Every year, countless predictions are made for the top destinations for the coming year. What’s Hot? What’s Not? What destination will give you the biggest bragging rights? Where do you need to go NOW before the entire world discovers this travel secret? What hotel openings are we most anticipating? You get the drift. We’re not going to contribute to the noise and attempt to make our own predictions. Instead, we’re looking inward and celebrating the destinations that have captured our own imaginations… we don’t care if they’re hot or not!
Angela Valenti | IcelandThe nonstop flights from Baltimore to Reykjavik on Wow are are looking mighty tempting these days! Sure, a long weekend is totally possible; take a quick dash around to the usual sights and a soak in the Blue Lagoon and you’re ready to check of the bullet on the bucket list. But Angela knows better. She’s not thinking small with this one! Let’s give Iceland the attention it deserves and turn this into an adrenaline junkie’s trip of a lifetime! We’re thinking helicopters, off-roading, snorkeling, hiking, and a volcano visit and we’ll top it all off by enjoying Reykjavik’s famed nightlife! Our Virtuoso Partners, Iceland Encounter can make it all happen. Check out Brownell’s Insider’s Guide for more Iceland inspiration.
Samantha Dorfman | Spain
Samantha used to live in Barcelona and fell in love it. Now, it would be nearly impossible to separate Samantha from Spain for longer than a year at most! Spain will forever be at the top of her bucket list. In the fall of 2016, she was able to partake in an educational trip with Brownell and Madrid & Beyond and spent some time in Madrid, Seville, and parts of southern Spain. You can see pictures from her trip here! These experiences have only ignited her love of this beautiful country. She is preparing to return to Spain in the spring of 2017 to explore Mallorca and Minorca, and have the opportunity to learn the luxurious side of Barcelona. Samantha can’t wait to broaden her knowledge on the geography of Spain as-well-as its high-end accommodations and off the beaten path experiences.
Jessica Ourisman | Australia
Jessica (and Josh) will be cashing in some frequent flyer miles for the long haul flight to Australia next fall to attend a friend’s wedding in Sydney. So, they have the perfect excuse to stick around a bit and do some exploring! It is going to be a tough itinerary to plan because practically every single one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia is on their bucket list! David was just there this year on an educational tour and symposium with Swain Destinations, he visited Sydney, Wolgan Valley, Barossa Valley and Southern Ocean Lodge, so we’ll have to mix it up so Jessica can do site inspections at other hotels this time around. The perfect itinerary must include mix of adventure, wildlife, food & wine, and relaxation. The can’t miss experience on their bucket list? Oyster tasting at Saffire! So, it looks like Tasmania will definitely be on the itinerary.
Rebecca Kelly | Croatia
Croatia boasts the best of both worlds; and that is perfect for Rebecca‘s 2017 bucket list. It is the ultimate combination of old world luxury and new world amenities. Nestled along the Adriatic seas and showcasing a rich history, Croatia is the perfect place for any adventure traveler seeking a first class experience. Offering a myriad of artisanal shops, rich galleries and museums this often overlooked diamond in the rough provides options for everyone who has is an adventurer at heart. To second Rebecca’s vote for the destination, Virtuoso recently highlighted Croatia’s wine region and newly famous filming locations for Game of Thrones. From the rugged coast to the infectious night-life, Croatia offers more than meets the eye.
Jennifer Jensen | Cuba
Exploring and learning about Cuba is on the top of Jennifer’s list! For decades Cuba has been a dream destination for American travelers. Cuba can seem like a time capsule with old world charm, classic cars, and an unplugged lifestyle, but it also has its own vibrant and present culture: musicians are creating Rhumba hybrids, local chefs are creating twists on the well-loved Cuban cuisine, and each visitor has an opportunity to discover something new. When the announcement was made that several of our favorite luxury cruise lines would be heading to Cuba, Jennifer was over the moon! She’s most excited about the itinerary with Regent Seven Seas sailing in April from Miami, overnighting in Havana, and also visiting Belize and Mexico. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner means crowds won’t be a big concern. Itineraries are also available on Oceania, Azamara, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian. Suddenly, Cuba is a whole lot more accessible!
Iana Yegoiants | Argentina and Uruguay
Iana’s travel dreams are about to become a reality and she is preparing to travel to Argentina and Uruguay on an Educational trip with Brownell and Hyatt Hotels in February! She’s been practicing her best Evita (Madonna edition) for months! The itinerary will take her to the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires with a visit to the spa, a walking tour of the Recoleta neighborhood, and a day at Estancia La Bamba to learn the ways of the gaucho. The absolute highlight in Buenos Aires for Iana will definitely be the wine and cheese experience! Then, she will ferry across the Rio de la Plata River to visit the Carmelo Resort for some well earned R&R. Bon Voyage, Iana!
Josh Ourisman | Zimbabwe
A walking safari is what Josh has in mind and Zimbabwe is the best destination. You may not cover as much ground with this mode of transportation, but a safari without the Land Rover provides a completely different perspective on your surroundings. Josh wants a slower pace in order to take in every detail and the added exercise certainly helps offset all of those amazing meals in the bush! Wilderness Safaris’ new Linkwasha Camp in Hwange National Park has certainly caught our eye! After all that walking around Zimbabwe, a relaxing cruise on the Zambezi Queen or a Luxury Train Ride into Johannesburg would certainly up the wow-factor for this trip!
David Ourisman | England
Despite having visited in 2016 and nearly once a year for the past several years, England will always remain on David’s bucket list! His past trip gave him a new perspective on how our clients can visit and perhaps dig deeper into the history, culture, and countryside of England. David has a couple of goals for his next trip. As an avid photographer, he would like to wander the charming and picturesque villages of the Cotswolds — and enjoy the verdant scenery of the Lakes District. He would also like to experience more exclusive “behind the velvet ropes” experiences that our travel partners in London can make available to our clients.