Sunday 23 October 2016

The Fash Pack: Six style experts share their secrets for the perfect holiday

Travel Tips & Advice

Nicola Brady

Published 11/09/2016 | 02:30

Our fashion style experts reveal their favourite holiday destinations
Our fashion style experts reveal their favourite holiday destinations
Daniel Holfeld in Morroco
Darren Kennedy in Biarittz
Emma Manley in Cúil Aodha in West Cork
Carolyn Donnelly
LA woman: Ruth O'Neill
Paul Costello

From New York to Cork, Morocco to The Algarve, six style experts share their favourite holiday retreats with Nicola Brady.

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Daniel Holfeld



My favourite place has to be Morocco, hands down. I've been travelling there for maybe the last six years. Initially I was introduced to it through my work as a fashion photographer. Gradually, I started going back for holidays, and that's really when I discovered the beauty of the country.

I go to Marrakech. It's so amenable in terms of flying - there are direct flights from Dublin, so within three and a half hours, you're in Africa. It's kind of insane.

My first port of call is always the restaurant Le Marrakchi. It's in the medina, smack bang in the middle of the souk. The food is really, really good. It's affordable, so it's not going to break the bank, but if you sit upstairs you overlook the entire market.

As the sun sets, you are looking out at the smoke rising from the cooking stalls, at all the hustle and bustle, and it's kind of magic. On the inside, there's a room covered in mosaic tiles from floor to ceiling. You feel as though you've been transported back to the '60s or '70s. It's totally bohemian - the place that time forgot.

I always go for the beef tagine, because it's cooked in the earth - it's not one of those traditional tagines. It's cooked within an earthen fire, then it comes out in this clay pot, and they take away the cover and just pour it onto your plate. It's like butter to touch with your fork; it's incredible. And they have belly dancing as well.

Daniel Holfeld ( is a photographer and founder of the lifestyle brand Dar Sol (

Carolyn Donnelly

New York


One of my favourite places is the States. I love New York, and I've been there a lot over the years. Before I had children I travelled an awful lot. My boys are 22 now, and my daughter is 24, so we did all the usual holiday things; we went camping in France, did all of Europe, and when they got a bit older we went to the States. We ended up with holidays in New York City, taking an apartment down in Brooklyn.

There are a few different areas I love, but the art galleries in New York are just fantastic. The Guggenheim always has great exhibitions, and the new Whitney Museum of American Art down in the Meatpacking District is absolutely amazing. I spent hours there, it's just fabulous to walk around and soak it all up. In the Meatpacking District you've also got some amazing shops and places to eat, so I do love all of that area.

I love to go out to Brooklyn and see the less obvious shops, and to see what people are doing out there in terms of style, fashion and food. It's totally different to what's happening in Manhattan, where a lot of it is a bit predictable.

There are some great shops in Brooklyn that are full of interesting clothes and quirky things. Bird on Smith Street is good for clothes, and Beam for interiors, the Smorgasburg is a great food market on Saturdays, and Traif in Williamsburg is a good restaurant too.

For me, Brooklyn's interesting because I can see where things are going. When you're travelling a lot, you tend to pick up on the new things happening because you just become conscious of them if you're walking around, even in a subtle way. When you come home, they're the things you remember.

Carolyn Donnelly is a designer and creative director at Dunnes Stores (

Ruth O'Neill



I lived in Los Angeles for five years, so I know it like the back of my hand. I absolutely loved it out there.

I lived in West Hollywood off Melrose, right by the Marc Jacobs store. There are amazing coffee shops around there, as well as the best brunch spots and some great bars. All of my friends lived around there, too.

The great thing about LA is that there's something for everyone. Venice Beach is quite hippy-ish with loads of eclectic people, Downtown LA feels like you could be in New York, Beverly Hills is a total scene and Malibu is really relaxed. There are so many different pockets and neighbourhoods.

My perfect day in LA would probably start with a class at Aura Yoga, my favourite yoga place in West Hollywood. When you come out, you just feel like you're floating. That was my favourite way to start the day. Then I would drive down to Venice, get lunch to go and just be on the beach for the day. I used to go to Venice Beach a lot; I just love it down there. It has a bit more character than Santa Monica and Malibu. There's a street in Venice called Abbot Kinney, and it's full of kooky shops and really cool restaurants. Everyone cycles down by the beach, and people barely get in their cars.

But the best weekends I ever spent were at Coachella, the music and arts festival in Palm Springs. It's the number one thing on everyone's calendar if you live in LA. It made me fall in love with going to festivals, and live music. Everyone's in a good mood. They get amazing headliners, so I saw so many cool people there. It's the most glamorous festival you could ever go to. Everyone is so stylish. But really the best thing about Coachella is the parties, which are insane. Some people go to Palm Springs that weekend just for the parties. They're incredible.

