Want to know how to travel in style, just like the pros? We check in with frequent fliers to find out how often they fly, their favorite destinations and what they never leave home without.
Name: Jon D Makhmaltchi but prefers to be called J.MAK
Occupation: Hospitality. Personality.
Hometown: Manhattan, NY
Residence: Manhattan/Rhinecliff, NY
Facebook: J.MAK Hospitality
Pinterest: Jon Makhmaltchi
Short bio: Jon Makhmaltchi, founder of J.MAK Hospitality, is a champion of sophisticated travel and lifestyle like none other, who uses his infectious nature, innovative marketing concepts and industry expertise to raise the profile of extraordinary clients across the globe. Makhmaltchi, and his team at J.MAK Hospitality, follow the mantra of “Hospitality. Personality.” to assist travel partners truly stand out in a crowd and make a lasting impression. An industry savant, Makhmaltchi has elevated the profile of more than 500 independent hotels in over 70 countries, positioning himself as the ultimate advisor and champion in all aspects of the business from interior designer to hospitality coach and all-around problem solver.
How often do you fly? Too often…I’m on a plane at least 4-6 times per month. I’m so spoiled to be working with the best of the best in luxury travel around the globe, and honestly, I’d rather be home in Rhinebeck in my wood-burning outdoor hot tub!
How many countries have you been to? Having worked in the travel industry for 20 years, I’ve been to most countries and 6 of the 7 continents!
How many continents have you been to? 6 (suprisingly, I have yet to visit Africa).
Earliest travel memory: My first words were “room service.” Ha! In all seriousness on a family vacation to Puerto Rico I began helping the housekeeping staff clean rooms. I think I was all of 2-years-old.
Favorite American city: Portland, Oregon.
Favorite international city: Montreal, Quebec (it’s where my husband is from!).
Least favorite country: Syria (and Orlando, FL).
Friendliest people in the world: NYC—we all know this is actually true!
Country with the meanest immigration officers: Dominican Republic.
Favorite World Heritage Site: Persepolis.
Favorite airline: American Airlines or bust.
Favorite aircraft type: 747-800.
Aisle or window: Window.
Favorite airport lounge: LAX Admirals Club.
Favorite U.S. airport: JFK.
Favorite international airport: LHR.
Favorite hotel: EVERY J.MAK Hotel! Have you seen my client list—it’s incredible!
Favorite cruise line: SilverSeas.
Favorite travel credit card: American Express.
Favorite island: Manhattan.
Favorite beach: Natai Beach, just North of Phuket Town in Thailand. It’s perfect, clean, faces the sunset and the best part is that you basically have it all to yourself!
Favorite fancy restaurant: No thanks, I’m not a fancy restaurant guy, I’m much happier eating Thai food from a hole-in-the-wall or cooking, I love to cook!
Favorite hole-in-the-wall: Matchbox Café in Rhinebeck, NY—this is my heaven. Casual and comfortable!
Favorite bar: The Allstate. This was the best bar ever. It’s closed now, sadly, but was located on the UWS in Manhattan. Kevin Bacon was a bartender back in the day and the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar took place there. I was devastated when it closed.
Favorite fruit: Persimmon.
Favorite food: Ice cream—any and all Haagen-Dazs flavors.
Least favorite food: Caviar/foie gras, like I said, I’m not a fancy food guy
Drink of choice (in the air and on the ground): In the air: Blood Mary. On the ground: an Arnold Palmer.
Favorite travel movie(s): Planes, Trains & Automobiles with Steve Martin and John Candy, I mean come on it’s the best. That, and Airplane.
Favorite travel show(s): Departures on the Esquire Network.
Right now I am reading: Emails.
Top 3 favorite travel newsletters/magazines/blogs: AFAR, Condé Nast Traveler, Ignacio Maza’s blog on the Signature Travel Network.
Favorite travel website(s)—besides JohnnyJet.com, of course! Jmakhotels.com, afar.com, cntraveler.com.
5 things you bring on a plane: Eye drops, gum, hand sanitizer, room spray, wipes.
What do you always seem to forget? Cash.
What do you like least about travel? Jetlag.
What do you want your loved one to buy you from an airport Duty Free store? Gum and lots of it, or Chanel Platinum cologne.
Favorite travel app(s): Umapped.
Most embarrassing travel moment: This is a terribly embarrassing story. I was on an Eastern China Airlines flight from LAX to PVG in Shanghai and was unfortunately battling a parasite. I spent the entire flight in the bathroom! It was awful. As an aside, they did have great Korean BBQ in Business Class.
Worst travel moment: See above.
What’s your dream destination? Home!
Favorite travel charity: NAMI.
Best travel tip: Fly business class if at all possible, comfort is key!