MY CLUB • June 2019
Leeds-born athlete Jason Robinson was known throughout his decorated rugby career for his speed on the pitch. Now, ‘Billy Whizz’ is travelling the world just as fast. In a chat with The Club’s Hannah Ralph, the famous full-back reveals his dream home destination, love of lounges and stand-out travel memories
I’ve been spoilt rotten travelling with England Rugby…
…but there’s something about New Zealand (pictured below) that I really love. I have a huge respect for the Kiwis, both on and off the pitch – they’re great at the game and such friendly people. It’s the ideal place to try extreme sports such as skiing, paragliding, bungee-jumping and rafting. The team and I even went tobogganing once – the perfect way to take in the epic landscape.
My favourite beach is in Sydney
While we’re in that part of the world, I must mention Australia. I spent three weeks there with my family and came back full of memories after seeing the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, Sydney Opera House. It’s also home to one of my favourite beaches, Manly. A ferry ride from Sydney Harbour ($15 return), it has a real community feel and is packed with great seafood restaurants. And don’t miss the chance to whale-watch – it really is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
If I had to live anywhere else, it’d be Portugal
I didn’t really go abroad growing up. We were mostly on caravan holidays here in the UK, which I loved, but it’s given me a thirst for escaping to hot places. My dream is to have a house in central Algarve. It’s an amazing place for the family. We fly into Faro, hire a car, rent a villa and bask in the privacy. A car is a must so you can discover the secret beaches.
White-washed villages and sweeping sea views are just two of things that attract Jason to the central Algarve
For romance, nowhere beats the Maldives
You see the pictures, the colour of the water, and think it can’t possibly look like that – but it does. What amazed me most was that from the moment we checked in, I was barefoot. It’s so relaxed. We stayed at Maafushivaru in a stilted villa where you can jump into the ocean from your bed. You can also hire your own little island for the night. They’ll serve you a candlelit dinner on the beach, before you return to the main resort the next day.
I had the ultimate Vegas experience
It was during the Rugby Sevens, a series of tournaments around the world, including matches in Las Vegas. We flew First Class with British Airways, which was amazing. I took my brother and he couldn’t believe the quality of the service. He still says it was the best holiday he’s ever had. Michelin-starred restaurants, Cirque Du Soleil, the Bellagio… But the highlight? A helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon (pictured below). Never mind the casinos, that’s the one thing you must do.
Being on an aircraft is ideal for planning
I take a notepad, think and write. I also read High Life magazine from front to back; I love how visual it is. As an athlete I know the importance of hydration, so I grab a can of Coco Fuzion 100 coconut water at the airport and take it on board – I love anything tropical, so the mango flavour is my favourite.
I’m always on the hunt for more Avios
I normally spend my Avios on flights. The Executive Club is particularly good when you can use the lounges. After a hectic journey to the airport, getting to the lounge before a long flight is the moment to finally breathe, and enjoy the start of your holiday in a totally stress-free atmosphere.
Jason Robinson is the global ambassador for Coco Fuzion 100 coconut water, available now in the Club South lounge at Heathrow Terminal 5.