Top 10: my 2020 trips that I am most excited about

Monday newsletters always feature top 10 travel lists to inspire.

Today (January 6, 2020): My 2020 trips that I am most excited about.

At the end of the past year, I reflected on my most memorable travel experiences of 2019. But now that 2020 is finally here, it’s time to look forward and share with you 10 great trips that I am planning for the coming year and that I am looking forward to share with you in my Wednesday blog posts (which always feature a flight trip reports and luxury hotel reviews) and on my YouTube channel.

If you have some tips and suggestions for my upcoming trips, please share them in the comments section below!

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10. EXPLORING THE KINGDOM OF CAMBIODIA

The Kingdom of Cambodia is finally rebounding from its complex and war-torn past and is on its way to become the next big travel destination in Asia. The country’s landscapes are surprisingly diverse, with tropical beaches, remote jungles, rice paddies, and sugar palm plantations. Like most visitors, my prime reason to visit Cambodia is to explore the iconic ancient temple ruins of Angkor Wat. Vast, beautiful and beguiling, these temple complexes contain a magic that makes them stand out from the crowd. Cambodia also has a growing ultra-luxury hotel scene, which is luring discerning travelers to this fascinating Southeast Asian nation. During my visit, I will stay at three fabulous boutique properties located in three different parts of the country: Phum Baitang by Zannier Hotels (near Angor Wat), Alili Koh Russey (a private island beach resort in the Gulf of Thailand), and Shinta Mani Wild (a rainforest camp designed by world-renowned architect Bill Bensley).


9. FLYING BUSINESS CLASS WITH EVA AIR

This spring, I will publish a trip report documenting my experience onboard Taiwan based EVA Air‘s international Business Class (dubbed ‘Royal Laurel Class’). The seats in Royal Laurel Class onboard EVA’s B777s and B787s are configured in a reverse herringbone 1-2-1 layout that maximizes space. At the push of a button, each seat converts into an approximately 82 inches (2 meter) long bed, enabling passengers to lie down, get comfortable and sleep on long-haul flights. The Business Class product is complemented by exclusive amenity kits, noise-canceling headphones, mouth-watering cuisine from all over the world (ranging from luscious beef steak to delicious lobster), and the warm, friendly service EVA Air is known for. To top it all, EVA Air is one of the few airlines to offer pajamas in Business Class; loose and comfortable, these garments are perfect for slumbering on long-haul flights. Stay tuned!


8. A HOLIDAY ON THE CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF ANGUILLA

Tucked away in the Eastern Caribbean lies the inviting, intriguing and exclusive island of Anguilla. Named the number one island in the Caribbean by Travel and Leisure, Anguilla biggest draw are its dazzling white sand beaches, mixed with friendly locals and an authentic island vibe. Discerning travelers come here to sprawl on the island’s silky strands, swim in luminous water, play Robinson Crusoe on Anguilla’s offshore islands, and snorkel or dive the fish-filled reefs and wrecks. The island is also home to a string of ultraluxe properties, and during my holiday, I will stay at the Four Seasons Resort Anguilla and Belmond Cap Juluca, two five-star retreats that apparently rank among the best beach resorts in the world. I will also visit Belmond La Samanna, which is located on the island of St Maarten, a 20 minute boat ride from Anguilla.


7. TESTING OUT VIRGIN ATLANTIC’S NEW A350 BUSINESS CLASS PRODUCT

I will soon fly from London to New York onboard a brand-new Virgin Atlantic Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, which includes an entirely new Upper Class cabin featuring a new Business Class seat. Laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, every suite faces towards the window and offers deployable privacy screens. All suites transition seamlessly from an upright seat, straight to a bed. The suite also boasts Virgin Atlantic’s largest ever in-flight entertainment screen, at 18.5”and features intuitive new system, controllable by passengers’ own personal device. The Virgin Atlantic A350 also features a new bar area known as The Loft. As the largest social space in the airline’s fleet, it’s designed for customers to gather, chat, enjoy a drink or dine with friends. Virgin Atlantic has ordered a total of 12 Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, all scheduled to join the carrier’s fleet by the end of 2021.


6. RAINFOREST & BEACH ADVENTURE IN COSTA RICA

Costa Rica is an eco-paradise and one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is also one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, containing about 5% of the world’s species. Fortunately, this natural treasure is protected by the National System of Conservation Areas, preserving a total of 25 percent of the national territory. The country offers majestic volcanoes, Pacific and Caribbean beaches, tropical dry, wet, and rain forests, as well as exhilarating jungle landscapes, all without traveling long distances. Costa Rica is also a frontier on eco-friendly and sustainable tourism. In 2003, I visited Costa Rica as a student, staying at hostels and camp sites, but now I will re-visit the breathtaking scenery of the country in style. During my holiday, I will stay at several of the country’s top lodges and resorts, including Lapa Rios, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagoya, Nayara Tented Camp, and Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo.


5. FLYING BUSINESS CLASS ONBOARD DELTA’S FLAGHSIP A350 AIRCRAFT

I am booked on a flight later this year on Delta Air Lines‘ new flagship A350 plane from Detroit to Amsterdam. In 2017, Delta Air Lines redefined Business Class travel with the introduction of a Business Class cabin that featured a sliding door at each suite. The suites offer passenger a private space accessed by a sliding door with thoughtfully designed personal stowage areas, an advanced in-flight entertainment system, and premium trim and finishes to create a comfortable, residential feel. Service in Delta One (which is how Delta calls its international Business Class cabin) includes chef-curated meals, wine pairings by Delta’s Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson, terrific Westin in-flight bedding, TUMI amenity kits, and in-flight loungewear on select flights. I’ve heard terrific feedback from Delta’s newest Business Class, so I am looking forward to try it out myself.


