Diamond Circle: Get off the Beaten Track in Northern Iceland

No comments yet

Iceland; the country on everyone’s lips. But after you’ve climbed inside Þríhnúkagigur, snorkelled the Silfra Fissure and traversed the Golden Circle – what comes next? To answer that question, we’re looking north to the second city of Akureyri, the untouched wilderness of Myvatn and the, as yet undiscovered, Diamond Circle. Outside the realms of the tourist tracks of south Iceland, the north is a step back in time to Iceland as it once was – raw and unknown. To really appreciate the difference though, start off seeing on the Golden Circle (after all, it’s still spectacular), before heading north to hidden hot waterfalls, caves of the silver-screen and a dash of nature yoga. Grjótagjá, Gjástykki and Þeistareykir; they may not be known now, so get there before they are.

The Classic

Touching down, your trip starts in the trendsetting capital of Reykjavik with a stay at the chic Hotel Alda, just off Laugavegur. Spend the evening getting to know the bars and restaurants that lie just a short stroll away before getting a sense for Southern Iceland the next day. In the morning, jump in your private super jeep for the day as you head east to the Golden Circle. A route carved between Iceland’s most iconic sights, there is no better introduction to this spellbinding country as you curve through the ethereal beauty of Þingvellir National Park and onto the geothermal power of Geysir and the thunder of Gullfoss. Head back to Hotel Alda in the evening for one last night before heading north to Iceland’s true wilderness early tomorrow.

Read More

Alaska & Hawaii: An Ice & Fire Adventure

No comments yet

One of the greatest joys of travelling through the United States is the variety of landscapes you encounter along the way – and the pace at which they change. We’ve travelled from north to south and east to west to take in each and every state but one journey we can’t get enough of is that across the outliers of Alaska and Hawaii. Think Alaska – and the mind conjures up images of sweeping landscapes where people are few and far between. Then – consider Hawaii and tropical hues seep in to give everything the iridescent glow of island life. Think of the two together and you have a contrast which defies explanation. So much so, it can only really be experienced. Spend twelve nights between these two naturally beautiful states as you discover hole up in remote luxury in the wilds of Alaska before watching the sunrise from atop a volcano and snorkelling through hidden lava caves in Hawaii.

Into the Wild

After a quick overnight in Anchorage on arrival, it’s straight out into the wilderness as you pull up in the small town of Talkeetna to board a helicopter to your home for the next three nights. Tucked deep within the Alaska Range at a towering 6,000ft above sea level and ensconced amid peaks and glaciers, Sheldon Chalet is as unique as it comes. Home to just five suites, each with a view that you’ll never tire of, spend the next three days alongside like-minded travellers as you discover the majesty of Denali. Whether trekking across a glacier, rappelling down a rock face or trekking into the historic mountain house – no day here is the same as another and with a helicopter on permanent standby, Denali truly is at your fingertips.

Read More

Tasting Notes of England with Simon Rogan

No comments yet

Though perhaps not the first destination that comes to mind for a gourmet discovery, there’s a lot more to England’s culinary scene than meets the eye. Eager to lift the lid on all that our home turf has to offer the gourmet traveller, we’ve teamed up with Michelin-starred, critically-acclaimed chef Simon Rogan to co-curate a week-long deep dive into British cuisine. Following a route that traces Simon’s career, you’ll go from an exclusive winemaking experience in Hampshire to innovative cooking techniques at Aulis in London before culminating at his signature restaurant, L’Enclume, up in the Lake District. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to get behind the pass with Simon as well as joining him on ‘Our Farm’ to learn more about the local produce that he has championed throughout his career. Highlighting flavours that are fresh, organic and incredibly innovative, this is our Tasting Notes of England.

A Hampshire Hideaway

Touchdown in the UK and we’ll whisk you straight out into the country surroundings of Hampshire and the refined luxury of Heckfield Place. A grand Georgian manor home set within hundreds of acres of rolling countryside, it’s the perfect place to shake off any weariness with an invigorating walk through the pleasure grounds, woodlands and walled gardens that surround you. If all you need is a good film and a cup of tea though, the screening room will sort you out.

Read More

Kuala Lumpur to Pangkor Laut: Off the Beaten Track in Malaysia

No comments yet

If you thought there was little more to Malaysia than the pearlescent beaches of Langkawi and the bashful orangutans of Borneo, this ten-day trip will have you thinking again. Peninsular Malaysia is a fascinating destination where history, culture and food combine to create something just as colourful as the landscapes that surround them. Filled with intel from our South East Asia experts, this trip promises to get you under the skin of the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur before taking to the mystical Cameron Highlands to cool down. Through the jungles of Belum and onto the shores of Pangkor Laut, prepare to see what caught our eye in Malaysia.

