2017 was more like a schizophrenic version of holiday planning, often based around running to see everyone that has ever worked in The Connaught hotel, followed by jumping to any place that looked vaguely interesting nearby.
I figured we would try something novel in 2018. Something unique. Something far more structured, with more focus on high-quality properties and longer trips. Something called planning. We have even booked all the hotels between now and the beginning of June. No more short-breaks to the countryside because they’ve suckered me in with a 0.01% off deal, or stay 4, pay 4, get bad service. No more staying in Park Hyatt’s, just because they gave me free stays for their sins. No more staying in hotels without researching them first.
I try and restrict to 3 long-haul trips a year, with 2017 being Thailand, South Africa and Japan. This year I’m throwing the rule book out of the 34th floor, straight onto a pedestrians head for dramatic effect. It will be the most travel I have ever done in a single year. Possibly anyone. History books may remember this trip ahead of other lesser explorers, such as Christopher Colombus, Neil Armstrong or Captain Hook.
After navigating my way through the remainder of the three London AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts properties I have yet to stay in, we begin with a revisit to North Island to see if they have eradicated all the mosquitos and rude staff, followed by an 8 day trip in Botswana across the Wilderness Safaris flagship properties, including the elephant treks at Abu and the highly regarded game viewing in Mombo.
After coming back to what I think is home, or at least somewhere we sometimes live, for two weeks, we then fly to Australia to once again pretend I will manage to stay awake to see any of Sydney in the Park Hyatt (Ah but this time it’s different! For you see, Sydney has one and only one good hotel, and I have researched it from staying in 2015 and hating the service. So I’m consistent with my beliefs and we can move on.), before actually seeing the Great Barrier Reef in Qualia. Over in Saffire, Tasmania we lay in massive hope it’s not rubbish, as staying there has had to shift around our stay’s in New Zealand at Matakauri Lodge and Cape Kidnappers. Seeing that we had gone this far, it was only fair we took the short 5 hour flight to French Polynesia to try Four Seasons Bora Bora and The Brando. Then we return to Australia, where they have somehow convinced me to avoid Hawaii and LA, as Southern Ocean Lodge was once again not available until the beginning of April, and it would be the second time I had visited Australia and not stayed. Expect a negative review after it fails to live up to my unnecessarily high expectations.
Up in May comes our European adventure between Greece and Italy. You didn’t think we could avoid at least one visit based around the convenience, did you? Especially when British Airways continues to invest so heavily in their excellent business class; a product that puts the rest of the world to shame. I will finally actually stay in Athens before heading to Amanzoe, at the 7th time of asking. Culture may have finally attacked me as I’ve hit my 30s. Next-up we will be flying over to Milan, to experience Lake Garde and Lake Como, in Villa Feltrinelli and Il Sereno respectively, hopping on a train down to Florence, rediscovering if the Four Seasons is capable of restoring our faith in them, then going down to Hotel Eden in Rome.
Barely 3 weeks later we are heading to The Maldives – my first visit in over 4 years. Since then Cheval Blanc, Velaa and Soneva Jani have come onto the scene, each with gushing reviews that make me wonder if North Island’s crown will be taken. It won’t, but I thought I’d leave a bit of suspense into this article.
Between July and September there are lots of plans, but I realise that there is less chance of an apology from a politician than of me not changing it. Ideally we will be present for the opening of Iniala Malta, but that launch date has moved more often than someone with an itchy arse. I would be happy if we can fit in another visit to Ireland and Switzerland, whilst managing to make our way over to the States for the first time in a few years, stopping off between Hawaii, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas and New York.
Then at the end of September we will head to Rwanda for a trip that I can barely contain my excitement on: gorilla trekking at Bisate Lodge. I’m not traveling all the way to Rwanda just for 3 days of starring at a bunch of large animals grunting, when I could do that in any town centre in England, so we will also combine it with a visit to the Singita Tanzanian lodges.
Completing the year will be a proper visit to Russia, as last time it was fairly brief and a stop by in Iniala to actually relax, as we will be so tired from all this luxury travel that we will need a break.
Christmas is the only missing piece of the puzzle, but I need something to look forward to, so let’s just leave that open for now.
All going to plan, that will mean revisiting 7 hotels and staying in 41 new hotels, with close to 200 nights away across 5 continents and 20 countries.
Wow. Just Wow. Keep inspiring us!
Any plans to stay at Annandale near Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand? I’ve been eyeing this property for a while and would be interested in your review. Thank you.
We’re in New Zealand next week, but only have time for 2 properties so won’t get the opportunity
In particular, I was looking at the Seascape property at Annandale.
Noted, thanks for the reply. Looking forward to your reviews of Southern Ocean Lodge and Saffire Freycinet among others.