I’ve been keeping a travel wishlist for as long as I can remember. It’s usually an outlandish compilation of exotic and farflung locations, five star hotels I’ve perved over on the Mr & Mrs Smith website and cool, obscure cities I read about in W magazine. This year, though, I resolved to edit the list so that it only featured places I might actually have some hope of visiting, whether that be through proximity, affordability, or necessity.
My recent move has obviously skewed the selection somewhat. I’ve always wanted to travel across North America and now that I live in California, the rest of the USA seems so much more accessible than it did before (despite the fact that it takes almost the same amount of time to fly to NYC from LA as it does to get there from London). I’ve also started to realise why all Americans assume Londoners spend every other weekend on European mini-breaks - when you’re in a country as vast as this, a two hour train ride to Paris seems like a trip to the shops. In fact, I’ve literally spent two hours driving to the shops here in LA. Now, like all the American friends whose ‘European travel plans’ I bemusedly listened to in the past, my impending plans for a return visit to London also incorporate fantasies of quick hops to Germany and Spain. This is a wishlist, after all.
Ever since my friend Ali planted the Savannah seed in my mind, I can think of little else. Voted one of the prettiest towns in America, Savannah is lined with antebellum mansions and dripping with Spanish Moss. I went to Louisiana once and have been fascinated by the South ever since. Savannah seems like as good a place as any to restart the obsession.
Dream Hotel: The Hamilton Turner Inn. Gorgeous, opulent, looks like something out of Gone With The Wind.
Dream Meal: Elizabeth’s on 37th. Spicy Savannah Red Rice with Georgia Shrimp. Yes please.
Big Sur, California
Mention the possibility of a Northern California road trip to any LA resident and they will automatically go gooey-eyed as they recollect memories of Big Sur. This unspoilt strip of coastline offers some of the best sunsets and scenery on the west coast. When I finally get round to hitting the Pacific Coast Highway, Big Sur will be my first port of call.
Dream Hotel: Post Ranch Inn. On a once-in-a-lifetime tip.
Dream Meal: Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn Who cares if the food is good with a view like that? (It’s supposedly amazing, of course).
I’m quite annoyed with myself for living in London for 24 years without ever visiting Berlin. Everyone I know is obsessed with Berlin. Aside from London, the coolest city in Europe is Berlin. It’s not even expensive to stay/eat/drink in Berlin. This year, I really want to go to Berlin.
Dream Hotel: The Michelberger. Hip, industrial cool (and recommended by Jessie Ware)
Dream Meal: Curry 36 Currywurst in Berlin is non-negotiable, and this place apparently serves some of the city’s best.
Valencia has incredible architecture, a great bar scene, fantastic tapas, gorgeous beaches, and seriously good weather. It’s also the birthplace of paella. Enough reasons to pay a visit? I think so.
Dream Hotel: Hospes Palau de La Mar Sleek, chic, and decorated in all white everything.
Dream Meal: La Pepica Paella done the proper way.
Well, there’s no place like home.
Dream Hotel: Claridge’s. Failing that, a week of sofa-surfing with friends should suffice.
Dream Meal: Hawksmoor Air Street. The newest installation in the Hawksmoor empire also offers seafood, and is about 30% of the reason why I’m shelling out for a return flight back to London.