With such a wide choice of destinations and transportation available to today’s discerning traveler, the Bespoke Travel Club will come as something of a refreshing alternative.
Comprising a happy band of dedicated specialist agencies with a shared dedication to providing the best of advice to those travelers looking for unique vacations supported by expert knowledge, The Bespoke Travel Club is now open for business.
The Bespoke Travel Club is recommended by www.simonseeks.com, a community of travellers, journalists and celebrities who share their travel guides and tips on the best places to stay, eat and visit.
Consensio, the luxury ski chalet operator, is approaching the end of the winter ski season with only the high altitude resorts of Val d’Isere and Val Thorens still open. People assume that the Alps are only good for skiing and that lifts, businesses, hotels & chalets close until next December. However there are plenty of ski resorts which keep their doors open and embrace the concept of summer in the Alps. Les Gets in Portes du Soleil is one of them, conveniently based only an hour’s drive from the international airport of Geneva.
Les Gets opens its’ lift system from mid-July through to early September which enables walkers and mountain bikers alike access to the mountains in and around this authentic and quaint mountain village. The lifts are adapted to allow you to hook your bike on the back and the mountain paths are all marked for easy navigation. Enjoy the pure mountain air and stunning scenery with temperatures soaring well over 25C.
There are many other exciting activities available for the entire family from archery and swimming to tennis and golf. real And for the thrill seekers, there is parapenting or canyoning. For animal lovers, Les Gets has a petting farm where you can go horse-riding or alternatively, hike with a donkey who carries your bags for you during your journey through the lush woods and valleys.
To get a flavour of local mountain life and attractions there is a weekly Thursday market where you can sample local cheeses and dishes from the region. If you want to find out more about how they are made you can visit the local fruitiere for a guided tour. However the favourite for both young and old has to be a visit to the chocolate factory where you can create your own recipe and take home your very own made creation!
There are some superbly fabulous luxury summer chalets available with the all-inclusive service you would expect from a top hotel. For those looking for proper pampering, a yoga break, golf week or long weekend away, we have Chalet Grande Corniche available which comes completely catered with an outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna, relaxing areas with conversation pit, large terraces, six sumptuous en-suite bedrooms – some with splendid views over the valley and Mont Blanc – a snooker table, TV snug and even a slide from the top bar down into the wine cellar!
So if you are looking for an alternative summer holiday over the chaos of the South of France this summer and prefer the clean mountain air over traffic pollution in Cannes and Nice then the Alpine resort of Les Gets is definitely worth considering.
Words like Côte d’Azur & The French Riviera tend to conjure up notions of casinos, high spending and fast living along the gorgeous West Mediterranean coast. The delights of Nice, the beauties of the Cannes film festival and the bohemian sophistication of St Tropez might spring to mind — and of course a vast array of super yachts to charter. Mega yachts with full professional crews to waft you silently among the creeks and hiding places of the Riviera from Port Grimaud to Monte Carlo.
Getting around the Cote d’Azur in summer is often problematic. Many areas get extremely congested due to poor infrastructure and small windy roads. Chartering a yacht will take all this hassle away whilst still being able to enjoy the many gems the Cote has to offer.
Charter from Antibes or Juan les Pins to St Raphaël and on to St Mandrier for the glorious Iles d’Hyères — Porquerolles and Port Cros. The islands of Hyères with their creeks and white, sandy shores and unspoiled nature reserve are within easy reach. Further to the West you’ll fall under the spell of the magical Calanques of Cassis with its sheer beautiful cliffs. That is unless you prefer the more classic destinations of the Côte d’Azur — Cannes, Antibes or Monaco.
If time allows, set course for the enchanting island of Corsica. Calvi is less than 100 nautical miles away. There you can enjoy the spectacular scenery as you cruise down to Bonifacio, the Lavezzi Islands or even continue on to Sardinia.
Although the summer months are mostly favoured, spring and autumn offer more tranquil cruising in almost deserted waters. Enjoy the Mediterranean climate, wonderful weather at reduced rates.
