where in the world in 2018?

I begin 2018 very thankful that I have the opportunity to pursue my vocation! Being a luxury travel advisor, my job requires me to learn about destinations and research hotels on behalf of my clients. I invest considerable time and funds flying to distant places and doing site inspections. Why?

Whether you have questions about hotels in cities like Paris, London, or New York or resorts in Hawaii, Bora Bora, or the Maldives, I've most likely been inside the very hotels you're thinking about. We can discuss their location, the room product, but especially their "look and feel." What do you prefer? Traditional or contemporary? Boutique or larger hotels? Formal or laid back? Minimalist or elaborately decorated?

Or you may be wondering about why to visit a region or country. It helps me immensely to have visited that country and seen its attractions with the assistance of experienced guides. How could I describe the valleys of Bhutan without having personally traveled from Paro to Thimphu, to Punakha, to Gangey, and to Bumthang on the twisting and sometimes muddy road that winds its way across the country from west to east. I am so thankful to Amankora for introducing me to Bhutan.

Vietnam has been on my bucket list for a long while. I've heard so much about the culinary adventures it affords ... and having watched Ken Burns' documentary on the devastation Vietnam War, I'm looking forward to connecting with the Vietnamese people who have become our friends. After touring Hanoi, I'll experience two resorts — Four Seasons Nam Hai and Amanoi — before finishing in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).

Myanmar was formerly known as Burma and has been in the news of late in a not-so-favorable light. I will be traveling with A&K Myanmar and will visit Yangon and Inle Lake before spending three evenings cruising aboard the Sanctuary Ananda. I really don't know what to expect, but landscape photography is a passion, and I'm sure I'll have many opportunities to indulge. My time in Myanmar ends with a day visit to Belmond Governor's Palace in Yangon.

Seoul, Korea ... Our overnight flight from Yangon arrives Saigon at 7:35 a.m. A&K has arranged a morning tour of Seoul — Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village, followed by lunch at a local restaurant — before our 4 p.m. flight back to San Francisco.

Paris ... though I've visited many times, the hotel scene in Paris is constantly changing with new openings and renovations. On my way to Vienna, I'll stop off in Paris for more hotel site inspections. I'll be staying both at the newly renovated Crillon (now a Rosewood Hotel) and with my good friends at the Plaza Athenee (a Dorchester Collection property). I'm especially looking forward to a site inspection of Hotel Lutetia which has undergone an entire renovation and which, I predict, will become a highly popular Virtuoso hotel on Left Bank. And, of course, no trip to Paris is complete without a scoop of ice cream at Berthillon.

Vienna ...  I'm returning to Vienna as a participant in this year's Brownell 1887 Club trip. The group is being hosted by the Ritz-Carlton, Hotel Imperial, and the Bristol ... and I'm also interested in seeing the new Park Hyatt and Kempinski properties which weren't open during my previous visit. Oh ... and I may taste a torte or two!

Budapest ... Continuing on to Budapest, I'll be enjoying my second stay at the Four Seasons Gresham Palace. I'm also looking forward to seeing the Ritz-Carlton (formerly Le Meridien). Of course, there's more to experience in Vienna and Budapest than hotels, and our visits are being curated by our friends at Exeter Travel.

The Cotswolds and London. Though I've been "in" the Cotswolds and been driven "through" the Cotswolds, I've never really experienced this area of England. Another bucket list trip, I want to stay in a few picturesque towns, wander their streets, enjoy some scenic walks, and become familiar with its opportunities (taking advantage of the expertise of another travel partner, Celebrated Experiences). I'll finish up in London with stays at two hotels I've previously visited but at which I've never stayed, 45 Park Lane (Dorchester Collection) and ... a hotel still to be finalized.

So I begin 2018 with three big trips already planned and the possibility of surprise opportunities that might "come up." I highly recommend planning ahead — if you wait until the last minute, there will be less availability, the best guides will already have been booked, and award flights harder to find. That's why we're here, to help you turn your bucket list into the trip of a lifetime. 

copyright (c) 2018 by Ourisman Travel LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

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