Famous flyer: Mel B

Mel B survived two weeks of room parties in Maui and likes to pack loads of shoes and bikinis.

Which was your best holiday?

I like places that are different and that would just be such a culture shock.

Mel B

When the Spice Girls had our first group holiday, in Maui. We didn't have any security or personal assistants, it was just us five. We stayed at the Kea Lani hotel and just ran riot for two weeks solid; I don't think we'd had a day off in about 15 months so we really let off some steam. The Kea Lani is a very snooty, posh hotel, so we gathered up everybody our age and just had one massive party in our rooms, which were all interconnecting, so we almost had the whole top floor of the hotel. Another trip I did three years in a row was Lapland. We had the reindeer pulling us around, then we sat in an ice hotel and an ice bar. I felt like a little kid again; it literally is like you're in a fairytale land. I think one time in your life you have to experience that around Christmas.

The best hotel you've stayed in?

The Corinthian in London. My husband and I were there just after the Olympics and we had such an amazing time. It's got a really cool, cosy, dark bar area, the service is phenomenal, every room is like a suite and the lighting is very sexy. Everything about it is very British and classy, and they have only a certain calibre of people staying there, so you're mixing with politicians, athletes, everybody right at the top of their game. Very elite.

What do you need to enjoy a perfect holiday?

A great setting, clear water and a beautiful white beach. And the room you're staying in has to be cosy, like a home away from home. That means having a comfortable, extra-large bed covered in pillows, and the service has to be on point.

What do you always take with you?

A bikini and a sarong. Well, lots of bikinis. I'm a big fan of the Brazilian cut because then if you get tan lines they're coverable. I hate strap marks.

What's your best piece of travel advice?

Always leave room for spontaneity. Either your flight's going to be delayed or your room won't be ready when you get there, so you have to have more of a relaxed mindset to avoid getting uptight and stressed out. There's only so much planning you can do for a holiday and the rest just is what it is, you've just got to roll with it.

Where do you want to go next?

We were meant to go to Fiji a few weeks ago but then I ended up working, so I'm hoping after X Factor's finished that we'll do a little holiday to one of the Fijian islands, then maybe the Cayman Islands. I just want to go where there's completely clear water and a white beach. That's all I want. The other place I'm desperate to visit is Russia. I'm definitely going next year. I like places that are different and that would just be such a culture shock, like it was when I went to India for the first time. Places like that broaden your whole perspective on life.

Which was your worst holiday?

A holiday I took with Geri Halliwell to Sri Lanka. Overall, Sri Lanka is absolutely beautiful, but from the moment we landed it was just a disaster. The hotel was overbooked so we had to find a different one, we didn't know where we were going, we got lost. It was over the Christmas period so both of us got a bit homesick and all we had was each other. We ended up cutting our holiday short. I think the idea of going away for Christmas sounds good, but in reality you just want to be with family.

And your worst experience on holiday?

Going to Singapore and ending up having to work the whole time. I was there for three days only and got no sleep because my schedule was jam-packed, and I never got a chance to actually see Singapore. I was just trapped in the hotel.

What's the biggest packing mistake you've ever made?

Overpacking, then realising I'm just wearing the same thing. But I'm better now, especially because I've got three kids. If anything, I underpack. I'm a bit of a shoe whore so I always have many pairs, but clothes-wise I just keep it to a minimum.

What's the worst hotel you've stayed in?

It was in South Africa. I found the whole experience really intimidating. The staff were very direct but also a little bit on edge; I found it very unsettling. The food was terrible and the service wasn't very good. It was almost like they weren't used to having guests. I was like, "What are you all playing at? I could have run this hotel by myself!" I felt like I was cooped up and I just wanted to get out of there.

What do you avoid on holiday?

Big hotels. I much prefer boutique hotels. They're a bit more chilled, a bit more private and relaxed. Boutique hotels take pride in the fact that they are a boutique so they really cater to whatever you need. If you need the room cleared out of all the [lollies] and alcohol, they'll do it immediately and won't even question it. I love that. And every room's different, the artwork and the bedding is very specific. It's all just a little bit more luxurious.

What do you hate about holidays?

The fact that you have to go back to normality after them. It's like, "Why can't I just live like this forever and do a bit of work on my laptop?" But a holiday has to come to an end at some point.

As told to Nina Karnikowski

Mel B is a judge on The X Factor. The X Factor final will be showing live on Tuesday, November 20, at 7:30pm.