If I’ve learnt anything this year, it’s that spending more time in airline lounges than my house is probably not a conductive way to live. At the least, it’s highly unproductive – I just cannot imagine Beethoven writing a symphony or Isaac Newton cracking gravity in the arrivals lounge at Kilimanjaro. Get that worlds’ smallest violin at the ready, as I am knackered.
2019 is currently rather open, with only scribbled notes on the back of airline branded napkins on where we’re heading. This time last year, I had already booked the first 6 months, yet old habits die hard. As I write this, within the next 3 weeks we may be either traveling to India, the Caribbean or the Middle East. I might just quit traveling entirely and become an activist without a sane cause: my first one will be to bring back the Yellow Pages. The only thing for certain is that I will avoid spending a single minute in mainland Europe during July and August – what a mistake that was. Instead we’ll visit around May, June and then later in September, once the crowds begin to disperse, the temperature drops and the service goes back to normal. Ok, you got me, it’s cheaper too.
So, in no particular order, here is the plan for the first half of the year.
3 weeks in India
The year is 2015, the location is India, the hero is me. It’s a beautiful story, but I won’t bore you with how I’m there living it up, getting smashed outta my face on peace and love. Yet the Aman’s (and Lodhi, which used to be an Aman) that I stayed in only cover a small part of the majestical India, so it feels a good time to go back and explore. By explore, I mean stay in luxury hotels for 3 weeks and occasionally check the Internet for facts. This is what we’re planning to pack in: Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Sujan Jawai, Taj Lake Palace, Rambagh Palace, Oberoi Vanyavilas, Oberoi Amarvilas, The Lodhi, Nadesar Palace. Now go back and say all of that again, without taking a breath.
10 days in Mexico
Quite possibly a Rosewood binge here: Mayakoba, Las Ventanas al Paraíso and Puebla.
3 weeks in the Caribbean
I have never been to the Caribbean. I have never wanted to go to the Caribbean. Every well traveled individual I come across tells me not to go. But that bloody Necker Island is standing over me, flexing its muscle and mocking my masculinity. Yes, that Necker Island, the one the BBC did a documentary that made it look like a brothel. It is the only remaining high-end, luxury private island resort I’ve yet to visit. When in Rome, may as well also visit Petit St. Vincent, Silversands Grenada, Jumby Bay, Necker Island, Amanera, Cheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France, Le Toiny. Then finish up in Four Seasons Surfside, Miami.
10 days in Sri Lanka
Beaches, culture and some leopards. The perfect plot for a B-horror movie, or our trip to Sri Lanka? We will see what Ani Villas is up to in this part of the world, then go take a good ol’ look at Resplendent Ceylon’s Tea Trails and their Wild Coast Tented Lodge.
2 weeks in Oman and United Arab Emirates
We’ll stop by the Chedi, but not through a large desire, simply because it’s on the way to Alila – the real reason we’re here. I’ve been to UAE multiple times, but I can barely blink and suddenly they’ve opened a new hotel. This time it’s a Bulgari and Oberoi. Feedback on Al Maha and the Four Seasons al Jumeirah is always positive too, which means I have no choice but to go. Absolutely none.
A month in Europe
This will take us around France, Germany, Ireland, Iceland and Portugal. We’ll probably need to go home for a few days, as I doubt Lucie will want to carry her wedding dress around with her for a month. Then it’s off to Switzerland to actually get married.
4 nights in Park Hotel Vitznau will bring to an end having to put myself down as Single on all those immigration forms. So best put it to use, as we head to Laucala. The challenge is, we have no idea what to do before or after. It’s far harder to plan your own honeymoon than someone else’s. The best I have is to head into Tokyo and then come back via god knows where. Maybe LA, maybe Sydney, maybe even Seoul. Stay tuned. Or tell me the answer. Please?
What does that leave?
There are always the new openings, but there’s also a lot of countries still to visit, notably Antartica or Central America. I would like to return to Canada to experience another wilderness lodge, just ideally one more luxurious than Clayoquot, and one that has wildlife – possibly Nimmo Bay. Seeing a polar bear go on a murdering rampage seemed a decent endeavour, until I found out that the only luxury lodge – Churchill Wild – requires a minimum 7 nights stay. God created the entire universe in that time, which proves it’s a really long time. No way can I stay in a non-luxury hotel that long.
I wouldn’t mind spending some more time in the States, going back to Russia, probe Italy and drop by Mnemba Island. And then there’s a safari. It’s impossible not to go on at least one. As Einstein once said: “he who doesn’t safari, is a bit of a knob.”
Where are you heading this year?
We’re headed to Rosewood Puebla in February along with Mexico City. Pictures of the colonial heart of the city entice me.
Do let me know how it was. We’ll probably be there around March/April
We will also be at the Park Hotel Vitznau for 4 nights. Arriving the second week in September.
