Editor-in-Chief of AnOther Man, Ben Cobb, compiles the fundamental guide to travelling like a gentleman, the best of London’s watering holes and dining excursions, and the imperative nature of his Burlington Pochette.

On finding freedom through travel…

Travel is a major part of my job. From fashion shows and shoots to editorial assignments and brand meetings, half my time is spent on the road somewhere. I love seeing new places and meeting new people, that sense of adventure, curiosity and discovery is crucial. But travel also gives me time to think and develop ideas in a freer state of mind, away from distractions. Travel, for me, is like a really vivid daydream.170518.JMK.SMYTH.1128On curing jet lag…

Melatonin is the one thing that cures my jet lag. Melatonin, melatonin and more melatonin. I found it when rummaging in my girlfriend’s wash bag. For travel, you also need patience. You never get far without it. 

On the one book to travel with…

Mount Analogue by Rene Daumal. It’s about a mystical expedition to a holy mountain and is the ultimate lesson in that old adage, ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’. (Spoiler alert: the author died before he finished the book, leaving the greatest cliffhanger in literary history).

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“My travel essentials would have to be the in-flight entertainment and plug adaptors.”

 

“I don’t steal from a specific hotel and I’m loathed to call it theft, but for some reason I have a cupboard at home full of hotel slippers from around the world. It’s pathological.”

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On room service…

The one thing I love to order from room service is scrambled eggs in the morning. It’s the only true way to judge a hotel. Amangalla in Sri Lanka stands out.

On luxury travel…

The ultimate luxury when travelling is time to spare. I like to be relaxed when travelling, not stressed and in a rush. I also wouldn’t travel without my dependable coffin-sized black Globetrotter trunk. It’s taken a lot of knocks along the way and got lost a couple of times but, like a faithful old dog, it’s never let me down.

On maintaining dignity at all times…

I’m not into comfy travel clothes. I don’t like seeing people in their pyjamas on a flight. It’s a public place, you’re not at home on the sofa or in bed. 

On civilised dining…

Unless I’m travelling or hungover, I don’t usually eat breakfast, just coffee. Needless to say, I’m not a fan of breakfast meetings. Lunch is much more civilised. 

“For lunch, J Sheekey is always great. I usually have the dressed crab or lobster bisque followed by the cod. Or, for a quick sushi bite, Kulu Kulu in Covent Garden. For dinner, La Famiglia in Chelsea is hard to beat. I could live off their Vitello Tonnato.”

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On eating (and drinking) in London…

For somewhere cheap and delicious, I recommend La Cochonnet in Maida Vale. It always feels like you’re on holiday in there. For take-out, there’s a small hole-in-the-wall Italian deli on Abbey Road that does the best take-out. It’s also where I buy all my Easter eggs.  For drinks, The American Bar at The Stafford in St James’s is great for cocktails. The drinks are great but the best cocktail bars are about so much more than the menu; it’s about the people and atmosphere. It’s also right next door to Dukes Bar, another favourite haunt.

On his advice to a London tourist…

Head to the Sir John Soane’s Museum. Skip Buckingham Palace.

On where to get lost…

I’ve lost days in Alfie’s Antique Market.

170518.JMK.SMYTH.1752On the must-have travel items…

Buly 1803 shaving cream: they make incredible grooming products and the packaging is beyond beautiful. I always travel with the latest copy of Vanity Fair. Page for page, it still delivers the best writing. Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille: one spray and I’m ready for anything. I’m constantly jotting down ideas so always need a notebook to hand: Smythson’s Panama is a perfect portable size. And Instagram is an addiction.

On the one place he finds luxury…

My bed. It’s the final word in luxury.

On the dependables…

My trusty Burlington Pochette is the item I depend on most. I carry it everywhere with me. Years ago, when I was in India, I was robbed while I slept: they stole a laptop and my pochette, which contained cash and passports. Disastrous, but I was most upset about the pochette because it’s irreplaceable.

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“Months later, the pochette suddenly turned up in the mail. It was found empty, discarded and a bit battered in a ditch by the side of the road. I love that it went on such a big adventure and somehow made it home.”

And the one Smythson item he wouldn’t travel without…

The Wilde Travel Wallet.

Photography: Joss McKinley


About This Series

The One: The definitive guide to the one thing that you must do in a city, take on your journey, or wear when you get there: from the best sashimi restaurant in Osaka, to the perfect travel-sized moisturiser; that one dress that never creases, to the place for late-night paella in Madrid. Take advice from the people who’ve seen it all, and never find yourself stuck queuing for a tourist trap again.

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