Monday, 2 January 2017

Lux Life's Top 15 Travel & Life Moments of 2016.

2016 was a huge year for me, I ticked off some bucket list travel moments, moved to the other side of the world, and started my dream job. I visited a total of 12 countries - including six new ones - and took 30 flights, all whilst having a full time job for most of the time as well as a very active social life. So I thought instead of my usual epic huge wrap-up of the year, I'd focus on my Top 15 moments instead, in both life and travel.


1. Walking with Elephants in Thailand


This had been on my bucket list for YEARS. Literally years. Since I was a child. And I finally managed to tick it off back in January thanks to an incredible press trip to Thailand with Lebua Hotels for the launch of their new champagne bar; Flute A Perrier-Jouet bar, in partnership with Perrier-Jouet champagne. I tagged on a short two-night trip to Chiang Mai at the end of my Bangkok visit purely to visit the Elephant Nature Park, and I'm SO glad I did it! The experience was just amazing, and a dream come true. 


2. Finally visiting NYC....twice


Just one month after Thailand I ticked another bucket list travel moment off my list, and landed in New York City for a long weekend with one of my closest friend's from Australia! We partied with Drake, stayed at two gorgeous and typically New York luxury hotels (The famous Knickerbocker, and Langham Place), and were treated like queens by the wonderful people of NYC. 

I loved NYC so much, that less than six months later I was back in New York to help Jasiminne celebrate her 30th birthday in style! We ate at some of the best restaurants in the city, had some insane nights out, and stayed at the gorgeous Conrad NYC where I decorated the suite with birthday balloons and banners for J to wake up to! 




3. Partying in style in Dubai


You all know by now that I love to party, and Dubai didn't disappoint. I stopped in Dubai on my way out to Australia, and my old boss Nigel showed me around the city for a week. In the end we visited a total of 11 bars, went to a beach club two days in a row, ate at Zuma, Hakkasan, and the Highest Restaurant in the World, had an epic boat party, and even managed a day trip to Zaya Nurai Island! I also stayed at the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach for a night, and spent a day at the Sofitel The Palm to see what the luxury hotels in Dubai are like!

4. Having a girls trip to Paris with my Mum

For ages my mum and I had discussed having a girls trip somewhere, and we eventually did it just before I went to Thailand back in Jan. We went to Paris and stayed at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Paris for two nights, and although I'd bought mum her (standard) Eurostar ticket for Christmas, she insisted on upgrading our tickets to First Class haha. It was my sixth trip to Paris, and mum's second (her first was her honeymoon!). I didn't blog about our weekend, just the hotel stay, but we had a wonderful weekend eating in little Parisian bistros, walking all over the city, and seeing all of my favourite sights. 

5. Experiencing Walt Disney World as an adult


This was another one I'd been longing to do for years...I'd been to Walt Disney World in Florida twice before; when I was four years old, and when I was eleven. For the past ten years or so I've been begging my parents to take me back, but alas they wouldn't. So I had to take matters into my own hands, and after suggesting it to Jasiminne, she responded with a big fat yes, and so we flew down to Orlando after our New York trip. We had three nights in Orlando, which was just enough time to have a day at Walt Disney World, a day at Universal Studios (and Wizarding World of Harry Potter), and a morning of shopping at the Orlando outlets!





6. Swimming at Wadi Bani Khalid in Oman


Oh Oman. My visit to Oman was short but sweet. And very expensive. But it was worth every penny. I absolutely loved my trip to this stunning country, and my day trip to the desert and Wadi Bani Khalid was definitely a highlight of my whole Arabian Adventure! 



7. Watching the sun set over the desert in Qatar


I've always dreamed about the desert. The soft warm sand against my feet as the never-ending dunes stretch out before me. Nigel and I headed over to Doha for a couple of nights while I was in Dubai, and managed to get out into the desert for sunset. We also got the chance to sit in the cooling sands with two Qatari men and chat to them about their Falcon training - which was completely unexpected.

Read about An Adventure in the Qatari Desert


8. Flying over the Caribbean island of Montserrat in a Helicopter


This was such an incredible experience, and I still feel so lucky to have had this opportunity! It cost me a fair amount of money, but was SO worth it! Montserrat is a Caribbean island super close to Antigua where I was staying, and in the nineties a huge volcanic eruption forced most of the residents to flee. The old city of Plymouth was buried under ash and lava, and these days no one is allowed anywhere near it. The only way you can get up close is by helicopter. It was amazing seeing just how quickly mother nature has reclaimed the city, and a true once in a lifetime experience!

Read about Flying Over Montserrat in a Helicopter


9. Visiting Geneva during the Fete de Geneve


For the past few years one of my closest friends has lived in Geneva. At first Peter kept telling me to visit, and I kept saying no, so in the end he gave up. Well eventually I did it. As well as Peter, I also have Adam in Geneva too (who I met through Peter), so I went to visit the two of them back in August for the opening weekend of the famous Fete de Geneve. I had the most EPIC night out ever with the guys, and then on the Saturday Adam showed me around the beautiful city!

