By Jae-Ha Kim, Tribune Media Services
Celebrity Travel by Jae-Ha Kim
9:30 AM EDT, September 30, 2013
As a host on E! News, Jason Kennedy has gotten used to people assuming he's little more than a pretty face. Little do the naysayers know that Kennedy, 30, has been a news junkie for most of his life. As an elementary school student, he anchored his own segments from a basement studio at his parents' house. By 15, he made his on-air debut. And as a college student at the University of Miami, Kennedy won an Associated Press Award. After joining E! News in 2005, he was sent to cover the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
"My boss told me to pack my bags for two days and head to the Bahamas," says the Los Angeles-based entertainment reporter. "I ended up staying four weeks, because of how the story developed. It was tough being away that long, but well worth it. I learned a lot about this business on that trip."
Fans may follow Kennedy on Twitter (at)JasonKennedy1.
Q. What was the best city you visited for work?
A. I went to the Cannes Film Festival and interviewed the cast from "Ocean's Thirteen." I was hanging out in a bungalow at the Hotel Du Cap (http://www.hotel-du-cap-eden-roc.com/eng/welcome/) with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. It didn't feel real at the time. Now we usually just hang out at my house. Kidding.
Q. Have you ever been a total fish out of water during your travels?
A. I still get lost when I drive around Los Angeles. It's unbelievable! Whenever I go to Europe, it's quite the adventure. I usually have to designate someone in my group to handle navigation duties.
Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?
A. I just got back from the Miraval Resort (http://www.miravalresorts.com/) in Tucson, Ariz. It's only a 40-minute flight from Los Angeles. I'm not a big fan of flying, so it's the perfect place to get away for the weekend!
Q. To someone going there for the first time, what would you recommend that they do during their visit?
A. They have tons of activities, including hiking, rock climbing, a tight rope and horseback riding. When you finish, make sure you head over to the spa for a relaxing treatment.
Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. Terranea Resort (http://www.terranea.com) in Palos Verdes, Calif., is only a 30-minute drive from Los Angeles and it has the most beautiful views of the ocean I've ever seen.
Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?
A. It was to Rockland, Me., where most of my family is from. I had lobster for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was living the high life for a five year old.
Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?
A. I'll drive to Laguna Beach and stay at the Montage Hotel (http://www.montagelagunabeach.com/). Or I'll head further south to San Diego. The options are endless down there.
Q. How do your travels differ depending on whether you're touring or taking a vacation with friends?
A. If I'm with my friends and loved ones, we usually just explore locally and spend the rest of the day on the beach. I'm not the type of guy to leave the hotel, get in a car and drive a few hours to sightsee.
Q. What are your favorite hotels?
A. Fontainebleau Hotel (http://www.fontainebleau.com) in Miami and the Gansevoort Hotel (http://www.hotelgansevoort.com/) in New York City.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. Miami, New York City, Malibu, Chicago and San Francisco.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I really want to go to Bali and then Australia. I've heard nothing but good things about both places. Who wants to come?
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. I'm a very weird sleeper, so I need to bring an eye mask and noise machine wherever I go. Please hold the laughter!
Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. I love Pace (http://peaceinthecanyon.com/) here in Los Angeles, Scarpetta (http://www.fontainebleau.com/web/dining/scarpetta/) in Miami Beach and Catch (http://emmgroupinc.com/restaurants/catch/) when I'm in New York City. Lure Fishbar (http://lurefishbar.tumblr.com/) in Soho is pretty incredible if you ever make it to New York.
Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you're on the road?
A. I like to find a good ice cream shop in town and try every one of their milkshakes.
Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I talk to the locals and get an idea of what's in the area. Sometimes we will just walk around and go on a little adventure to find the best spot in town.
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. I went on a cruise last year to the Caribbean with a bunch of friends. It was the best. My idea of a vacation is shutting your phone off for a week and not having to worry about anything work related. I'm having a hard time thinking about my worst vacation memory. Maybe that's a good thing?
(Jae-Ha Kim is a New York Times bestselling author and travel writer. You can respond to this column by visiting her website at http://www.jaehakim.com. You may also follow "Go Away With..." on Twitter at @GoAwayWithJae where Jae-Ha Kim welcomes your questions and comments.)
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