ITALY – APRIL 2016
In April 2016, The Kid and I joined The Husband in Italy for a wonderful family holiday. After a fantastic whirlwind 5 days in Paris (The Niece living in Germany popped over for a visit), we flew into Venice, trained to Florence, drove to Tuscany and ended in Rome. Loved it. We loved revisiting Rome where The Husband and I saw the city through fresh eyes – and also the stomach of our 9 year old daughter. The last time we were in Rome, The Husband was The Boyfriend and we did not eat two Gelato’s a day! But Tuscany was the real pleasure. Those Tuscan hills – they are everything and more.. The villages we visited: Radda, Greve, Panzano, Montepulciano, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano and of course the gorgeous Siena. We ate, we drank and we walked. I think we lost a little bit of our hearts in Tuscany.
We based ourselves in the Chianti area in a Farmhouse Villa owned by the lovely Bernardo and Marta, with only 2 apartments. Selvabella in Chianti was just what we needed…We leant how to make pasta and we ate the most divine home made breakfast I think I’ve ever had…And Marta is also an artist creating divine ceramics – Neomys Ceramics – from a workshop at the Farmhouse. And yes, we bought quite a few pieces!
So of course we are excited that we can offer you the chance to visit some of these divine areas with Andrea, a lover of all things Italian. Check out the Rome, Chianti & Tuscany tour departing October 2016. Believe me, it is worth it!
NEW ZEALAND, FEBRUARY 2016.
In February 2016 I Escorted some repeat clients on a Bespoke Tour of New Zealand. We started in Auckland, visited Waiheke Island, Mount Maunganui, Rotorua, the Hawkes Bay, Wellington, Marlborough Sounds, Christchurch, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown, Dunedin – and this is the just the ‘main’ list! It was a fabulous 3 week trip that captured the beauty and essence of New Zealand. We tasted some of the best NZ wines at some of the best wineries (Te Whau, Te Motu, Elephant Hill, Craggy Range, Ngartawara, Te Awa, Amisfield to name a few…!) and ate some incredible food at some incredible establishments: Mudbrick, Blackbarn, Amisfield, Bay of Many Coves etc. And the highlights were non stop. My guests loved the Hawkes Bay – and thought one of the most magical sights they had ever seen was the 360 degree view from Te Mata Peak; our 2 night stay at Bay of Many Coves in the Marlborough Sounds was pure magic; a stay at Te Waonui and the helicopter flight over Fox and Franz Josef glaciers was incredible; and of course, and overnight cruise on Milford Sound was pure icing on the New Zealand cake. But in all, what my guests really were enamored by, was the absolute beauty of our landscape – the jaw dropping sights we saw while driving through both the North and South Islands. It even made me gasp (again…).
So we are taking this trip and using it as a blueprint for our inaugural Women’s Tour of New Zealand – New Zealand; 2 Islands – set to depart in February 2017. It will be truly magical…..
VIETNAM & CAMBODIA, JULY 2015.
In July 2015, The Husband, The Kid & I went on a three week journey through Vietnam & Cambodia. We started in Hanoi, flew into Hue, drove over the Hai Van Pass into Hoi An, spent time on the beaches, flew from Danang into Saigon. We then embarked on a 3 night Mekong Cruise sailing into Phnom Penh. From here, we flew into Siem Reap. It was a fabulous journey – and we loved everything about Vietnam & Cambodia. We loved the food; the buzz of the big cities, the laid back beaches and the historical towns; we loved the sights and the history; we loved the tranquil journey on the Mekong and the amazing spectacle that is Angkor Wat at sunrise. We loved the people we met and the contacts made, the hotels I looked at, the experiences we had – it is absolutely no wonder that Vietnam is such a tourist hotspot, and that Cambodia is also looking to become that way. But word of warning – visit Cambodia before the secret gets out! It is such a lovely country – and without the mass tourism of nearby Thailand, it gets my serious tick of approval….Am seriously looking forward to revisiting in June 2016 on our Boutique Cambodia tour.
LUXPERIENCE, SYDNEY – SEPTEMBER 2015
In September 2015 – 06 to 09 – Mai Journeys will be attending Luxperience in Sydney as a Hosted International Buyer.
Luxperience provides the only global business exchange in the Southern Hemisphere, which meaningfully connects experiential and luxury travel products directly to their market within a unique, creative and inspirational setting. The only forum of its kind, Luxperience helps to identify and drive trends in the luxury and experiential travel sector, and in turn attracts highly sought after, difficult to reach clients. True to its name, it’s not just a trade show; it’s an immersive luxurious experience, driven by a highly experienced team, resulting in real business for it’s clients.
PURE LIFE EXPERIENCES, MARRAKECH – NOVEMBER 2015
In November 2015, Mai Journeys returned to PURE Life Experiences in Marrakech as a Hosted International Buyer.
PURE Life Experiences is the global marketplace for the high-end experiential travel industry. It is a community of like-minded mavericks who push boundaries to create life-enriching experiences. Together, these Operators form a movement that is transforming the sophisticated traveller. PURE Life Experiences is more than just a travel trade show. PURE honours the passion of the world’s most inspiring creators of life enriching experiences.
BOUTIQUE WOMEN’S TOUR – SRI LANKA, MAY 2015
In May, 2015, I returned from Escorting 12 fabulous women through Sri Lanka. We started in Colombo; had four days in the Cultural Triangle visiting UNESCO Heritage sites; had an amazing safari in Eco National Park where we were astounded by the amount of elephants we saw up close; headed into the hills to Kandy, the Tea Country of Nurwara Eliya and Ella; went in search of the leopards (successfully!) in Yala National Park; visited the old walled city of Galle and spent a couple of days at the beach in Bentota where massage was the choice of the day. It was truly an incredible journey and I feel very blessed to have traveled such a beautiful and serene country.
My favourite hotels were:
Heritance Kandalama, a Geoffrey Bawa designed building
The Heritance Tea Factory in Nuwara Eliya & 98 Acres in Ella.
I also fell in love with Residence by Uga in Colombo; The Galle Fort Hotel in Galle and Amangalla in Galle.
For photos, please take a look at our Mai Journeys instagram and Mai Journeys facebook feeds.
WHAT WE ARE PLANNING FOR OUR BOUTIQUE WOMEN’S TOURS:
*Cambodia – June 2016
*New Zealand – February 2017
*Vietnam – April 2017
*Iran – May 2017
*Japan – October 2017