Originally Published: November 19, 2009
Author: Nick McGrath
Which was your best holiday?
My wife Sheryl and I went to Jamaica a couple of years back after we'd been on tour for two years staying in a different Holiday Inn every night. We literally travelled with no luggage - we just jumped on a flight that showed up, and that was it.
We bought a couple of pairs of shorts when we arrived, and just set off. We rented a car, and just found motels as we drove around the island - and did the same thing again the next day and then the next day, and it was really liberating, a real adventure. Sometimes the idea of a vacation is to not plan anything and be as spontaneous as possible.
And the best hotel you've stayed in?
I've had some of my best times ever at the Savoy in London. It was a little bit snooty but it was this traditional, old British institution, and I really liked staying there. I also loved the Peninsula in Bangkok, which was unbelievably luxurious, and the Meridian in Cyprus, where our suite had its own swimming pool. You opened the door to the patio and it overlooked the Mediterranean.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
I play golf every day, so it's got to be adjacent to a great golf course. And I am also one of those people who don't like pure serenity. I don't like to go some place that's isolated. I enjoy going into the city, going to the movies and having something to do at night, so the perfect place for me is a place like Hawaii.
What do you always take with you?
My golf clubs and my wife. We've been married 33 years, and not only is she my wife, she is also my best friend. We hang out together; we have the same sense of humour, the same everything. She's an essential.
What's your best piece of travel advice?
If you're going to go some place where it's going to be a huge time change, it's essential that you throw your watch away. The whole idea behind a vacation is to not worry about what time it is.
Where do you want to go next?
I've never been to the Middle East. My wife has, and it's an area that I'd really like to go and explore, without being on tour.
Which was your worst holiday?
Sheryl and I once went to Barbados. Not only did they lose all the luggage, as soon as we arrived we caught a hurricane, so we spent five days in the hotel room watching the trees blow away. We were trapped there. And the television had just three stations, so we were really isolated and couldn't do anything. It was a total waste of a vacation.
What's your worst experience on holiday?
I was down in Acapulco, and we went to a lobster restaurant on the beach. The lobster tasted terrific, but at 3am I woke up and I thought that I was going to die. I had food poisoning so bad I really thought it was all over for me. I was in bed for four days, I lost a lot of weight, and could not believe how many things could come out of my body.
What's the biggest packing mistake you've made?
During that Mexican trip we were down there in December when it's 85 or 90 degrees (29-30C). When I left there I had to go to Boston to emcee a Christmas show, so I'm in this tiny little pair of white pants and hardly anything on top, and I'm not thinking properly as I'm so delirious from the food poisoning. But when we landed at Boston it's about four below zero (-20C), and I was so wiped out I wasn't even thinking, "Why didn't I bring a coat?" I stepped out of the aeroplane and then I went, "Jeez, I forgot it's going to be eight feet of snow here". So on top of the food poisoning I got the flu, too. I'm more careful about what I pack now.
The worst hotel you've stayed in?
I was in Moscow very early in my career, before the (Berlin) Wall came down, and they hadn't renovated the hotels yet. The place we stayed felt like being incarcerated overnight in a penitentiary. My room was about the size of a large closet. There was a single bed that was as hard as a rock, and a television with two stations in black and white only. The food was just horrible. They didn't even have a McDonalds then, so we were stuck with whatever they had – which was usually boiled potatoes and some kind of meat, but I have no idea what it was.
What do you avoid on holidays?
Tap water. If you drink tap water everywhere you're going to end up with so many microbes in your system that it's inevitable that you're going to get dysentery. I use bottled water religiously, even when I brush my teeth.
What do you hate about holidays?
I refuse to go on one of these tourist packages where they give you a schedule and they say, "OK from 9 to 10 we're going to go to the museum, and then from 10 to 11, and then from 11 to 1 o'clock we're going to the art museum, and then…" That to me is like being on tour. That's not a vacation. So avoid all schedules. For once in your life be spontaneous.
Alice Cooper's Theatre of Death tour arrives for 10 shows in the UK, starting in Manchester on November 24. For tickets, go to: www.livenation.co.uk or alicecooper.com
(Originally published online at the Telegraph website, on the 19th November 2009