Maps Maponyane wears many hats. Entrepreneur, actor, model, presenter and designer – no wonder he travels a lot. For our hotel of the month this September, I spoke to the often voted sexiest and most stylish man in the country about his favourite hotel, memories and highlights from his childhood and work travels. When asked how he keeps the messy process of travelling sexy, Maps offers us a simple yet timeless tip to help us look & feel good on our travels.
You have friends coming from out of town. Where would you recommend they stay?
54 on Bath has a beautiful country feel in the middle of the city. The rooms have great character, and they’re spacious. I love the grey hue that runs through a lot of the rooms, and each one has a quaint balcony with views to enjoy. It has a Gatsby feel I love – there’s a white grand piano in reception and old-school elevators to the underground parking.
What moments stand out from your childhood travels?
My fondest memories are really just being with the family and going for long drives and finding fun places that a child would enjoy. We’d
go with my cousins to Warmbaths, back when it was Aventura. That was my favourite holiday. We’d play with the other kids and there were waterslides and a little theme park. And we’d have braais. It was quite simple. You had to create the memories.
… and now that you travel a lot for work. Which trip stands out for you?
Going to New York in December 2015 for an Adidas shoot. I got sucked into the great drama of New York, and the energy and hustle and bustle. It definitely made me dream a whole lot bigger. The thing is that New York is not really America; it’s people from all over the world and there is a great individuality that runs through it. There is a lot of inspiration from that diversity.
How do you decide what to do when you’re in a new place?
When I get to a new city I always try to walk as much as possible. That’s how you have the full experience, by getting lost in a city. Finding a local and getting advice from them has always worked for me. Food also usually dictates my decisions. The food is something that stands out in New York. Apparently, you could live there for 50 years and go to a restaurant every single day for breakfast, lunch and supper, and you wouldn’t have been to every restaurant! How crazy is that?
Which is your favourite city in the world?
I know you want just one but it’s tough – I have three. Venice for its romance. It’s a very beautiful place. Barcelona. I love Barca. It has amazing history, culture and heritage. I’m a big fan of Gaudí’s architecture and artwork and his parks. And New York. As much as it can eat you up, for where I am right now in my life, New York is definitely it.
You went to Nigeria a few months ago for the Africa Movie Academy Awards. How was that?
It was … eish, Nigeria is on another level of busy and intensity. I found it quite overwhelming in terms of how things work there. The awards were in Port Harcourt, so I didn’t get to Lagos, but I plan to go back again very soon. It’s not for the faint-hearted. If you are adventurous, and not picky about where you stay or go, then Nigeria is a definite must.
What has been your ultimate travel adventure?
It was the first time I went overseas, in 2009. We did a big Euro trip for five or six weeks – to England, France, Spain, Italy, Germany. That was a great adventure, to be properly immersed in the culture of travel, and from then on I was hooked. I literally work to travel now. I spend most of my money on travel because there is so much value in it. Exposing yourself to as many cultures as possible is priceless.
You’ve been voted SA’s best-dressed man and sexiest man multiple times. How do you keep travel stylish and sexy?
For me, there is no sexier way than to travel light. There is nothing glamorous about lugging around a lot of heavy luggage. The great sexiness about travelling light is that you can always acquire more on your travels. I always buy one or two items – it’s a way to collect great memories. Travelling light also makes things easier. You are always fresh, and always happy to move from place to place. I make sure to pack the great basics that will go with anything: a few pairs of blue jeans, black jeans, walking shoes. A pair of formal shoes. Several comfortable fitted T-shirts. A jersey or two. And sweatpants for travelling – sometimes jeans can be tight and uncomfortable.
A version of this article appears in the September issue available for purchase.