Rob Blood loves being on the water. The founder and chief executive officer of Lark Hotels said that being on a sailboat provides the perfect opportunity to “disconnect” from his hectic daily life. The 41-year-old father of two young daughters was born in Marblehead and now calls Newburyport home. His company has 18 boutique hotels — 16 of which are in New England — that capture the essence and history of the communities in which they are located, while offering amenities that cater to modern travelers. Lark plans to open a hotel in Salem in July. We caught up with Blood to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation spot? My favorite spot to vacation is on a sailboat somewhere in the British Virgin Islands. For years, I’ve been chartering a boat in Tortola and disconnecting by spending time on the water. When I first started going to [British Virgin Islands], there were no cell towers, and Wi-Fi was scarce. It’s where I can totally disconnect and let my always active mind rest. I’m not very good at sitting still, so sailing is perfect for me. There’s always something to do and an adventure to be had, but the surroundings are totally relaxing.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? This is totally dependent on the location of the vacation, but there’s really nothing better than the first rum punch of a British Virgin Islands trip.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? I would very much like to go to Greece and to spend some time in Southern France. I’m always drawn to the ocean. I have been my whole life, both living in Newburyport and opening Lark Hotels properties throughout New England’s coast, and most of my vacations are also water-centric.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? I never forget to pack a bathing suit.
Aisle or window? Always the aisle, please. I’d rather get up for someone who needs to go to the bathroom than ask a couple of people to get up if I have to go. Also, it always seems like I’m running to catch my next flight, bus, or train, so the aisle gets me off the plane 30 seconds sooner.
Favorite childhood travel memory? My family skied at Sugarloaf every weekend from the time I was in fourth grade through college. I loved getting picked up from school on a Friday in the family Grand Wagoneer and making the four-hour trip to the ’loaf. For me, that memory is pure happiness. My mom always played the worst music during the car ride, but inevitably we all ended up singing along.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? Sleep and being lazy. Life is so busy, so when traveling, I like to dial it back several notches. I aim to sleep late, move slowly, and really unwind.
Best travel tip? Pack light and carry on. What do you really need to bring anyways, besides your sense of adventure? Be spontaneous, and let the vacation unfold under your feet.