New Cuisines in Kuala Lumpur

Begin your journey in the metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur, staying at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental. Sitting next to the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, staying here means you’re right in the heart of the action. With your own personal guide on hand, explore the old and new charms of this vibrant city. From towering skyscrapers, colonial builds and traditional mosques and temples; get a feel of what makes this city tick. Kuala Lumpur also boasts some incredible food stalls open – many staying open until the wee hours of the morning. Don’t know your char kuey teow from your mee goreng, your roti canai from your roti bom? We’ll send you out with an expert guide to get to grip with all the best delicacies.

Read More

Baja Peninsula: An Action-Packed Beach Break

No comments yet

If you fancy yourself a beachside retreat with more to offer than days stretched out beneath the sun, we have created an exhilarating coastal break in this nine-day trip to the Baja Peninsula. With one of the most exciting and diverse landscapes in Mexico, the sun-soaked Baja California promises plenty of thrills and spills alongside its boutique hotels and spas. Where else can you swim with whale sharks and learn to throw a pot in a remote mountain village?  Completely unique—this is one of our favourite coastal getaways.

Swim with Whale Sharks in the Sea of Cortez

Kicking off your trip in style, as soon as you land in Los Cabos you’ll be whisked straight out to the spectacular Posada de Las Flores in La Paz. Journeying through miles of cacti-peppered desert, golden beaches and dark mountainside, you’ll get your first taste of the haunting, otherworldly beauty of Baja California as you go. Soak in these natural wonders and the fragrance of desert flowers as you watch the superb sunset from your private suite terrace.

Nestled on a secluded nook on the east side of the peninsula, La Paz provides the perfect base to enjoy one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems – the Sea of Cortez. With your private guide to lead you, plunge into this underwater wonderland in search of whale sharks. These gentle giants of the deep can reach up to 20 meters in length and will leave you feeling as if you’ve entered a lost world swimming alongside them.

Read More

The Himalayas: A Spiritual Adventure

No comments yet

You only need to spend a few days in the northern Indian region of Ladakh before you succumb to the spiritual powers of this ex-Buddhist Kingdom. On this 12 night luxury holiday to India, you’ll discover the symbolism of peace and freedom in this fascinating part of the world. Hole up at the luxurious Chamba Camp, where you’ll have the opportunity to reconnect with your spiritual side and immerse yourself in local communities as you embark on a rejuvenating nomadic journey in the heart of the Himalayas.

LIFE IN THE HIMALAYAS

Touch down in Delhi where you’ll be whisked straight to The Imperial. Rejuvenated by a good night’s sleep, the following day we’ll jet you to Leh and the heart of the Himalayas. At 3,332m, your first stop is a traditional village house in Nimoo. Your guide will meet you at the airport and take you to the beautiful village characterised by stunning mountain scenery. With a courtyard and roof terrace, your hotel is the perfect place to relax as you acclimatize to the altitude. Immerse yourself in local life with a lesson in Ladakhi cooking with a local family, then for some spiritual insight, visit the charming Phyang monastery. If you’re feeling more active, our guides can also take you on a hike through the stunning scenery to enjoy the views.

Read More

Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough & Nelson: Indulge in the Wines of New Zealand

No comments yet

Wine and food lovers: you’re in for a treat. It’s no secret that New Zealand wine has a world-renowned reputation and this trip will take you to some of the most exclusive wineries the country has to offer, all set within stunning locations. Meet the experts, taste rare vintages and admire dramatic landscapes before ending up on curved white sand beaches for a final finale. Bottoms up…

Waiheke Island of Wine

Stepping off the plane at Auckland Airport, you’ll be whisked away by helicopter to Waiheke Island. Here, you’ll soon find yourself being warped into the slow-paced island life, and quickly transforming into the ultimate beachcomber while nestling in the luxury surroundings of the Boatshed. The Island lies on the same relative latitude as the southern tip of Italy, not only making it the perfect getaway for those escaping the winter chill, but it also means Waiheke benefits from ideal conditions to produce fantastic wine.

