with, and wanted to copy and paste into your own home? 

La Réserve Paris

My head went to about 17 different places. I’m obsessed with La Réserve in Paris – it’s Jacques Garcia – very baroque, not what I’d want to live in at home but if I had a house in Paris… I have a little bit of a crush on the Standard in London – not so wild about the rooms but I’ve never not had a good time at Decimo

If London is your home, what city or country does your soul wander to on rainy days? 

Melinda with her husband, Mark, in Andros

Greece Greece Greece. My husband used to go to an island called Andros when he was a little boy and he spent all his summers there. We now take our family there every summer. Our group has expanded to about 40 of us. It’s one of those delightful Greek islands that has managed to dodge swarms of tourists.

The hotel with your happiest memories?

Someone just sent me a picture of me in the Maldives Finolhu – that was just an extraordinary time where we took 150 of us to this little spot in the Maldives and ate crab sliders and partied for five days like the world was going to end. We were all from twenty to fifty and everyone mucked in. We later went back to the same family of hotels. 

Where’s next?

I’m longing to go to Japan. I’d also love to go to Copenhagen and Hong Kong.  

When I travel, I usually bring…

Issimo, Il Pellicano

Issimo (Marie-Louise’s lifestyle brand for Il Pellicano) did a collaboration with Birkenstock and created these gorgeous rattan sandals that I’m currently wearing. 

My Dad’s old Lanvin shirts over a bikini 

For swimsuits its always Zimmerman – any Zimmerman I can get my hands on…

Instagram follows?

Marca Costa

Marc Costa does the most vibey interiors that are super cool and louche and mid century and dreamy. 

Lucy Williams. I simply like the cut of her jib 

The Archbishop of Banterbury is an account I spend hours and hours on with my teenagers, going through posts and laughing like Hyenas. 

Favourite item in your home?

I’ve got two chairs that I found on the side of a road. In fact a lot of my furniture at home was bought from the side of a road. These two chairs have a 60s thing going on, one was bright pink velvet and one bright orange, and they swing about. I bought them for 60 Euros and got them back to the UK from Beaulieu-Sur-Mer in the South of France, then had them upholstered. One with Nicky Haslam fabric and the other with petrol blue piping and they are joy in chair form. 

The best boutique or market you’ve ever been to?

I still love the ones in Saint Tropez for linens and baskets. Beaulieu has a divine little market where children buy all their favourite soaps. The South of France is just great for these small boutiques and markets. 

How would you describe your everyday look? What are you typically wearing? Any brands are great here. 


My father-in-law’s white morning coat, a Free People dress (I have to say their stuff is so good). I’m wearing an American Apparel bra (bright pink). The aforementioned Birkenstock X Issimo sandals. WYSE did a cute collaboration with Deborah Brett, which I quite like. 

Most recent style discovery? 

Melinda in Zadig & Voltaire

I just bought a tomato-red suit from Zadig and Voltaire. I’ve craved a red suit for a long time and wore it to a wedding last weekend. I felt like Elvis in it. 

Coolest independent store in London? 

We were just mooching around Westbourne Grove with my teenagers and while they’re not independent, we all love Maje and Ami. There is also an amazing Oxfam there and Juicebaby – a café we always pop into for Açaí bowls (my teenagers are obsessed).  

Any neighbourhood/city gems? 

Churchfield Road, just by Acton park. You walk over one of those old train stations where the barriers still come down. Pass the Station House Pub then there are all sorts of sweet, coffee and vegetable shops (not chichi in the slightest and all the more enticing). 

What will you use House of Bashka for? 

For finding little special hotels, ahead of the curve.