2016, you might have been the best year yet. I traveled 263 days, flew 100,000 miles, visited a new continent and 4 new countries, started the luxury travel advising & social media consulting extensions of my business, moved into my own place, got a new car, made so many new friends, and countless memories. I finished this year feeling overwhelmingly blessed to live my passion for a living every day of my life.
Every year I am so excited for what’s in store in the next, because each year seems to get better and better! While I am thrilled to see what 2017 holds, I always love to look back at my travels for the year. So here they are for 2016!
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
I was so excited for this destination, and it did not disappoint. I slept in the Arabian Desert, the only 7 star hotel in the world, and made memories to last a lifetime with the best coworkers.
See: Hotel Review: Burj Al Arab, The Only 7 Star Hotel
BUCKET LIST DESTINATION! I wish I had more to share about Tokyo, but the truth is I worked long hours basically the entire time I was there and didn’t see as much as I had hoped to. It’s the cleanest city I’ve been to despite there being no trash cans anywhere, green tea ice cream is my obsession, and experiencing Halloween in the crazy Shibuya & Shinjuku was INSANE. I must return soon!
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Lived on a yacht for a week with friends new and old. As much as I craved a normal bed and hot shower, it was truly the best week ever with the best crew ever. Yacht Week 2017 anyone?
Attended International Luxury Travel Market, stayed at the Grant Hyatt Hotel Martinez, & met with the best in the travel industry!
Marco Island, Florida
Spent nearly an entire month here for work, but with views like this how could you not relax and enjoy?!
See: 10 Favorite Things About Marco Island, Florida and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort
New FAVORITE little town in Mexico and new favorite Secrets Resort.
See: Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Spent two days solo here and had a serious of unfortunate events, but it was pretty!
See: Breathless Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican Republic
One of my absolute new favorite destinations, I think my mother and I will make Ojai a regular trip for us. Perfect for a spa getaway or for wine-o’s & local, sustainable foodies!
See: Girls Weekend Getaway Guide to Ojai, California
Only got to spend a day here while in Denver on business, so I cannot WAIT to head back.
Took a father/daughter trip to visit family, and we definitely ate our way through the city! We also ventured out to wine country and tasted a number of great Pinots.
See: A Foodie’s Day Guide to Portland, Oregon
Came here both in the winter cold and the early fall warmth, and I loved it equally both times! Lobster rolls and the best vegan ice cream ever topped my list (always about the food).
REVISITING OLD FAVORITES
Completely fell back in love with the City of Lights during my girls trip to Paris. I feel so lucky to have had the chance to experience Paris during Christmas time and stay in the best hotels. I will be sharing more on the blog soon!
My favorite city in the world that I was so lucky to live in for 5 months while studying abroad, I finally returned to Florence this year and wondered why I hadn’t sooner. I stayed in hotels I had only dreamed of staying in before, and I will definitely start making Florence an annual destination if I can.
See: Hotel Review: Four Season Florence, Italy and Hotel Review: Villa Cora in Florence, Italy
Started off my Euro trip in England spending one night in the countryside at Cliveden House and another night in London at The Lanesborough. It was amazing to experience it in the summer time sunshine and was treated like a princess at each hotel!
See: Hotel Review: The Lanesborough in London, England and Hotel Review: Cliveden House in England
Playa Mujeres, Mexico
Always spend my Spring time in Mexico, and Playa Mujeres was on of my favorites to return to this year!
See: Secrets Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Oh I love Cabo, and I’m happy I had the chance to return here this year. I spent time in San Jose Del Cabo for the first time and went to THE Hotel California in Todos Santos!
See: Secrets Puerto Los Cabos Resort
I went to Miami twice for work in 2016, but it wasn’t enough. Planning a vacation there in 2017 is a priority!
See: A Quick Healthy Guide to Miami, Florida
San Francisco, California
I spent a lot of time in San Francisco in 2015, but only went twice (or maybe once?) this year. I worked a Superbowl program which was very different and exciting!
See: Hotel Valencia Santana Row: A Taste of Europe in San Jose, California
San Diego, California
Lots of family time, best friend got married, spent the entire month of July here, and got to experience a couple hotels I have always wanted to. Love you long time hometown San Diego.
See: A Perfect Day at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa and 24 Hours at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla, California
Los Angeles, California
Returned to the City of Dreams twice this year, but stayed at Terranea in Rancho Palos Verdes for the first time!
See: 4 Incredible Luxury Hotels in Los Angeles, California and Terranea Resort: Coastal Paradise in Southern California
We headed to Sonoma for our SITE Texas Board Retreat this year and stayed at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. Our team building event was blending our own wine, and I now have a bottle of the wine I created with my Passport To Friday logo on it!
With Dallas being only a few hour drive away from Austin, I made quite a few trips up north in 2016. My host travel agency is based in Dallas as well, so I will be frequenting Dallas more often in 2017!
Las Vegas, Nevada
I returned to Vegas for the first time in 10 years this year (shocking, I know). I went once for work and once for the Virtuoso Travel Week conference!
Work brought me back to Orlando, and all I got was this photo of a palm tree.
Safe travels y’all!
Chelsea Rose Martin