Stayed at the PHV in August and positively loved it so itching for a return. Prior to that will be in LeCrans (CH) and Como for 10 days.
You’re the first person I know that went there during Summer and loved it.
with regards to your honeymoon, you can never go wrong with an aman honeymoon IMHO. you could do amangiri -> LA -> sydney
a recently aman-honeymooned american
Congrats on your honeymoon!
Aman offer some great properties, and if we did Japan we’d go back to Aman Tokyo and likely try out Amanemu, but Amangiri was simply a disappointment last time, so I’m hesitant to return.
Wow, your 2019 travel plans are still very impressive, even if not as busy as 2018. No one can keep up with you. It’s great!
Are you going to stay at Aman Galla and Amanwella in Sri Lanka?
My suggestion after Laucala would be Nihi Sumba in Indonesia. They have horses and surfing there.
You could stop inbetween in Singapore (Raffles, Six Senses Duxton) .
You could also spend a few days at Siemp Reap in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat – Zannier’s Phum Baitang, Amansara, and Bill Bensley’s Shinta Mani Angkor. Then fly to Luang Prabang in Laos – lots of hotel choices including Bensley’s Rosewood, Amantaka, and a new Bensley safari-like property.
I’ll think of more ….
In Sri Lanka, we may go look at the Aman’s, as Amanwella is near Ani Villas, but we won’t stay. We’ve stayed in 19 Aman’s and not all are great, so I no longer instantly think of them. Their Sri Lanka properties have probably the worst reputation of all.
Nihi Sumba: that is on my list, but I think anything beach related after Laucala will disappoint. And we’ve been to Cambodia already (Amansara, which I also didn’t think was worth it). Laos is on the list for some stage, but hasn’t managed to excite us yet.
Oops, I see you’ve already stayed at the Raffles in Singapore. I remember reading about it now.
Have you thought of a safari in Zambia? South Luangua is arguably one of the best wildlife areas in Africa – ideally in August or September.
And I think you would love Mana Pools in Zimbabwe – a beautiful area with great walking safaris. And then there is Singita’s newly renovated Pamushana in south Zimbabwe. You could do a Zim-Zam combo safari with Victoria Falls inbetween.
Anyway, I have a few trips percolating at the moment – not sure when they will be realized, but at the top of my very long travel list is:
Namibia, Odzala Discovery Camps (you might like this too) in the Republic of the Congo, Sao Tome & Principe (Sundy properties), Zambia and St. Helena.
In Mexico, my advise is hotel Esencia, much better than Rosewood, you need to try !
It’s my best experience for 2018 !
Thanks, Anthony. I’ll check it out.
Back to my Zim-Zam safari idea, here are a few more suggestions:
Thorntree River Lodge/African Bushcamps – Victoria Falls
King Lewanika Lodge/Time&Tide – Liuwa Plains
Kaingo Camp/Shenton Safaris – South Luangwa
Chamilandu Bush Camp/BushCamp Company – South Luangwa
(Zambian properties in South Luangwa are more rustic/open than other countries (nice change from the ultra-luxe safari properties) with some of the very best wildlife sightings in Africa.)
Pamushana/Singita – Malilangwe Reserve
Somalisa Camp/African Bushcamps – Hwange NP
– Mana Pools (lots of properties to choose from)
You are ON it, Rhonda! That’s a few nights bed time reading.
Mozambique interests me, especially after being featured in some of the BBC documentaries – I think it was their “Africa” series. Royal Portfolio having a property opening there which may be great, and could possibly combine with somewhere like Mnemba afterwards. Pamushana definitely appeals now I know that Singita aren’t all a bunch of lunatics.
Thinking Patagonia but dont see anything there that seems decent 🙁
Awasi was not for me, but a lot of people love it. It’s not a place you go for the hotel, but if you wanna go then it’s the best hotel. Here’s some pictures from our stay: https://www.flickr.com/photos/132880658@N07/albums/72157704546880945
How was the private guide at Awasi?
Re: Canada lodges. Langara Island Fishing lodge maybe, (Raven Cottage)? I hear they are quite popular thought to be honest I don’t love the look… The price is up there though.
Honeymoon side trip. Taipei, Taiwan in the Beitou area for the in room natural, hot springs (if you can survive the natural sulphur odour) maybe? It’s a little different…
We went to Silversands and to be honest, it left much to be desired. If I were you, I would add the Mandarin Oriental Canouan, as well as Amanyara, as those are two of my absolute favorites!
Get yourself through Hong Kong already!
Can I come to the wedding please?
I admire the balls to ask. So of course, complete stranger, do come. Our remaining wedding gift list contain a Gulfstream G650 and the entire country of Brazil.
Damn, did someone already get you the submarine?!
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Hi – can you please post your “stay list”? It will give the rest of us some good ideas…