Meet the team

Jon Sopher

Jon Sopher

Chairman

I have many years of experience consulting for businesses across all sectors and have been a loyal client of the Oxford Travel Collection throughout that time, so am delighted to be on the team contributing to the continuing success of the operation. I am an avid traveller and an average skier; very much a fair weather person.

I am a skier.

Destinations I love: Val d'Isere, St Anton

Properties I love: Hotel Le Brussels (Val d'Isere), Puerto Pollensa (Mallorca)

Recently visited: Morzine and Val d'Isere

My travel tip: Get yourself a Euro debit card for maximum ease, convenience and security during your holiday.

Rupert Longsdon

Rupert Longsdon

Managing Director

If you snooze you lose, the mountains make sure of this.

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Crans-Montana and Val d'Isère.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Val d'Isère, over 10 years in Crans-Montana & Méribel. 

Favourite Properties: Chalet La Bergerie in Courchevel 1850 and Chalet N in Lech.

Favourite Lunch & Après: Chetzeron in Crans-Montana has the best local food and panoramic views (make sure you have room for pudding). Martinis in Le Farinet, Verbier certainly keep the ski legs going a little longer.

My Tip:  You can never stop learning and this is particularly true when it comes to skiing. Always budget for a ski instructor or guide, you will get so much more out of your holiday. 

Mark Gibbins

Mark Gibbins

Commercial Director

I have always believed that skiing is a means of transportation to and from lunch...I am the person you need to speak to about finding the perfect terrace spot for a fine Alpine lunch!

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Crans-Montana, Val d'Isère and Whistler.

Ski Seasons: 6 in Crans Montana, 2 in Meribel.

Favourite Properties: Ferme de Moudon in Les Gets and the Residences at The Four Seasons Whistler.

Favourite Lunch & Après:Signal in Val d'Isère for lunch and the infamous après at La Folie Douce, Val d'Isère (and now also in Val Thorens and Méribel).

My Tip: Invest in your own pair of ski boots, even if you only ski 6 days a year...go that extra step and get a custom fit pair from SureFoot. 

Neil Kitchen

Neil Kitchen

Operations Manager

After two ski seasons in Verbier, I felt it was time to get a 'proper job' in the ski industry. I love talking about amazing properties every day and count myself very lucky to have visited and experienced some of the best chalets in the Alps.

I am a skier but can also snowboard.

Favourite Resorts: Zermatt, Verbier and Les 4 Vallees.

Ski Seasons: 2 in Verbier.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Norte in Verbier, Chalet Le Blanchot in Courchevel 1850 and Tivoli Lodge, Davos.

Favourite Lunch & Après: Chez Vrony in Zermatt for a fine lunch and the aptly named Après-Ski Bar in Verbier. 

My Tip:  Avoid the morning queues at Medran in Verbier by asking your driver to drop you at Carrefour and use the new 6 man chair to get up to Ruinettes.

Harriet Tetlow

Harriet Tetlow

Senior Travel Consultant, Chalets

Skiing for me is now more about the whole holiday experience, rather than just the amount of runs you can do in one day! I am lucky enough to have enjoyed the epitome of a luxury ski holiday first hand - let me tell you about it and find out how you can too!

I am a skier.

Favourite resorts: Val d’Isere, Lech and Verbier.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Val d'Isere

Favourite properties: Marco Polo, Uberhaus and Blossom Hill.

Favourite Lunch and Apres: Bar d’Altitude de L’Ouillette for a beach themed barbeque and La Folie Douce for the ultimate après. Both Val d’Isere.

My Tip: Never underestimate the power of a good mountain lunch! And view our selection of the top twenty chalets in the world – www.luxurychaletcollection.com.

Kylie Hardy

Kylie Hardy

Senior Travel Consultant, Chalets

With a love for snowsports and a passion for interior design this job is perfect, as I get to talk about stunning chalets and skiing all day long.

I consider myself a snowboarder but can ski also.

Favourite Resorts: Chamonix, Whistler and Val d'Isère.

Ski Seasons:  3 in Whistler, 4 in Chamonix and lets not forget 3 at Mt Hotham, Australia!

Favourite Properties: Des Drus in Chamonix, La Tene in Val d'Isère and Chalet Grace in Zermatt.

