With another year all wrapped up, and one where I did the most travelling ever (yes, really!), I need to challenge myself by setting the “travel bar” even higher in 2016. I have quite a few things already planned and some things I’ve left room to hopefully squeeze in, whilst I continue to arrange some amazing trips for my clients. I hope you might find some inspiration from this short list of travel related things I’m looking forward to in 2016. Or, maybe you have some wonderful ideas of your own? Either way, I’m here to help make 2016 a fabulous travel year for you too.
As for me, in 2016 I will be:
Getting excited by San Sebastian becoming the Capital of Culture for 2016. If you’ve never been to this gem of a Spanish city, make 2016 your year to go as the cultural events will up the ante on what is already a great place for a long weekend. There’s the picture perfect coastline (and not one but two beaches); gorgeous hotels to lay your head, including the stunning Hotel Maria Cristina; the cobbled alleyways of the vibrant old town; and amazing food from Michelin Starred restaurants (San Sebastian has more per capita than any other city), to the pintxos (tapas) bars where delicious morsels have become an art form and means a bar crawl makes for a very fine dinner! Read more about San Sebastian here.
Eager to try some wine pampering in Portugal’s luscious Duoro Valley - strictly external as there’s been too much internal wine pampering over the festive period. At the newly opened sumptuous Six Senses Duoro Valley you can enjoy a complete grape rejuvenation whilst being cocooned in the a 19th century renovated manor house (with all the stylish Six Senses touches) surrounded by picturesque vistas in a UNESCO world heritage site where you can find a quiet spot in the lush gardens, wander in the woods or sail down the Duoro River. A stay here combines perfectly with a few nights at the wonderful Yeatman hotel in the heart of picture perfect Porto.
Celebrating 10 years of marriage in style with the odd quirky touch thrown in. Having had the most heavenly honeymoon - South Africa (Cape Town, winelands, safari) and beach bliss on Vamizi Island, Mozambique - our 10th year wedding anniversary needed to be special. Julian and I have opted for a similar trip to our honeymoon but in a different location, Kenya and Zanzibar. So, come September, we will be breakfasting with giraffes, picnicking on the kopje at the exact spot made famous by Streep and Redford in Out of Africa whilst watching the migration over the Mara Triangle, and then relaxing on a small but perfectly formed island ringed by sugar soft sand with no more than 18 other guests. I’m sure it won’t disappoint!
Waiting patiently for the opening of the Park Hyatt Mallorca this spring - could this be a game changer for the island? I do love a nice Park Hyatt (Cambodia, Vietnam, New York, Abu Dhabi) and this will be the first in the Med when it makes its debut as part of the swanky Cap Vermell Estate in the Canyamel Valley. The 142-room hotel will have four restaurants, poolside bar, beach club, spa and fitness centre and a facility-packed country club - sounds perfect for a family holiday.
Still dreaming about my stay at Titilaka, a wonderful hotel that just wowed me - beautifully designed and absurdly smart, it’s a place to really connect with your surroundings, which you can’t fail to do with every large window having the most amazing views of one of the loftiest lakes in the world. Cycle to the nearby village and see ladies in rainbow coloured skirts plying the fields, donkeys piled high with straw and children curious to see who you are. At night, sit by the lake warmed by the fire pit and watch the sunset before the sky fills with a myriad of stars. Then retreat inside for delicious food (creamiest avocado, freshest fish, heaps of quinoa). Every trip to Peru should include a stay at this hotel. And, with British Airways starting direct flights from Gatwick to Lima starting in May, Peru is that little bit easier to get to. As is Costa Rica with British Airways new direct flight to San José.
Checking out some east coast beach action in Sri Lanka and checking into Jungle Beach Trincomalee and Uga Bay, on arguably one of the best Sri Lankan beaches, Passekudah. Sri Lanka is one of my favourite countries - a small island that certainly packs a punch (read about why I like it here). It is also a perfect destination for year round travel with the east coast beaches great during our summer months. They can be combined with a stay in the capital, Colombo, some wildlife spotting in the Wilpattu National Park and the cultural triangle.
Looking forward to hearing all about an amazing client trip to Bhutan. It’s been a few years since Julian and I visited this magical Himalayan Kingdom, when we did the Jhomolhari base camp trek. My clients’ trip will be a more sedate affair, where they will get under the skin of the Buddhist culture whilst taking in the most mesmerising scenery and coming face to face with local traditions still relatively untouched by western influences. They will climb up to the bewitching Taktshang Monastery, hike, cycle and drive through the greenest, lushest valleys adorned with coloured fluttering prayer flags and stay in some utterly gorgeous hotels.
Where will 2016 take you?