An Oscar and Golden Globe nominee best known for her roles in The English Patient and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Kristin Scott Thomas is no stranger to travel. The Hollywood starlet’s career has taken her to many corners of the globe, and she is currently in Bangkok working on the new thriller Only God Forgives, in which she plays Ryan Gosling’s mother. Combining her love for travel and the finer things in life, Kristin has also embarked on a new journey as an ambassador of Accor’s MGallery Collection (the “m” stands for memorable) . The collection comprises around 50 luxury hotels worldwide, each with its own personality and soul. DestinAsian recently caught up with the actress/ambassador during the grand opening of Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan — the newest member of the MGallery Collection — to find out more about her travel experiences.
What’s your earliest memory of Asia?
When I was around four my grandma lived in Hong Kong. We always used to go up on the tram to the peak because that’s where she lived. One day I found a huge spider’s web. I distinctly remember looking through it down the slope and over the mist and Victoria Harbour.
Have you had the chance to travel in Asia a lot? What do you like about it?
Unfortunately, I haven’t traveled in Asia as much as I would have liked to. I’ve been to Hong Kong, China, Bali, and now Thailand.
I love what happens when you come to this part of the word — it’s something to do with the temperature or the quality of air (and I am not talking about the pollution). You just chill. It’s difficult to be angry here — being angry is more of a European thing. Also, in Thailand particularly — not so much in China or Hong Kong — there is such as respectful kindness in the way people approach you. It’s quite extraordinary. As a European, I am not used to that.
And what about Asian food?
I like Asian food but have a problem with its spiciness. I ate and drank some things in Beijing — I still have no idea what they were, but they were good. The other day I went to a Thai supermarket and didn’t recognize most of the fruits and vegetables — it was really funny. Also, there was row upon row of tofu, which is completely unknown to us. For a European, going to an Asian supermarket for the first time is an adventure.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place in the world is Paris — my home. I could give you a big spiel about how my favorite place in the world is some MGallery hotel, but it wouldn’t be true.
Tell me about your involvement in the MGallery collection.
I started working as an ambassador for MGallery around two years ago. They asked me if I was interested and, really, it was a no-brainer — it’s great to stay at beautiful hotels and be asked why you like them. I often give feedback about the places I stay. I do travel an awful lot and stay at an awful lot of hotels, so I notice if room service is slow or the Wi-Fi isn’t working — it’s the small things that are important. You could be in the most gorgeous place in the world, but if things don’t work it can be really annoying, so it’s great when they do.
Can you tell me about the movie you are currently filming in Bangkok?
It’s a movie directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and I am playing alongside Ryan Gosling and the story takes place in Bangkok. I am not going to tell you anything else other than it will probably be out in around 10 months.
What do you have to have in your luggage?
I have to have a book and music. I am afraid to say, I actually have the wicked and evil iPad. I love books but when you are traveling, your space is so limited. Every time I buy a book I have to throw one out. I do it despite the fact that the experience of readying on an iPad is not as pleasurable as reading an actual book — I don’t think you register it the same way you register a proper book.
Finally, where to next?
I would love to go to Australia. There are five MGallery hotels opening there soon, so maybe I’ll get the opportunity.