Plan your perfect holiday with Holly Birch

Holly Birch
Kuoni Kingston

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Where's the best place you've ever stayed?

There's so many to choose from! One place that sticks in my mind is Kuramathi, in The Maldives. Arriving to the island by seaplane offers the most amazing views of the sandbank. Snorkeling around the house reef was the best, I spent hours each day with my head under the water filming the sea life on my GoPro. The Reef restaurant was my favourite out of the seven, it sits over the water with views the ocean and you can pick your choice of fish for dinner from the catch of the day. I have never tasted Red Snapper and Grouper like it anywhere else in the world.

What's your oddest travel moment?

I knew that there are reef sharks in the Maldives. When I was swimming in the shallow water I could see a few of them, they look about a foot long. They swim near but are harmless and are really exciting to see. On one of our daily snorkelling trips around the house reef I decided to venture slightly further out, only by an extra 10ft where ocean floor drops. I took a deep breath and put head under the water, underneath me was a 5ft reef shark. It was almost as big as me which made my heart pound. It was an experience that I will never forget.

Have you had a perfect travel moment?

Where do I start... one of my most perfect moments was arriving at our hotel in Venice by a private speed boat. We arrived at 9pm on a warm summers evening, our boat turned onto the Grand Canal, all of the stunning buildings were lit up by spot lights, I hadn’t seen anything like it. Cruising along the Canal felt like we were in a movie set or in a James Bond film. The only way I can describe the feeling is magical.

What are your suitcase essentials?

My travel essentials are a small pot of Vaseline, which can be used for so many different things such as a moisturiser or lip seal, hair mouse for those humid nights, sunglasses,and most importantly my GoPro.

Where's next on your wishlist?

After California later this year, next on my list is Hawaii, South America and Japan.

Holly’s love of travel came from living in South Africa at a young age. The South African scenery, different cultures and food made her want to explore as much of the world as possible, so far she has enjoyed luxury holidays to The Maldives, Dubai, New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Florida, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Venice, Cyprus, Gran Canaria, France and Spain. With many more on the her bucket list.