Born into a family of hoteliers, Philippe Gombert has luxury travel in his blood and Michelin-starred cuisine in his gut. As the President of Relais & Châteaux, the French hospitality group is his outlet for sharing his passion for the good life with fellow discerning travellers.
Describe your favourite travel memory.
I love good tea, so I was delighted to discover Ceylon Tea Trails in Sri Lanka. This property in the central highlands of the island is made up of a collection of tea planter bungalows. Watching the hand-picking of tea flowers is an unforgettable experience.
Which are your three favourite Relais & Châteaux properties?
I love Les Prés d’Eugénie – Maison Guérard in the south-west of France for its beauty and elegance and for the refined cuisine of Michel Guérard. Its spa, La Ferme Thermale, is also stellar.
Sol y Luna in Peru is located at the entrance to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, at an altitude of 2,800 metres. It has small detached houses surrounded by lush gardens and a wonderful team doing everything to make your stay unforgettable; it’s a true image of paradise. A day at Machu Picchu, which can be reached by the Inca Rail, will definitely be the highlight of your stay.
Another favourite is Ballyfin Demesne in Ireland for its meticulously restored 18th-century Georgian residence and 250 hectares of park, woods and gardens.
What’s the best dish you have eaten?
I have two favourites, both of which are from restaurant Auberge de La Ferme aux Grives by chef Michel Guérard at Les Prés d’Eugénie – Maison Guérard. The gougère souffle (a cheese puff with award-winning dried sausage from Les Aldudes valley) is the perfect starter followed by the beautiful Landes chicken roasted on the spit as main course.
What’s your favourite homecooked meal?
Grilled prime rib of beef with salad, tomatoes and onions from our own vegetable garden, shared with my family.