The Giraglia Rolex Cup is organised every June where a selection of ex-Americas Cup vessels gather to provide the most amazing spectacle as they beat their way up the Gulf of St Tropez. September also has several prestigious events; the Monaco Classic Week, the Cannes Royal Regattas and the Voiles de Saint Tropez.
Our charter team suggests: Begin your charter amid the unabashed glamour of Monte Carlo, and celebrate with a night of Michelin-starred dining and memorable entertainments at the most famous casino or opera. Meander the charming streets of St Tropez and soak up the Riviera ambience at the water front cafes. Anchor off Cap d’Antibes, a favourite Super-yacht spot, or enjoy the easy elegance of pastel-shaded Villefrance-sur-Mer. For shopping and a sophisticated restaurant scene, stroll the airy boulevards of ever-fashionable Cannes. Alternatively, for natural beauty head to the unspoiled island of Porquerolles.
Visit our updated website where we display a selection of the finest yachts for charter. Working in synergy with a wider network we can offer you unparalleled access to market information as well as in-depth charter yacht industry knowledge.
A corporate ski outing is the perfect way to reward your employees, partners and clients. Whether you are looking to entertain a group of close colleagues or organise a team building week or long weekend away; Perhaps even host a conference or simply reward and incentivise your team with a fun week of private ski chalet pampering, superb skiing and the compulsory après ski – Consensio can assist in creating the perfect corporate trip to finish this winter season on a high!
Invest in your team to build your business! Team Buildingis the bedrock of all corporateevents. A day out where your employees feel valued, enthused and rewarded. Beware that team building should not focus on competition as you might not achieve what you set out for. Your ultimate goal is for employees to have a deeper understanding amongst themselves, like each other better, achieve an experience of having performed well together. They should have an increased desire to cooperate and help each other out and most importantly, have a sense that the event was “time well spent.”
Motivating your staff and maintaining morale is just as important as looking after your clients. What better way to achieve this than by arranging an amazing Ski trip.
Retaining clients is as important as winning new clientele. Corporate hospitality offers the perfect opportunity to repay customer loyalty, meet your clients in person, create new networking opportunities and cement existing business relationships.
By entertaining your clients you make an emphatic statement that your company is strong in the marketplace and your clients can trust you with their business. At a time when companies are struggling to survive, it is important to show your clients that your company is thriving.
The Consensio chalets are the crème-de-la-crème of the Alpine holiday chalets and with the most luxurious facilities including spas, indoor swimming pools, cinemas and full professional staff, clients will leave suitably impressed.
Conferences are a great way to brain-storm new ideas, exchange information on a personal level, build moral, brief your staff or clients on new developments, develop your annual strategies or initiate and review policies. That, combined with snow activities to boost the team spirit, makes a company enormously valued.
All catered ski chalets are equipped with wifi, computers and necessary office equipment and each chalet offers large living areas, suitable to hold meetings and team building sessions.
Every company needs a strategic reward system for employees that address four main areas: compensation, benefits, appreciation and recognition.
Appreciation and recognition are integral components of a winning strategic reward system and best of all; they are low-cost and high-return ingredients over financial compensation or company benefits. Employees like to know whether they’re doing good, bad or average, so it’s important that you tell them and show them. A ski trip is ideally suited to show your appreciation, especially when combined with five star Consensio service and fully bespoke itineraries.
So why not pick up the phone and give them a call to discuss your requirements. Their expert knowledge of the ski industry, combined with excellent relations and preferential rate-cards with suppliers and activities companies, together with an impressive chalet portfolio makes them a leader in the field of corporate ski events.
Each chalet has its own dedicated staff and private chalet vehicles, providing them with all the resources to ensure the smooth running of each event. Their vast knowledge of each Consensio operated ski resort means they can recommend the best piste restaurants and team build activities, guaranteeing the overall success of your corporate ski event.
Suggested corporate chalets, suitable for larger groups or holding conferences:
Ampersand’s top sales consultant, Mark Wright, has recently spent two and a half weeks revisiting Indonesia, hopping across the islands of Java, Bali, Sumba, Komodo, Rinca and Flores. His enthusiasm for Indonesia has rubbed off on everyone in the office so we thought we’d sit him down to share his insights and divulge his top tips.
