I do hope you will excuse the lack of updates this year. Truth is, I wanted to spend more time with my family – being forced into captivity with them in 2020 wasn’t enough. Oh, and we’re actually imprisoned in the UK as taking a holiday is illegal until mid-May. It’s quite hard to write about something when nothing is happening, as much as every Daily Mail writer has made a career of it. It’s even more challenging when new hotel openings are rarer than a blood clot from a vaccine. Who wants to read about me going to The Connaught for the 200th time? No one? Well tough! It’s coming and you better enjoy it!
I started writing this post 3 months ago, and then the small matter of a brand new, tiny human being got in the way (and the imprisonment, please don’t forget the imprisonment). She was nearly 2 weeks overdue, which had me convinced she was waiting until Harrods reopened. Are you really living when Harrords isn’t? asked Plato. Yet she’s here now and since her arrival covid cases have plummeted. Coincidence? Hardly. So there now seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. Our governments magic eight ball strategy finally landed on a plausible solution and soon enough we’ll be traveling again, licking lampposts and go back to knifing each other after a pint or twenty. I’ve got my lucky stab proof vest at the ready, for our first trip of the year to The Connaught in May.
You can now embrace my naivety in thinking that we will travel this year, and not only that, but we will travel to all the following destinations…
Booked for last year, but for reasons that I doubt anyone will even recall, there was some weird situation with flying into foreign countries that got a few tuts and frowns. It’s very boring, so don’t waste your time in Googling it. All it required was a bit of bleach and sunlight and everything is fine again, so I’m trying to be optimistic that this is going to take place in September. Not only do all the properties look spectacular, but it will be a pleasure to take my Dad on his first safari; at least the first real one, as he was less-than-impressed in Aman-i-Khas when it rained so heavily that the tigers decided they’d rather be extinct, so they fucked off to whether it is that angry tigers go. Under your bed?
We start at Hemingways, which I’ve stayed in before and remember finding someone’s toenail in our bathroom. Let’s be hopeful they don’t upgrade us to the full toe this time. Next up is Segera, followed by Arijiju and Sirai Beach which are both exclusive use properties, meaning I will be both their best and worst customer simultaneously. It’ll make a change to be someone’s best customer.
Kenya is currently on the UK red list, meaning that were I to head back to England directly from Kenya, I will need to spend 10 nights in a government hotel to quarantine. If they allowed me to upgrade and stay at The Connaught, you could count me in, but instead I guess I’ll have to seek political refugee in another country – surely it’s a breach of my human rights to spend 10 nights in a Radisson? Any country keen to take me in?
Are you really surprised we’re heading back to Amanzoe? The ability to take a 4 bedroom as a 2 bedroom is not available this year as demand is so high, so we’ve booked the 1 bedroom villa. I toured it last year and whilst the views are nice, it’s not in the same realms as the other villas there – but where it lacks in qualities, it makes up for in being half the price. Beggars, choosers, etc. As a reminder to my faithful readers, the Amanzoe villas are spectacular and also come with your dedicated butler and chef, so offer excellent value for money. And they give my daughter an opportunity to make me proud by being the one that annoys the chef, rather than me, this time.
My wife prefers Velaa, I’m more of a Cheval Blanc guy. I guess we’re going back to Velaa. The General Manager of Iniala has also turned up at Velaa now, so I’ll pretend I wanted to go there the entire time. My daughter will be nearly 11 months old by the time we visit, giving us enough prep time to prepare for her first long-haul flight. It also gives me longer to hone her manners, as by December she should have learnt words like “no”, “get me the duty manager” and “this tastes like a baboon took a shit in it”.
It took me years to bother to get my Irish passport. Paperwork endlessly sat on my desk, reminding me of my inability to fill in a form. Now I hear I may need to get another passport for covid. I wasn’t aware it was a country, nor that I was a resident of it, but I do know that I’ll hate filling it twice as much. Assuming I don’t need one (we’re being vaccinated in age priority and feeling old isn’t the same as being old, so I’ll be lucky to be vaccinated in time) then we’ll head to France as our first foreign trip of the year.
Airelles are in the business of making awesome properties, so I don’t buy into the hype that this is hype. Chateau de Versailles may be the hotel opening of the year and I would love, in years to come, to remind my daughter how my childhood holidays were watching a crocodile singing at Pontins, whilst hers was spent in a palace. If Cheval Blanc Paris can open in time too, then it should be a spectacular trip when you throw in Domaine des Etangs and Lily of the Valley.
Were this pre-parenthood, I’d head to Iniala Malta too. I’ve waited years for it to finally open and now will wait even longer as they couldn’t be bothered to finish it prior to a pandemic kicking in. Selfish.
Gots to go see the grandparents. I guess it’s the age old dilemma: Four Seasons or sleep under a bridge? I think those are all the options in Czech Republic. Luckily the Four Seasons has turned into a rather wonderful hotel and I know it’s child friendly as I’ve thrown many a tantrum in there.
Mozambique & South Africa
I was planning for this last year, back when travel was still looking a vague possibility. The destinations changed quicker than David Cameron’s excuses; one minute it was going to be Banwa, another Amanoi, and then I settled on Kisawa and Kubili House. In the end I sat at home and player Spider-Man on the PS5.
Afte Versailles, I think Kisawa Sanctuary will be one of the major openings of 2021. The only problem:is it going to be another Miavana? A supremely expensive resort setup in a country with no luxury infrastructure, ran by people that have never done it before? All sounds rather familiar. In this time of need, I shall lend them my massive marketing efforts by going there and writing a completely non-biased review. So apologies if they go bankrupt.
That felt like therapy. Talking about hotels again? I haven’t done that since I swapped Flyertalk for Porsche Taycan forums. I used to spend hours, if not days, deliberating over which airliner combined with what layovers, just to get the cheapest first class tickets, whereas now I spend weeks looking at the contrasting decorating stitching or the colour of callipers. And just like holidays, where I spend weeks planning them, only to turn up and spend half the trip planning the next one, I am already looking to buy another Taycan. Basically, being locked indoors for 6 months has proved very expensive. My obsessive behaviour has been transferred elsewhere and it’s costing; these trips are my salvation to financial stability again.
Where are you planning to go this year?