Travel Tribe Journeys – Summer Enticements

The days lengthen and warm and we begin to dream of escape. Where to go – spring break to fall – our Clients are plotting & planning – some have already left footprints on sandy beaches and scoured the souks in Marrakech.

Morocco – it is hot, hot, hot! Spring break found many of the five-star hotels sold out, we prevailed for a last-minute request.  We also have May travelers headed to Morocco. We love La Sultana in Marakech and Kasbah Tamadot in the scenic Atlas Mountains, activities include mule trekking to Berber villages. Side car excursions, hot air balloon escapades, Tagine cooking classes, private visits to Yves Saint Laurent home at the Majorelle Garden.

Mustique – Indigo seas and the year around perfect weather combined with an embarrassment of stunning Villas, make this a superb crowd free destination One advantage, our Villa team can offer many properties for 5 nights minimum- some don’t require a full 14 day stay- 5- 8, 10 days – many owners are flexible.

The Maldives, recent booking for two weeks at The Four Seasons Landaa & Kuda Huraa – my faves! Swim with manta rays hovering above and below you, floating in the gentle turquoise seas. Sail away to the spa across the bay, nothing prepares you for the sapphire seas and sugar white sandy beaches. I’m pining to return!

Four Seasons Maldives Kudaa Hura Resort, the Maldives
Four Seasons Maldives Kudaa Hura Resort, the Maldives

Japan – oh my, take a number – you are certain to run into friends at the sacred temples! A plethora of new offerings, innovative exclusive luxurious experiences; gardening with a master designer, with a long lineage of acclaimed gardeners who is currently entrusted with palace and temple gardens. Visit little known private Kyoto gardens. VIP experiences await fans of traditional theatrical performances. A master of Noh, an ancient performing art known for its fantastical masks and flowing robes has created a contemporary and well-designed space dedicated to the craft in a private theatre in the masters own home.  Long list of unique offerings.

Japan Journey

New York, spring fling at The Whitby, in midtown. Kit Kemp’s most recent addition to the city vibrant color and pattern abound!

France, in particular, the iridescent Cote d’ Azure. You may bump into friends at Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc or the Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, summer sizzlers! Days spent bobbing on yachts in private coves, followed by exceptional French cuisine.

Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat, a Four Seasons Hotel, Cote d’ Azure.
Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc, Cote d’ Azure.

Paris in June- doesn’t it sound dreamy? Le Meurice return guests love their VIP attention.

Le Meurice, Paris Luxury Suite

Oh, a multi generational family of 12 is headed back to The Ranch at Rock Creek – they’ve visited multiple times and can’t get enough of Ranch and Rodeo life, Giddy Up !

The Ranch at Rock Creek
The Ranch at Rock Creek

Peru – Machu Picchu adventure for Spring break- the world-renowned complex, a sublime jewel of Incan civilization, built on a towering ridge of granite and tropical forest. As you enter the Sanctuary see the iconic Sun Gate you will be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences. Adventure awaits. Another smashing stay at Belmond Hotels!

Machu Picchu Belmond Hotels

One lucky dad is cruising with his son, on a Linblad National Geographic Alaska Journey to the Bering Straits wilderness touching coast of Russia Journey. Visit Provideniya, Russian Federation, at the western limit of the rich transboundary area known as Beringia, Provideniya is often called “The Gateway to the Arctic”- no Russia visa required!

One of our VV sophisticated art collectors swooned at the latest gallery collections at the recent New York Art Fairs while luxuriating at The Lowell this week!

The Lowell Hotel New York

Big Five – African Safari for eight friends at the VV best lodges with our private safari team. Our fourth African safari and gorilla trek this year.

Rwanda Gorilla Trek mom & baby & toddler
Kenya Safari endless horizons

The eternal city of Rome will enchant a family of summer travelers, ask about our exclusive activities. Practice The Art of Doing Nothing Italian Style: L’arte di non fare nulla.

