If you want to give yourself a case of Instagram envy, follow Aerin Lauder. The granddaughter of Estée Lauder, who founded the eponymous beauty product empire, Aerin is the brand’s style and image director. She’s also the CEO of her own eponymous lifestyle brand, Aerin.
Travel inspires her design aesthetic and her business strategy, and her Instagram feed captures all of her adventures—boat rides and pasta in Italy, work trips to London, photo shoots in Provence, urban exploring in Jerusalem, Milan, and Paris.
I talked to her about her favorite hotels, the best restaurants in Capri, and the value of trusted travel advisors.
Where do you love to return to again and again?
I always love going back to Capri. It is a truly special destination, especially in the summer. I love spending time with my family, taking a boat out for a swim, and having them drop us off for lunch at one of the seaside restaurants. A few restaurants that are absolute must-visits are Da Paolino, La Fontelina, and Conca del Sogno, which isn’t on Capri but is just a short boat ride away.
What travel experiences have changed your life?
I was recently in Israel, where I did a walking tour of Jerusalem. The city is completely magical. I was amazed by the many years of history, tradition, and culture everywhere you look.
A few years ago, I went on safari with my family in Tanzania. It was the most amazing and beautiful experience and unlike anything I had ever seen.
What have you learned about building a business?
Two things have always been most important to me. The first is to be authentic and have passion. My grandmother, Estée, always said that if you are passionate and true, success will come, and I still believe that.
The second is to understand your consumer and connect with them. The importance of woman-to-woman communication is invaluable [for us]. I used to watch Estée speak to women at the beauty counters and apply her products. Today, Instagram is a perfect example. I love to see what people are responding to when we open a new store or launch a new product. We see what consumers are gravitating to, and this heavily impacts how we can improve and move forward.
AFAR is a big supporter of working with travel advisors. Why do you love working with them?
Working with travel partners has always been really helpful and inspiring to me. No one has better insight than they do, and it truly enhances your overall travel experience. I recently became a member of Prior, and I am amazed by their recommendations, attention to detail, and understanding of what each place has to offer. I am inspired to visit every destination Prior recommends, even just from the content they post on Instagram.
What three places are still on your wish list to travel to?
I would love to visit India, Tangier, and Portugal.
What are your favorite hotels around the world?
The Ritz Paris and Claridge’s in London will always be at the top of my list. No matter how many times I stay, I am always in awe of their Old-World charm and attention to detail. This summer, I stayed at Villa Tre Ville in Positano, and the property and views were breathtaking. To me, there’s nothing better than Italy in the summer, but Villa Tre Ville made this visit even more magical. I also love the Four Seasons Philadelphia.