News Column

Executive Life

January/February 2005, HISPANIC BUSINESS Magazine

Leslie A. Westbrook

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In a fast-paced executive lifestyle, traveling well is an art and a science. Victor Lopez has streamlined this elusive blend to perfection. As senior vice-president of Hyatt Hotels Corp., Mr. Lopez is on the road three to four days a week, overseeing 27 properties in a region ranging from Florida and the Caribbean to Latin America.

His global crisscrossing racks up about 250,000 miles a year and has earned him invaluable experience in what works – and what doesn't. After he kept triggering airport security sensors, Mr. Lopez refined his travel attire: Forgoing silver tips and belts with large buckles, he now dons watches with leather bands and comfortable leather loafers that slip off easily. "I don't wear things that wrinkle,' he adds. "No linens or silks on planes." Another artful travel tip: Always pack a bottle of Tabasco. "I've shared more Tabasco at 35,000 feet with other passengers when the meal comes!' Mr. Lopez says with a laugh. Ultimately, balance is key to the demanding executive lifestyle: Mr. Lopez ensures he is home most weekends to relax and spend time with his family. "I'm a combo soccer dad/Harley Davidson rider/pepper and orchid grower," says Mr. Lopez, who, when not riding his Road King, pickles home-grown peppers and tends orchids in his Coral Gables, Florida, garden. "It's therapeutic and a great way to release all the stress of travel."

6 a.m.: Leave for 7 a.m. investor meeting.
7 a.m.: Call to ask for new directions.
7:45 a.m.: Meet with investor.
9 a.m.: Buy a GPS. Suunto offers an executive option: the X9 GPS (www.suunto, combining a wristwatch with a fully-functional GPS that allows you to map your route and upload it into your watch. It's slightly bigger than an average watch, but the next time you miss a meeting it won't be because you're lost.

For high-performing executives, maintaining top-notch strategic and creative thinking is crucial. Several recent studies note that certain techniques can maintain and even shape those brain muscles, much the same way as physical exercise shapes the body. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published a University of Wisconsin study of Tibetan monks that found their meditations significantly boosted high-frequency brain activity – suggesting that mental training can actually change the brain and bring it to a greater level of consciousness. On the physical front, the Journal of the American Medical Association notes two studies that found regular daily exercise appears to protect the thinking ability of aging brains.

An after-hours business soiree gains sparkle that would impress even the most discerning aesthete when gourmet offerings are garnished with edible gold ( in the centuries-old trad-ition of Europe and the Far East.

Brazil's capital of commerce, São Paolo, is garnering renewed interest among investors, and a new breed of luxury hotels is springing up to meet demand. From the coolly serene décor of Unique ( to the welcome massage of the Emiliano (, São Paolo's new boutique-style hotels offer tempting indulgences for business and leisure visitors. Nearly two dozen resorts have also blossomed along Brazil's northeast coast, while in Rio de Janeiro the grand dame of luxury continues to be the Copacabana Palace (


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