I am so excited for 2018. In a lot of ways it feels like its going to be a fresh start. For one, it will be my first New Years as a married lady, and second, I am entering the year working for myself! I am starting 2018 in total control of my life and am surrounded by so much love, I couldn't be more excited to see what the year will bring. Obviously one of the first things I think about in the new year, is where I want to travel. Below are 5 places that I want to vacation in 2018.
For an indulgent but relaxing trip, I would spend a weekend at Amangiri. Located in my home state of Utah, this hotel combines the beauty of the desert, with the opulence of a 5 star luxury resort. The rooms at Amangiri are decorated minimally, so as not to distract from the surroundings, but still have all the indulgences. Each suite has its own outdoor terrace with a fireplace to take in the surrounding rugged beauty. After a day of hiking some of the worlds most gorgeous rock formations, guests can indulge in spa treatment, inspired by a Navajo traditions, and dine on American classics along with local fare such as Rainbow Trout (a favorite of mine growing up).
If you go: The best time to book is spring or fall as summer will be too hot and winter, possibly too cold. Phoenix has the closest airport which requires a 4.5 hour drive, however the Grand Canyon is on the way!
Located in the northern forests of Sweden, the Tree Hotel is not your typical winter escape. The rooms are all built in the trees, each with their own unique design, including a birds nest, cabin, and mirror cube. Located adjacent to the property is a pensionat with a cozy restaurant offering traditional Swedish fare such as fresh baked pastries and reindeer. I am not one for bucket lists, but if I had one, on it would be a dog sled ride in the snow, which is one of the many winter activities offered at the Tree hotel. Other activities include ice dining (a candlelit meal in a tent over ice), horseback riding, and of course the sauna. And because of its proximity to the arctic circle and remote location, there is a good chance of seeing the northern lights during the winter months.
If you go: The Tree Hotel is a 10 hour drive from Stockholm, so its best to catch the 70 minute flight to Luleå airport, and then book a car transfer. The hotel is open year round and offers several activities during the warmer months, in addition to the cold months.
After going on a walking safari over 10 years ago in Ghana, I have been dying to go on a safari trip with morning game drives, extravagant lunches on the plain, and nights under the stars in a tent. Singita has several lodges and tent camps throughout the Tanzania, and offers a lavish safari experience. What I like about the group, is that they are committed to environmentally conscious hospitality, sustainable conservation, and the empowerment of the local communities. When you stay at Singita, in addition to the typical safari activities, they offer volunteer opportunities in the local communities, and visits to their anti poaching watch posts, which employ 120 scouts.
If you go: The best time to visit Tanzania is during the dry season, lasting from May through October. Singita has several properties throughout Tanzania, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, each offering their own unique experience and accommodation.
By now you have probably seen this spot allover Instagram with influencers taking shots of themselves enjoying tea, gazing upon a sky of hot air balloons. Capedocia is a region of central Turkey and is famous for its chimney like rock formations. The main town that most tourists go to is called Goreme. With hotels built into the rock formations, it feels like you are staying in a cave! At night the rock formations are lit up around you, and by day you will be surrounded by hot air balloons. I would probably spend at least one afternoon trying to get the perfect hot air balloon shot, sipping tea.
If you go: There are hotel options for every budget and late spring, summer, or early fall are the best times to go, as winter can be too cold. If you are traveling from Istanbul its best to opt for an overnight bus as the drive takes 8 hours, alternatively the drive is only 3.5 hours from Ankara's airport.
Song Saa Private Island
I have yet to stay in an over water hotel, probably because the idea used to terrify me, but I think I could use some R and R staring at perfectly clear water. Located off the coast of Cambodia on a private island, Song Saa Private Island has 24 villas, both over the water and beach side, a restaurant, and bar. And if you get tired of lying next to the ocean in your private pool, there are activities such as sailing, kayaking, and spa sanctuaries located outside on different part of the island. I love that the resort has committed to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, and it shows through their use of recycled timber, solar power, and the ways they give back to the community.
If you go: As the hotel is located on an island, there is a bit of travel involved. First you will need to fly to Siem Reap or Phnom Penh and then grab a 45 minute flight to Siahnoukville. The airport is close to the port where you will be picked up by private boat, and taken to the island. The weather is perfectly warm year round, but there is a wet season from May to November.