Hotel de Russie Roma

Tuscany a romantic Journey of exploration and staying at all three Belmond retreats. These foodies are checking off the top trattorias! A romantic honeymoon encompassing Five Luxury Belmond properties throughout Italy and Sicily – The Ultimate Grand Tour!

Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo Sicily
Belmond Villa San Michele Florence

Amsterdam – always a great add on following Italy, Anne Frank, Van Gogh – private boats to cruise the canals.

We are plotting a fall Munich, Paris, London and Paris Journey for a group of eight friends – in memory of a dear friend and family member, an intrepid traveler who passed away this year. A Toast to a Well Lived Life and Enchanting Travel.

Paris

Last but not least, Punta Mita Four Seasons was chock a block full of our spring break clients!

Four Seasons Punta Mita

The globe is whirling with exotic options – days are lengthening, plan a Journey!

Magnificent Mountain Gorillas

Gorilla Trekking is not a last minute Journey. A gorilla permit must be reserved and purchased months in advance. There are only about 600 mountain gorillas in existence today, and the Rwanda Park service only issues 10 permits per gorilla family per day.

There are ten groups/families of habituated gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. A gorilla trek varies from day to day, you may trek for an easy hour or two through the bamboo canopied rain forest to meet your troop or you may hike 6 to 8 arduous hours; trailing machete yielding guides hacking their way though the dense rain forest straight up an 8500 foot peak. And on occasion, trekking in drizzly or pouring rain resulting in muddy slick trails.

We hiked the trifecta trek – clear robin egg blue skies, a cool misty day and a mud trekall conditions worth every step to share an hour with the protected giants. Treks are limited to a maximum of eight guests and a strict hour of observing is enforced. The gorilla trackers have alerted your guides and porters of the gorilla location and hopefully the gorillas are happy in their setting, otherwise you continue until they have been sighted again – an awesome adventure.

Whacking through the brush, the next gap reveals black woolly masses under the green canopy – gorillas scampering and swinging from thin bamboo poles. Initially, it is frightening, although you have anticipated seeing them, a massive silverback 10 feet away is a sight that produces a gasp and an initial bolt of fear. As the giant gorilla sauntered toward me, our guide commanded: Don’t Run – she, a mind reader! A knuckle walk pass by brushed my knees and the powerful Silverback secured another lush bamboo snack. Exhilarating, captivating and mesmerizing – after a short while, your initial fear subsides.

Don't mind me, just passing by!

Don’t mind me, just passing by!

Toddler gorillas roll and romp, thump their chests in play, nuzzle a mom and pick at the matted hair of a Silverback, who ignores them, he was more interested in picking at his massive padded palms, hands and feet which so resemble ours.

Watching the gorilla families eat, play and preen is an absolutely majestic experience. Nothing compares with a gaze from one of these imperial creatures; an enormous Silverback casually strips and chews on a stalk of bamboo while watching you intently. Powerful and so closely human, sharing 98% of our DNA, they were very comfortable with us in their home habitat.

We trekked for three days, and each family we visited was very different in personality. A rainy day yielded the largest Silverback in the community – his enormous outstretched arms resembled tree trunks – Godzilla was small in comparison.

The last 15 minutes of our final trek was spent viewing a mom, her toddler son and a 2-day-old infant. Baby cuddled in her arms and nursing, the toddler sibling gazed intently at this very human looking baby.

Best place to stay is Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge – luxurious in a gorgeous garden setting, and very close to the park headquarters. Tucked high into the foothills of the Virunga Mountain range, the only five-star lodge in the remote area features individual cottages with patios and fireplaces. Wake each morning when your butler delivers coffee, rolls and cookies and helps you adjust your trekking gear.

Arrive back to the lodge for lunch where your guards help you up the steep jungle lined path to the lodge and the manager warmly greets you. Trays of chilled lemonade are passed; while you rest near the warming fire, your butler is there to quickly remove your mud caked boots and provides a foot massage! We lucked out meeting the visiting General Manager from the sister property, Governors Camp. Mike Kirungi seemed never to rest, always inquiring on our well being, opening the gift shop during his dinner – truly a congenial manager who understands the welcome!

Highly recommend!