Getaway with Zaireen Azman

QUOTE: “I’m a nomad. There’s nothing more exhilarating than discovering a city, a town, an island. It’s all about creating memories that last a lifetime.”  – Zaireen Azman


Zaireen takes to the slopes of Arosa

The fast-paced life of Zaireen Azman rivals the unbridled excitement of being front row at Chanel in Paris. The bubbly entrepreneur behind Ola, a treasure trove in Bangsar Village II filled with vintage pieces as well as unique accessories and homeware, has thrilling tales of celebrity citings, gallery explorations, Michelin-starred restaurants, and discoveries of secret streets rich with amazing trinkets. 30-something-year-old Zaireen embarks on wondrous adventures around the globe at least six or seven times a year and she hardly ever repeats a destination, other than yearly New York-Miami stopovers, which are a must.

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“Travel humbles you, introduces you to new people and cultures, and cultivates a sense of wonder,” she muses. Equanimity is key when jet-setting to exotic cities, vast continents, and remote destinations, especially with a two-year-old in tow. Zahra Aleya, Zaireen’s little girl, caught the travel bug early on and now travels with Mum and Dad all around the world. “Travelling with a child has slowed down my pace a little. I used to walk 50 to 60 blocks a day around New York. That was before Leya (as Zahra is affectionately known); we now tread to match her toddler pace.”

With an unquenchable thirst to explore the unknown, see the unseen, and taste new flavours, Zaireen and her family traverse from one city to another staying at the finest hotels; from Le Meurice in Paris to the Taj Exotica in the Maldives, to Aria in Las Vegas, and the Majestic in Rome. Says Zaireen, “Travel speaks to a passion to relax, recharge, and renew. Pick a city and just go! Life goes on, it waits around for no one.”

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Your favourite getaway?

New York for a spot of shopping or people-watching at a chic little café. I was just 12 when I first went to New York. Ever since then, I visit once a year.

Most unusual destination?

Kayakapi Premium Caves, Cappadocia.

Favourite food stops?

LA for Matsuhisa, Koi, and Cut. Las Vegas for Joel Robuchon, Bar Masa, and Prime.

A place you fell head over heels for?

Prague is stunningly picturesque, especially Ponte Carlo (Charles Bridge).

The importance of travel?

The different perspective gained from new people you meet is priceless. You learn a lot about yourself and the people you travel with.

Holiday essentials?

Walking shoes and a good camera.

Best restaurants in the world?

Petrus and Ottolenghi in London; Le Bernardin and Norma’s in New York; Yannick Alléno in Paris.

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Favourite travelling pastime?

Attending concerts. The best yet has to be Madonna live in Vegas!

Most relaxing escape?

The Maldives. During the winter, nothing beats Arosa, Switzerland.

Best-kept secret?

Albayzín, a street I discovered in Spain. It overlooks the majestic Alhambra and is absolutely breathtaking.

Three cities everyone has to visit at least once?

New York, for its fabulous eateries, delightful desserts, and brilliant shopping; Spain, for its awe-inspiring architecture; the Maldives, for blissful relaxation.