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Ellie Hughes

Senior travel consultant

Where did your love of travel come from? 

I got the travel bug at a young age when I lived in the Netherlands and regularly travelled throughout Europe. This period of my life is one I’ll treasure for a lifetime; it instilled a real sense of adventure in me, and I thrived on the exploration of different histories, cultures and peoples. I took this appetite for knowledge with me into school and then onto university where I spent time studying in Malaysia and travelling in South East Asia. During my tenure at A&K, I’ve been lucky enough broaden my horizons even further, experiencing incredible destinations such as Russia, Japan and South America on the hunt for some of the most unique and exclusive experiences the world has to offer. 

Top recommended ultra luxury experience?

Few places remain entirely untouched by humans, and so naturally, these destinations promise spectacular sights, unique phenomena and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For the ultimate adventure, Antarctica represents the final frontier in luxury travel. This rugged wilderness is in a place so remote that few will ever experience it and so beautiful that those who do will never forget it. For a real taste of luxury, travel by private jet from Cape Town to land on a custom-built ice runway. Unwind at Whichaway Camp in one of seven plush sleeping pods. Expect cosy beds and luxurious furnishings, accompanied by gourmet cuisine from an award-winning chef and cocktails chilled by million-year-old ice cubes from the nearby lake. 

During your stay, you will tread ground untouched by human footsteps. With the help of your expert mountain guide, spend an exciting day in the wild outdoors. Locate, map and climb an unexplored mountain and earn the honour of naming it as your legacy. Travel to Atka Bay, frequented solely by German scientists who are conducting fascinating research into the emperor penguin colonies here. To share the ice with these majestic creatures is a privilege enjoyed by only a handful of people each year. 

Ultimate dining experience?

Next on my list has to be Under, found on the wild and windy North Atlantic coast of Norway. This semi-submerged restaurant offers an intimate atmosphere and the chance to savour the seabed through a panoramic window. Showcasing incredible seafood and foraged accompaniments like sea kale, the journey from farm to fork is minimal. From one of the lowest dining experiences to one of the very highest, another unique culinary opportunity awaits you onboard a helicopter in Iceland. Enjoy a scenic flight with your expert guide to a remote Icelandic peak where dinner is served alongside magnificent views of a rugged national park. Feast on an array of Icelandic delicacies, prepared before you by an expert chef. Your meal is accompanied by a glass of chilled champagne and a live musician. It makes for a wonderful surprise to celebrate an anniversary or birthday. 

Hotel with the best service?

One of my favourite hotels is Belmond Hotel Cipriani in Venice, where concierge Roberto greets you like an old friend and lets you in on all the secrets of Venice. The flawless service and close attention to detail mean anything is possible during your stay here. For the ultimate adventure, journey back to London in a Grand Suite onboard the Venice Simplon Orient Express. The impeccable hospitality and timeless glamour of this vintage train combine to produce one of the best journeys in the world. 

Best kept travel secret? 

Japan grows ever-more popular after the success of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and in the build-up to the 2020 Olympics. Yet, there are still so many undiscovered gems to find in this fascinating country. The Art Islands is a unique cluster, set among 3,000 remote islands located in the vast Seto Inland Sea. Intriguing installations, fascinating museums, and fantastic architecture make this a bucket-list destination for art lovers and culture vultures alike. Nearby Shikoku promises unspoiled coastline and countryside, local traditions and ancient local festivals.