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Top 5 luxury travel experiences for 2020

As 2019 draws to a close, perhaps you’ve started thinking about your 2020 travel bucket-list? To help inspire, we’ve picked out the very best travel experiences for next year, whether you’re after a luxury rail journey or Arctic adventure. Discover our top picks below. Italy & the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express We all know the Orient Express for its iconic blue-and-gold carriages, and since its maiden journey in 1883, it’s long been up there among the world’s most coveted travel experiences. What’s more, 2020 will see the launch of three brand-new Grand Suites, named after three of its iconic destinations – Vienna, Prague and Budapest. We particularly like the no-fly option, where you can travel from London Victoria to Venice and back again, all without stepping foot in an airport. The rest of Italy also offers world-class dining, clifftop villages and oh-so-glamorous hotels, and with other destinations including the likes of glamorous Lake Como and historic Verona, why not celebrate 2020 in style? Thailand and the Eastern & Oriental Express The sister journey of its European counterpart, a journey on the Eastern and Oriental Express will see you immerse yourself in South East Asia’s sky-high cities, golden beaches and jungle-framed countryside. Start by speeding through Malaysia’s rice paddy fields before relaxing on Thailand’s aqua-framed shores, ending with futuristic Singapore or buzzing Bangkok. Plus, with a range of ultra-luxury properties to stay at in between, it makes for an ideal luxury holiday if you’re celebrating a big birthday, anniversary or honeymoon in 2020. We particularly like Singapore’s Raffles Hotel as well as Thailand’s Six Senses Yao Noi for sea-view infinity pools, a luxe spa and gourmet dining. The Galapagos & Silversea’s Silver Origin 2020 will see the launch of Silver Origin ­– Silversea’s first destination-specific ship built specially to sail the Galápagos islands. Unsurprisingly, it’s all about the environment, with the lowest possible carbon footprint and state-of-the-art technology that protects the seabed and wildlife. Billed ‘the most elegant ship’ to ever sail Ecuador, each suite will even feature a freshwater purification system to limit plastic bottle usage as you spot everything from marine iguanas to giant tortoises, as well as the chance to snorkel among sea lions and discover lava tunnels. Naturally, it’s all done alongside fine dining and ultra-personalised service. India The wild tiger population in India has risen 33% in just four years meaning 2020 is an excellent time to head to India and spot the ‘king of the jungle’. Tiger safaris take place in three of India’s leading national parks – Bandhavgarh, Kanha and Pench, before you come back to luxury lodges that offer campfire-side sundowners, multi-course dining and spas. It’s best combined with exploring the Golden Triangle, where you’ll do everything from watching sunrise over the Taj Mahal to discovering the buzzing markets of Delhi. ICEHOTEL, Sweden No time for a long break in 2020? The ICEHOTEL is ideal for a shorter sojourn to the ice-covered reaches of Swedish Lapland, as you snuggle up at -5°C among ethereal ice-carved rooms under reindeer hides, waking to a sauna and a glass of hot lingonberry. And, with 2019-2020 its 30th season, you can expect more spectacular ice suites than ever before. It’s all done alongside classic winter adventures like snowmobiling, husky sledding and spotting the Northern Lights – or even during the summer for kayaking and forest walks under Midnight Sun. Dave Warne is Product Director at The Luxury Holiday Company. The Luxury Holiday Company offers completely bespoke holidays designed to deliver unrivalled luxury, arranged by specialists who have more than 200 years of collective travel experience. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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  1. I can remember reading about the Icehotel when it opened 30 years ago. I had my doubts about whether people would pay money to stay in – 5 centigrade temperatures. At the time everyone wanted to jet off to the Caribbean, the Maldives of the Seychelles etc. A lot of people I knew were even more sceptical than I was. Over the years travellers have become more adventurous and a lot more open-minded. It’s good to see that we have all been proved wrong over the decades.

    1. I hadn’t realised it had been around for 30 years. It seems more recent than that to me, or maybe that’s just in terms of the press it gets. I agree though and I think you’ve made a really good point. Holidays, at least for us in the UK, were usually more about warm trips to beaches and sunshine luxury. Winter holidays and year round destinations with colder climates have become far more popular and on the whole travel has become easier too, with people more adventurous on where they go and what they do.

    2. You’re right, many travellers have become all about adventure and experiences rather than just sunshine! Have you enjoyed any cold holidays recently?

  2. Although the ultimate luxury of the Orient Express has always appealed to me I think that for me it’s now been pushed into second place by the real glamour of the Eastern and Oriental Express. I find a journey through Thailand and Malaysia far more exciting. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by travelling a lot in Western Europe and I know that for a lot of people Venice is still an exciting destination. But I know which ticket I’d be buying if I had a choice.

    1. That’s true – for those who don’t wish to travel so far the Orient Express is a fabulous choice, but if you’re willing, the Eastern & Oriental provides a wonderfully different way to see South East Asia.

  3. Given the impetus more recently on environmental factors it would be interesting to see how travel on the Orient Express from London Victoria to Venice compares to the trip by plane, including car or taxi to airports, in terms of emissions. I imagine it would be a low stress, quite relaxing way to do it. I was joking with some friends recently about doing the Icehotel next year! Any time I read about it I think I get a little more serious about actually doing it. And the Northern Lights are on my bucket list too so it would be a nice two in one deal. Didn’t know it had been going for 30 years, it seems more recent than that to me. Just shows how little I know!

    1. A very interesting point Kelly! It’s certainly less stressful not having to step foot in an airport. I’d certainly recommend the ICEHOTEL as a truly bucket-list experience – and you’re right, it’s a great idea to combine it with the Northern Lights. Plus, did you know you can actually see the aurora any time between August and April in Swedish Lapland?!

  4. Great to hear that Tiger numbers are on the up. I remember talking to an Indian friend who went on a safari looking for Tigers every year. She explained that they are elusive creatures but she also got across the thrill and excitement of a spotting.

    1. Agreed Gary, it’s fantastic news. It can take patience, but it’s so worth it when you catch sight of one!

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