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Travellers can experience the cultural and culinary marvels of Italy on an inspiring new itinerary packed with exclusive access and five-star hospitality.

Abercrombie & Kent have unveiled ‘Italy and the Palio’, an 11-day adventure hosted by company founder Geoffrey Kent and His Grace the Duke of Roxburghe, Charles Innes-Ker.

Set to depart in August 2024, the tour journeys through Verona to Tuscany, Capri and Pompeii.

It culminates in the world-famous Palio di Siena horse race that was featured in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

“Italy and the Palio is a journey close to my heart. Spectating the iconic Palio di Siena is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that immerses you in the beating heart of Italian tradition,” said Mr Kent.

“I can’t wait to share this extraordinary event with our guests, offering them the opportunity to witness the Palio’s excitement and history in a way that very few ever have.”

The tour begins with a cultural immersion in Verona, famous as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Travellers will explore the city’s romantic ambiance and enjoy a private visit to the Capulet family residence, complete with the legendary balcony where Romeo famously declared his love for Juliet.

Guests will then travel to Tuscany to visit the picturesque town of Montalcino and enjoy wine tastings at a family-run estate.

After attending the Palio di Siena, travellers will explore Capri on a private yacht, with stops at Marina Piccola, the Blue Grotto and a seaside lunch at Conca del Sogno. You’ll also visit the scenic villages of the Amalfi Coast and disembark for leisurely walks in towns like Amalfi and Positano.

An expert archaeologist will help guests explore Pompeii before a helicopter flight over the site.

“Italy & the Palio: An Inspiring Expedition by Geoffrey Kent” is priced from $262,000 per person double occupancy. 

Sail Away on this Superyacht

PONANT HAVE unveiled the 2024 and 2025 sailings aboard the Relais & Châteaux three-mast sailing yacht Le Ponant.

Some 29 sailings have been carefully crafted from the Mediterranean to Cape Verde and the Caribbean.

Le Ponant is the first sailing yacht in history to obtain the Relais & Châteaux label and be included in its catalogue of the finest travel addresses in the world.

“This accreditation solidifies Ponant’s ethos of exclusive luxury and guarantees an exceptional service to be experienced by each guest welcomed aboard,” said Deb Corbett, General Manager of Sales and Marketing Asia Pacific.

Next European summer, Le Ponant is inviting guests to rediscover the magic of the Cyclades and explore the Adriatic coast, away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist spots, closer to nature.

With 16 sailings from Athens and Dubrovnik, guests can enjoy all the charm of niche islands and stroll through fishing villages. Swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking await, with evening ports of call to experience the lively ambiance of the harbours at sunset.

The ship will set sail in November 2024 for the Cape Verde exploring the many facets of the archipelago. From January 2025, Le Ponant will be heading for the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.

“With only 16 elegantly decorated staterooms and suites and a dedicated chef, the travel experience is as if you are on your own private yacht,” said Hervé Gastinel, CEO of PONANT.

“Aboard Le Ponant, the jewel in our fleet’s crown, everyone can reconnect with nature and their own inspirations and live out their desires under sail.”

‘Croatia, Under Sail Aboard Le Ponant: Dubrovnik to Dubrovnik’, seven nights, seven sailings, August 18 to September 29, 2024.

‘The Cyclades, in the Wake of Le Ponant Athens to Athens’, seven nights, eight sailings, June 2 to July 21, 2024.

What a Great Experience

Australia’s leading luxury trade showcase is celebrating the success of the event’s face-to-face return.

Luxperience 2023 was held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Sydney last month.

After a three-year hiatus, it finally brought together 75 of the world’s best travel suppliers and more than 120 elite travel professionals for three days of curated business appointments.

More than 4,300 one-on-one curated appointments were held throughout the three-day event.

“Luxperience is designed to bring together the industry’s top performers for business meetings that drive strong luxury travel sales,” said Lynn Ormiston, Event Director.

“Our buyers commended this year’s event for the outstanding calibre and diversity of suppliers, more than 50 per cent of which were new to the event.”

Next year’s event promises to build on the success of this year, with the addition of a one-day Development Summit preceding the personal appointment schedules.

“The future of Luxperience is very bright. We look forward to taking the feedback we’ve received and creating an even more impressive showcase in 2024,” said Anna Burgdorf, Global Brand & Marketing Director – Luxury Leisure brands for FCTG.

“The heritage of the event is important, however we are already planning for an even stronger future, although the boutique nature will always be retained. It’s not about volume but about quality for this exceptional brand.”

Luxperience 2024 is scheduled to return from November 19-22.

Back-to-back for Reef House

The Reef House Boutique Hotel & Spa has been named Queensland’s best five-star luxury accommodation for the second year in a row.

Keenly contested by some of the State’s most luxurious hotels, the Gold award was announced at the Queensland Tourism Awards.

The Reef House was one of the first Palm Cove properties built in 1958 and over the years has been favoured by Australian celebrities and politicians. The property was operated by Brigadier David Thomson as a private residence where visitors were treated as personal guests.

The property has two swimming pools, including an adults-only tranquillity pool and heated mineral pool, plus the award-winning Reef House Restaurant and day spa.

At twilight, guests gather for punch and canapes hosted by the General Manager.

“Our vision for an adults-only wellness resort that delivers remarkable experiences with more than 21 signature inclusions is resounding with travellers who have increased our repeat business to 25 per cent,” said Malcolm Bean, The Reef House Director.

To celebrate their award, the Reef House is giving away up to $1,150 of additional inclusions including a complimentary night during Rejuvenation Season, available until May 31.

A six-night package starts at $1,874 per person and includes a complimentary night, a candlelit three-course a la carte dinner one night, $400 food and beverage credit to enjoy at leisure, daily breakfast overlooking the Coral Sea and more than 21 complimentary Signature Inclusions.

A three-night package is also available from $790 per person which includes a complimentary night, a candlelit three-course a la carte dinner one night, $100 day spa credit, daily breakfast overlooking the Coral Sea and more than 21 complimentary Signature Inclusions.