My ideal Indonesian honeymoon…
Even though I travelled alone this time (sob, poor me!), Indonesia struck me as the perfect destination for a romantic trip. Click on the video below to find out why and discover what my dream honeymoon itinerary would entail.
Rediscover Bali – the most famous of Indonesia’s 17 thousand islands… Bali is a huge island and Seminyak and Legian are located in quite a small and highly populated corner of it. Although lovely, it’s a shame that many people only experience these areas or they get put off visiting Bali, thinking that’s all there is. Unlike 10 years ago, there are now fantastic properties all around the island. Some of our favourites include Alila Villas Soori further up the west coast, Amankila and Alila Manggis on the east coast, Puri Ganesha in the north, Surya Shanti inland in the east and Alila Villas Uluwatu on the southern peninsula. I would love to help change people’s perception of Bali and reveal its hidden gems.
Beyond Bali – other “don’t miss” destinations…
I am also eager to show people what else there is beyond Bali’s shores - after all, Indonesia is the country, not Bali! Flowing from west to east, your first port of call would be the island of Java, home to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta. Don’t be scared of Jakarta – it’s not the most fascinating city but for 1 or 2 nights it’s a great place to relax after a long flight. Still on Java, continue on to the city of Yogyakarta, which has bustling markets and a fantastic colonial hotel called the Phoenix, and then on to Borobudur, which is the world’s largest Buddhist temple. Flanked by brooding volcanoes, Borobudur has a suitably majestic hotel, Amanjiwo, which is beyond impressive. You can spend 3 or 4 days around here and then do the core of your trip elsewhere for the beach paradise experience that everyone associates with Indonesia, be it Bali, Lombok, Sumba, Komodo, Sulawesi or Raja Ampat. A travel trend that has taken off here in recent years is luxury sailing and Indonesia has some fabulous traditional phinisi sail boats. For Ampersand’s top sailing experiences, read my blog about Komodo Island and the best sail boats in Indonesia.
Hotels – golden oldies vs new openings…
In a place like Bali there are always lots of new hotels opening. While it’s exciting and important to make new discoveries, just because something is new doesn’t mean it’s the best. The Edge, for example, is very new, set in a stunning location and offers everything you could want from a luxury villa, but its elder neighbour, Alila Villas Uluwatu, operates more seamlessly and has had more time to integrate with its surroundings. The best example of a property growing into its surrounding environment is COMO Shambhala. It is set across a giant estate and while other hotel chains would have increased the room capacity, COMO have kept it at a mere 36 rooms. They have allowed the estate’s fauna to grow naturally, which allows guests to take long walks down to the river valley in complete peace. By not maximising capacity and ruining the nature they have kept the estate feel and exclusivity.
* Top tip: Do not rule out a hotel as too expensive just because you know it is the most luxurious option… you may be able to afford it if you choose the right room category! COMO Shambhala’s Garden Room for example is very reasonably priced and you still have all the benefits of the estate and its facilities, including 3 swimming pools, a natural rock climbing wall, world class yoga and pilates classes, and one of the best restaurants on the island, Glow.
* Best all rounder: Puri Ganesha. This boutique hotel is run by Diana von Cranach and her Indonesian husband Gusti, who, along with their three Dalmatian dogs, bring life and soul in abundance to your holiday. Diana designs menus for top restaurants and hotels in Asia and Europe, and is a cookery book author and a leading authority on raw food. Her creations are not just healthy, but visually delightful and divinely delicious. On this trip she prepared a tasting menu for me in their beachside dining cabana consisting of seared kingfish with braised lentils, cucumber, pomegranate and mint salad, and salmon carpaccio with avocado, seaweed, radish & ginger, tamarind and orange dressing. I…was…in…heaven! A few of Gusti’s renowned cocktails topped off a fabulous evening. With just 4 villas, it is perfect if you’re looking for exclusivity and hands-on service. Diana and Gusti are integral to the community and love to help; a memorable moment for me was watching Gusti teach local kids English after school. The energy that he brought to the class and to the kids was touching and engaging. Guests staying here really get a sense of where they are, which is quite unusual for such a luxurious property. Not only do you get the best linens and beds, a private pool, world-class food, loads of private space and your own private villa, but the community comes to you in the most unobtrusive way. It blends unbelievably well.
