The earliest travellers were traders who set off on expeditions to faraway places, pioneering routes that live on today. Following in their footsteps, luxury travel company Abercrombie & Kent (A&K) has curated ‘Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet’ to allow 50 privileged guests to discover some of the world’s most fascinating peoples, places and celebrations, in intimate and enriching ways.
This epic journey features such timeless destinations as Kyoto, Kathmandu and Abu Dhabi, where enduring history blends seamlessly with a bustling modern culture. Travel back in time with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony and a private geisha performance; then there’s a taste of the nomadic life in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert. Nepal offers incomparable views of Mt Everest by helicopter, while Bhutan affords a glimpse into a fiercely-protected traditional culture, as well as an opportunity to make the pilgrimage to the Tiger’s Nest Monastery. After stopping in Agra for a royal banquet and a sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal, guests jet off to Abu Dhabi, a city transformed, in contrast to the Bedouin encampments found in the otherworldly desert of Wadi Rum and the Treasury of Petra. The journey ends with a taste of Sicilian dolce vita in Taormina, where guests can explore picturesque villages from a unique perspective behind the wheel of a vintage Italian sports car.
Private jet travel with A&K is filled with invitation-only events, including a tshechu ceremony, a longstanding Bhutanese tradition with masked dancers; traditional contests of archery, wrestling and horsemanship at Mongolia’s Naadam Games; and an exclusive Sicilian welcome party styled after a traditional wedding, with celebratory dancing, music and food –arranged exclusively for A&K guests. Thoughtful curation makes it possible for guests to personalise their experience with a choice of Design Your Day® options, from relaxing spa treatments to active outdoor excursions. In Kyoto, it may be meeting a master swordsman for a hands-on samurai experience; sake tasting or learning about traditional indigo dyeing from a famous artisan.
One of A&K’s most experienced Tour Directors orchestrates the journey from start to finish. On the ground, guests travel in small groups of no more than 16, each led by a Tour Manager, assisted by expert local guides who share their personal stories and lend insights beyond any guidebook. New for 2019 is an onboard physician who travels with the group. A&K’s Travelling Bell Boy® service insures luggage is waiting in rooms when guests arrive.
Accommodations reflect the distinctive character of each destination and offer authentic hospitality. Highlights include a comfortable ger camp in Mongolia, exclusively reserved for A&K; Dwarika’s in Kathmandu, recognised by UNESCO for its extraordinary native woodwork; and five star comfort just steps from Petra. Guests may also take advantage of A&K’s complimentary laundry service, Traveller’s Valet® midway through the journey.
Meals are thoughtfully choreographed with local entertainment and stunning natural backdrops such as dinner in a 17th century Japanese castle, with a welcome by samurai warriors; sampling the flavours of India at a Mughal-themed banquet in Agra; and a romantic candlelit desert feast at “Little Petra”.
Guests travel on A&K’s privately-chartered Boeing 757-200ER where 50 custom-designed Italian leather seats are equipped with a personal massage system, 4-way adjustable headrests and lumbar support, that open to fully lie-flat beds. Additional seating enables guests to socialise in comfort with their travelling companions, while a full privacy screen and extra-high seat back provide undisturbed rest. A fully stocked, open bar featuring top-shelf wine and spirits is a feature, in addition to the first-class meal service. The dedicated cabin crew offers a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:7 and amenities on board include Bose noise- cancelling headphones and pre-loaded iPads.
A&K is a pioneer in private jet touring, having introduced the first Royal Air Tour in 1989. Today it is one of the most experienced companies in the business, having designed and operated dozens of programmes on a variety of luxury aircraft to destinations all over the world, as well as custom-designed jet itineraries for families and private groups.
A&K’s 23-day ‘Cultural Treasures: Around the World by Private Jet’
Tour dates: 12 October-3 November 2019
Double occupancy: US$129,000 per person
Single Supplement: US$16,500