Travel Journal

My Top 5 Places to Stay at Around The World

My Top 5 Places to Stay at Around The World

Oh hey. You there! Feel like going on a holiday?

I'm just going to take this as a yes, because, well, me too. As a travel photographer, holidays are - I kid you not - extremely rare. However, every time I am off exploring somewhere new, I make a conscious effort to slow down for a few hours and allow myself to process all the adventures (and photos). I find that this is the perfect excuse to book a special place for a night or two. Booking.com seems to agree with me on this one. While my friends at Booking.com are sponsoring this story today, rest assured that I have been a longtime user of theirs. In fact, some dodgy wifi and my Booking.com app have gotten me out of many sticky situations. Like that time our Landrover broke down after dark in a small town in Kenya, and we were desperate for a place to spend the night at. Or that time my friend Krista and I turned up in a Lijiang, China at the height of Chinese New Year celebrations only to realise our initial hotel booking was a week out. To cut a long story a bit shorter, I am a fan, and today I am also a partner.

What does this mean for you?

It's your lucky day because we are giving you $40 cash-back on any new booking of yours over $80. Remember how you really felt like a holiday just before? Clearly, this is a sign. Follow this link, and you're good to go. Happy booking and happy travels!

Finally, if you are in need of inspiration as to where this holiday might take you, here are my top 5 places to say at around the world:

  1. Sherwood, Queenstown, New Zealand

My favourite place in New Zealand! Homegrown organic food, a yoga studio, a genuine and robust stance on sustainability and so much cosiness. There's nothing forced, noisy or sterile about this place. The Sherwood is a rare find of authenticity and community. I love to stay here and use it as my refuge in-between exploring all the South Island gems my itinerary can fit. Bring your journal, sit by the fire, actually meet locals, look over the lake, and maybe just be.

 

  1. Giraffe Manor, Kenya

There's no doubt that one night at the Giraffe Manor was a big splurge for us. There's also no doubt that this is the most extraordinary place I have ever stayed at. Without the Giraffe Manor's conservation efforts, the Rothschild giraffe would be extinct. It is the visitor's money that helps breed their population and eventually lead them back into the wild, where they were once taken from and forever belong. Their friendly demeanour also makes it possible for guests of the Giraffe Manor to share their breakfast and afternoon tea with Daisy and her giraffe friends. Smiles all around!

  1. AquaDome, Tyrol, Austria

This is a place close my heart. I first came here aged 17 as a day visitor. You see, there are two sides to AquaDome - there is the day spa, pool and sauna area (literally dozens of themed saunas), and then there is the hotel with all that plus an extra spa area. It's one of those places where you won't want to reach for your phone every other minute. Whenever I go back home to Austria, I try to spend at least one night here to breathe through the herbal sauna sessions and feast endlessly (the food is next level; all local and very vegan-friendly) while dreaming up new adventures. Bonus: AquaDome is surrounded by the Austrian Alps, so those adventures won't have to wait long.

  1. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania

This one is quite the juxtaposition. We found ourselves all dusty and sweaty after weeks of driving right across East Africa and mostly living out of our not so trusty old Landrover when we arrived in the middle of nowhere. Nowhere, in the best way possible. Nowhere, meaning the Serengeti National Park - one of the best places in the world to spot wildlife. Nowhere, also involving an indulgence of luxury and hospitality unlike anywhere else. The price tag is to be expected, as are all the trimmings of a Four Seasons. What wasn't expected, however, was a large waterhole right across the guest's swimming pool and deck, which attracts herds of beautiful, playful elephants during times of drought. I sat there for hours and hours waiting for the gentle giants (well, they're not that gentle, actually), watching them drink and, most notably, having an absolute blast (pun intended). 20/10 stars!!!

  1. Rosa Alpina Spa Hotel, Dolomites, Italy

The Dolomites are one of my favourites corners of this world. And while a wee mountain cabin is all I need in summer, a casual -19C in winter time asks for something a little more comprehensive, one could say. I can't tell you what exactly is different about their beds to other high-end hotels' beds, but I had the best sleep here during my entire three months Africa and Europe trip. Oh, and they make their own Nutella, give you cake for the road when you leave and are right next to all the best hiking and skiing spots in the region. Did I mention the in-house Michelin star restaurant? Just checking...

Use this link for $40 cash-back on your next adventure with Booking.com. Warning, there might be several adventures waiting for you, considering there are over 1.4 million places to stay at on Booking.com (6,000 in NZ alone!).

What is the best place you have ever stayed at?

Carmen x

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