Diamond Circle: Get off the Beaten Track in Northern Iceland

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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.

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Tasting Notes of England with Simon Rogan

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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.

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Nizwa, Wahiba & Muscat: Discover Arabia’s Gem in Oman

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The Sultanate of Oman is a sure-fire contender for any ‘off the beaten track’ award, and for that reason, we just had to share this Arabian gem with you. An eight-night whistle-stop tour of Oman’s northeastern region is sure to leave you yearning for more as you witness the spectacular sand dunes of Sharqiya, try mouth-watering Omani cuisine in a Nizwa souk and experience total cultural immersion in the coastal town of Sur. Spend your nights in enchanting Bedouin camps, hilltop hideaways and luxurious beach-side abodes as you fall for Arabia’s gem.

History & Culture in Nizwa

Hit the ground running as you leave the bustling city of Muscat behind and make your way to the historic inland town of Nizwa. Enjoy the mesmerising landscapes that have enriched Omani life for thousands of years. The small verdant town of Fanja is a particular highlight for us, with its rich history and wild wadis whilst the town of Jabrin is home to one of the most impressive forts in Oman and is your last cultural pit stop before arriving at the Sahab Hotel; the ideal spot from which to watch mesmerising sunsets and sunrises.

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Bhutan: Scenic Trekking to Gasa

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Travelled the world and looking for something that little bit different? Bhutan has the answer. Even if you’ve trekked into Tiger’s Nest before and spun the prayer wheels at Thimpu, this trip promises to shed further light on the mountainous country. A more adventurous take, set off on an epic two-week trek from Paro, heading north through the mountains towards the steamy springs of Gasa. Meeting local communities along the way, this promises you an authentic connection with Bhutan that you’ll never shake off.

Time Out at Tiger’s Nest

Even if you have seen it before, Tiger’s Nest – or Takstang Monastery – is forever unmissable and actually makes for the perfect warm up. Land into Paro and head straight up to Bhutan’s most treasured monastery, climbing through shaded pine forests where prayer flags flutter in the faint breeze to emerge out of the trees onto this magnificent site. Miraculously hanging onto a crumbling cliff face, this building was built in memory of an old legend: that of the taming of the tiger of Guru Rimpoches.

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Baja Peninsula: An Action-Packed Beach Break

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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.

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The Himalayas: A Spiritual Adventure

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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.

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

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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.

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Petra: A Luxury Holiday to Jordan

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There are few places that can instil more mystery and awe than Petra. Undiscovered for more than a millennium, this rock-hewn ancient Nabatean city is one of the world’s archaeological jewels, and even today, new sites are being discovered and new mysteries are slowly being unravelled. On this four day trip, you can make like the intrepid explorer yourself and we take you on the best hikes, along hidden trails and to its newest discoveries, so you can completely engross yourself in the wonders that have made it a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is our ultimate Petra expedition.

A Luxury Tour of Petra

As soon as you touch down into the capital Amman, you’ll be whisked off into the desert to your room at the Mövenpick Resort at the gates of Petra, where you can unwind with a glass of wine in their Al Ghadeer Rooftop Garden under the star-flecked sky. Then, your Petra experience begins.

Your first day you’ll get to discover the city just as the Bedouin tribes did over 200 years ago—through its winding one kilometre-long Siq, a magnificent gorge flanked by high rock cliffs on either side famous for its enthralling rose coloured rocks. This is where you’ll get your first hit of Petra magic, as you emerge from the Siq at the iconic Treasury in time to see the sun creeping down the intricate face of this awe-inspiring rock-carved tomb. Listen to the legends of the locals, some of whom were born in the very caves you walk past, and learn what it was like to live and trade here in ancient times.

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Petra, Wadi Rum & the Dead Sea: Modern Luxury in Jordan

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A pocket of timeless mystery, Jordan sits seemingly immune from the touch of the world around it, all the while propelling a culture that is aeons ahead of the game. Here, hotels run on solar power, organic and locally sourced cuisine comes as standard and the approach to wellness is not to be sniffed at either. Jordan’s ability to seamlessly blend ancient realms with impeccable modernity has us hooked. Freshly back from our latest discovery, we’re sure it will leave you similarly infatuated as you forge your own path through this land of luxury and surprise yourself with all that contemporary Jordan has to offer. Spend six nights learning to live as modern Jordanian’s do in the cookery schools and craft beer breweries of Aman before seeing the country’s traditional side in Petra and Wadi Rum. Dusted off with a soak in the Dead Sea, you’ll come back glowing.

AMMAN’S CONTEMPORARY KICKS

Hit the tarmac in Amman and you’ll instantly feel the heat and buzz that comes with a thriving capital city. Let our private guide introduce you to all that present-day Amman has to offer, like cosmopolitan Rainbow Street where stylish crowds and fledgeling hipsters enjoy a spectrum of boutiques, cafés and cocktail bars. And don’t forget to try the innovative food offerings—go for contemporary organic dishes at Wild Jordan and help support Jordan’s nature reserves, or craft your own four-course feast at Beit Sitti’s family-run cooking school, one of the city’s immersive dining concepts. Still going strong? Sit back with a few cocktails before dancing the night away at Cube Lounge, before bedding down in the luxurious Fairmont Amman.

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Puglia: The Perfect Italian Getaway

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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.

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