Read about my 24 Hours in Geneva, Switzerland


10. Being upgraded to the Ambassador suite at Le Richemond


While I was in Geneva I decided to stay at Le Richemond as I'd be landing early in the morning on the Friday when the guys were at work. Le Richemond is a Dorchester Collection hotel right in the heart of Geneva, and despite booking the cheapest room possible, they very kindly upgraded me to the Ambassador Suite when I checked in at 9am! My entire stay was just incredible, and I loved every minute - especially the beautiful spa and just chilling out on the balcony with Adam and taking funny photos, haha. It's the simple things.

Read all about my stay in Le Richemond's Ambassador Suite


11. Seeing my cousin get married


I didn't blog about this as I wanted to keep it strictly private and personal, but seeing my cousin get married this year was such a great moment of 2016! We all love his new wife Helen, and they've been together for years so it was so lovely to see them both tie the knot and start their new life together. The wedding was held in Helen's childhood church in Sussex, and then the reception was at a hotel close by. It was a really lovely day with lots of laughter and dancing (you may have seen the Instagram Story of my Nanny dancing to Kanye West Gold Digger with my brother and I, haha, love her).



12. Having the most epic leaving party EVER


My leaving party was so emosh! I'm so lucky to have such amazing friends, and I still can't believe that over 35 of them turned up at the Cafe Royal Library Bar to say farewell to me! We had the bar to ourselves so everyone could relax with a drink and I could wander round and chat with everyone, and then we all went down the road to Toy RoOm for a LFW after party. It was truly epic, and I'm still so grateful for Talha for organizing it for me!



13. Winning Flight Centre's 'Luxury Travel Blogger' award


In my five years of blogging I'd never won a blog award before, but thanks to you lovely lot I won the Flight Centre 'Luxury Travel Blogger' award in 2016! I was gob-smacked and so grateful! I've put my heart and soul into Lux Life over the past five and a half years and just to know that hundreds of people thought I deserved to win meant so much to me.

14. Being upgraded to the Residence Suite at Langham Place NYC


When Anna and I were in NYC we decided to treat ourselves and stay at the Langham Place. Thanks to the lovely team there, we were upgraded from our Langham Suite to the lush Residence Suite, which was huge and just breathtaking! Without a doubt one of the best hotel rooms I've ever stayed in. It was sleek, contemporary, had views to die for, and the staff were just lovely; everyone knew you by name, and there was even a complimentary town car so we didn't have to get taxis!



15. Moving back to Australia


2016 was the year I finally made the move back to Australia. It had been a long time coming, but I finally felt ready. It sucked having to leave friends and family behind, but this feels so right. I left my job in London in August, and then left the UK at the end of September. I've now been back in Australia for three months, and so far it's been amazing! I miss everyone back home, but I'm loving my new adventure and can't wait to share more of it with you (when I finally get internet in my new house, that is)!!

Read more about my first three months back in Australia here



As well as all my travels and adventures, I also had some pretty epic nights out and events with friends in London in 2016 which you can read all about here! You have no idea how hard it was for me to cut this down to just 15 moments, as there have been hundreds of truly amazing ones that I'll treasure forever. A huge thank you to all my friends and family who made 2016 such an incredible year!

What was your travel highlight from 2016?

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11 comments

  1. What an amazing year you've had! I'm so happy to be part of your Top 15. See you in Sydney - let's make more memories! x

    10 Travel Destinations for 2017 - Posh, Broke, & Bored

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  2. You've had such a wonderful year and I'm super excited to read all about 2017!!

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  3. Ah what an amazing year its been :) NYC is the best I'm so envious that you got to visit it twice this year!! Serious travel goals right here :) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

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  4. Your 2016 sounds amazing! I would love to go New York, great post!

    Ella xx
    www.inellaselement.co.uk

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  5. What a year!! Many people won't accomplish what you just did in 365 days in an entire lifetime. It was so good to meet up with you in Qatar! Hope next year is just as eventful and exciting for you :-)

    Polly xx

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  6. wow! Some amazing destinations and some super amazing upgrades - thats so exciting!

    www.georginadoes.co.uk

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  7. What a fabulous year! I'm ever-so-keen to visit Australia soon and will definitely be needing all your recommendations for when I do :) xx

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  8. Such an amazing year - love the chance to look back over the year. Burma definitely has to be my 2016 highlight.

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  9. Love reading about your travels. You guys have such a great attitude. wow, what a life experience you are getting. Thanks for sharing and keep it coming!
    Kim - condorny.com

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  10. Such a busy year! Wishing I worked a mon-fri so I could book my leave as well as you :'( xo

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  11. Your photos look incredible! This has been an awesome year for you, it's such a great idea to summarize it in the post. Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Paris looks exquisite, you get to stay in such great places :) Awesome idea for a special anniversary or birthday stay. Thank you for great content! Maggie @ Elias Allan https://eliasallan.com/

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