As Global Brand Leader and Vice President of The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, and The Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Lisa Holladay oversees all the brand marketing and management for these hotel groups. With nearly 140 hotels spanning all corners of the world, she spends the majority of her time on the road, visiting properties and keeping an eye out for new hotel deals.
We checked in with the Washington, D.C.-based executive to see how she winds down on the weekends and what she does to reset for the week ahead.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up on a weekend morning?
I have a brand new puppy that my fiancé and I rescued from a shelter, so now my weekend mornings start early with a 5:45 a.m. puppy wake up call. I’m hoping he will soon start waking up later, as I love sleeping in on weekend mornings.
After taking the pup out, I head to the kitchen to make my favorite coffee, Counter Culture brewed in a Chemex. It’s old school, and I love it. I’ve been trying to give up as much sugar and dairy as possible, so my latest obsession is Hazelnut Nutpods, a non-dairy creamer made of half almond and half coconut milk. I add a little cinnamon, and it’s delicious. I love savoring it while I plan the day ahead.
What are your favorite things to do for yourself on the weekends?
During the week my exercise routine is very structured with boot camp most mornings with Sarge’s Fitness Concepts, so on the weekend I love to take the dogs for long, leisurely walks, and we’re blessed to live near so many beautiful parks. Great Falls Park, situated on the banks of the Potomac River, is our current favorite. It feels a million miles away from the politics of Washington, D.C. Another favorite activity is catching up with girlfriends over a long, lazy brunch, preferably on a deck with huevos rancheros and a mimosa…or oysters and a glass of rosé.
How do you unwind?
If it’s warm outside, I sit on my deck and watch the birds, read magazines, and just try to decompress. I also love to cook. On Saturday mornings, we have some great farmers markets nearby so I head out to see what’s in season and looks the best. I usually buy way too much food.
Washing, chopping, and preparing fresh vegetables is relaxing for me. I planted a garden this year so I’m hopeful to soon have homegrown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash. We often hosts our friends and have everyone over for casual BBQs with great food, beer, and wine. The evenings usually wind down around our bonfire, listening to great music and sharing stories about our latest travel adventures.
How do you deal when you’re away for the weekend?
With my travel schedule, I am often away on the weekends and instead of being sad about being apart from my family and fur babies, I use the time to treat myself with a visit to the spa for a massage or facial, or I find a local park to just sit and read. If I’m in a new city, I’ll head out with no specific plans and just walk for miles, exploring and taking advantage of having no obligations of needing to be anywhere by a specific time.
What are the activities or errands on your “must-accomplish list” every weekend?
I have a goal of trying something new every weekend. It could be a new restaurant, museum, class, anything to keep me exploring. Since we moved to Northern Virginia, we are checking out the local vineyards. Our favorite is Stone Tower Winery where they allow dogs and have great local food trucks on the weekends for a perfect picnic.
Depending on the weekend, it could also be hosting our monthly book club, having the doggies groomed, or getting a manicure and pedicure. Puppy training classes and socialization have recently been added to the list. My life seems to be revolving around my dogs.
What do you do on Sundays to prepare for the week ahead?
I attend a morning service at my local church where the preacher always has an inspiring and grounding message, which helps center me for the week ahead. I shop to make sure I have plenty of healthy food for the week: Fresh vegetables and fruits are a must and ideally eggs from a local farm stand. I catch up on laundry to avoid having to deal with dirty clothes during the week. And at some point, I check my calendar and plan out my logistics of exercise, commuting, and being prepared for meetings.