Never heard of, or tasted, the mouth-watering reds of Waiheke? That’s because most of Waiheke’s wine is only available for purchase on the island or at selected fine dining restaurants around the world. Quelle treat. Our expert wine guide will escort you to the most reputable vineyards and restaurants of Stoney Ridge, such as the internationally renowned Gold Water Estate and many more. Our advice? Pack light and leave room in the suitcase for a couple of bottles to bring home.

Read More

Puglia: The Perfect Italian Getaway

No comments yet

Fancy being the envy of colleagues around the coffee machine? Puglia should do the trick. Our favourite Italian getaway, we’ve been retreating down to the heel of Italy’s boot for several years now, but no matter how many times we dip our toes in those beautiful waters or wander through those quaint towns, we never tire of this charming part of Italy. So why not spend the summer (or the spring, winter or autumn for that matter) and hole up in our favourite Puglian paradise, Borgo Egnazia, for a week or so? Sunshine, culture and haute cuisine, it’s got everything for a relaxing and indulgent trip away.

Italian luxe

Nestled within olive groves, amid blossoming bougainvillaea and fragrant jasmine – and just a few hundred metres from the coastline with sweeping views of the Adriatic, we couldn’t think of a better place to while away our days than Borgo Egnzaia. In fact, we’d move in if we could. The hotel is part of a 49-acre luxury resort which resembles a traditional Puglian village and has been built using locally sourced stone and marble by the owners, the Melipignano family, who still live on the property.

Read More

Tokyo, Kyoto & Naoshima: Unique Customs & Timeless Traditions

No comments yet

Sitting high on so many bucket lists, Japan is a country ripe for discovery. We’ve come for the fast-paced nature of its futuristic cities in the past but, today, it’s all about the slow, mesmeric rhythms of its ancient rituals. Filled with samurai swords and sumo stables, ancient tea ceremonies and glimpses of geishas, put the clock in rewind as you seemingly travel back in time to embrace some of Japan’s most intriguing customs and oldest traditions. Gaining unbeatable insight into Japanese culture, you’ll come out of this 12-night itinerary with an appreciation for this country strong enough to last a lifetime.

DRAWING SWORDS

Having spent a day acclimatising to the energy of Tokyo, you’ll begin your education in Japanese culture with the former curator of the British Museums’ Japanese sword collection at your side. That’s an impressive background, right? And you’ll be even more impressed when he begins teaching you all about the history of the Samurai and effectively opens the door into this mysterious world. With your guide by your side, Tokyo’s famous Japanese Sword Museum will feel that much more accessible and digestible. You’ll leave having learnt plenty, and you’ll be raring to go for the next part of this trip as you gain insight on another traditional aspect of Japanese culture.

SUMO STABLES

Next on your Tokyo itinerary is a visit to one of Tokyo’s Sumo stables where you’ll watch the professionals in their morning training sessions. Once the sessions are complete, spend time chatting to the wrestlers for a rare insight into the life of a Sumo. You’ll be accompanied throughout by one of the world’s top Sumo wrestling experts and also bag some incredible seats at one of the main ‘Grand Sumo’ tournaments. Having dipped into the traditional sporting world of Japan, use the remainder of your time in Tokyo with your private driver to visit temples and try local cuisine.

Read More

Reykjavik: A Luxury Helicopter Tour through Iceland

No comments yet

Home to some of the most incredible scenery and awe-inspiring landscapes on the planet, it’s no wonder that Iceland has a huge variety of exhilarating experiences to get the heart of even the most fearless explorer pumping. But the best way to see Iceland in all its enormity is undoubtedly from the skies on a private helicopter tour. The challenging, varied terrain – from deep blue glacial waters and sweeping lava fields to snow-capped volcanoes and black sanded shores – provides the perfect setting for an adventure from the skies. With that in mind, we sent our team out in search of some of the best of those adventures. Flying north to south, east to west, and hiking glaciers and volcanoes in between, we’ve come back to present you with five nights of the very best that Iceland has to offer.

Geothermal Explorations & Coastal Helicopter Tours

Touch down and head straight to Canopy hotel for a restful night as the next few days know no bounds. Wake up to a hearty breakfast before heading straight out into the sweeping landscapes of South Iceland. Surrounded by miles of scenic grassland, there’s much to explore but it’s the brooding presence of the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano that provides the setting for this morning’s adrenaline fix. If visiting between May and October, you’ll be able to descend down through its crater into the giant magma chamber below in an experience not available anywhere else on this planet. For those visiting in the winter months, however, we recommend jumping in a helicopter for a private tour flying up to Mt Esja and out to sea to in search of the gliding pods of whales.

Read More