Artisans of Leisure - Luxury Travel & Tours

Luxury Travel Newsletter Newsletter 20 - Summer 2012

Where to Go in August

luxury Turkey tour
Turkey’s coastal regions are particularly recommended during the summer months

Summer’s here, and there’s still time to plan an international vacation. Many of our travelers have asked for suggestions for August, which is a great time to travel in many destinations.

France, Italy and Turkey are proving to be our most popular tour destinations this summer. In France, for example, our travelers are having us arrange private tours along the French Riviera, history-focused tours of Normandy, visits to chateaux and gardens in the Loire Valley, wine tasting, and tours of markets, Roman ruins and small villages in Provence. Of course, Paris is always popular—many families are opting to combine it with London and elsewhere in England. Other destinations around the Mediterranean, such as Italy & Sicily, Spain and Greece are ideal this time of year, especially if you like hot, sunny days. They offer perfect combinations of relaxing beach resorts, fascinating ruins, ancient cities, soft adventure activities (e.g., biking and four-wheel drive excursions) and culinary touring.

Travelers who prefer destinations that are cooler in August are opting for Central Europe, Switzerland and Russia, where the long days allow ample time to explore.

Outside Europe, we highly recommend Bali and Indonesia, which have perfect weather this time of year.

Contact us to beginning planning your ultimate summer vacation.

private luxury tours

Just Back: Austria, Germany & Switzerland (slideshow)

luxury Switzerland tour
Lucerne's historic town center, beautiful lake and iconic Mount Pilatus

Ashley Isaacs Ganz, the founder of Artisans of Leisure, has just returned from a wonderful overland tour through Europe that started in Austria, continued through Southern Germany and Alsace (France), and concluded in Switzerland.

Like travelers on our tours in this fascinating region, she enjoyed seeing fine art and porcelain, strolling backstreets in half-timbered villages, exploring fairy-tale castles, shopping and dining in open-air markets, visiting car factories, and relaxing in luxury palace hotels and spas with views of beautiful mountains and lakes.

photo icon Launch slideshow

Read more about Ashley’s trip in Just Back: Austria, Germany & Switzerland on our blog.

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Just Back: India & Nepal (slideshow)

luxury Nepal tour
Patan, in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

After falling in love with India on her first trip there a few years ago, Artisans of Leisure travel expert Leah Reilley recently returned to explore new regions and visit neighboring Nepal.

Q: What were some of your favorite experiences?

A: There were so many. In India, I really enjoyed getting into the rhythms of the daily ceremonies in Varanasi and seeing the exquisite temple sculptures in Khajuraho. In Nepal, some of the highlights were a flight to see Mount Everest and the Himalayas, an elephant-back safari and rhino spotting in Chitwan National Park, walking through the well-preserved streets of the village of Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, and hiking in Pokhara with the Himalayas as a backdrop.

Q: What was your favorite meal?
A: A traditional dinner of Newari cuisine at Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu, Nepal. The multi-course menu started with a sampler plate of beans, puffed rice, sauteed garlic, curried potatoes, spinach and corncakes. Next, I had a buckwheat pancake with pureed lentils, as well as buffalo momos (dumplings) with coconut chutney, and vegetable soup. The main course was rice with dal and spinach, string beans and potatoes, and fish stew with tamarind sauce. For dessert, I had sikarni, which is a tasty dish of yogurt with nuts and cinnamon.

luxury India tour
Leah at The Imperial in New Delhi

Q: What was your favorite hotel?
A: Nadesar Palace in Varanasi, India, was a wonderful and luxurious escape. I also loved the Tiger Mountain Lodge in Pokhara, Nepal. Its secluded location offers views of the valley below and the high peaks of the Annapurna range above. There are great hikes to local villages. The GM was really fantastic—he was very interesting and sophisticated. And the food there was the best I had in Nepal.

Visit our website to see recommended itineraries in India and Nepal.

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private luxury tours

From Our Travelers: China Family Tour (slideshow)

luxury China tour
The Roy girls at the Summer Palace in Beijing

The California-based Roy family has traveled with Artisans of Leisure many times over the past few years. They've just returned from an Artisans of Leisure tour in China, where they visited Beijing and the Great Wall, Guilin and Yangshuo, Shanghai and Suzhou. We’re excited that they've offered to share photos from their trip with us.

They wrote:

Having completed Artisans of Leisure's luxury tours in six countries, we can say with confidence that you truly know how to show your clients the world! You have encouraged us to explore places we would have never considered, such as Egypt and Russia, and they are two of our favorite trips! Traveling with our three daughters has been enjoyable because we don't worry about whether we will be safe or whether we will see the important sites. We are always well cared for and have an English-speaking person with whom to converse and ask questions. Best of all, the trips cater to our specific tastes and interests. If we want to stop and enjoy an ice cream cone, we can. If we want to go back to the hotel and rest, we can. If we want to spend all day in one place, we do. The flexibility is so important when traveling as a family. Thanks to your excellent organization skills, we are able to literally show our children the world and gain a unique perspective for ourselves. The guides are always the best the country has to offer and our VIP treatment is felt from the moment we land to the moment we depart for home. The memories we have created will be treasured forever. We look forward to our next trip with you!

photo icon Launch China slideshow

luxury private tour

Bespoke South America: Peru & the Galapagos

luxury Peru tour
The best way to experience Machu Picchu is with our expert private guides

One of the most common South America tour requests we receive is for private tours combining Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands. Our 14-day Best of Peru & the Galapagos tour is the ultimate pairing of these dream destinations. It includes private touring with the most experienced and knowledgeable guides, luxurious hotels, a high-end boat cruise in the Galapagos, iconic Machu Picchu and many other incredible destinations.

We thought we’d share this feedback we recently received from one of our travelers:

My daughter and I are back from the fabulous trip you planned for us to Peru and Ecuador! The trip was planned and carried out to perfection. Our guide in Peru was absolutely outstanding. He gave me the encouragement and help I needed in climbing to the very top of Huayna Picchu – an accomplishment of which I will always be thankful!! I am still totally amazed that I was able to do that and experience the unbelievable view of Machu Picchu from there. The Sacred Valley was so beautiful, Machu Picchu, Cuzco and Quito tours great, and the Galapagos Islands one of the most amazing places in the world. Thank you once again for your helpful advice and thoughtful planning. I would highly recommend this itinerary to anyone who has the good fortune to be able to go. I will be sure to get in touch with you for my next trip.

Contact us to start planning a private South America tour in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile or Brazil (upon request).

private luxury tours

On Our Blog: An Interview with Our Birding Expert

luxury South Africa tour
Stephanie (in the pink shirt) birding in South Africa

Birding is a favorite pastime of Artisans of Leisure travel specialist Stephanie Dosch. On our blog, she discusses how travel and birding complement each other in destinations as different as Ohio and Cambodia.

Q: When and how did you become interested in birding?
A: My mom has been birding forever, and she would take me along with her when I was a kid. Eventually it clicked for me, and I've been doing it ever since. I was very active in high school, volunteering for Seattle Audubon, going on birding trips with other teens, and even participating in birding competitions around the country...

Read the full interview on our blog.

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