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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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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St. Petersburg & Paris: A Luxurious Cultural Escape

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Europe is renowned the world over for its old-world glamour and timeless elegance. But St. Petersburg and Paris are two cities which epitomise this more than most. Each as jaw-droppingly beautiful as the other but each with its own unique sense of style and cultural tale, they make for the perfect combination. On this eight-night cultural escape, you’ll start off in St Petersburg with days filled by Tchaikovsky, Fabergé and the Tsars before heading west to Paris, the Louvre and private perfume blending and caviar tasting experiences. Staying in iconic hotels and dining at exclusive restaurants, this is a slice of Europe in all its glory.

A Night in St. Petersburg

Arriving into the old-world glamour of St. Petersburg, you’ll be collected in style from the airport and whisked off to one of the city’s most iconic hotels – Hotel Astoria. Dating back to 1912, the Astoria boasts an illustrious address, sitting just a stone’s throw from Palace Square and the Mariinsky Theatre. Ticking off another St. Petersburg institution, time your arrival for a Friday and spend your first evening experiencing Tchaikovsky night at the famed l’Europe restaurant, where dinner is served with a side of ballet.

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The Ultimate Summer in Iceland

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Ethereal. Hypnotic. Otherworldly. When it comes to Iceland, there is no shortage of words to convey the sheer might of its landscapes. This is a place where your eyes will widen and your jaw will drop with every glacier, lagoon and volcanic chamber you cross. By the end of this action-packed and discovery-filled nine-night trip, you’ll have quad biked across black sand beaches, descended deep into the centre of the earth and hiked across crevasse-riddle glaciers. It’s mile-a-minute in the best way possible. By night, retreat to luxury lodges nestled into sweeping landscapes and slip into steaming geothermal waters as we bring you the best of the best of Iceland – and then some.

Relax into Reykjavik

Touchdown in Reykjavik and we’re whisking you straight from the airport into the spa. No ordinary spa, the Retreat at Blue Lagoon is perched on the shores of the lagoon’s famously tempting waters. Better still, your luxurious suite for the night will open up onto your own private corner of the lagoon. For more pampering, head down into the subterranean spa where some of the world’s most innovative treatments await you. Once you’ve had your fill, spend the afternoon out on the Reykjanes Peninsula on a private tour filled with hot springs, tectonic rifts, volcanic craters, lunar landscapes and lava fields.

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South Australia & Victoria: A Gourmet Discovery

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Between the scorched sands of the Red Centre and the tempestuous waters of the Southern Ocean, Australia’s south coast offers up chic metropolitan cities, sprawling natural beauty and a world-class food and wine scene. Spend 10 nights tasting your way through Adelaide and Melbourne, Kangaroo Island and the Mornington Peninsula and discover why we just can’t stay away. Between boutique wine tastings in the legendary Barossa Valley, canapes with kangaroos down on Kangaroo Island and a tasting trail down Melbourne’s Flinders Lane, we’ll pepper your stay with luxurious lodges and boutique getaways and enviable restaurant reservations for every meal. Spotlighting homegrown produce every step of the way, this is a real taste of South Australia and Victoria.

Welcome to Wine Country

Kickstart your taste tour of South Australia in Adelaide where a toast at the rooftop Hennessy Bar at your base at The Mayfair Hotel will get your trip off to a stylish start. Settle into one of the charming rooms of this boutique hotel ready to explore the surrounding wine country tomorrow. In the morning, you’ll head out to one of Australia’s most well-known wine regions, the Barossa Valley. In the company of a specialist wine guide, we’ll arrange private tastings at boutique wineries and a tutored lesson in the well-known Penfold wines, to get your sommelier skills up to scratch. In the home of home-cooking matriarch Maggie Beer, we’ll then arrange a leisurely lunch at one of the top-notch local restaurants here before you swing by Maggie’s farmshop for a spot of afternoon tea.

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South Australia: The Epicurean Way

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Between the Adelaide Hills and the Clare Valley, the McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley, it cannot be denied that South Australia knows great wine. Whether it’s a Shiraz or a Riesling, this is a part of the world made for oenophiles. Spend a week alongside specialist wine guides sipping your way through some of the region’s leading wineries and dining at the top restaurants as you get a real flavour for South Australia.

A First Taste

Start off in South Australia’s culinary hotbed; Adelaide. Three nights in the city will see you sip and swirl your way through some of the best labels – but not before you get to know the city a bit better on a private city tour. Join a private guide as you make your way through the galleries of the North Terrace, through the stalls of Central Market (don’t worry, you’ll be back for a taste later) and onto the Tandanya National Aboriginal Centre to step back in time through the city’s history. Finish up with a drink at the Hennessy rooftop bar at your stylish base, the Mayfair Hotel, before retiring to your elegant room.

