Kee Foong is a seasoned traveller and Academy Chair for the World’s 50 Best Hotels awards. His refined palate and discerning eye have been cultivated over years of far-flung adventures across all seven continents. With a passion for great food and pristine destinations, Kee is no stranger to the finer things in life and cites his top indulgences and the places that hold special significance. Though based in Hong Kong, Kee’s constant travels have taken him from majestic wilderness to bustling metropolis, granting him a unique perspective on off-the-beaten-path locations and forever changing his views on lifestyle, wellness, and what it means to truly experience the world.
What does ‘luxury travel’ mean to you?
Space, time and privacy. The freedom to go where you want, when you want.
What is an indulgence you won’t give up when you travel?
Long-haul business class when I can. I’d rather transit at an airport than fly direct if it’s business versus anything less, because 18 hours in comfort beats 13 hours in misery.
What is a place that means the most to you?
Sydney, where I grew up and still have lots of friends and family there. It’s such a gorgeous city with so many stunning beaches. And Hong Kong, my adopted home city, which has given me so much.
What are the destinations on your bucket list?
Namibia, Kashmir, Socotra, Egypt, Galapagos Islands, Tasmania, the Arctic. So many places…
Your best shopping destination?
Cities with great markets and artisan traditions such as Marrakech, Bangkok, and Paris.
Your best place to detox?
I enjoy having a drink while traveling but, if I were to detox, I’d love to do it at Kamalaya (Koh Samui, Thailand).
What’s the most exciting culinary destination today and why?
Bangkok, because so many chefs are now showing that the city isn’t just cheap street food (which is great), but a place for innovative and modern Thai cuisine, too. Bogotá is another city that’s doing exciting things food-wise.
The last time you were ‘wowed’ by a hotel experience, where and what was it?
I’m lucky to stay in lots of amazing hotels. One that recently impressed was Cap Karoso in Sumba, which is a destination to watch. The service by young staff was superb. They weren’t the most polished but were so warm, enthusiastic, and a bit cheeky — I was charmed.
Where would you choose to go to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary?
I celebrated a belated milestone birthday in Botswana and Mozambique.
A place you’re excited to return to?
Italy — predictable but for good reason.
Where do you think everyone should go at least once?
Japan, because it’s so different and quirky in a great way.
Most underrated travel destination today and why?
Sri Lanka. Just when it seems to be getting back on its feet, something happens to set it back. But it’s a beautiful country with delicious food, spectacular scenery and beaches, some great hotels (check out Teardrop Hotels), and the people are wonderful.
Name a place or experience that forever changed your perspective on travel?
Antarctica for its vast, wild and empty beauty unlike anywhere else.
Any tips for staying fit while on the go?
Walk everywhere you can. Choose a hotel with a decent gym and/or pool.
How many miles (on average) do you log per year with your travels?
Too many to count!