Article By Guest Blogger Tai Yuni
Tai Yuni is an amazing friend of mine who I met during my days in Belgium. We were just crossing paths but I quickly saw how special she was – Masters degree in Marketing, a true international traveler speaking five languages fluently and having education from New York City, Spain, and Belgium. We continued to meet up in random cities like NYC, Los Angeles, Antwerp, you name it and have many great memories together. Tai runs a website called The Gypsy Jet Setter and writes about her passion in the luxury marketing and international travel segment. I asked her to tell me about the best places to be at this winter and she happily shared with us her recommendations.
There are so many amazing place to see in the world – here is a taste of 5 top luxury spots to vacation this winter. Make it an unforgettable 2011!
Verbier is one of the biggest ski resorts in the Alps, and is the main gateway to les 4 Vallées or the 4 valleys. Boasting tons of activities, 100km (62miles) of runs ranging from 1,500 to 3,300m (4,921 to 10,826ft) and 27 lifts, not to mention the beautiful European elite, this is one place you can’t get bored in.
Aside from the usual skiing and snowboarding, you can also go to bogganing, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, ski-touring, paragliding, heli-skiing, ice climbing, ice karting, winter hiking or go on a dog sleigh outing.
Savoyard Cuisine on the Slopes:
There are some very well-known restaurants on the slopes such as Chez Danny, however, the food is of much higher quality at La Marmotte, which is also conveniently located on the slopes. It is more quaint and intimate, with great typical Savoyard dishes such as Rosti, which is similar to tartiflette – a mix of potatoes, cheese, and bacon – not super healthy, but it’s perfect for when you’re skiing. They also have a great chef salad.
To enjoy the ultimate Verbier experience, stay in a chalet. There are tons in the resort so you should have no problem finding one, although booking early is key as it is a very popular area!
Staying at your own or your friend’s chalet is of course the coziest, however there are lots of charming chalets that you can rent. A particularly well-known one is Chalet d’Adrien, with 29 rooms and located at the bottom of the slopes for added convenience. Keep in mind that Verbier is on the pricey side – a deluxe room here with a balcony overlooking Alps is 855 CHF per night (US $915) per night.
Le Rouge is a great après-ski place, with DJ, lounge chairs with sheepskin blankets, and drinks on a terrace with a view of the mountains.
For later on in the evening, Farm Club has been the nightclub to be seen in for the past four decades, or as according to TIME OUT magazine, it’s “Verbier’s showcase for the beautifully rich.”
The Oberoi Udaivilas in Rajasthan was selected for Conde Nast Traveller’s Readers’ Travel Awards 2010 (top 25). Readers voted for the location on Lake Pichola, excellent service, and ambiance. This is one vacation spot not to be missed!
HUA HIN, THAILAND
Thailand is a great vacation destination overall as it is a beautiful country, with great food, friendly people, and it is relatively inexpensive i.e. the average tourist can live like royalty.
If you are looking for the ultimate mind, body and spirit cleanse, visit Chiva Som in Hua Hin, Thailand. Selected as the “World’s Best Destination Spa” in 2009 Travel+Leisure Reader’s Travel Awards and in the top three of Conde Nast Traveller (UK) Reader’s Travel Awards, Chiva Som is THE place to relax, get away from it all, and have a life-changing experience. Focused on holistic health, fitness, and physiotherapy, Chiva Som has a fully-equipped spa and medi-spa and a spa menu complete with organic cuisine.
CAPE TOWN & KRUGER PARK, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa is a beautiful country and a great place to make a luxurious getaway this winter, especially considering that it is summer in the southern Hemisphere. There is such a diversity not only among the people of South Africa, but also in what you can see and do here. For those who don’t just want to lie on the beach, this is the perfect place to be. From visiting the Cape of Good Hope, to architectural and natural beauty and historical landmarks, Cape Town has it all. I highly recommend staying at the beautiful Cape Grace 5* hotel (one of my favorites!) located on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town.
Following Cape Town, Motswari Private Game Reserve at Kruger Park is the perfect place to continue your holiday. This four star luxury resort is family owned, and provides excellent service. With two daily safari outings, you are sure to see some breathtaking sights, from leaping gazelles, to elephants eating trees for breakfast, to water buffalo, lions, giraffes, and more. The atmosphere at Motswari is friendly and intimate – you stay in luxury huts and dine in a beautiful outdoor setting, in the midst of breath-taking nature.
Istanbul is the cross-roads between East and West, and it is full of a rich, ancient culture.
From sidewalk cafes with views over the city and delicious fresh foods, Turkish baths, leather goods available in abundance, to awe-inspiring historical monuments, Istanbul has so much to offer.
While there is so much to see in Istanbul, below are just a few highlights:
Hagia Sophia: Once a church, then a mosque, and now a museum, Hagia Sofia is awe-inspiring.
Blue Mosque: See below image. Need I say more?
The Grand Bazaar is the oldest and largest historical bazaar in the world with 4000 shops, and is a must-see.
Topkapi Palace: This palace has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985.
Yerebatan Cistern: Built during the Byzantine era, this underground cistern was constructed to meet the water needs of the city’s population.
The Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahment () is the place to stay (and another one of my favorite hotels in the world). Very central and majestic, it reminds me of paintings of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world. This is ultimate luxury.
Wherever you do decide to go, have a great trip!
I am here to introduce you to tips and tricks on living the ultimate gyp-set lifestyle. I have been globetrotting since day one (128 cities in 30 countries so far) – and not always with sufficient means to do so – but international travel and living in different countries is my passion. And if a little luxury is thrown in there, all the better. – Tai Yuni.