After nearly 20 years of looking after wonderful but demanding guests at LTR one may be forgiven for thinking that we have seen it all – but each year surprises with different challenges and true to form 2016 did not let us down. This was one of our best bespoke tours of the year.
I was contacted by a delightful couple from California who had not been away on holiday alone together since their last child was born some 10 years ago. They entrusted their valuable two week vacation to me with the proviso that they were to be kept busy, extremely well fed and that they would enjoy the best that Ireland and Scotland had to offer within the given time frame. We bonded so well over the telephone that he admitted, just before he left the US, that he hadn’t even looked at the schedule I had sent him! Just as well he did eventually look at it as he had booked different flights into Dublin than the ones he had told me about! Anyway, a quick call to the Merrion Hotel and all was sorted.
They had superb driver guides in both Ireland and Scotland and they really do add significantly to the overall enjoyment and experience as well as acting as a very useful pair of extra hands during the whole trip during which they must have covered more than 2,000 miles. A comfortable car which allows passengers to see the countryside as well as transport all the luggage is a necessity.
After a personalised tour of Dublin city centre, which took in Trinity College and the Book of Kells, a private visit to the Guinness Distillery and dinner at the fabulous Mansion Firehouse it was off to Cork the next day in time to enjoy the famed seafood menus of Fishy Fishy in the city centre. A boat trip around Cork harbour with a captain who knew the history well and made it all come alive in a very personal way. Staying at Hayfield Manor for the next few nights they enjoyed cycling in Killarney National Park along routes specially prepared for them and then having ‘kissed’ the Blarney Stone it was onto the renowned and spoiling Sheen Falls. Their driver guide took them on a splendidly scenic route to the Bearra Peninsula and onto Glengarriff where I had arranged as a surprise a wonderful boat trip to Garnish Island and around Bantry Bay before enjoying a picnic lunch of freshly caught lobster and Chablis on the Island.
Having raced across Ireland it was back to Dublin via Ballyfin for an outrageously spoiling few days before flights to Glasgow where they were whisked to the west coast and to Eriska Hotel on its own private peninsula overlooking the Irish Sea. A stone’s throw from Ben Nevis, they raced to the top and then enjoyed mountain biking on the lower slopes before an early supper at the Crannog seafood restaurant in Fort William. A whistle stop tour of Skye via the small ferry from Mallaig landed them in the heart of the Cuillin Hills at the Talisker Distillery for a private tour and tasting as well as bottling and labelling just to whet the apetite before dinner at Scotland’s first Michelin star restaurant which now offers rooms for those too weary to travel home!
True to my word to keep them busy, they left Skye and headed for The Great Glen where I had arranged a private boat trip on Loch Ness from Fort William to be picked up afterwards by their driver at Aldourie Castle. No time to linger and then off to Cawdor Castle, the Culloden battlefield and Fort George before collapsing at Boath House for a couple of nights. They loved their Highland safari in the Cairngorms where they enjoyed clay shooting, ARGO and blind Land Rover driving, black powder pistol shooting, off road driving, falconry and rifle shooting with time for a bit of canoeing on the Spey.
Needing to hit the bright lights after a very rural 10 days, it was onto the shuttle from Inverness and down to London for the last couple of nights at the Langham and then what I know must have been a tearful farewell and back to California.
Exhausting it may have been but with many clients wanting to fit in as many experiences as possible within their personal time constraints it is vital to schedule things so that they are not overwhelmed and can enjoy everything without rushing but still be comfortable.
This is what our clients have come to expect and they are happy to pay for LTR services and our attention to detail which is all about knowing our clients. It maybe why 80% of our business is either repeat or referred and I am very proud of that tradition.This entry was posted in Bespoke Travel Itineraries Food & Drink Hidden Gems Insider Tips Local Culture Luxury Lifestyle Travel Inspiration and tagged ballyfin, bespoke, cawdor castle, chablis, comfortable, distillery, dublin, food, Glasgow, guinness, Ireland, lobster, Scotland, skye, spey, talisker, tour, trinity college .