TripAdvisor asked me about my favorites restaurants, hotels, and places to travel, plus my travel suggestions for San Francisco. Here’s the interview:
VIP Survey: Laura Fraser
What’s your favorite hotel (and why)?
The Hotel Alto Atacama in the Atacama Desert in Chile. It’s a low-key, elegant, environmentally-friendly lodge with all-inclusive meals, wine, and wonderful outdoor excursions in the incredible desert and volcano surrounds. The adobe architecture melds into the landscape, and it’s peaceful and cool in the rooms. At night, you can climb a hill and use a telescope to see all the stars in the southern hemisphere.
What’s your favorite restaurant (and why)?
La Ciccia, in San Francisco. The owners, Lorella and Massimo, serve authentic Sardinian cuisine in a cozy neighborhood restaurant. It’s amazing food with no pretensions; when I go there, I always feel like family.
Can you tell us about a “hidden gem”– like a non-touristy, neighborhood restaurant– you’ve found in your travels?
There’s a little restaurant on the island of Filicudi in the Aeolian archipelago north of mainland Sicily called Villa la Rosa that serves the best pasta sarde anywhere. The dish tastes like the fresh sea breezes all around.
What’s the best travel advice you’ve ever received from a friend?
Learn to speak Italian fluently.
Please tell us about your best and worst travel experiences.
My best travel experiences are always the simplest ones–a fresh meal on a terrace with a sunset, a swim. Somehow, these experiences almost always happen in Italy. My worst experience was being assaulted, once in Egypt, and once in Samoa. It’s good to travel with a friend.
If a traveler had only one day to spend in your hometown, what are the top five things they should make sure to see or do?
San Francisco is such a wonderful town. I would tell people:
– Take a walk in Golden Gate Park in the arboretum.
– Go to the Farmer’s Market in the Ferry Building.
– Wander around Valencia Street in the Mission to take in the funky boutiques, then eat a pizza atDelfina or have a pastry at Tartine.
– Take a bicycle ride in the Presidio, over the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then eat at the Presidio Social Club.
– Wander the streets of Chinatown and North Beach and go in to City Lights Booksellers.
Where do you want to go on your next vacation?