Meet the Team: Emma, HA Destination Manager

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What’s your role at Holiday Architects?

I design holidays to Morocco, Oman and Lebanon.

Why do you love travel?

I couldn’t wait to hit the road once I had finished university – in fact, I went off interrailing on the same day as I handed in my dissertation. Since then my life has revolved around travel, and for me it’s all about an exploration about how other people live and discovering the world’s magnificent scenery at the same time. Learning to understand the diversity of our amazing planet is something that takes a lifetime and I’m here for the job!


How did you find yourself working in travel?

After travelling straight out of university back in 2009, I have spent every day since then figuring out a way to travel as much as possible. I spent six years after that living as a travel writer on the road, at first here there and everywhere. I then had longer stints living in Latin America and Canada, before coming back to the UK and Ireland spending a year travelling around to discover my homeland, and spending a further year in Portugal after that. Now I enjoy life living in the Cotswolds and the job at HA allows me to share my passion for travel with clients, and I still spend most weekends travelling closer to home to feed my curiosity to always be discovering!


What do you love doing when you’re not designing holidays?

Any opportunity I get to talk about my dog and I’ll take it – Lyra is a Beagle x Collie and has run our household since 2020! She is our lockdown fur baby and comes on holiday with us in our campervan all the time; we’ve taken her to France, Italy and Switzerland, as well as all around the UK. Otherwise in my spare time you’ll find me stomping up hills, avidly reading, and cooking up a storm in my kitchen.


We’re big foodies here at HA. What would be your dream three-course dinner?

As one of the office’s chief foodies, this is a difficult one, but I’ve listened to enough episodes of the Off Menu podcast to have really put some thought into this over the years! I would have some sort of incredible pasta to start (complete with a snowdrift of cheese), a Sri Lankan feast from this incredible place in Cheltenham as my main, probably with a non-sensical side of dauphinoise potatoes, and sticky toffee pudding to finish. These all come with dream locations and drink pairings of course so if you want more detail you’ll have to give me a bell and I’ll give you the full version!


What’s your karaoke tune?

Don’t Speak by No Doubt




Tell us more about Morocco…

What makes it special?

There are too many things about Morocco to pick just one thing. I’ve been to the country five times now and discover something new on every return visit! If I really had to say a couple, I would of course say the food – Morocco’s cuisine is absolutely delicious! – and I think the people. They are so warm-hearted and welcoming, I am bowled over at their kindness every time I visit.

What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

It’s got to be staying overnight in the Sahara Desert – nothing beats that feeling of total silence as you watch the sun rise or set over the dunes. We also have a beautiful and very secluded camp too so you’ll get none of the noise or light from nearby, making it feel really special.


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Morocco?

Aside from the desert I’d have to say Fez – as vehicles aren’t allowed in the medina it has a very different feel to Marrakesh; slightly calmer. It’s also the city of handicrafts so I could happily spend days wandering around picking up homewares to take back to the UK with me! The tanneries are something else too – something so Moroccan that you could watch for hours (if only it didn’t smell so bad!!)


Tell us something most people don’t know about Morocco

It’s HUGE! Most people don’t realise it takes 10-12 hours to drive from Marrakesh to reach the Sahara, and I feel like maps just don’t convey its scale very well. That just means there is more to love though, and you could spend weeks travelling around to see it all. I would definitely recommend splitting the north and south between two different trips, or setting aside a good three weeks for it.


Meet the team - Emma - Morocco travel expert


Morocco Expert - meet the team - Emma



Tell us more about Oman…

What makes it special?

For Oman, I think it has to be the scenery and authentic culture. Just south of Muscat there are the Hajar Mountains, which is for sure my favourite part of the country. Think jaw-dropping canyons, traditional mud-walled villages, and the waft of frankincense drifting through souks. This is where you’ll see the real Oman, and it’s totally intoxicating.



What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

I think the livestock market in the mountain town of Nizwa is one of the memories that really sticks out for me. This is a maelstrom of activity, where locals from across the countryside come to trade goats, cows, camels – you name it! It’s a chaotic morning but well worth it as it’s a bit of culture that has remained unchanged for a long time.


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Oman?

It’s got to be the Hajar Mountains, a couple of hours south of Muscat. This is home to the Omani Grand Canyon, and some of the very best scenery the country has to offer. I love hiking so this region is heaven for me – nothing beats going for a walk in this sublime scenery, surrounding by vast chasms of rock all around you.



Oman expert - meet the team - luxury oman holidays


Tell us something most people don’t know about Oman.

There isn’t much of a food scene in Oman, unless you love goat and rice (which they do cook very well in fairness!). I know that in itself doesn’t sound very exciting, but it just means that they take inspiration from their neighbours and closeby instead – you get a really delicious mix of Persian, Lebanese, Turkish, and India food here, meaning you won’t be eating the same thing over and over again during your stay!



Tell us more about Lebanon…

What makes it special?

The best thing about Lebanon is that totally distinct culture – food, history and modern life all combine to make Lebanon an amazing place to travel. It’s been given such a bad rep in the last few decades, and the news has not helped that at all, but travelling there feels so safe and exciting, and the people are just delightful. They are so keen to always show the real Lebanon, and prove there is so much to love.


What’s your favourite memory from your time spent there?

Hiking in the Qadisha Valley, where you can witness all these hidden monasteries carved into the cliffs – a remnant of when monks were driven into the hills and had to live here in exile. It’s a really unique part of Lebanese culture, unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else in the world!


Where’s your favourite place to visit in Lebanon?

I think the Roman ruins at Baalbek stunned me the most – I have never seen such incredible history, so quiet and untouched as no one is there! They are some of the best-preserved Roman ruins on the planet, and it’s impossible not to feel humbled by their towering columns.


Tell us something most people don’t know about Lebanon.

It’s so small! Lebanon is half the size of Wales, so you only need a couple of weeks to really get under the skin of the country and see the vast majority of it.


Lebanon expert - luxury travel - meet the team



Emma and the rest of team HA are always on hand to talk holidays. Have a clear idea of where you fancy? Or not sure and need to chat things through? Give us a call on 01242 253 073 to find out more. We’re here to help!