La Residence d'Angkor - Cambodia

I had only been married a couple of months when I stayed at this stunning hotel in Siem Riep, Cambodia and I was so sad my husband wasn't with me!

It is just an absolutely gorgeous place in every way - the rooms that cosset you after days of temple trekking and humid, hot air, the peaceful central pool, a relaxing spa, and a second-floor outdoor bar with warm air breezing through at night.

It's about a 15-minute tuk tuk ride to Angkor Wat - the only way to travel in style! And it's removed from the craziness of Siem Riep, which is the size of a small town but feels like a big city.

Still, you can wander along the Siem Riep river for ten minutes and be right on Pub Street (college backpacker heaven along with some hidden gems).

You can wander the other way for a lovely walk in the small Royal Gardens - I had an idea that I would go and read a book in the gardens. But of course I didn't need the book - I went and people-watched - even better.

Or...this might be the most tempting option of all - lay out by that pool, one of the most beautiful ones I've seen in all of the world, and think "I can't believe I'm in Cambodia!"

Side note: I will forever be grateful to this hotel and the general manager for taking care of me when I got super, super sick on my last night before I flew home. This bed looked slightly different after I checked out...and for that, I owe them big time.

My room service bill was something like $85 in apple juice because that's all I could get down! This is the glamorous side of traveling people - When all you want is a McDonald's milkshake, your own bed, and a DVR of shows to catch up on - this is not a bad second place to be.

And one day, I'm going back with Andy.

Beautiful rainbow

My Hotel in Luang Prabang, Laos

Infinity pool with a view of Mount Phou Si I woke up early every morning at my hotel, La Résidence Phou Vao, in the tiny former royal capital city of Luang Prabang, to watch the fog over the iconic Mount Phou Si. The entire stay was pretty much ridiculous. I woke up at 7 a.m. to do yoga by the spa with views of green mountains and a lotus pond. I imbibed in the hotel's signature drink, the Lao-tini (YUM) alongside copious amounts of sticky rice. And the best meal of my time in Laos was one I helped to cook during a class at the hotel.

You can take one of their bikes and zip off to town, which I highly recommend. It's a bit removed from the center of Luang Prabang which is so nice to relax but just a short bike ride away (or you can take their shuttle).

All of these things certainly help ease the awful jet lag you get when you go to Asia. It hits me so badly. Just when I think I've got a handle on it, it's time for me to go home. But yes, I know it's a small annoyance in exchange for a life-changing adventure. 

I wish you had been there with me - it was so dreamy in that wonderful, exotic "I can't believe I'm here" kind of way. If you're interested, I wrote a piece for my National Geographic column here, called "The Mystical Riches of Luang Prabang."

Here's a little tour of my hotel, starting with my room, the balcony, and the views you'll want to wake up for - or maybe you're a prisoner to jet lag like me, and already wide awake at 3 a.m. Either way, you'll want to be up early to just....stare.

My beautiful bed in Luang Prabang Cappuccino & a good book please! View from my room after the fog had lifted a bit I couldn't get enough of this view of Mount Phou Si Then there was this gorgeous little courtyard area outside my room - those stairs lead up to my door on the left. This was such a honeymoon hotel - in fact, my entire trip to Laos & Cambodia was. I had just gotten married, but sadly, my husband was at home.

At the entrance to the hotel At 6:50 a.m., this is the path I shuffled along to get to the Mekong Spa & my yoga class at 7 a.m. Pure bliss.

Yoga viewAnd how gorgeous is this doorway? Just off the main restaurant and infinity pool area, you'll find this which I thought was so cool.

Finally - if you go, order yourself a Lao-tini! It was addicting.