* Best cookery course: Surya Shanti Villa, Bali. The al fresco kitchen is within the upper garden of Surya Shanti offering 360 degree panoramic views of Mount Agung, paddy fields and the ocean beyond. If that doesn’t inspire you, the fresh local produce and the enthusiastic chef will. You could not think of spending a better 3 hours in Bali.
* Best seafood: Nihiwatu Lodge, Sumba Island. Guests can go fishing and, more often than not, you’re eating seafood that other guests have caught themselves, which builds up the community spirit amongst the guests. You bond over food, talking to the guests across the table who may have caught your dinner that day, and to the chef who will come over for a chat. From start to finish you know exactly where your meal has come from.
* Best Indonesian food: Alila Ubud, Bali. I tried the tasting menu here with my older brother and it was just amazing. It had everything from famous suckling Balinese pork, to the six different ice creams at the end, all homemade by the chef with the element of the flavour in the presentation. It was just beautiful food overlooking a beautiful valley.
There were so many more wonderful experiences – from surfing the private Nihiwatu break to exploring the Prambanan temples outside of Yogyakarta – but we will let you discover the rest for yourselves! To see a selection of photos from my trip, please click here. If you are keen to visit Indonesia call me on +44 (0) 20 7289 6100 or email email@example.com; I would be happy to share more tips and design a tailor-made journey for you.
Having long held a fascination for Cuba it was wonderful in January to finally visit this fascinating country, which is wrapped in a 1950′s time warp and holds many contradictions. On the one hand the population struggles to survive under the bizarre constraints of communism and on the other hand people are quietly and urgently embracing capitalism. Of course the country is desperate for money and now hugely dependent on a few foreign allies, Miami exiles and a lot of tourists to provide much needed cash but also the young are increasingly frustrated and many try to leave causing a ‘brain drain’ and an anxiety about the future. For all these problems, Cuba is a fascinating country, rich in culture, a charming people and an interesting Spanish colonial history, which is evident in all the decaying but still stunning architecture, much of which is happily being restored.
The Hotels were mixed but fine, the food better than expected and the welcome one of the most sincere we have experienced in a long time. This is a country you must visit soon before the cruise ships come steaming in and the charm of Cuba is lost forever. Once the Castro brothers die, things will change very fast and they are already preparing with the main port being moved out of Old Havana to a deeper spot. The infrastructure is pretty creaky right now and there are so many buildings in desperate need of repair but work is being done and Cuba has the potential to be a very successful country with 11 million highly educated and healthy people clamoring for a better life. Given the tools, Cuba will do just fine, as they have the entrepreneurial spirit. The farmland is very rich, the coastline is stunning and there is so much culture and interesting things to see. The rest of the islands in this part of the world seem pretty bland compared with Cuba.
Andrew Loyd of LTR, a 2011 Conde Nast Traveler Villa Rental Specialist has just returned from a very worthwhile trip to LA. Two action packed days of networking, appointments, lunches, discussion panels and evening receptions flew past giving him the chance to chat to a lot of industry peers, meet members of the Conde Nast team and generally ‘bond’.
Having left a snowy Heathrow it was a treat to arrive in the blue skies and heat of LA. On the first night, after an early supper with an old travel friend an early night was in order before, the next day, embarking the Psalty V with Captain Gary and some travel colleagues for a 3 hour trip to see some whales and roam the waters of Catalina Island. Andrew picked up the boat at San Pedro and they were soon out of the harbour and amongst the seals and dolphins. Sadly, no whales were spotted but a fun morning with some much needed fresh air after the 12 hour flight.
The show was a huge success with seamless registration and a fun chance to catch up with travel colleagues at the opening night ceremony. The general feeling was that everyone was very lucky to be involved with CNT and to be on their ‘officially recommended’ radar.