Favourite Lunch & Après:  Merlin's at the bottom of Blackcombe for the delicious Nachos! Chambre Neuf for après-ski in Chamonix and La Folie Douce in Val d'Isère for the atmosphere, views and music.

My Tip:  When in Whistler eat at Sushi Village and order a frozen strawberry sake. The must do run is Peak to Creek for the great off-piste trees.

Sarah Kitching

Sarah Kitching

Travel Consultant, Chalets

My passion for skiing and being in the mountains was fuelled by having survived 3 seasons in both the French and Austrian Alps! Now I am here to share my love and knowledge for the sport, properties and mountains with you!

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: St. Anton, Val d'Isere and Verbier. Although St Anton will always have my heart!

Ski Seasons: 1 in Courchevel 1850 and 2 in St. Anton.

Favourite Properties: Maria Schnee in St Anton, La Tene in Val d'Isere and Edelweiss in Courchevel 1850.

Favourite Lunch & Après: Rodel Alm in St. Anton for their half chicken with a semmel (Austrian bread roll), Krazy Kangaroo for après and dancing on tables!!

My Tip: Get the first lift and head high! In St Anton, head to Hospiz Alm in St Christoph, and use the slide down to the bathrooms!

Alice Dalton

Alice Dalton

Travel Consultant, Chalets

I planned my first ski season over 2 years in advance so I knew I was destined to end up in the ski industry, and here I am! It's a pleasure to have a role that incorporates my passion and knowledge of the sport. 

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Meribel & Val d'Isère.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Mont Tremblant, Canada, 1 in Meribel

Favourite Properties: Chalet Foinbois in Meribel Village and Le Chardon in Val d'Isère.

Favourite Lunch & Après:  : Le Panoramic - Great views from the top of La Masse (Courchevel) and for après it has to be the Le Rond Point in Meribel for live music and toffee vodka - skiing down afterwards is also very amusing!!

My Tip:   Ask your chef or host to pack some nibbles and a bottle of bubbles in a bag, find a secluded spot on the mountain and tuck in!

Robin Quarrelle

Robin Quarrelle

Travel Consultant, Chalets

In the words of the great John Muir - “Go to the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Verbier, Zermatt, Lech.

Ski Seasons: 5 winters (and 1 summer) in Verbier, 1 winter ‘down under’ in New Zealand.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Dent Blanche in Verbier, San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in the Dolomites and Chalet Uberhaus in Lech.

Favourite Lunch & Après: Favourite lunch has got to be Chez Dany in Verbier, no better place on a sunny day! Favourite après is usually at the Folie Douce, (the closing parties are ‘epic’!) or at Le Rouge in Verbier.

My Tip: Don’t be fooled if you look outside and it’s a whiteout – so often you can get above the clouds, and enjoy fantastic snow conditions in the sunshine when everyone else down in resort thinks the weather is grim!

Annabel Gonifas

Annabel Gonifas

Travel Consultant, Chalets

My skiing life started in America at the age of 4 with freezing temperatures, icy slopes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. After running my own luxury chalet company in St Anton for 6 years it is a dream come true to return to the UK with my young family and still get to talk about skiing and chalets all day!

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: St Anton, Zermatt and Val d'Isère.

Ski Seasons: 10 in St Anton, 1 in Zermatt.

Favourite Properties: Maria Schnee in St Anton and Ferme de Moudon in Les Gets.

Favourite Lunch & Après:  Hotel Post in the pretty village of Stuben for a gorgeous lunch with a stunning valley view. St Anton has a great choice of Après ski, but my favourite is the  Underground on the Piste for its live music and atmosphere.

My Tip: Try to get out on the mountain even if it's a blizzard. Fresh air is always a winner, you may well have the best day of your life in the powder.

Karen Cabena

Karen Cabena

Head of Sales, Hotels & North America

With a passion for travel, sport and adventure I have been lucky enough to experience the amazing skiing in Canada & North America. Working here gives me the perfect opportunity to help you experience the same!

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Verbier in Switzerland, Lake Louise in Canada and Vail in Colorado

Ski Seasons: 1 in Breckenridge and 1 in Banff/Lake Louise.

Favourite Properties: W Verbier (Verbier), Hotel Le Strato (Courchevel 1850) and The Four Seasons (Whistler)

Favourite Lunch & Après: W Off Piste après bar & Sushi Village, Whistler.

