When things get a little quiet over here at Holy Smithereens, you can rest assured that there’s always something brewing. And that can only mean two things: Trouble (the good kind) or Travel…or Both!
Well it’s that time of the year again. My itchy travel feet have been scratching the past months until they’ve caught fire. And I really am fired up for this next trip because this will be the longest I’ll ever be away!
And truth be told, I’m a teeny little bit anxious, but a WHOLE LOT EXCITED!
You see, I’m not the kind of travel blogger who will blissfully give up worldly possessions in return for that eternal, permanent life of being a globetrotter.
I love having a base, having that mini routine of leaving and returning. I love having balance in
everything most things (because one can never have too much fun, seafood, sun, and swimwear!)
And speaking of balance, this trip will have equal parts of adventure (lots of new and unexpected destinations!) and luxury.
So without further adieu, here’s where I’ll be very soon…
*this is a longish itinerary, so be forewarned. Grab some tea, or a masseuse if you will....*
First stop..Romania! I will be flying into Bucharest, and quickly heading to Transylvania for a visit to Peles and Bran Castle (aka Dracula’s lair). Then spending some time in the rural mountainous area of Romania for some hiking. I’m very excited about this, I’ve been poring over images of the area we’ll be going to and they look so pristine!
After a couple of days’ hiking I’ll head back to Bucharest and recover at the Intercontinental Bucharest (the first Five-Star hotel in the city). I’m looking forward to this stay because Intercontinental Hotels has added to it’s portfolio the “Insider Experiences” Program, which includes 5 cities that are sought-after by travellers. Bucharest is one of them and guests at the Intercontinental can experience a behind-the-scenes-tour of the Romanian capital nicknamed as the ‘Little Paris’.
The next 11 days after Romania, I will be touring and exploring Central Europe with JayWay Boutique Travel. They are specialists in Eastern / Central Europe and offer very customised tours suited to your travel needs. We’ll be indulging in a little bit of luxury , touring the following cities with JayWay:
Our first stop with JayWay is Budapest. The largest city of Hungary will have no doubt lots of things and places to be explored. We’ll be staying at the Aria Hotel, a boutique hotel designed and inspired by music, so I’m very curious to see this!
High Tatras, Slovakia
JayWay was very cheeky, squeezing in this surprise destination on our tour! 😉
The High Tatras in Slovakia are a mountain range border along the northern region of Slovakia and southern region of Poland.
This is a quick visit but nevertheless, I’m very excited as the views look spectacular. A stay at the Grand Hotel Kempinski High Tatras will absolutely make this short visit memorable.
Krakow / Auschwitz Poland
And then we move to Poland!! A country I’ve long wanted to visit 🙂 I have fond and warm experiences with Polish people so I really am looking forward to being in Poland. After Krakow, the tour will take on a serious turn as we visit the concentration camp in Auschwitz.
We will be staying at Hotel Copernicus in Krakow.
Our last stop with JayWay is in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. Apart from exploring this “City of a Hundred Spires”, we will also be taking day trips out of the city (Karlovy Vary).
We will be staying at Aria Hotel in Prague, described as a haven for music and art lovers wanting some luxury. I’m looking forward to experiencing that!
And then we head west to Germany, starting in Munich, the bavarian capital. We have missed Oktoberfest (as it is in September) but I’m pretty sure there’s tons to do in Munich even without Oktoberfest!
There are lots of day trips to be taken in Munich (alas the Munich – Salzberg train line is closed at the moment) and we’re sure to be doing some of that.
While in Munich, I’ll be staying at The Chalres Hotel, a hotel from the Rocco Forte group of luxury hotels around Europe (and expanding in the Middle East).
I will also be at the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost, whose hotel design is a mix of neoclassical history with modern architecture.
From the traditional bavarian German capital, we will have a change of environement when we move to Berlin. We’ll spend days exploring Germany’s capital, and experience it’s reputation for being a very hipster and modern city.
I’ll be staying in two classic hotels in Berlin (perfect for those who do Bleissure- mixing Business with Leisure)- The Westin Grand Berlin and Intercontinental Berlin.
Amsterdam! Another first city for me. I’m looking forward to exploring this city of 165 canals. I’ll try to see if I can do as the locals do in Amsterdam and cycle my way around the city 🙂
Amsterdam’s hotels are full of character! I’m very excited to be staying at two very differently styled hotels. One is The Dylan Hotel Amsterdam, whose rooms have themes – Kimono, Loft, Signature, Loxura or Serendipity! I cannot decide which theme I want (they all look and sound magnificent!) but, I obviously need to choose a theme soon 🙂 Maybe I’ll do a random pick!
And then I’ll be staying at Hotel Okura Amsterdam – Amsterdam’s high-rise hotel. Okura also has a Japanese theme so it will be nice to see that infused with Dutch hospitality. Zen luxury, that will be a first for me!
The past 3 years, I’ve been making a happy yearly pilgrimage to London and this year is no exception. I’m always thrilled to be in London whatever time of the year, it still is my favourite urban city in the world, after all.
I’ll be attending the World Travel Market so that’s another happy reason to be in London. (The energy is just amazing!)
Also, London is a growing hub for luxury hotels. The demand seems to be ever increasing and as such there’s always new accommodation to be explored.
For this trip, I will re-visit The Andaz in Liverpool Street, a Hyatt property. I was there in 2012 and the hotel really had a very memorable and quirky impression that I want to return and see if it still has that charm that’s lingered on for 3 years.
