Pic: Biking in paradise on La Digue, Seychelles (Oct 2016)
Another four months of intense traveling have passed, time to share some details of my Autumn adventures. For a full recap of my travel year, make sure to read my Winter, Spring and Summer stories.
Pic: The beach at Savoy Seychelles Resort and Spa on Mahe
Early October, I visited the island nation of the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. An intense one week trip staying at a different hotel each night while visiting four islands: Mahé, Sainte-Anne, Praslin and La Digue. Hotel wise, I was very impressed with the Constance Ephelia Resort, a magical place to revive the senses. If you’re looking for a resort to de-stress in a beautiful setting with amazing staff, this is the place to be!
Pic: Fitness Pool at Constance Ephelia Resort Seychelles
Pic: Snorkeling at Anse Lazio, Praslin, Seychelles
The granite-based islands in the Seychelles offer some amazing beaches of which Anse Lazio was one of my favorites.
Pic: Daydreaming at Anse-Lazio beach on Praslin Island
Pic: Pool at Beachcomber Seychelles Sainte-Anne Island
Other great hotels I stayed at were Beachcomber Seychelles Sainte-Anne Island, Raffles Seychelles Praslin Island and Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove where I posted postcards in an underwater mailbox (!) for some of my lucky Twitter and Instagram Stories followers.
Pic: Bart at Anse Source D’Argent, La Digue (Oct 2016)
I flew non-stop between Paris and Mahe with Air Seychelles, an Etihad Airways partner. You can earn and redeem Etihad Guest miles with Air Seychelles.
Pic: Air Seychelles A330-200 at Salon Vallée De Mai lounge
Pic: Qatar Airways B787 Business Class from Brussels to Doha
For my trip to the Maldives in November, I redeemed British Airways avios to book a one-way BRU-DOH-MLE on Qatar Airways Business Class.
Pic: Palm tree at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
I stayed 3 nights at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island using 285.000 Hilton HHonors points. My first two nights, I was upgraded to a Water Villa which didn’t impress me much. The ‘dividers’ between the villa’s interrupting the views bothered me. For my last night, I moved to one of the newly refurbished Beach Villa’s which you normally get when booking with points. I liked those a lot more than the basic overwater villa’s!
Pic: Breakfast in paradise at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
In the morning, I enjoyed complimentary breakfast at Vilu restaurant thanks to my Hilton HHonors Diamond status.
Pic: Bart at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (Nov 2016)
Pic: Island shuttle at Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Pic: Ithaa, World’s Best Undersea Restaurant at Conrad Maldives
Conrad Maldives offers unique underwater dining experiences in their Undersea restaurant Ithaa. I had the Champagne cocktail experience, the more affordable option to visit this amazing restaurant.
Pic: Champagne Cocktail at Ithaa Conrad Maldives
Pic: Tuk Tuk Safari in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Nov 2016)
On my way back to Belgium, I made a detour via Colombo and Kuala Lumpur. Tuk Tuk Safari Sri Lanka emerged me in Colombo’s food scene in their colorful Tuk Tuks. In Kuala Lumpur, Belgian balloon pilot Jonas hosted me for a thrilling balloon adventure above Putrajaya!
Pic: My Balloon Adventure above Putrajaya, Malaysia (Nov 2016)
Pic: Working the night shift at Emirates A380 bar (Nov 2016)
My detour via Colombo and Kuala Lumpur had a reason: flying Emirates A380 Business Class extremely cheap… I paid less than 330 EUR! Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) is one of “the four Cs” (Cairo, Cape Town, Casablanca and Colombo) which regularly offer amazing premium airfares.
Pic: Etihad First Class Check-in Abu Dhabi (Nov 2016)
As if flying Qatar Airways B787 and Emirates A380 Business Class in one trip wasn’t enough yet, I had also added Etihad A380 First Class to my journey. I flew Etihad’s First Class Apartment from Abu Dhabi to London using 41812 Etihad Guest miles + 528AED (132EUR) cash.
Pic: Etihad First Class Lounge and Spa Abu Dhabi (Nov 2016)
Pic: Etihad A380 Upper Deck featuring 9 First Class Apartments
Pic: Bart at Etihad’s A380 First Class Apartment 4A
Pic: Etihad First Class dessert with Duval Leroy Rose Prestige Champagne
Pic: The Lobby bar onboard Etihad A380 Upper Deck
Pic: Etihad A380 First Class Apartment 4A Full Flat Bed
Pic: Lemon Fresh at Bratislava Sky Bar Slovakia (Sep 2016)
Similar to earlier in the year, I kept traveling every weekend in between my longer trips. In September I flew to Vienna where I made the short bus ride to Bratislava, my first visit to Slovakia.
Pic: Hungarian Parliament by night in Budapest (Sep 2016)
The second weekend of September was a family trip to Budapest where I stayed at the InterContinental with view on the Chain Bridge.
Pic: Autumn weekend in Paris with Jaguar XE (Sep 2016)
Pic: Fun in streets of Paris with Jaguar XJ (Nov 2016)
I also had the pleasure to drive a number of Jaguars in the Fall of 2016. I made two trips to Reims & Paris with the Jaguar XE and Jaguar XJ.
Pic: With srprs.me and Air Serbia to Belgrade (Oct 2016)
Dutch travel agency srprs.me surprised me with a weekend trip to Belgrade (Serbia).
Pic: Bart driving the 2016 BMW 330e iPerformance
BMW made my ride to Dusseldorf a lot more exciting by borrowing me the 2016 BMW 330e plug-in hybrid.
Pic: Presidential Suite at Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf (Nov 2016)
Hyatt Regency Dusseldorf hosted me in their Presidential Suite in November!
Pic: Executive Sea View Room at Intercontinental Carlton Cannes
December started with two sunny weekends in Cannes (France) and Valencia (Spain).
Pic: l’Hemisfèric at Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias Valencia
Pic: The Gherkin seen from Duck and Waffle in London (Dec 2016)
Followed by a foggy pre-Christmas weekend in The City.
2016 was a new personal travel record year for me:
- 114 flights, 157229 flown miles, 6.3 around earth, 380 hours up in the air
- First Class with Garuda Indonesia, Lufthansa, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways
- Business Class with Qatar Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Air Canada, Austrian, Adria Airways, Philippine Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Alitalia, ANA, SWISS, Lufthansa, Brussels Airlines, Finnair, British Airways and Air Seychelles
- A record number of free stays at luxury hotels thanks to IHG’s Best Price Guarantee
- All of the above makes 48 trips and 27 countries visited!
Well, I have one more trip coming up this year, so the numbers above aren’t final yet! 😉 Make sure to follow me into 2017 via Instagram Stories, Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy the Holiday Season and as always, thank you for your support!