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Namibia & Zambia: A Stylish Safari from the Skies

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Namibia has always been a destination made for epic adventures. But so has much of Sub-Saharan Africa. The diversity of the landscapes, the cultures and the experience down here is truly mindblowing and, really, visiting just one country can never do it justice. On this 12-night African adventure, we’ll take you into the remotest corners of Northern Namibia before hot-footing across the border to the might of Zambia’s Victoria Falls. Holing up in some of the continent’s most luxurious lodges, with some of the most authentic experiences on offer, it’s a discovery unlike any other. Pack your bags and prepare to savour sundowners atop rolling desert dunes, track endangered rhinos through sparse plains, spend time with the last true nomadic people of Africa and soar high above the Victoria Falls.

Beachcombing for Shipwrecks

We’re flying you straight into the heart of it all on this trip. After a quick pit-stop in Windhoek, you’ll touch down in Mowe Bay before jumping in a 4×4 and driving out into the desolation of the Skeleton Coast. One of Africa’s greatest wildernesses, where history lies littered across the beaches and wild hyenas and seal colonies roam, it’s quite the first impression of Namibia. Then again, so is your lodge here. Drawing inspiration from the wrecks that line the coast, Shipwreck Lodge is a one-of-a-kind property where rugged isolation meets all-out luxury.

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Ultimate Namibia: A Desert Driving Adventure

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A mystifying land of such mindblowing diversity, the best way to see Namibia has to be behind the wheel of a 4×4. Venturing across every terrain and passing by elephant traffic, it connects you with the country in such an authentic way that you’ll never want to leave. Set off on a 14-night journey through Namibia where you’ll tuck into bush breakfasts amongst the dunes at sunrise, spend the afternoons catching sight of rare rhinos and while away the evenings gazing at the Milky Way from NamibRand’s Dark Sky Reserve. As much or as little you’d like to see of Nambia, home to the highest sand dunes in the world and an 80 million-year-old desert, this self-driving journey ensures that you’ll do so in the utmost luxury and style.

HIT THE ROAD

After a quick overnight in Windhoek, you’ll wake ready to kickstart the adventure as you get behind the wheel of your luxury 4×4. The drive out of the city will take you straight into stunning landscapes as you pass through the famous Spreetshoogte Pass, before checking in at the luxurious Little Kulala for two nights and settling into the adventure. The next morning will see you out before dawn for a breakfast amongst the burnt orange dunes of Sossusvlei before clambering across the Namib Sand Sea to Deadvlei and its iconic gnarled camelthorn trees. For the highlight of today though, you’ll have to wait for nightfall. In one of the emptiest parts of Namibia; the skies couldn’t be fuller. Lie beneath the NamibRand Nature Park’s Gold Standard Dark Sky Reserve’s blanket of stars and gaze up at the Milky Way that fill the midnight blue sky.

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New Zealand and the Brando: An Irresistible Taste of the Pacific

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Trust us when we say this is a trip of sky-high proportions. In the space of two weeks, we’ll take you top to tail through New Zealand, into its beautiful islands, across its shimmering lakes and atop its brooding mountains, before landing you in the island paradise of Tetiaroa. The Polynesian island that captured Marlon Brando’s heart and imagination, spend a few days in total luxury at his island resort, The Brando. A trip that will see you helicopter over stunning archipelagos and a hotbed of adventure as well as into remote hideaway adventures, there’s certainly no downside. Get your heart racing in New Zealand before slowing it right down in French Polynesia in this irresistible taste of the Pacific.

Starting at the Top

Starting at New Zealand’s very northernmost tip, amongst the mesmerising natural beauty of the Bay of Islands, the fatigue of jet lag will soon slip away as you step into your beautiful home for the next four nights; Eagle’s Nest. Teetering atop its own private peninsula, this luxurious boutique resort with its glass-clad villas make for an ideal window onto this beautiful region.

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The Maldives: Luxury Atoll Hopping

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Sri Lanka, India, Dubai; the Maldives is the perfect island complement to any Indian Ocean getaway. But who says you need to go somewhere else first? Now we have a new favourite pairing; The Maldives and The Maldives. Home to over 1,000 islands, organised into 26 gleaming atolls, how could one ever be enough? On this eight-night trip through one of the world’s most luxurious island nations, we are combining two of our favourite private islands to create an indulgent getaway where the romance flows and the waters beckon. Floating amid the Baa and Noonu Atolls, Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani ooze an effortlessly casual approach to luxury that we can’t get enough of. Places where private astronomers, leading wellness practitioners and water slides curving down into crystal-clear lagoons all come as standard; these are islands you’ll dream of being marooned on. Add in a luxurious private yacht to sail between the two and you’ve got one stylish getaway.

Castaway

Your week of desert island bliss begins with three nights at the original Maldivian idyll of Soneva Fushi. Just 1,400 meters long and 400 meters wide, Soneva Fushi is barefoot luxury at its most impact. But what this tiny jewel-like isle may lack in size, it more than makes us for in experiences. Drop your bags at one of the gorgeous beachfront villas and take a moment to bury your toes in the sand and take it all in.

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