Whether you are looking for inspiration or some insider tips on a travel destination for next year, I thought I’d take a look back and share with you where I travelled this year. I finally got to tick off some bucket list destinations like Los Angeles and Saint Lucia and also discovered a new European city that I totally fell in love with as much as my favourite Barcelona. I’ll start off in Barcelona which we travelled to last December, how has that been a year already!?
Danny and I headed to one of our favourite European cities for New Year. We stayed five nights over New Years, a few days before the big event and then a few days after to relax. As we were staying a little longer than a weekend, we decided to book an apartment in the city, which turned out really well and we were located very central and just a short walk to Las Ramblas and Casa Batlló (the Gaudi house). It was nice to feel at home in the city we now have visited frequently and have been to for the past three Januarys.
We celebrated New years Eve at Eclipse Bar at the W Hotel, which was a fun night and it was great to spend New Years Eve in a different city. Barcelona has of course great Spanish food, my favourite being Tapas 24 for the best tapas experience, but there is so much to see and do. Check out my top ten things to do in Barcelona.
I have always wanted to visit Los Angeles for as long as I can remember. I mean it’s Hollywood. We visited here at the end of March and it was very warm, warmer than I expected for that time of year which I was really happy about it. I think everything was sort of as I imagined it. Yes, everything is very far apart so you do need to drive or take plenty of taxis and Ubers, but I didn’t find that a problem as I am pretty used to that in London.
We travelled with Virgin Holidays who we did a multi-destination package with and stayed at The Garland Hotel which was their recommendation. I was pretty happy with the choice and it was located near Universal Studios which I wanted to visit and the hotel provided a free shuttle bus to the park. It did however feel a little out of the loop of everywhere else, so on a return journey I’d definitely choose my location better, but for Universal it was excellent. Los Angeles has a very chilled out vibe and I enjoyed our time here. I would highly recommend a trip to The Ivy for lunch and breakfast at Mr Holmes Bakehouse, but for all my recommendations have a look at my top ten things to do in Los Angeles.
In April I got to spend my birthday in Las Vegas watching Britney Spears. This was something I’d only dreamed of, but now have made a reality. As I mentioned above we booked a multi-destination package with Virgin Holidays so our flight from L.A to Vegas was all sorted as was our accommodation. Unlucky for us our flight was delayed by seven hours for an hour flight! But once we arrived in the early hours, driving into Vegas at about 6am with what can only be described as over tiredness and seeing all the lights, definitely makes you wonder where the hell you are. I’m not sure what I expected from Vegas but it was just so bizarre. Everything is huge, bright, loud and well a little crazy.
Lucky for us however our hotel The Cosmopolitan had upgraded us to a wrap around suite, which was absolutely huge, I think it was bigger than our apartment in London. We had an amazing view over the Bellagio Fountain and Las Vegas itself. I loved our stay at this hotel and it is easy to see why it is one of the most popular. It has so many restaurants inside including STK and Eggslut and a giant casino. Be prepared for a very busy lobby area as not only do the guests walk through the lobby as does anyone and everyone in Las Vegas. I’d say for visiting Vegas a weekend is more than enough, I did like it and I had a great time, but now I have been I don’t think I’ll be rushing back anytime soon – but then who knows! Read my 6 tips for visiting Las Vegas to help you with your trip.
Danny and I have been to Greece in Summer for the last 3 years, so something is obviously taking us back. Santorini was always a must-visit and in 2016 we finally spent some a long weekend there. I loved every single bit of that trip and would go back in a heartbeat. I was intrigued though by Santorini’s neighbour Mykonos. So this Summer in June we spent a week in Mykonos. It was good to see the differences, personally I prefer Santorini. As a couples destination I think it has a more romantic feel and it just has something special about it, as well as I also fell in love with one of the restaurants there named Argo.
Mykonos is also beautiful, the differences would be it has a more modern vibe, so you’ll find designer shops and a much more clubbing feel to the town. We stayed out of the town in Agios Stefanos, which I regret and don’t regret. It was nice to be out of the town but also annoying to take taxis all the time. So my recommendation would be to stay close to or in the Mykonos town area unless you rent a car. We had a hotel room with our own mini pool and it was the perfect hideaway. Check out guides to my favourite Mykonos restaurants and why you should visit Mykonos.
If any European city came close to overtaking one of my favourites Barcelona, for me it would be Lisbon. If you are looking for a city to visit for a weekend this coming year, then I would recommend Lisbon for sure. There is so much to do which I’ll let you read my guide on how to spend a weekend in Lisbon, but some favourites were of course trying Pasteis de Belém, the home of the Portuguese Tart, visiting Belem and just generally walking around and taking in all the beautiful architecture.
We stayed at H10 Duque de Loule, which was a really lovely boutique hotel, very well decorated inside and out, great service and a good location. It also has a rooftop bar which we frequented in the hot nights. As we visited in August it was very warm, I didn’t find it too hot at all but if you don’t like it too hot then maybe choose a month other than August as it is probably one of the hottest months to visit.
Never did I think I would end the year travelling to Saint Lucia. I was actually thinking of a trip to New York at Christmas, however the opportunity came from Sandals to work with them on their new campaign and of course I couldn’t say no. We were actually due to visit in September, but the hurricanes affected our travel so the trip was postponed to December, which in fact it came as a perfect end to the year.
We stayed at Sandals Halcyon Beach which was the most beautiful resort and as with Sandals everything is all-inclusive, so we didn’t need to worry about food or even our excursions as these had been organised by the Sandals team for us, including riding horses along the beach and into the water, which was amazing. On a beach holiday, I probably wouldn’t book in any activities and I am so glad we had as it was so fun and I definitely would look to do a few next time. We enjoyed a week here and it was my first trip to the island and the Caribbean, as well as flying Upper Class. We managed to be upgraded by Virgin Atlantic as they oversold Premium Economy – what a shame.
I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at another Sandals resort, we genuinely had the best time and the weather was a good 30 degrees every day. I am considering a winter sun trip next year for sure. Read my review on Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort.
And that brings me to next year. Currently I am heading to Paris next week with Danny for the weekend which I am looking forward to seeing the Dior exhibition before it closes.
Forward thinking I’d love to maybe visit Mexico and Venice is up there for a summer city break, but I hope to travel as much as I can.
Do you have any travel plans for the New Year?