4. AMAN JOURNEY IN MONTENEGRO

The Southern European country of Montenegro is one of the world’s fastest-growing tourist destinations, with several high-end brands opening some ultraluxe resorts over the coming years (e.g. Ritz Carlton, One&Only, etc …). In 2020, I am bringing a visit to the country (which has been on my bucket list for a long time) and will stay at Montenegro’s most famous property, Aman Sveti Stefan, managed by Aman, one the word’s most exclusive hotel brands. Standing against pink-sand beaches, crystal-clear waters and rugged, pine-cloaked mountains, the hotel stretches across a causeway from a rustic island village in the Mediterranean Sea to a former royal residence on the mainland. The 80-acre estate features secret coves, a serene spa and a clifftop pool, scattered along Queen’s Beach, a scallop-shaped bay which is considered Montenegro’s finest and which is at the exclusive disposal of Aman guests.


3. FLYING FIRST CLASS WITH CATHAY PACIFIC

In summer, you can expect a review of Cathay Pacific‘s First Class product onboard a Boeing 777 from Hong Kong to Frankfurt. Following the spectacular refurbishment of their First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, Cathay Pacific extended the sophisticated, contemporary style into its First Class. According to Cathay Pacific, the outer surface of the First Class Suite is a dark, high-gloss material, while inside, the side console and the interior of the seat are wrapped in natural leather with subtle linings and stitching for a clean, refined, sophisticated look. Warm-toned natural leather is used extensively on most interior surfaces of the suite for a soft, luxurious feel. The seat smoothly transforms into a fully flat-bed, and the bedding comes with high-quality fabrics for the duvets, pillows, cushions and the mattress to ensure a comfortable sleep.


2. AN EPIC JOURNEY THROUGH NAMIBIA

In summer 2020, I will embark for a road trip in the southern African country of Namibia, a former German colony that only gained independence in 1990. Few countries in the world can match Namibia’s sheer natural beauty. Not only is the country world-famous for its exceptional wildlife and a well-developed network of national parks, game reserves and safari lodges, but the landscapes of its coastline and deserts are some of the most photographed and gasped over in the world. My journey will cover all of Namibia’s highlights: I will hike in the Fish River Canyon, spot wildlife in Etosha National Park, and watch the sun rise over the world’s highest dunes in Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. En route, I will stay in some of Africa’s most spectacular wildlife lodges, including the new ultraluxe Zannier lodges, the recently revamped &Beyond Sossuvlei Desert lodge, and the fabulous Hoanib Skeleton Coast Lodge (managed by Wilderness Safaris) in Namibia’s remote area of the Kaokoveld.


1. RE-VISITING MY FAVORITE HOTEL IN THE WORLD, SONEVA KIRI THAILAND

It’s no secret. Besides being an Aman junkie, I am a HUGE Soneva fan. The Soneva story started in 1995, when Sonu Shivdasani, an Indian-British hotelier, launched the now world-famous Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives. He also built his house there, together with his wife Eva Malmstrom, a Swedish fashion model, who developed the design of the unique resort. They had no idea that their intensely personal vision of a locally crafted villa and environmentally responsible lifestyle would form the basis of a successful collection of world-class hotels, resorts and spas. But that’s exactly what happened. In 2017, Soneva Fushi got a sister resort in the Maldives, phenomenal Soneva Jani, one of the most amazing resorts ever built. Not very well known, but the group also operates another, and in my opinion even more spectacular hotel: Soneva Kiri on the unspoilt Thai island of Koh. In 2020, I’ll bring a return visit to Soneva Kiri, and stay at the property’s – and Asia’s – most exclusive villa, the 6-bedroom sunset reserve.

Tip: you can always follow in my footsteps and get complimentary VIP perks at any Soneva resort (resort credit + two personalized experiences) by contacting me before any booking is made.


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9 Comments

  1. Hi, your plans for 2020 sound promising! As I pointed out recently, we have many travel destinations in common. Costa Rica is one of my favorite places in Latin America (I also stayed at the FS at Peninsula Papagayo, a heavenly spot!) and Namibia was on our travel list some years ago twice, a really beautiful country! I am looking forward to hear about your Montenegro vacation, that could be an interesting destination for me as well … Happy traveling! Cheers, Franziska

  2. @ Swiss Traveler: Great to hear from you again, Franziska. I wish you safe travels in 2020!

  3. Our dear The Great Expert !
    You are punctual and accurate like a Swiss watch ! Thank You for Your attention to us and, as always, unique and invaluable information ! This is hard to overestimate !
    Sincerely Yours , Vlado.

  4. I always enjoy reading your blogs and watching your videos, Luxury Travel Expert.
    I hope you have a fun & safe year travelling.

  5. Nice list, my comments:
    Costa Rica – way overrated
    Namibia – really, really want to go back and explore more
    Cambodia – loved it all, beware of temple fatigue at Angkor it is real! Loved Kampot, so relaxing on the river
    Aman – quality and service severely declining in recent years especially at that price

    Enjoy!!

  6. I love your travel blog! AW is crazy if you don’t get there by 7 am. Take the sunset lake cruise -wonderful. Agree w/other poster. Loved Aman (especially Moyo Island) but in the last several years has been taken over and service terrible

  7. Excited to see your trip to Namibia. I currently live in Namibia and covered some of your planned locations.

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