Ruth O'Neill is a presenter on TV3's 'Xposé'

Darren Kennedy



Biarritz in the South of France is a gorgeous spot. It's so easy to access and has everything you need. It's this beautiful combination of the bourgeoisie and a hippy, surfer dude vibe, so it's got a really nice balance.

The first time I went was probably 13 years ago. I was living in Paris at the time, and we jumped on the train and went down for a weekend, only knowing it was by the coast. It was quite grey, and cold, but the surfing was amazing - the waves were huge.

I've been over a dozen times, probably more. I go at least once every year, if I can, and sometimes I might try and go twice.

One of my favourite bars is a place called Les Cent Marches, which is perched on a cliff above one of the main beaches. You can see all the way along the coast for miles, up to the Pyrenees. The sunsets there are absolutely stunning.

All around the market area, Les Halles, there are beautiful wine bars, restaurants and tapas bars. Biarritz is in Basque country, so it's very much influenced by that region. Le Bistrot des Halles is a beautiful place; it's all seated outside, so you're dining al fresco, which is really lovely.

Every day I'm there I have no agenda, it's gorgeous. I like to get up in the morning and go for a nice breakfast, potter about the food market, grab copious amounts of coffee and just watch the world go by. And that's the thing about it - Biarritz is a functioning town, so life goes on. I like that - it's not just holiday vibes.

There's great shopping, too. It has that mix of being quite a wealthy town, but with a surf element. So you've got all the surfer shops, then Galeries Lafayette, the fancy shops, and beautiful interior stores too.

Darren Kennedy ( is a TV presenter & style entrepreneur

Paul Costelloe

The Algarve


Travel is part of my life. I travel a lot for work; I go to China, and I go to Vietnam, which is incredible. I recently went to St Petersburg, just my wife Anne and myself, it's a really special place. We also went to Vienna not so long ago, and very much enjoyed going to the opera and the ballet. We've just come back from Mykonos - we stayed in Ornos, which was lovely but very glamorous. The colours are incredible, the Mediterranean blues are just so amazing.

When I go on holidays (rather than travelling for work), it's more of an escape, a time I can totally relax and not think about business. As a family, we go to the Algarve quite a lot, particularly off-season. We stay in the same place, Alfamar, it's near Albufeira, about 40 minutes from Faro airport. It's a "get-fit" place, where athletes generally go for year-round training. It's not very sophisticated at all, but it's very relaxed.

Being a fashion designer means that you have to try and keep yourself looking a little fit. Alfamar is a nice place to work on that side of your life. I don't believe in going to the doctor; I avoid it by walking, running on a beach or running along the cliffs. It's wonderful for your fitness.

There's an outdoor pool that can be very cold, but it certainly gets you working in the morning. You've then got the sea, which is never quite as cold, or you can go jogging, or play tennis. Everybody is just doing their own thing.

Generally, the first thing I like to do over there is to listen to the noise of the ocean. Climbing into bed, leaving my window open, and hearing the sea coming in is beautiful. The hotel is right on the sea, which I love; you don't have to walk or get the bus, or a train. Then next on the agenda is a couple of piña coladas.

Everywhere I go, I paint. I think I'm dried up in Portugal now; I've painted every area! But anywhere I go I bring my watercolours along, and then that's my memory of those places. I'd love to do an exhibition some time.

Paul Costelloe ( is a designer

Emma Manley

Cúil Aodha/West Cork


When you start your own business, there aren't necessarily the funds to be going travelling. So the place that I absolutely love to go to is Cúil Aodha. It's a Gaeltacht area in Cork, where my fiancée Eoin is from. We aim to go once a month, and for me it's just a total switch-off. Even though it's his home place, it's like going away on holidays, every time.

It's in West Cork, but it's mountainous, so it's not like Skibbereen or any of the coastal areas. It's in the middle of nowhere, in the best possible way. It's a really special place to be.

The local pub is the Top of Coom, a little way up the road. It's actually the highest pub in Ireland, and it's just incredible. You get your pint, go and sit outside and it's like you're on top of the world.

One thing about Cúil Aodha is that the culture there is just incredible. It's a massive traditional music town. Once a year they have what's called the Éigse, where the best musicians from all over Ireland come to Cúil Aodha for the weekend and play music. Every time that I've gone down for the Éigse, there are stand-out memories from it. You're just spending the weekend listening to some of the most amazing music you'll ever hear.

We always go walking down there. We'll leave his mam and dad's house by foot, and there's this beautiful 90-minute walk. We'll stop off at any of the rivers along the way and do a bit of fishing. We might take a picnic, and finish with a hot whiskey.

It's really peaceful, and I suppose when you live in Dublin, it is fairly hard to get that quiet time. But down there, you just forget everything. Also, the signal isn't fantastic which is, in my eyes, part of the joy of it.

Emma Manley is the owner and creative director of Manley (

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