Neil Jacobs has a weakness for Southern Italian food, knows how to cha-cha, and can’t wait to get to Alaska. The CEO of Six Senses since 2012, Jacobs is leading the wellness minded hotel group’s global expansion, which will include a new resort Seychelles this summer, and five properties in Bhutan in the next two years.
Let’s play spin the globe—name the one place you’ve always wanted to go.
What’s your spirit city? (Where do you want to return to over and over?)
Bali. Still a unique place and culture.
Do you have a travel ritual?
I am not religious, yet I tend to buy spiritual artifacts: Buddhas, Ganeshas, and so forth. It’s a ritual that I find grounding and comforting.
Do you maintain any routines from home while traveling or does it all go out the window?
Mostly they go out the window, although I do try hard to achieve those 10,000 or more daily steps. Airports help that goal.
Sorry, you only get to eat one regional cuisine for the rest of your life. What is it?
What one piece of advice would you give to someone traveling abroad for the first time?
Be very curious, leave resistance and fear of the new and strange at home, embrace culture, be generous, and enjoy the ride.
Describe your travel personality in three words.
Chilled, adventurous, open.
Are your trips very planned, or very spontaneous?
What's the one travel souvenir you'd save in a fire?
My Burmese alabaster Buddha head.
What book/movie most inspired you to travel?
Out of Africa and An Incredible Boy.
Who’s your ideal travel partner?
Angelina Jolie. Can you organize that? I’d be really grateful. If that doesn’t work, then someone more interesting than me.
Which travel experience do you prefer: plugged in or unplugged?
Plugged in an hour or so a day. Can’t totally give it up.
What’s a custom from another culture that you’d love to implement in your life back home?
Ingesting foul tasting Indian and Chinese medicines. Anything that tastes that bad must be good for you.
What’s the first thing you seek out in a new place?
Local cuisine in a tourist-free zone.
What’s the one thing you indulge in on a trip that you don’t at home?
Sleeping and reading fast-paced novels.
What’s your first travel memory?
Cha cha cha with my mother in a nightclub in Ischia. Five years old and superficial, I know. I still remember the steps.
>>NEXT: AFAR Insider Brian Williams