Looking out of the window as we fly high above fluffy clouds, somewhere above some continent on earth, flute of bubbly in hand. Swanning through immigration in a foreign land, full of the prospect of new and exciting adventures and driving along the streets of said new place in a swanky limousine. Checking in to fabulous accommodation. Flying above rooftops and landscapes to see a place from a different perspective. Indulging in delectable cuisine. And then, to top it all off, splurging and buying something super fancy, because after all, what is luxury without a little something from yummy shops like Gucci or Louboutin?
What exactly am I harping on about? Well, I come from the school of thought that Travel is fabulous in any way, shape or form, but add in a sprinkling of luxury and style and THAT in my world, makes travel even more dreamy than it already is. This month’s #travellinkup delves into Travel Luxuries and how luxury adds to those ephemeral moments that make up wanderlust and I am so excited to share what opulence means to me with you, my dear Wanderlusters!
Travel has many layers of meanings for me. I have written many posts on what I think makes me a serial Wanderluster and on some of the moments from experiences that have made me go ooh, pinch me, are these real? Primarily, travel means I get to explore a new place, Wanderlustmate M in tow and discover hidden secrets in a destination’s nooks and crannies and create adventures that we can look back on with a smile in the midst of the humdrum of routine. The invisible thread that connects the fragments of a trip together are in the minute details that make a trip close to perfect. How we get there. Checking in and staying in the place we get to call home for a while. The cuisine. The manner in which we get to explore and see a destination. The indulgence of shopping.
Though it is a tad bit difficult to write a post about luxury and opulence without sounding like an entitled poncy prat, I will try! Here are my top five indulgences that make a trip luxurious for me and have Harpreet’s Wanderlust Setting Footsteps Across The Globe: In Style.
1. Getting there: Checking in to First Class
Flying somewhere is half the fun for me. I absolutely love the whole airport experience: whether I am flying Economy or First, but it is that extra bit special if we happen to be treating ourselves to a flight on board First Class. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced the luxury of First Class travel on board a couple of different airlines, but personally, nothing has come close to flying with Emirates in First.
No matter how many times I have flown with Emirates, I always get super excited about checking in to my own suite. This isn’t a sponsored post by any means (I wish it was): I am just a genuinely huge fan of this airline. There is just something about the service on Emirates that makes one feel so fabulous: from the manner in which the hostess leads you to your suite, to toasting to your trip with a bespoke glass of bubbly and then settling in in cosy pyjamas, on a fluffy mattress and duvet to enjoy the flight. I always try and choose a daytime flight if I am flying First because I love flying and what better than being spoiled rotten 35,000 feet up in the air? Even then, I’m always bittersweet when we land because I have to say goodbye to my little suite that I have called home for a couple of hours!
Quite apart from the delectable meals served on board that would rival any fine dining restaurant or the amazing in-flight entertainment: for me, the most opulent thing about flying First with Emirates is the shower and spa on board the A380. I will confess that I use the shower regardless of whether I need to or not because there’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a hot shower whilst flying 35,000 feet up above the clouds: it is surreal for sure! I still cannot get over how huge the bathroom is and how it is properly kitted out with a large sink, make up mirror, steaming hot water from a shower in a perfect little cubicle decked with orchids AND to top this all off: the floor is heated! And don’t get me started on the amenities. Emirates has thought of every little perfect detail. Writing this is dangerous because I am actually looking up fares for my next trip…and the mouse keeps hovering over First…
2. Having Arrived: Checking in to Luxury Accommodation
Whether at home or travelling abroad, it is always an amazing feeling to check in to a luxury hotel. As a rule of thumb we always try our best where possible to stay in five star hotels: because truth be told, we are just brats now. Because of this self-imposed need, we have stayed in a number of pretty bespoke hotels: Castles and Mansions that have been converted into luxury accommodation, luxury tented camps to name a few. However, if we have a lot of exploring to do in a place we book a basic room in a hotel as opposed to a suite: but with every rule there is an exception and there are some destinations where Wanderlustmate M and I just plain splurge and book a suite or if the venue calls for it: a pool villa.
Want to feel fabulous? Well, that is easily cured by lounging in the sun by your own pool in a fantastic location, glass of something delicious in hand! We first got into pool villa life when we set Footsteps in Bali many moons ago and stayed at a pool villa at The Oberoi in Seminyak. There has been no looking back since then, especially if we are in a hot destination and this year has already had two amazing trips which have involved pool villas in luxurious properties: one overlooking the endless dunes of the desert and the other overlooking a river in the middle of a national park. Honestly, writing this post is giving me the travel bug and all I want to do is book a flight and travel again!
3. Tickling your Tastebuds: Fine Wine and Dining
I am a firm believer in the adage that food and wine (or bubbles) are the answer to anything. I am a Wanderluster, but I am also a foodie and one of the things I love love love to do when travelling is: you guessed it – eat to my heart’s content! Part of the research for a destination is where the best places to eat at are, be it street food or a Michelin star restaurant. Oh yes, I can don a pair of slippers as well walk in a pair of red soles, if the occasion calls for it: I think that street food gives you a taste of the culture, and fine dining takes culture up to a whole different level.
Some of our wanderlusting friends have told us of how addicted they are to amazing food: so much so that they will deliberately have a layover at a destination just to eat at a particular place before taking off again! I haven’t quite got to this stage yet but part of what makes a trip memorable is dining at bespoke restaurants that connect the taste of the meal to the place and engrain it in the annals of my memory forever. The Raan and Jhinga in Bukhara in Delhi. Ceviche from Coya and Yellowtail Sashimi from Nobu in London. Blue lobster from Le Benoit in France. Truffle cappuccino and melt in your mouth home-made pasta from Le Condrade in Tuscany. River Trout from Padays Bistro in Bhutan. A delicious breakfast in the middle of Chitwan National Park- a la Taj. You get it. A luxurious experience is incomplete without delectable cuisine to accompany it.
4. Living the Glam Life: Seeing a Place from Up Above!
Want to take glamming it up a notch? Then hop on to a helicopter or a Hot Air Balloon to get a bird’s eye view perspective of a place. Some places just call for this kind of indulgence: Cape Town in South Africa and Bagan in Myanmar are two that have stuck with me. I would love to go on a Hot Air Balloon ride in the Masai Mara during the Great Migration, but that is something that is still to be checked off my WanderlustList despite calling Kenya home!
5. And…to top it all off: Luxury Shopping
I love wearing pieces that I have picked up in different parts of the world, especially if said pieces come from luxury boutiques. I am no Fallon Carrington by any means but I am a bit of a closet fashionista and I do indulge in luxury shopping when I can. These are my little tchotchkes. They connect me to a place: like Gucci’s Boston Bag that I got in Venice and my very first pair of Louboutins that I still keep in the box to date, from the one and only flagship store on Rue St. Honore in Paris.
I will admit that all this luxury comes with a pretty hefty price tag attached to it, but then again this is a personal choice. For me, the ephemeral moments that emanate from having such opulent experiences make it all worthwhile and make me truly feel that:
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”.
This month’s #travellinkup topic is thinking all things opulent – what are your travel luxuries? The whole shebang, ephemeral moments that you’ll always treasure or perhaps something in between?
Pop your post over the first week of the month (1st-7th June) on Adventures of a London Kiwi, SilverSpoon London, Follow Your Sunshine or on the blog of our lovely guest host Sarah from More Than Just a Cupcake Lover.