My Tip: When skiing in North America & Canada take advantage of the mountain hosts for free ski guiding. Fantastic friendly volunteers who provide some great facts and history on the mountains as well as taking you to the best slopes for the conditions that day! 

Ellie Knowles

Ellie Knowles

Travel Consultant, Hotels & North America

I love how invigorated and excited a snowy mountain vista can make you feel. I have been lucky enough to visit and stay in many of the properties we feature. Experiencing all these luxuries makes finding the perfect hotel for you no trouble. 

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Banff/Lake Louise, Whistler and Val d’Isere.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Banff and Panorama, Canada. 

Favourite Properties: Four Seasons Whistler, Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek and the Hotel Le Crans in Crans Montana. 

Favourite Lunch & Après:  The Buffalo Bar in the Ritz-Carlton, Beaver Creek for all-American chicken wings, nachos and beer. Après in the Sky Hotel, Aspen for cocktails, hot tubs and zebra print robes!

My Tip:  In Aspen make use of the ski storage and transfer service; drop your skis at the base of the mountain after skiing and have them transferred to another mountain of your choice overnight! This means no walking through town with skis on your shoulder. 

 

Vicki Bannister

Vicki Bannister

Travel Consultant, Hotels & North America

Those days we all dream of in the mountains with fresh powder and clear blue skies. If I wake up and the conditions are perfect, I am definitely grabbing the first lift up and making new tracks. It's a pleasure to now work in a role that enables me to pass on my knowledge & experience of the mountains! 

I am a snowboarder.

Favourite Resorts: Val d’Isere, Megève, St. Anton and Kitzbühel.

Ski Seasons: 2 in Austria, 1 in Switzerland and 3 Summer Seasons on the beaches of Greece.

Favourite Properties: Les Grande Alpes in Courchevel 1850, Le Chalet Zannier in Megève, Le Blizzard in Val d’Isere and The Chedi, Andermatt.

Favourite Lunch & Après: Head to 2Mille3 in Val Thorens for lunch on the terrace, or La Folie Douce in Meribel, finish up with a cosy dinner at L’Osteria in Courchevel - great atmosphere, gorgeous décor and delicious Italian cuisine.

My Tip: Combine your 2015/16 holiday with one of the many winter events and competitions held across Europe and North America. My top picks are the X Games Aspen 2016 or enjoy the highest altitude festival in Europe.. Zermatt Unplugged!

Victoria Perrins

Victoria Perrins

Head of Concierge

For me there is simply nothing better than a ski holiday. Spending a week in the mountains with lots of snow, sunshine and skiing is amazing. Having a job where I get to think about skiing all day is a pleasure.

I am a skier.

Favourite Resorts: Anywhere in the 3 Valleys

Ski Seasons: 1 in Courchevel 1850.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Neuf Du Tenne in Chatel and Chalet Birdy and Chalet La Ferme in Megeve.

Favourite Lunch & Après: La Roc Tania Restaurant for the Le Roc burger in Courchevel  and the Rond Point in Meribel for Après.

My Tip: If you have children take an afternoon or an evening to go tobogganing. Or even if you don't have children, still go tobogganing...fun for all ages!

Sophie Taylor

Sophie Taylor

Concierge

I would choose a trip in the snowy mountains over a summer holiday every day of the year! I love that feeling you get on the first lift of the day, not to mention my love for Après Ski – It is enough to make anyone want to work within the industry.

I am a snowboarder.

Favourite Resorts: Tignes and Courchevel.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Eben, Austria.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Lottie, Chalet Corniche, Mon Izba

Favourite Lunch & Après: Le Carrefour, Verbier and La Folie Douce, Val D'Isère.

My Tip: Try and make time for a ‘relaxed’ ski with your family or friends; it's not every day when you get to experience the thrill of skiing in the beauty of the mountains.

Henry Daniels

Henry Daniels

Concierge

To me there is no better holiday experience than a skiing holiday. The feeling of rocketing down the slopes with the sun on your face is unmatched, not to mention an ice cold beer or two after a hard day on the slopes! I am lucky enough to have skied for over 15 years all across the Alps and I can't wait to help organise the perfect ski holiday for you!

I am a skier through and through but do like to snowboard.

Favourite Resorts: Les Gets in France and Zermatt in Switzerland.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Grace and Chalet Gemini in Zermatt.

Favourite Lunch & Après: La Rossettas, La Grande Ourse, Les Gets and The spaghetti and pizza factory in Zermatt.

