How I Travel: Sterling K. Brown Looks for Rainbows in Kauai

Condé Nast Traveler

Hawaii. I’ve gone to Kauai a couple of times. The lushness of the interior, the beaches surrounding it, the level of peace, the people, the pace in which they live life—you can’t help but slow down. The other place for me, which is the complete opposite, is New York City. I love the New York City state of mind. When my family comes and they’re like, “Can you move any slower?” I’m like, “No, we in New York. We got to go.” So I need something that says, “Hey, just take a look around.” It’s gorgeous. There’s a rainbow almost every day [in Hawaii], because it’ll rain and it’ll clear, and then it’ll rain and it’ll clear. The evidence of divinity is everywhere in that place.

What his family looks for in a vacation:

My wife’s priority, which becomes my priority, is beach. There’s Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa. If we go to Africa, we’re going to be on the coast. She’s like, “We’re not going inland, brah. We got to be near some water.” Cape Town is a destination that we’ve talked about for several years, the Greek islands, Portugal. Anywhere that has a beach will be very exciting for the missus. And my son—who told me that I cannot refer to soccer as soccer; that it’s football—he would love to go and see games in Europe. [Like] Italy or Spain, to see Real Madrid or PSG, anywhere that has a major game.

A place he found to be surprisingly kid-friendly:

I’ve had the privilege of spending a couple of extended stints in Florence, Italy. That place is just ridiculous. Italy is very family-oriented, I found. I went with my oldest son when he was just two years old, and we just let him run around and the people would pick him up. “Oh, piccolo, piccolo, piccolo, this piccolo little baby.” We’d go to places to eat, and older Italian women would say to him, “Mangia, mangia!” That emphasis on family was such a delight. And then the art is mind-blowing. Walking around the corner of the Accademia and seeing David and thinking, somebody made a man out of stone. He’s got a vein in his arm! That blew me away. I have a soft spot for Florence. It’s probably the [city] that I’m most intimate with.

The hotel amenity he cares a lot about:

I’ll give you one that is embarrassing to many people and probably to my publicist: the bidet. It’s not an everyday occurrence, but when it does happen, it is always the most delightful of surprises. If there’s a deluxe bathroom with a heated seat and bidet, you’re like, Oh boy, we’re going to be clean today.

How he tracks his professional trajectory by hotel stays:

Last time I visited Kauai, it was before the past several years, when Brown has enjoyed some nice success. My wife and I were staying in an affordable place, Koʻa Kea, and we decided to drive to the St. Regis Kauai [now the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay], just to take a look and see what it’s like. We walked the grounds and were like, “All right. One day, we’re going to come back to this spot.” Recently I got a chance to make such a return with the [Ritz Carlton] Bacara in Santa Barbara. When we got married 16 years ago, I couldn’t afford Bacara. We stayed at the Montecito Inn and then drove to Bacara to have dinner. I could afford one meal. For our 15-year anniversary, we stayed at Bacara for four days. Oceanfront view! I was like, I made it. If I can go back and do that for the St. Regis Kauai, that will feel really good.

Where he’s hoping to go next:

I am eagerly looking forward to taking my family to the motherland, whether it’s Ghana or Nigeria or South Africa. There was this homecoming a couple of years ago in Ghana and we had an invitation, but it conflicted with This Is Us‘s schedule. My passport needs more stamps!

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