With the majority of holiday plans put on pause in 2020 many of us are looking forward to a holiday of epic proportions in 2021. Oliver Broad, joint managing director of RB Collection, looks at bucket list ideas from classic trips to unique experiences
We Brits love to escape our long winters for tropical island getaways. This is a perfect time to visit the Caribbean and Indian Ocean as they enjoy perfect temperatures whilst we freeze at home! The Maldives continues to be THE dream beach holiday for many, it is easy to see why.
Choose from beach villas or those on stilts over the shallow waters and you’ll be transported to a paradise setting on one of the many islands. This is one of the challenges with the Maldives, there are so many islands to choose from! With choice comes competition and it’s this which means the resorts are constantly evolving. Innovation is key and many are always expanding their amazing choice of accommodation and services. From underwater restaurants to family sized over-water villas with their own water slides to vegan and healthy lifestyle programmes, the selection is vast.
Here lies the problem. With such a large selection it can be a needle in a haystack to choose which island to enjoy. Resorts come in all shapes and sizes and there are a host of practical considerations to take into account, not to mention working out which is suitable for your budget. You definitely need some professional advice when selecting the most appropriate island.
With so many dreaming of the Maldives experiences, the islands command a high price and so if these are out of your reach do not fear. A good alternative is Mauritius which offers some of the world’s most luxurious and interesting resorts, plus the island is full of life, culture and great scenery.
My family enjoyed a trip to the national park on quad bikes for an alternative stag do and were even joined by Zebras running alongside us! Compared to the Maldives you can sometimes save around 20% so it is really worth considering for a tropical island bucket list escape.
The Seychelles in the Indian Ocean is also worth considering, famous for where William and Kate took their honeymoon. The islands in the Seychelles have a more exclusive feel to those in Mauritius and are perfect for the ultimate treat.
Our favourite Caribbean choice for a stunning long sandy beach with a very high standard of luxury hotel would be Cap Juluca in Anguilla. This resort oozes elegance which of course you would expect from the owners Belmond who also operate the Venice-Simplon Orient-Express.
Just off the coast of Antigua is the exclusive island retreat of Jumby Bay. For those who may have experienced the Caribbean a number of times and are looking for the ultimate private getaway, my fellow Joint MD Nathan suggests this is a great choice. They also have larger villas to accommodate multi-generational holidays with your own private pool and plenty of space.
If you are short on time and in need of a once-in-a-lifetime WOW experience, a trip to see the Northern Lights in Scandinavia is just the ticket. Combine a trip to see this natural phenomenon with a unique experience at one of the most unique hotels in the world… Sweden has three to choose from!
The Ice Hotel has established itself as a real marvel. They have one building which melts every year and is rebuilt and another which is open all year round. This means you can even visit in the summer and still sleep on ice! This is a great opportunity for those who want to experience the hotel but are not too keen on it being too cold for the whole trip.
You can also go white water rafting in the summer months too as I did a few years ago. We found out afterwards the rafting guide was none-other than Yngve Bergqvist, owner of the Ice Hotel who first arrived in the area in the 1970s. Who better to take us down the famous Torne River and grill us the tasty fish for our scenic lunch stop! The Northern Lights also start coming out in September so you can combine lots of opportunities for a special trip. Visit www.IceHotels.co.uk for more details.
Another unique Swedish hotel is the Tree Hotel which became famous overnight a few years ago after being featured on a documentary about architectural wonders. Husband and wife team Kent and Britta run a snuggly guest house on the same land where you take your meals which adds a real home-away from home feel. Accommodations vary from a UFO to a Birds Nest and Mirror Cube! They are really relaxing, and the Seventh Room is larger and perfect for families.
Kent and Britta’s latest project is the Arctic Bath, a floating construction on the nearby river. This certainly got some attention when it opened in February 2020 and quickly became one of the ‘Must-stay’ hotels in Scandinavia.
For a more classic bucket-list trip, the Venice-Simplon Orient-Express (VSOE) is truly magnificent. I was lucky to enjoy this art-deco icon a few years ago and I have to say it was superb. The whole experience was like stepping back in time. It was so luxurious but with a real sense of adventure and fun at the same time.
The carriages on the VSOE have their own butler, are very elegant and luxurious with separate dining and bar cars. For more space why not opt for one of their Grand Suites which feature a full double bed and free flowing Champagne!
The typical journey will start in London onboard the British Pullman which takes you to Folkestone. Here you travel under the channel where you will meet the VSOE for the main event. The beautifully restored carriages transport you to Paris where fresh provisions are collected for your dinner. The next morning the journey resumes south through the Alps to Venice where you arrive over the bridge in real style.
Most clients will then enjoy a few nights in Venice after the journey of a lifetime (I suggest the Cipriani in a pool-side room). Others may choose to select a journey which takes in Verona or continues to Istanbul. You can also do the journey in reverse by flying to Venice first and returning on the train.
Still in Italy, a popular event to attend is the annual concert by possibly the most loved tenor in the world, Andrea Bocelli. Every year he performs near the village where he grew up called Lajatico. The productions vary from year to year but are always spectacular in a unique open-air setting. The venue is located in the centre of Tuscany so you can stay in Florence or if you have been there before why not visit Siena further south. We know the area well so can help advise and create the perfect trip for you. We especially love the hilltop village of San Gimignano and medieval town of Lucca near Pisa which are both worth a visit too. Visit rbcollection.com/andreabocelli for details.
Multi generation holidays continue to become more popular and what better way to create special moments together than on Safari. In the new socially distanced world we can arrange for your family bubble to have their own private safari lodge and enjoy your game viewing on a private basis altogether too. I enjoyed my first safari in South Africa which is perfect if you have not done this type of trip before. We enjoyed a few days in Cape Town before driving the Winelands and Garden Route and ended with the wildlife.
My business partner Nathan has experienced a number of other safari destinations and from hearing about his experiences they all vary differently. From tented camps in Botswana where you can enjoy thrilling walking safaris to the great open plains of Kenya. Nathan has also visited Tanzania where you can combine Victoria Falls for a real WOW factor.
One thing to seriously consider when thinking about a safari is the time of year. As specialists we can advise on this to get the most out of your wildlife experience. If this would be your first safari, why not add on a few days at the beach at the end so you can digest all the new experiences you’ll encounter. There are a number of options depending on where you safari and we can help with the best option.
For sports fans, plans are well underway to bring many of the popular spectator sports back in 2021 and interest has already increased. Formula One Grand Prixs for example are for many a real bucket list trip. Monaco in May tops the list and early booking is vital. We have experienced the thrill and noise of this electric race first-hand. The unique city circuit can be challenging to navigate but there are a few tricks we can offer to maximise your opportunity.
Whatever or wherever is on your bucket list, we do suggest planning early. Keep an eye out for special flexible booking terms which will offer reassurance should circumstances change after you book. More 70% of our clients traveling in 2020 postponed their trips to 2021 which means it is already a busy departure year. If it’s a dream holiday idea, book early with flexibility and then when the date comes around you won’t be disappointed.
Our team have visited and experienced all of these suggestions so do contact us for first-hand knowledge and experience. It is never too early.
Call RB Collection on 01543 258631 or email email@example.com to book your bucket list trip.
J’AIME Reader Offer
Mention ‘J’AIME Magazine’ for a complimentary VIP departure package including security fast passes and VIP Lounge when booking one of the trips mentioned before January 31, 2021.