Above: Stephanie Chai poolside at the Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur.
Model-turned–travel maven Stephanie Chai has just launched The Luxe Nomad (theluxenomad.com), an online booking portal focused on upscale hotels and resorts in the Asia-Pacific region. Here, the peripatetic Malaysian personality talks about her latest project, and shares some wisdom from the road.
What made you decide to found The Luxe Nomad?
Some girls buy handbags; others, shoes. Me, I just love to jump on a plane and travel! So a website specializing in Asia’s growing luxury-travel market seemed a perfect fit. People with a penchant for fivestar hotels don’t want to wade through endless lists of properties; they want well-edited recommendations. That’s where we come in.
What makes your site different to other booking portals?
It comes down to how you deliver your product. We’ve made trips to vet the hotels for ourselves and put a lot of effort into our design and write-ups. The main draw of The Luxe Nomad is our weekly private sales, where a few hotels will be available at rates of 30 to 50 percent off. We’re able to do this because the rates are for our members only. And the good news is—membership is free!
Which is your favorite all-time hotel or resort?
For a city hotel, it has to be the Four Seasons in Hong Kong, for its amazing service, design, and harbor views. For resorts, it’s the Sri Panwa in Phuket, where the vibe is fun and young and the view is to die for.
What’s always on your packing list?
An iPod, a laptop (when you run an online company, it’s a must!), and a DVD to watch on the plane in case I get bored.
Originally appeared in the April/May 2012 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Nomad’s Land”)