Ria Santamaria

Singapore Office

As a former banker married to a finance executive, I know full well that every holiday time is incredibly precious. I learned to plan my holidays to maximize every experience, create bonding moments with our two sons wherein we could discover the world and its myriad cultures together. I grew up in Manila, raised my family in Singapore and spent a three-year post in London.

I have experienced iconic travel adventures, such as going on safari in Botswana, running with the bulls in Pamplona, marvelling at the aurora borealis in Iceland, celebrating the Carnevale in Venice, walking the Camino de Santiago route from Portugal to Spain, trekking the Inca trail to reach Machu Picchu and marvelling at the stars from Salar de Uyuni while camping out of an Airstream.  But the most special trips for me happened when we interacted in quiet ways with the locals, such as when we swam with dolphins in Kaikoura, New Zealand or explored the Flores islands onboard a traditional Indonesian boat to witness the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. On city stops, I became a culture vulture, absorbing what everyday life is like elsewhere. I’m happiest browsing art galleries, flea markets and checking out the fresh produce in the local markets. As of late, most of my holidays have involved the outdoors and nature and I have an ongoing love affair with Lapland.

Choosing to work at Scott Dunn was borne from an epiphany that since travel has done so much to enrich my life, I am most passionate about endorsing these experiences to others.

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Travel nuggets

  • Wander the quaint village of St Paul de Vence, a town laced with art galleries and boutiques. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at La Colombe d'Or where the likes of Picasso, Matisse and Miro dined, admiring the walls adorned with their masterful works of art.

  • From Barcelona, carve out some time to visit the Dalí Theatre and Museum in Figueres and spend a few nights at the beautiful seaside village of Cadaques, home to Casa Dalí.

  • Treat yourself to some frittelle and chiacchiere during the Carnevale di Venezia - culinary delights that are only available at that time of the year!

  • When in Vienna or Salzburg, pop into the Sacher café to sample the original Sacher torte, the world's most famous chocolate cake.

  • Indulge in an amazing delectable Venetian lunch whilst exploring the backwaters of the city on board Eolo, a traditional fishing sailboat with chef-cum-skipper, Mauro.

  • E-bike your way (with ease!) through the rolling Tuscan countryside, crossing vineyards and olive groves, discovering medieval villages, castles and antique wine cellars along the way.

My hot picks

Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice, Italy

Quiet elegance and luxury, away from the crowds - this Venetian classic never fails to enchant.

Borgo Santo Pietro, Tuscany, Italy

A perfect slice of Tuscan heaven that exudes romance and relaxation.

Hotel de Russie, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Rome, Italy

Luxurious but relaxed in style with the friendliest staff, right in the heart of the city!

Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Start your day with breakfast on the 56th floor. Outstanding views, incredible spread and impeccable service.

Lamima, Komodo and Flores, Indonesia

Cruising, snorkelling, fishing and trekking in this beautiful part of the world with a boat as your home is one of the most enjoyable experiences you could imagine... and one of those few precious moments when the kids won't ask for Wifi!

Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Be stunned by Africa's most breathtaking backdrop whilst staying in the most tastefully appointed lodge above the Serengeti. Perfection.

Treehotel, Harads, Sweden

It's simply extraordinary in every way.

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