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Touring and exploring

What's Your Happy Place?

Hayes and Jarvis Blog Team January 17, 2014

Although there’s some debate surrounding which day in January holds the unenviable title of ‘Blue Monday’, otherwise known as the most depressing day of the year, today (the 20th) surely stakes a strong claim; sitting around the Christmas tree bloated with festive fare and one too many sherries is all but a distant memory, the drudgery of work is back in full swing, the entire country is flooded, and your New Year’s resolutions aren’t exactly going to plan (comfort eating should be encouraged in January, right?).

With payday still several days away, the outlook for the rest of the month is about as gloomy as the weather forecast, so what better way to cheer yourself up than to start daydreaming about your next holiday? Holidays are often regarded as many people’s highlight of the year, and it’s little wonder; with so many utopian beaches to relax on, bustling cities to explore, and stunning sights to take in, setting about planning your next big trip is undoubtedly the best way to, at least temporarily, purge all thoughts of January.

With that in mind, we conducted a quick poll in the Hayes and Jarvis office (hoovering up a few leftover Christmas chocolates left on peoples’ desks on the way!) to find out our colleagues ‘happiest places’.

Nick Wilson – Cape Town, South Africa
“The happiest place for me has to be Cape Town, South Africa. Perfect sunshine, amazing steak and seafood, world class wine and superb hotels coupled with amazing culture, beautiful beaches and only a 2 hour flight away from all the amazing wildlife in the Kruger National Park”

Samantha Fowler – the Caribbean during festival season
“From the sweet sounds of Soca at the Crop over festival in Barbados to the infamous sights of paint hurling at Trinidad Carnival in February. Each and every Caribbean Carnival event is full of happy faces, heart warming food, soul moving dance, risqué costumes, big beats, and of course sunshine.  It’s the time when everyone forgets their woes and partakes in the biggest street party for the island that year. If you want to sample before you buy, head to Notting Hill Carnival in London in August, but be warned, the excitement here is but a mere drop in the ocean compared to the real thing!”

Samantha also kindly provided us with a quick guide to the best festivals in the Caribbean:

“Crop Over Festival – the popular Barbados carnival with street parties, colourful costumes, and lots of food & rum!

Carnival Time – Takes places on various dates throughout July and August. It sees every island join the carnival action.

 Junkanoo - Carnival time in Turks & Caicos from December throughout January.”

Alison Silva – Yosemite National Park, USA
“My “Happy Place”, is Yosemite National Park, from late September to early October, with crisp mornings and evenings, warm sunny afternoons, having a picnic down by the Merced River and spending the evening by the roaring fire in the lounge at the Ahwahnee Hotel.”

Zoe Betchley –  The Turks and Caicos Islands
“Walking along Grace Bay Beach in The Turks and Caicos Islands . The best beach I have ever been to in the world, with the whitest sand you’ve ever seen; it was like talcum powder. Completely calming and still relatively untouched.”

Isla King – New Orleans, USA
“One of my happy places is New Orleans, it’s just so vibrant and full of life, you can start your day with a beignet  down at the Cafe du Monde, then take a wander through the French Market to pick up a bargain. Take a trip along the Mississippi before grabbing a po’ boy  for lunch or indulging in a delicious Cajun dish at one of the many little restaurants that  line the cobbled streets, then see what the future has in store at one of the French Quarters Tarot shops. Take a tour of the legendary St. Louis Cemetery #1 and visit the tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau before hitting the bars and clubs of Bourbon Street and see the city come alive as the sun goes down.”

Karen Davis – Disneyworld, US.A

“My happy place is standing looking up at the Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom! (Even thinking about it makes me happy!)”

Stuart Armsby – The Maldives

“The happiest place in the world for me is the Maldives.  Back in November 2012, I stayed for 14 Nights at the Meeru Island Resort with my girlfriend Steph (who works in our Tailormade Team). A few months before travelling, I decided that I was going to propose whilst away.  After a couples massage at the overwater spa at sunset and a candlelit lobster dinner on the beach under the stars, I got down on one knee and popped the question.... to which, thankfully, Steph said yes! Now we are months away from our Wedding in Antigua!

Harriet Rhodes – Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
“From the large, picturesque, white sandy beaches and warm turquoise waters of Playa Del Carmen, to enjoying a lively evening at ‘CoCo Bongos’ in Cancun... the choice is endless, this being the exact reason I will keep returning back to this beautiful destination.”

Matthew Clift – Khao Lak, Thailand
“Thailand – Khao Lak – when arriving into Phuket airport, you can either go one way to the busy beaches and the busier part of Patong, Phuket or go the opposite way to the silence and pristine beaches of Khao Lak. It’s easy to reach and, as of yet, not overdeveloped. It is like Phuket was 20 years ago before it became so popular. It’s got great views and it’s a great place for enjoying the local Thai smiles and hospitality. A firm, relaxing favourite of mine.”

Alex Sparasci - Barbados

“The happiest place (or hotel anyway) that I've been to was Crystal Cove in Barbados. We loved it so much that we recommended it to my parents for their wedding anniversary – one of the waiters sung an impromptu duet with a waitress on the day to help them celebrate! I think there might well be a correlation between beautiful sunny weather and happiness.”

It seems Alex is correct, if this list is anything to go by then happiness is definitely related to warm temperatures, but also lively atmospheres at festivals, events or carnivals, and pure escapism that can only be experienced on exotic, secluded beaches, or even places with that little bit of home-grown magic such as Disney World.

Visit our Facebook page today to share your ‘happy places’ or tweet us @HayesandJarvis with the hashtag #happyplaces