Recently we announced details of our new content partnership with London-based publishers Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… who will be providing the lowdown on all of our exciting destinations when the new-look vtravelled.com is relaunched. Our aim is to inspire you by highlighting the best experiences our fantastic cities have to offer, and with a global team of great writers and local experts in everything from art and shopping to food and nightlife, Hg2 are the perfect match for us.
So who is the ultimate hedonist behind Hg2? We're delighted to catch up with founder Tremayne Carew Pole and find out where it all began...
For the benefit of those who may not know, can you explain what Hg2 do?
Hg2 stands for A Hedonist's guide to... and we publish travel guides, both in print and digitally (online and mobile). We focus on the more hedonistic and decadent aspects of a city - where other travel guide series look at the history, general information and culture we concentrate on the hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, cafes, shops, sports and spas, with a little culture thrown in for good measure. We cover 50 destinations around the world and all of our reviews are accompanied by an image in all formats of our content. The guides are aimed at intelligent independent travellers and our filtered selection of venues are aimed at maximising the time and pleasure of someone who uses the books.
What inspired you to set up the company?
The company was born out of frustration. After a disastrous weekend in Budapest armed with a bunch of the most popular guide books, we ended up in what they all called the best restaurant only to find ourselves surrounded by a clientele 30 years older than ourselves, and then trying to find a suitable bar we scattered to all points of the compass from the main square and met back 15 minutes later to see what each had discovered. Our trip could have been so much better if we had the relevant information at hand; at that point the focus of travel guides was not on eating and drinking. That's why I set up Hg2, I wanted to create something to enable travellers to have the best weekend possible and we really care about the selection of places that we include in each A Hedonist's guide to.
What were you doing before Hg2 and what does being a hedonist mean to you?
I never really knew what I wanted to do. I had been a headhunter in the city, a builder, and I travelled and then eventually sold my soul and was doing what all slightly daft posh boys do when they don't know what to do - I became an estate agent. I was selling large country houses. It really wasn't my thing.
Hedonism is very personal. Hedonism is the pursuit of pleasure - and many different things in life can provide it. It isn't all sex, drugs and rock'n'roll. Being a hedonist is having passion and taking delight in a world that can give huge amounts of pleasure.
What have been your personal travel highlights?
I have an unusual approach to travel. Over the last five years I have begun to travel to discover the real world beyond what you understand from the media or books. It all started sitting on top of an abandoned water tower in the jungle of Sierra Leone talking to a local about black magic and it has grown from there. In the past couple of years I have been to Liberia to meet a cannibalistic warlord, Gaza just after the Israeli invasion and was due to visit Afghanistan with a charity and Southern Sudan to cover the referendum on succession. That aside I always end up in a lot of trouble in New York, and have a deep passion for Africa. I got married last year and my honeymoon in Madagascar was wonderful - the brightness of the white sand in contrast to the turquoise sea was just exquisite.
What's the future for Hg2?
Apart from lots more destinations and cities, we want to turn Hg2 into a travel/lifestyle portal and are in the process of pulling together some interesting partnerships with some great brands. Recently we have teamed up with a leading luxury tour operator to provide trips to all our destinations and that's just the start. Mobile is extremely exciting for us - the content we created lends itself perfectly to apps and we launched our first ones earlier this year. We are rolling out across multiple platforms over the next six months - it is really exciting times.
Visit Hg2.com to discover the full range of books and mobile apps.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.