My Tip: If you are new to skiing always book an instructor, they will not only get rid of those bambi legs but show you some great spots to practice and enjoy your skiing! If you are an avid skier like me I would really recommend setting that alarm early and being one of the first on the piste to really take advantage of that fresh, crisp snow!

Jenny Goward

Jenny Goward

HR Manager

Exploring different countries and cultures by going on that perfect holiday is what motivates me and I’ve been very lucky to have been able to do a lot of overseas travel. I love spending quality time with family and friends, exploring new destinations and local food/wine.

I am a beginner skier.

Favourite Destinations: Italy, Spain, Greek islands, Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Recently visited: India and Brazil

My Tip: Always take the time to plan your holiday and have an itinerary to ensure that you visit all the places you want to whilst in that country. Make sure you factor in some “down time” to relax and re-charge your batteries as well as sightseeing. The world is a small place these days with air travel so take time to go and explore different places.

Richard Howard

Richard Howard

Accounts Administrator

I skied the Austrian Alps with school in my youth and since joining the team last year I have visited Zermatt where I learnt to Snowboard.

Destinations I Love: Zermatt, Courchevel and Cape Town.

Favourite Properties: Chalet Shalimar, Chalet Kilimanjaro of our luxury ski chalets, and One & Only The Palm Resort Dubai is on my bucket list.

My Tip: Sufficient Travel Insurance. Plus getting off the beaten track as you’ll never know where the best pint is if you don't try everywhere.

Recently Visited: I just returned from my first visit to Zermatt, where I boarded for the first time, sampled the famous resort nightlife and excellent service in the luxurious Chalet Shalimar.

Diana Cherry

Diana Cherry

Director of Operations, Oxford Private Travel

As someone who has to start planning their next holiday as soon as they return from the last one, running Oxford Private Travel (our summery sister company) is my dream job.  The importance of an amazing holiday should never be underestimated!

I am a skier (and villa expert!)

Favourite Resorts: Verbier and Zermatt in Winter. Marrakech and the Cote d'Azur in summer.

Ski Seasons: 1 in Zermatt

Favourite Properties: Chalet Grace in Zermatt, C-View in Cap Ferrat, Villa Uno in Ibiza

Favourite Lunch & Apres:  Cervo in Zermatt - the best Gluhwein in town and you must try the Cervo fries! Lunch at Club 55, St Tropez for the sheer spectacle.

My Tip:  Alpine resorts can be just as special in summer and are the perfect solution for a luxury family holiday.

Laura Porter

Laura Porter

Product Manager, Oxford Private Travel

Having spent a lot of my school holidays in the Algarve and Madeira with my Portuguese Grandfather hotelier, I like to think travel and hospitality is in my blood. As someone who likes to spend 50% of a holiday lying horizontally in a beautiful sun-drenched location, and the other 50% soaking up the culture, Oxford Private Travel really is a job I am passionate about.

Destinations I love: St Barths and Mykonos

Properties I love: Parrot Cay (Turks & Caicos) and Hermitage Bay (Antigua).

Recently visited: Peter Island, British Virgin Islands

My tip: Go to places that are hard to reach. Caribbean islands that don’t have direct flights such as the BVIs and St Barths are so worth it, and who doesn't love a short boat transfer or light jet landing!

James Ellwood

James Ellwood

Travel Consultant, Oxford Private Travel

Having lived and worked abroad on a couple of occasions I am captured by the travel bug and take great pride in placing someone in their perfect hotel or villa in a destination suited to them. I joined the team from a hospitality background so customer service and going that extra mile at any given opportunity is something I’m extremely passionate about.

I am a villa & hotel expert.

Places I love: Sicily and Singapore

Properties I love: Raffles (Singapore), Castell Son Claret (Mallorca) and Can Zama (Ibiza)

Recently visited: Barcelona and Sicily 

My Tip:  When visiting South East Asia or Australasia, be sure to stop off for a 2 night stay in Singapore and experience the cleanest and most beautiful city in the world, the perfect destination for a whistle stop tour either side of a longer, more relaxing break. 

 

Tara Bond

Tara Bond

Sales Support & Concierge

Having worked in the Private Aviation industry for the last 5 years travel is something that I not only enjoy but I absolutely love, working for OPT is the perfect transition for me as I now get to arrange the personal touches for my clients rather than just their private jets!

