Give The Gift Of Luxury Travel
As a longtime travel journalist, maybe I’m biased, but I can’t think of a better gift to give than the gift of travel, and if you have deep pockets, there is no easier and more flexible way to give this wonderful present than with a gift certificate from legendary Abercrombie & Kent.
I’ve travelled with A&K and written about them in these pages before, but to quickly recap, they have been the go-to experts for guided group and private bespoke cultural and active travel worldwide for more than half a century. Not only are they among the very best travel providers in the world, but they are the most varied and comprehensive, offering everything from weeklong group tours of European countries to adventure cruises to the arctic or Galapagos. It is hard to imagine a recipient who cannot find something worth doing from A&K’s vast library of travel offerings, destinations and experiences – you can trek to Everest Base Camp, explore Myanmar, cruise the Amazon or simply visit the best luxury hotels and restaurants of Paris or Rome. Earlier this year A&K introduced its first guided trips to otherwise difficult to visit Cuba (read my story here), and the company even manages its own portfolio of luxury villas worldwide, from Tuscany to private islands.
No matter what kind of trip your recipient wants, A&K probably has it and does it very well. Unlike most tour operators who subcontract many parts of the experiences, A&K has 50 offices worldwide and the deep local connections needed to make things happen. The company was founded in 1962 by Geoffrey Kent, who still runs it, and they are incredibly well-respected and a frequent award-winner: A&K was recently named the World’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator at the World Travel Awards.
The sky is the limit on the kind of trips gift recipients can book, and the sky is the limit on how much you can give by gift card, which can be ordered online. These are sent to the lucky giftee along with a personalized note and selection of A&K travel brochures to get the process started. The minimum amount is $500 and the cards can be used for any A&K travel, from scheduled group trips to bespoke itineraries. “We do a lot as wedding gifts, and a lot of corporate gifts given as rewards to employees,” said A&K spokeswoman Jean Fawcett. “It really varies widely and we see a lot of grandparents buying cards for honeymoons for their grandchildren. Our European river and canal cruises are entry level trips and start in the low $2,000s, group safaris start around $3,500 while bespoke trips can run into the five figures or beyond. Of course the gift card doesn’t have to cover the entire cost of the chosen trip.”
If you really want to go over the top for the holidays, consider A&K’s latest ultra-luxe offering, a once in a lifetime two week private jet experience circling the globe and hitting iconic bucket list destinations. One of A&K’s longtime specialties is extremely luxurious small group trips using customized wide-bodied intercontinental jets, but this is a new concept, using a smaller jet for a single private party. Called the “Passport to the World,” it is offered in partnership with Bombardier’s private jet card company Flexjet (operated by U.S. air carrier Jet Solutions). Up to eight people travel in comfort and style aboard a Challenger 605 business jet with large, high windows, state-of-the-art audio and video systems, global Wi-Fi, and leather seats that transform into beds. The 14-day trip will visit seven global cities and landmarks from the Forbidden City to the Taj Mahal. “Traveling by private jet makes it possible to visit some of the most inspiring World Heritage sites in just two weeks, which under ordinary circumstances would be difficult – perhaps impossible – to see on a single trip,” said Geoffrey Kent in a release.
A top A&K guide in each stop will orchestrate every detail, including expedited clearance through immigration and customs (where possible) to maximize time spent enjoying each destination. A Jet Solutions flight crew will remain with the group throughout the journey, learning each traveler’s on-board preferences. The trip includes accommodations at the best landmark hotels reflecting the history and heritage of each location, such as the Peninsula Hong Kong and Paris’ Le Meurice, paired with incredible dining experiences, including the three Michelin-starred Arashiyama Kitcho in Kyoto, one of the best Japanese restaurants in the world.