Travel Tips / 17 October 2019, 10:00am / Clinton Moodley
Alexander Shannon’s Follow The Nap Instagram page showcases some of the best locations, and his captions are tongue in cheek.
The 35-year-old editorial director from Los Angeles literally checks into some of the world’s most glamorous locations to sleep.
He takes time off his "sleeping schedule" to chat with me. This is what he said:
Clinton Moodley (CM): Follow The Nap is an interesting Instagram handle. How did it come about?
Alexander Shannon (AS): The idea came to me in my sleep! I've worked in editorial and social media for over 10 years, and I always wanted to create something unique and a little tongue-in-cheek on Instagram. I literally dreamt up the idea and just decided to go for it. I've always loved travel and been someone who really enjoys sleep, so it just made sense.
CM: You travel to luxury destinations across the world. It sounds like a job made in heaven. What, according to you, is the most challenging part of your job?
AS: It really is an absolute dream. There are challenges, and the planning has to be pretty meticulous. Getting one great shot involves finding the right location, clothing, props, photographer and getting the setup and lighting just right. Then, you still have to edit, caption, post and hashtag. One picture can take hours of planning, shooting and editing. I love the opportunity to travel, so it never really feels like work.
CM: What hotel bowled you over?
AS: Mandarin Oriental Paris left me speechless. Their new Parisian Apartment is like nothing I’ve experienced and has to be the best hotel suite I’ve ever seen. It's one of the largest hotel suites in Paris, is impeccably designed and features artwork from French artists throughout. The staff went above and beyond in every aspect during my stay. I arrived at my suite to find a table full of gifts: chilled pink champagne, fresh fruit pastries, flowers, designer aftershave, a hand-written note and a chocolate sculpture of the Eiffel Tower. I was given a full tour of the hotel, and when I got back to my suite, there was a cart filled with every indulgent cake and pastry that the hotel makes, plus more champagne! I also got to sample their various breakfasts, including their French, Tokyo, and Hong Kong themed offerings. The service and level of attention were unbelievable.
CM: Sounds really fun and indulgent. So, what place did not meet your expectations?
AS: I don't want to name and shame, but a famous hotel in Miami was incredibly disappointing. The staff were rude and unhelpful. I wanted to visit for years, but I left feeling underwhelmed.
CM: What amenities should a good hotel always have?
AS: Any hotel that can customise your experience is always a bonus. For example, hotels that include a pillow or bedding menu, or somewhere you can choose the temperature and fragrance of your room before you arrive. Other necessities should include excellent service, 24-hour room service and a concierge.
CM: Do you have a checklist when you stay at a hotel?
AS: I have a checklist of sorts. When I give a hotel a "Nap Rating", it's based on design, amenities, comfort, service and uniqueness, all with a slant towards how relaxing and lounge-worthy a property is. Within those, I consider a lot of things: how quiet the room is, whether late checkouts are offered, etc.
CM: What is your biggest pet peeve?
AS: Poor service. It doesn't take that much to be nice.
CM: Most celebs, like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez, have outrageous demands. Do you have any?
AS: I have no outrageous demands. The most I usually ask for are some props to use in the shots. I am happy to work with these hotels, so I have no place to make crazy demands.
CM: Have you been to South Africa, and if not what places would you like to visit?
AS: I haven't been to South Africa, and I'd absolutely love to visit. I think Cape Town and Durban would be top of my list. The natural scenery and wildlife are so spectacular that I could get a lot of great outdoor naps.
CM: By the way, I am intrigued to find out who captures the photos of you?
AS: I work with different photographers in each city. I usually find them through Instagram as that's a great way to get a feel for their style. If I'm in a pinch, I'll get friends, family or someone at the hotel to snap photos on an iPhone, but try to get the highest quality imagery whenever possible.
CM: My last question: where are you off to next?
AS: I'm visiting Las Vegas in a couple of weeks, and am very excited to be visiting some spectacular suites. After that, I have a couple of trips within California. I am also planning some big trips for the end of the year/beginning of next year.