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Style & Culture

How I Travel: Regina Hall Likes a Small Hotel Room

We peek into the airport routines and bizarre quirks of the world's most well-traveled people.

Speak with actress Regina Hall for a few minutes, and a theme starts to emerge. Why does she love the renowned La Mamounia hotel in Morocco? The cuisine. What does she recall about her first trip on a first-class flight? The meals. What made her flip for Byron Bay, Australia when filming there? “All I talk about is food,” she laughs. “But I really did love the food!”

Her focus on the culinary is one of the reasons Hall, who has so often played the hilarious best friend character, seems like she’d be a great travel companion. In anticipation of her two new films—this month brings Me Time on Netflix, and Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. in theaters and on Peacock—she chatted with Condé Nast Traveler about small hotel rooms, weekends in Mexico, and arriving at the airport at the last minute.

Her priority when planning a vacation:

The hotel. Accommodations have to be really specific: If I'm alone, I like small rooms. I should say “quaint.” I shouldn't say this because then the next time I travel for something, they'll be like, "We just read she wants quaint!" Yeah, I actually do! I just like nice, simple, clean accommodation.

Her first experience on a first-class flight:

My very first one was [for] Scary Movie, because the studio put me on it. Then I was like, I can't go back. You do get used to it! Even more so than now, because I think they've reconfigured the planes—I remember there was a lot more room. I remember the beverage and food. And early boarding! It was just a whole different world. I wasn't a drinker, but because it was free, I had to drink.

How early she arrives to the airport:

Oh, I'm awful. My assistant’s nerves are always on edge. An hour is what I try for but sometimes I do push it, because 45 minutes is the cutoff for luggage. I try to do no shorter than 50 minutes. The truth is, situations like that make me less stressed, because I have to be in the moment. I don't have time to think. I know it's odd. And then when I make it? Ooh, it feels good. I missed it, going home during the holidays, because something happened and... oh, nothing happened, the lines were long! Longer than what I thought.

Her pet peeves:

Well, I hate when people are rude to people in the service industry, whether it's flight attendants or at your hotel. I used to be a waitress, so there's something about behavior that’s demeaning or condescending that I don't like at all.

Her best filming location to date:

I really fell in love with Australia for Nine Perfect Strangers. We were in Byron Bay. It was beautiful—the food, the landscape. It was a double-edged sword because [of] the wildlife... There were too many poisonous creatures, although they were still incredibly magical. It's not like I liked running into snakes or things, but just the diversity of the creatures was pretty incredible.

The destination she could go to a million times and not be sick of it:

I can always have a great weekend in Mexico. Short stints—a little beach, some great food. It's beautiful, effortless, close. I like Cabo, Tulum, Punta Mita. I love the serene places. It feels like I'm in another country, but it also doesn't.

Her favorite hotel in the world:

The most amazing hotel I went to was the very famous one in Marrakesh, La Mamounia. It was in that Shonda Rhimes show [Inventing Anna]. I loved that hotel! I didn't have a tiny room, but it was just perfect.

What she does in New York when she’s back for a visit:

The new Hudson Yards—I have to say, they've really built it up and it's one of my favorite places. It's right near the High Line, and it’s near Penn Station so you can hop on trains, so I like the location. The last time I was here, I really loved Williamsburg. That's where my ex-boyfriend's car was found when it was stolen, so two decades later to be like, "Wow, Williamsburg is amazing"?! Oh my goodness, I couldn't believe the change. I know Brooklyn is the hot spot, but I do still love Manhattan.

Her most treasured trip of all time:

It's my favorite vacation because it was the last place I went with my mom before she passed—we went to Naples, Florida. The memory of that is my favorite.

Her go-to hotel brands:

Of course, I do like a Four Seasons. I like a Mandarin. And surprisingly, you can go solid with the proper Marriott. People sleep on the Marriott a little bit! When you do a Marriott, you really know what you're getting and you can find a solid Marriott in every city.

The hotel amenities she cares a lot about:

A good bed, the pillow, and everything about the bedding. Good housekeeping is imperative. I like if they have a spa, especially for a vacation. I'm now naming everything, but a spa and food! Go to the spa, go downstairs, have a great dinner. Especially with COVID, when you don't want to go out, you know what I mean? I want to stay in.