Living it up in the lap of luxury

Date Posted: 03/02/2012

Read on to gain five-star travel inspiration for discerning groups.

In the world of travel, luxury can apply to destinations, hotels, dining, transport, service and experiences, whether your group regular samples the finer things in life, or is splashing out on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday.

Deluxe hotels and resorts

The Grove, once the home of the Earls of Clarendon, is a magnificent 18th century house set in 300 acres of Hertfordshire parkland. There are 217 guestrooms and suites, three distinctive restaurants, the spa, golf course, and the Walled Garden. The latter features an outdoor swimming pool, urban beach with sandy volleyball pitch, tennis courts and croquet lawn.

For the height of luxury, experience… a round of golf on the championship course, designed by Kyle Phillips, followed by a relaxing session in the award-winning Sequoia spa.

Located an hour from Glasgow and Edinburgh, the Gleneagles Hotel can be found in an 850-acre Perthshire estate. Renowned for its three championship golf courses, accommodation is of the finest comfort, and Gleneagles is home to Scotland’s only two Michelin-starred restaurant. On-resort activities include shooting, archery, fishing and horse riding, or groups can try their hand at Gundog School.

For the height of luxury, experience… the ‘perfect pour’ of Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky in the stylish new Blue Bar (pictured).

With 17 resort locations across five Caribbean islands, Sandals and Beaches Luxury Included offers superior accommodation, gourmet food, and unlimited land and water-sports. All group arrivals from the 26th August to the 16th December will receive one complimentary room for every ten, and parties who book five rooms or more at any Beaches resort will receive a host of courtesy amenities, including private dining.

For the height of luxury, experience… the dolphin ‘touch’ experience with Sandals’ sister company, Island Routes Caribbean Adventure Tours.

Exclusive cruising itineraries

Seabourn’s group sales programme, based on a double occupancy minimum of four suites on-board Pride, Spirit and Legend, or five suites on-board Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, features shipboard credits of up to $500 per suite. A popular itinerary is the seven-night Greek Isles and Turkish Treasures cruise, sailing from Athens to Istanbul from April until October.

For the height of luxury, experience… a marina day in Milos, featuring water-sports from the back of the ship, and a complimentary evening at the ancient city of Ephesus, with a private classical concert.

The advantage of chartering a private vessel with Compagnie du Ponant is that your group can create its own itinerary, personally choosing ports of call, excursions, and entertainment. Catering for parties of 64 to 226 cruisers, global destinations include Antarctica, India, South America, the Mediterranean, the Pacific and more.

For the height of luxury, experience… complete exclusivity both on and off the ship. For example, your group could solely take over a museum, and organise tours with curators and guides.

Luxurious Silversea Cruises specialises in attention to detail, with complimentary amenities including gourmet dining, fine wines, spirits, and 24-hour room service. Silver Spirit has many Mediterranean voyages scheduled throughout 2012 and 2013, and the popular Monte Carlo to Barcelona cruise calls in at Portofino, Florence, Corsica, Saint-Tropez, Marseille and Sète. Groups can enjoy one free berth for every nine paid berths.

For the height of luxury, experience… celebrity spotting in Saint-Tropez, from under the colourful awnings of the pavement cafes. Brigitte Bardot started the trend by visiting during the 1960s, and today look out for Elton, Barbra, Oprah, Jack, and Uma.

Indulgent rail experiences

As the train weaves through mountains and meanders alongside rivers, groups will wake to a new sight each morning on board the Danube Express. Accommodating 50 passengers, the hotel train offers guests a relaxed passage across central Europe, with everything taken care of, from meals in the restaurant to the services of a personal car attendant.

For the height of luxury, experience… the Viennese waltz in grand style, during the ball season of Austria’s capital, on a two-night trip extension.

Rocky Mountaineer’s Canadian Rockies Highlights journey, between Vancouver and Calgary, is a great introduction to the region and to the opulent train. This seven-day tour also includes Lake Louise and the mountain resort of Banff. Rocky Mountaineer (pictured) also provides groups with one free place for every 11 guests travelling for a minimum of four nights.

For the height of luxury, experience… an upgrade to Goldleaf Service, which boasts a two-level, glass-domed coach to take in the vistas, attentive service provided by on-board attendants, and gourmet meals prepared by award-winning chefs.

With its opulent Edwardian-style decor, Orient Express’s Royal Scotsman offers a luxurious way of seeing the Scottish countryside. Groups can choose between two and seven-night itineraries, departing from and returning to Edinburgh Waverley, and indulge in off-train excursions, gala meals, and exclusive-access experiences.

For the height of luxury, experience… a privately-chartered carriage aboard The Royal Scotsman, accommodating groups of up to 36 people.

Premier group holidays

Bridge & Wickers offers an ultimate 19-day New Zealand escorted tour, exploring the volcanic topography of the North Island, and the Alpine majesty and deep fiords of the South Island. Transported in style on a luxury coach, groups can look forward to premium accommodation, quality cuisine, leisure cruises, and interesting attractions.

For the height of luxury, experience… an exhilarating helicopter flight to the Tarawera volcano, touching down on the summit of the sacred mountain.

The Masai Mara Safari & Mombasa tour in Kenya is one of Page & Moy Travel Group’s most popular destinations. The African adventure starts with game drives in the Masai Mara National Reserve, with the chance to take a hot air balloon flight, before moving on to Mombasa for a sun-kissed beach stay.

For the height of luxury, experience… waking up in the beautifully furnished Ashnil Mara Camp, before taking breakfast with sparkling wine next to the hippo pool.

The Sorrento peninsula and the Bay of Naples boasts outstanding scenery and historic sights. Riviera Travel’s Italian package includes a walking tour of Sorrento, a cruise to the picturesque island of Capri; a visit to the volcano of Vesuvius; a trip to Naples, guided tours of Pompeii (pictured) and the Amalfi coast, plus a stop at Ravello – setting for Wagner’s opera, Parsifal.

For the height of luxury, experience… the famous Blue Grotto in Capri – a large cavern which can only be reached by boat, and by a freak of nature, is bathed in incandescent blue light.

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