It’s no secret that I have a real passion for finding good deals on premium airfare. I feel that I can pretty consistently get long haul business class flights from Europe to anywhere on earth, bar Australia and NZ, for no more than £1300.
My thinking tends to go like this: If the price is £1300 it needs to be a product I’m keen to review for the first time AND a trip to a country I’ve not visited before.
If the price is as low as £1000 the deal will ordinarily be a lot more restrictive and I may end up on a less salubrious airline or end up heading back to an old favourite destination.
Anything £800 or less for long haul business class and I’m all but guaranteed to book it unless it’s a carrier I strongly dislike that’s flying to a country I’m in no hurry to visit again.
So, when I saw an airfare from Tunisia to Vietnam flying a combination of Air France and China Southern (both for the first time!), with the possibility of an extended stopover in Paris for £650 per person, round trip – I booked instantly. No questions asked.
I’d never visited either Tunisia or Vietnam and was really keen to plan something special for Kamara’s 30th birthday. I figured we’d take a long weekend break in Tunisia, visiting the newly opened Four Seasons and then pick up the ticket in Paris a couple of months later, flying into Vietnam for a stay at our first ever Aman resort!
Some of our fondest ever travel memories have taken place at Park Hyatt hotels (like Sydney, Abu Dhabi and Tokyo) and I knew that Kamara would be delighted if we fit one into her birthday trip. The Saigon property is rather grand and colonial, not the clean minimalism we so enjoyed in Sydney or Abu Dhabi but I figured we’d start with one night there and then move onto something far more special for the remainder of our time in Saigon, before heading up the coast to Amanoi.
Large South East Asian cities tend to be spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury properties at rock bottom prices. Saigon is no exception. What is exceptional however is The Reverie – a property which boasts a $500,000 purple Ostrich leather sofa, destined for Michael Jackson’s house before his passing, a million dollar clock hand made in Italy, Hermes toiletries, free flowing Roederer champagne in the club lounge and a fleet of Rolls Royces on hand.
With this final property locked in I had the makings of a very special trip indeed, without a doubt one of my top five trips of all time…