LTR is thrilled to be offering some exclusive luxury accommodation in Essex and London that is only available for the 2012 London Olympics. The Games are racing closer every day and the excitement is building. This accommodation is available in exclusive private houses and mansions situated either in London or Essex to rent for exclusive use for the London 2012 Olympics. These properties have never been available to rent before.
Whether you would like to stay for a week in a luxury Central London house and enjoy the buzz and atmosphere of the capital city or whether you would prefer to enjoy the seclusion and privacy of one of our exclusive Essex homes with extensive grounds, swimming pools and tennis courts, we at LTR will be able to help you. All our Essex luxury houses are only 1 hour from the main Olympic venue at Stratford Park.
With November now under way and the snow promising to decorated the mountainous pastures with a thick white blanket in the next few weeks, pre-season anticipation is mounting. It is a time when the snow worshipers amongst us begin day dreaming of fresh snow and blue bird skies or sipping vin chaud by a roaring fire. To ensure that such reveries are accurate we feel it our duty to update you on some of the changes that you will find in your favourite resorts this season.
For the three valley skiers amongst us you will be interested to know that there a number of new or improved lifts and pistes this season. The upper section of Meribel’s new Saulire 8-man gondola will be ready this December (the lower part to be finished December 2012) enabling an easier access to Courchevel and in particular to the Grand Couloir and off-piste Saulire couloirs. Val Thorens has added the ‘Funitel de Thorens’ to its collection of funitels, providing access to two new slopes (a red and blue) and Courchevel has replaced its 4-seat Plantrey chairlift with a 6-seater. There is also a new green run below the Blanchot run in Meribel, the red Lac de la Chambre has been modified to better cope with skiing traffic between VT and Meribel-Motteret, and the red Roc de Merlet piste in Courchevel has been made easier so that more people can enjoy it.
Over in the Espace Killy the slopes may have remained the same but a number of places around the resort have gained in prestige, such as the family run Becca restaurant which is now proudly boasting a Michelin star, making Val the ever increasing sophisticated skiing destination.
With our exclusive collection of the most stunning chalets in both ski areas, contact Consensio to find your perfect 5* catered ski chalet www.consensioholidays.co.uk or call us on +44 (0) 203 393 0833.
We *know* it’s still September and a little bit early to be thinking about such things as Christmas, but how about treating the kids to that special trip to see Father Christmas this year? And it couldn’t get more exciting than visiting him by private jet.
Lapland is quite fiddly to fly to commercially, so being able to choose the date and times that you would like to fly is a huge bonus. It means you also have time to take part in some other snowy activities to make the day even more memorable.
We would recommend departing early (say 6am) as the flight to Rovaniemi is around 3 hours and there is a +2 hour time difference. On board you can enjoy a delicious champagne breakfast and catch up on some sleep after your early get-up!
On arrival, you will be greeted by your escort for the day – one of Father Christmas’s very own elves! Daytime temperatures are typically -5 to -10 degrees so you will be decked out with thermal clothing and boots before you set off to the Husky Farm. Here you will meet a local husky ‘musher’ and his friendly team of dogs and learn the skills of husky sledding. After your lesson, you will have a chance to take a short ride pulled by a team of huskies.
After the ride it’s time to transfer to the Reindeer Farm where the reindeer herder will demonstrate how to drive a reindeer sledge. It is then your turn to participate in the reindeer driving test, for which you will receive your own reindeer driving licence! Before leaving you can participate in the ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle and obtain your certificate.
After a traditional lunch at a cosy lakeside hotel, it’s time to move on to the Santa Claus Village where Lapland’s most famous inhabitant, Father Christmas himself, is on hand to welcome his visitors and collect those Christmas wish-lists in person. There will be time for shopping at Santa’s shopping gallery and visiting Santa´s Main Post Office to send a postcard home with his special stamp.
It’s then time to transfer back to the airport, climb on board your private jet and fly home re-living memories from your special day.
If you have more than a day to celebrate, we can arrange accommodation in a private rustic log cabin with roaring fireplace and private chef.
Other activities such as snow-mobiling, ice-fishing and for those brave enough, ice swimming can be tried and children can even attend ‘Elf School’.
Am not quite sure who enjoys this trip the most – the children or the parents!