And since I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in London, I’m also going to stay at Cheval Three Quays, a luxury apartment-style living that overlooks the Tower of London and the River Thames.
And finally, I was smitten by the Jumeirah Hotel group last year when I had my first stay with them at the Jumeirah Grand Hotel via Veneto in Rome.
So my last home in London will be the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, conveniently located near Knightsbridge station (and also near Harvey Nichols and Harrods).
A complete change of scenery will see us in Abu Dhabi! This is my second visit to the city, but this time the experience will be completely different as I will quite literally, be staying in the middle of the desert, at the Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara.
I’m really looking forward to this because though Qasr Al Sarab is complete luxury in the desert, it still incorporates a lot of traditional bedouin activities and experiences for guests.
This will definitely be quite a different experience from the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Abu Dhabi as Qasr Al Sarab is located in the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world (Rub’Al Khali).
DubaiJumeirah Zabeel Saray
And then I’ll be at the ultra mega metropolis that is Dubai! I have only been to Dubai on a day trip before so this will be my first proper stay, and I’ll be at the ultra romantic Jumeirah Zabeel Saray.
The hotel design is inspired by the Ottoman empire, and is located at the west crescent of the iconic Palm Jumeirah.
Now an itinerary like this deserves a “holiday after a holiday” kind of break right?
That’s exactly what I had in mind so to cap off this long trip, I’ll be at the Maldives once more! I was there early last year and it’s been way too long since I’ve been in the water.
And by that I mean seriously spending hours and most of my days underwater – that’s really how I relax and unwind, so I’m super duper excited for this.
I’ll be rekindling my love for the sun and water at Velassaru Maldives. The resort has a brief tag line of “luxury undressed”, and nothing sounds sexier and more relaxing to me than this kind of simple indulgence. We’ll be discovering the reef of Velassaru well as we plan to spend hours and hours in the water, and take lots of underwater footage too 🙂
Now how does an ‘adults only’ Maldives resort sound like to you? I’ll be experiencing this kind of tranquility at the Anantara Veli. I’ve had a wonderful stay in two Anantara properties (in Bali) early this year and have no doubt that Anantara Veli will also be venue to unforgettable experiences in the Maldives.
My last stop in the Maldives is Jumeirah Vittaveli. Vittaveli means “vastness of space” and “eternal light”.
Well, I know for sure I’ll be in for days of eternal happiness because they have daily feeding of sting rays- my favourite sea creatures! 🙂
Jumeirah Vittaveli is also home to one of the healthiest and most abundant house reefs in the South Malé Atoll, so let’s keep our fingers crossed I don’t grow scales that much in this trip.
My travel companion
My last few travels this year have been with various travel buddies / company and while I thoroughly enjoyed them , its still not the same without our good old….
Yep, our resident Zombie is back. And for a trip THIS long, I’m not quite sure how we’ll fare by the end of it…well, we’ll just have to take it one destination at a time! He will be turning a year older while we’re in the Maldives and I’m happy we’re spending it together.
Now for a trip of this length, I will be updating every single day- it’s also a way for me to keep sane, I tell you 🙂
Daily adventure updates will be over at:
Instagram – @jeanholysmithereens
Facebook – Holy Smithereens
YouTube – Jean Holy Smithereens
That trip sounds AMAZING! I wish I was still in Europe so I could meet up with you for a meal in Amsterdam. I can not wait to see all the pictures.
So jealous and excited to see all the photos of your upcoming trip!
Ohhh wow, that sounds amazing! Can’t wait to see/read more of the trip.
Grace @ Sandier Pastures says
Whew!! What a long trip!! But I got excited when I read: DUBAI!! When will that be? I just got back from a week long trip from Austria (visiting 3 cities) and I was so exhausted. I wish I have your energy!!
Suze The Luxury Columnist says
What a fabulous itinerary, Jean – you’ll love Romania by the way! If you get time, it would be great to meet up at WTM
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Suze, I’d love to meet up at WTM! I will be there 3-5 Nov 🙂
Shikha (whywasteannualleave) says
Your trip sounds incredible Jean! I’ve been to a few of those Eastern European destinations but really want to return to show my hubby who hasn’t. And we were just recently talking about how intriguing Slovakia and Bucharest sound! I’mfollowing along on Instagram and loving your pics!
What an incredible trip Jean!!! I loved Budapest when I went last year, and I went to the High Tatras in Feburary. They were so beautiful and great skiing! I’m off to Krakow end of November so looking forward to your posts about that!
I’m going to WTM too, on the Monday, like Suze said it’d be great to meet up if you have time! I’m a WTM novice so would be awesome to have a helping hand 😉
C x | Lux Life
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Catherine! I loved High Tatras I wish I could spend more time!
I’d love to meet up at WTM too! I will be there likely from 3-5 November 🙂
This trip will go crescendo, starting with a nice Europe tour followed by Middle-East and Maldives as a climax! I would like to do same kind of trip in US, if only I had time… Certainly later 🙂
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Thanks Francois, you described it perfectly! A crescendo trip. I did enjoy the latter part very well (Middle East and Maldives) and hope to be back again!
Ross @FreeYourMindTravel says
Sounds like an incredible adventure! Have wanted to travel to all those countries so I’m looking forward to following your journey!
Jean Holy Smithereens says
Hi Ross, thanks for the visit, I’ve just come back from the long trip! Thanks for following!