The Orient-Express to Sandringham

SandringhamEvery once in a while, there are days when I travel that I'd like to wake up and repeat the whole thing again because it was just so magical. In England, it was the day I boarded the Orient-Express British Pullman train to Sandringham, the Queen's country estate in Norfolk and where they spend Christmas every year. They open presents on Christmas Eve, walk to church on the estate on Christmas morning (and crowds line up to see them), and spend a lot of time mucking about their gorgeous grounds and gardens. It was a big deal when Kate married William and she went to Sandringham for the first time (last year, they decided to spend Christmas at the Middletons which was a surprise to royal watchers).

My favorite viewIf I did this day again, I'd have it be a wee bit cooler. It was during London's heat wave, and the train isn't air conditioned. But still, it was an extraordinary day. You board the train in London and it takes about two hours to actually get out of London because the train is so long and they have to switch tracks. But I didn't care - I was enjoying my orange juice, scrambled eggs, and smoked salmon with lovely company. Soon you're whizzing up to Norfolk.

Checking in at London VictoriaGetting ready to boardI could sit here awhileBrunch on the trainI'm still glad things can take my breath away and the first view of Sandringham did. It was so recognizable from all the pictures I'd seen but yet better than I could have pictured it. The house is so homey with flat-screen TV's are hidden in old-style furniture and a huge fireplace in the main Saloon. The heat outside didn't help but I still could picture a blustery, snowy day with all the royals dressed for the holiday. The women have to be ready - Kate had to change five times on Christmas day alone.

First glimpse through the treesI went through the house three times - the first time it was too crowded. And each time I went, I got new info from all the guides stationed in each room. There's a decent museum near the house, and a great gift shop and garden shop.

When I realized I had half an hour to spare, and I had wandered around the lakes, I found a huge, shaded tree, put my phone away and gazed at the house (munching on pretzels I might add). Thirty minutes well spent in the English countryside, without any distractions. Bliss!

My treeSandringham LakesWalking to the churchChurch of St. Mary MagdaleneOrient-Express is running this day trip three times in 2014 - book it this year or add it to your list of must-do's in England. It's iconic and a wonderful day trip from London. Check out my other favorite royal day trips here on my National Geographic blog.

Cheese course on the train back to London

Miraflores Park Hotel, Lima

The Miraflores Park Hotel, an Orient-Express property, is in an upscale area of Lima overlooking the ocean called Miraflores. I loved the Country Club Hotel Lima but here, you can walk right outside your hotel and be close to many other hotels, restaurants, and shops. The nearby shopping mall, Larcomar, is where I bought 3 pairs of great boots from Paez. Best time to go shopping for boots in Peru is when their summer is coming, and our winter is coming! Everything for cold weather was at least half off.

I loved the rooftop swimming pool, great gym, breakfast area on the roof, and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bar, which served my favorite thing, a traditional English afternoon tea. And great pisco sours, of course. I also enjoyed dinner at Mesa 18 - Chef Toshiro Konishi specializes in Japanese infused Peruvian cuisine, and worked alongside the legendary Nobu Matsuhisa. Nobu worked in Lima before going on to establish his famous restaurants around the world.

The best rooms have a small outdoor terrace. Many overlook the hotel's interior so I would definitely suggest requesting a room with a terrace.

Mesa 18

Outdoor space

Hotel Rio Sagrado - Peru's Sacred Valley

I'm usually pretty active while traveling. I like getting up early, and going all day - seeing, discovering, eating, stalking places from my lists, talking, meeting, and so on. But when I got to Hotel Rio Sagrado in Peru's Sacred Valley (more of what I loved from The Sacred Valley here), I wanted to do nothing.

Hotel Rio Sagrado I wanted to do nothing except sit on my terrace and watch the Urubamba River go by. I absolutely adored my time here and managed to muster the energy for a massage in the small but lovely spa (it was tough), to bottle feed the baby alpacas, and to have a fantastic dinner with a British journalist that had incredible stories from decades in the biz.

The shower in the bathroom was one of the coolest I've seen - all the benefits of an outdoor shower without having to actually be outside. I loved it.

I loved this shower!

My room viewFeeding time The spa deck

The waiting area in the spa If I close my eyes I can go back here!