Destinations I love: Ibiza, The Maldives and Thailand

Properties I love: One & Only Reethi Rah (Maldives) and Bluebay (Ibiza)

Recently visited: Ibiza

My tip:

Never go to the same place twice: the world is a big place!

Always ask your concierge to recommend the best local restaurants in your destination. We have the insider knowledge on the best of local nightlife and cuisine or your taste buds will never forgive you!

Joanne Busby

Joanne Busby

Office Manager

I enjoyed ski holidays in Italy, Austria, France and Canada as a child, with my father - a passionate skier - desperately and repeatedly trying to inject the spirit of adventure into his wife and two daughters. As an adult, though, the overall experience of the ski holiday has tempted me back, and I look forward to many years of gentle bunny-hopping down the green slopes ahead!

I am a skier

Ski Season: 1 in Sierra Nevada, Spain

Favourite properties: Hotel Le Crans (Crans-Montana); Chalet Mistral (Val d’Isere); Torre de Tramores (Benahavis).

Favourite Lunch & Après: A mouth-watering steak at the Hotel Cervo, Zermatt, and a magnum (or two!) of rose at La Folie Douce, Val d’Isere: the stuff of Alpine legend!

My Tip: Skiing with young children doesn’t have to be one big compromise! There are great specialist ski tuition and childcare options available now for those of us who want to enjoy family time AND adult social time on our ski holiday.

Kristel Valaydon

Kristel Valaydon

PR Executive

I am very, very lucky to have discovered the addictive world of travel through PR. Representing some amazing destinations I've managed to visit a fair number of countries, amazing properties and have been introduced to some wonderful people and cultures – in fact it doesn't feel like a job at all!

I am a beginner skier and already can’t wait to get back on the slopes!

Destinations I love: Courchevel, Paris, Croatia, Vancouver, Namibia and Japan.

Ski Seasons: 0 sadly but have been enjoying press trips!

Properties I love: Chalet Blossom Hill, Chalet Licorne, Chalet Crystaile (Courchevel), Okonjima Lodges (Namibia) and The Rittenhouse Hotel (Philadelphia).

Recently visited: Courchevel, Paris, Croatia and Capri. My tip: Have always been thankful to have a friendly instructor around to help get you into the swing of things more quickly and provide helpful tips and hints, well worth the investment – made the skiing experience even more enjoyable.

Saffron

Saffron

Border Terrier

My role is simply to assist with positive staff morale, although, to be fair, I spend the vast majority of my day sleeping.

I am a dog.

Owner: Mark Gibbins

Favourite spot: My office bed

Favourite time of day: Lunch time

Party Trick: I don't have many, but am good at walking backwards.

Will

Will

Labrador

My most important office duties include chasing Saffron first thing in the morning, sleeping on my back so I am in the way of everyone, and pulling my puppy dog eyes when I want to go for a walk!

I am a dog.

Owner: Sarah Kitching.

Favourite spot: My office bed.

Favourite time of day: Morning and getting to work, afternoon walk and home time! The rest of the time I’m asleep!

Party Trick: Looking ridiculously comfortable and relaxed when everyone is hard at work!

Caper

Caper

Labrador

I am the office K9 agent, you may think I’m sleeping all day but I’m actually selling puppy ski packages all around the world. I am also the office hoover. Step aside Dyson.

I am a dog.

Owner: Alice Dalton

Favourite spot: The park at lunch

Favourite time of day: When Mark gives me treats

Party Trick: I can purposefully not catch treats that are thrown at me so I make every one laugh.

Bertie

Bertie

Cocker Spaniel

I am very good at making everyone say ‘Awww!’ and attracting a lot of attention when I’m out and about, but I most enjoy playtime with my best friend Henry (when I’m allowed!)

I am a dog.

Owner: Neil Kitchen & Harriet Tetlow

Favourite spot: Henry’s bed

Favourite time of day: Lunchtime walks, but only when I feel like it

Party Trick: Giving high fives!

Thula

Thula

Labrador

I love the office. It’s lovely and peaceful and there aren’t any toddlers. I’m learning a lot about skiing too.

I am a dog.

Owner: Annabel Gonifas

Favourite spot: My bed

Favourite time of the day: Lunchtime walks with my office pals

Party trick: I can jump really high fences and cattle grids, but they’re obviously saved for my lunch time walks.