I was recently approached by travel company Destinology (www.destinology.co.uk), which has created a unique £1,000,000 holiday itinerary, to come up with my own ‘money-no-object’ round the world trip. My wanderlust has truly kicked in during this process, here’s my ultimate journey of a lifetime:
I’d kick off my trip in spring-time by travelling on the iconic Venice Simplon Orient Express (shown above). I’d go for the signature three -night journey which includes a night at the Ritz in London and ending with a night at the Cipriani in Venice. The journey itself harks back to the golden era of travel with amazing levels of service (www.belmond.com).
As Venice is one of my favourite cities, I’d extend my stay there with a few nights shared between the recently renovated Hotel Danieli (www.danielihotelvenice.com) and the Aman Canal Grande (www.amanresorts.com). Both beautiful hotels. The latter offers a behind-the-scenes tour of Venice.
Making the most of my time in Italy, I’d then travel south for a sojourn at the dramatic cliff-top boutique hotel Monastero Santa Rosa on the beautiful Amalfi Coast (www.monasterosantarosa.com).
Then onwards to Montenegro, a wonderful historic and picturesque country, to stay at the Aman Stefi Stefan (www.amanresorts.com) for a few nights.
After all this travelling, I’d need a spa break for a few days respite so I’d head north to Switzerland to the Alpina Gstaad (www.thealpinagstaad.ch) to try their Five Elements Retreat – basically it’s a complete beauty overhaul. Then I’d head onwards to the mega luxurious Chedi Andermatt, two hours from Zurich, (shown below) for some serious pampering (www.ghmhotels.com/en/andermatt.)
From Switzerland, I’d head to Paris for some stylish shopping, especially at Didier Ludot, which stocks the most exquisite range of vintage black dresses (www.didierludot.fr). I’d head south to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country for some foodie indulgence, and stay at cool Hotel Astoria 7 (www.astoria7hotel.com).
Late spring is a great time to visit places like Greece before it gets too hot. I’d go down to Mykonos and stay in the Santa Marina Resort (www.santa-marina.gr) and then head over to Marrakech for a touch of souk shopping. The Selman is one of the most stylish hotels in the world with every detail thought of (www.selman-marrakech.com/en/).
From here, I’d head to Tanzania for the ultimate safari experience at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in the Serengeti (www.fourseasons.com).
Then onwards to South Africa to Cape Town and a tour of its famous wine country, based from the Cape Grace Hotel (www.capegrace.com).
I’d then visit Latin America to the sultry city of Buenos Aires for a touch of tango. I’d book into the Philippe Starck designed Faena Hotel (www.faena.com).
Then it’s time for some beach-life and basing myself at the most amazing design and art-inspired hotel Estancia Vik, I’d discover the chi chi hotspot that is Punta del Este in Uruguay (www.vikretreats.com). From here, to Brazil and a must is a week or so in Rio at the famous Copacabana Palace (www.belmond.com) before heading north to the stunning Bahia region with a stay at the rustic-glam Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa (www.uxua.com).
I’d then go to Peru to discover ancient civilisation with a few nights at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (above) in Macchu Pichu (www.belmond.com).
From here I would cross over to the Caribbean and see the islands by sailing around with little hops over to Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands (www.peterislandresort.com) the Viceroy Anguilla (www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com) and Hotel Christopher in St Barts (www.hotelchristopher.com).
On to the mighty USA next with stopovers in New York at The Lowell Hotel (www.thelowellhotel.com) and then over to The Hamptons. I’d stay at the barefoot chic C/O The Maidstone (www.themaidstone.com). I’d also visit Boulders Hotel in Grand Canyon, Arizona (www.theboulders.com) and I’d also want to see the Big Sur so will stay at the Post Ranch Inn (www.postranch.inn).
From San Francisco it’s to Hawaii and the Four Seasons Hualalai (www.fourseasons.com).
I’d travel onwards to French Polynesia with stops off at Bora Bora and Tahiti but basing myself at the new eco The Brando , which is owned by Marlon Brando’s estate on Tetiaroa, a stunning private island (www.thebrando.com).
From here, I’d travel on to Sydney, Australia and stay at the QT Sydney hotel (www.qtsydney.com.au). I’d also visit the Daintree Eco Lodge in the rainforest in Queensland (www.daintree-ecolodge.com.au) and a hop over to the new One&Only on Hayman Island (www.hayman.oneandonlyresorts.com) a luxurious bolthole from which to witness first hand the Great Barrier Reef.
Australia is the gateway to Indonesia so I’d then breeze over to the just opened Jalakara in the Andaman Islands and sail around the remote and pristine region on Tiger Blue (www.tigerblue.info) a traditional red-sailed traditional timber phinisi yacht.
Another island, Sumba is also an idyllic spot to stay a few nights especially at the magical, all-villa property Nihiwatu (www.nihiwatu.com). Time to ‘find myself’ so Bali is also a must. I’d book into the new Alila Seminyak (www.alilahotels.com) – known for its moody architecture.
Next I’d head to Vietnam and see the sights by taking a luxury cruise with Aqua Expeditions (www.aquaexpeditions.com). Their Aqua Mekong cruises take in the best of Vietnam, The Mekong and Cambodia. Talking of which, putting the islands off the coast of Cambodia, in the Gulf of Thailand, on the map is Song Saa. It’s a new private island idyll with an amazing spa and holistic retreats on offer (www.songsaa.com).
Perfect for spectacular whale-watching is the new super-luxe Cape Weligama on the southern coast of Sri Lanka overlooking the Indian ocean (www.capeweligama.com) and then on to the innovative and stylish Lux Maldives (www.luxresorts.com). I adore all their little guest innovations – such as hidden treasures as you walk around the resort, ice cream carts and red phone boxes from which you can call home for free.
From here, I’d venture into China and visit Shanghai, with a stay at Banyan Tree Shanghai on the Bund (www.banyantree.com) and a stop off at The Upper House in Hong Kong (www.upperhouse.com). On to India next and Taj’s Rampagh Palace in Jaipur (www.tajhotels.com).
On the homeward leg, I’d stop off – for sheer indulgence – at Dubai’s Jumeirah Burj al Arab (www.jumeirah.com). By now it will be winter back in the UK so I’ll head from the sun of Dubai to the wilds of Norway to see the Northern Lights and a night at the Ice Hotel (www.ice-lodge.co.uk). From here, I’ll start winding up my trip with a stay at Ackergill Tower in the Highlands of Scotland, just in time for Christmas (www.celticcastles.com).
It goes without saying that all flights would be in First Class and accommodation in hotels would be in suites or above!!