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Luxury Travel


Luxury Travel


I’ve just been reading about an incredible multi-storey family cabin on a cruise ship that costs $75.000 a week and is virtually sold out for the whole of 2024! But I have clients coming to me and asking if I can work my magic as everything, they are seeing is so expensive this year. The cost of a family holiday is scary for most people and prices have certainly gone up, making it unaffordable even for clients used to luxury.

What to do? Well, booking well in advance is definitely key nowadays. Gone are the last-minute bargains. I would also steer clear of obvious choices. If you go where everyone else wants to go, then you will pay a premium. It’s all about supply and demand. There are still places with availability over the summer and autumn and these hotels would welcome your business. I’ve talked before about thinking outside the box.

Here are a few suggestions:

Some of the best family holidays we had in the summer were in the Alps. Usually gorgeous weather, fresh air, lots of sporting activities, swimming in lakes and pools. Often quite a bit cheaper than going to a beach resort. I also know of some great villas on the Atlantic coast of France in the Lacanau region where you have lovely sandy beaches and lakes, and miles of cycling routes.

Summer is also a good time to visit Paris and see the sights. The Parisians head off to the beaches, so the city is quieter.

Mauritius is a good choice for the long haul in the summer. It’s cooler than many other ocean destinations and the prices are usually quite reasonable. For two adults and two children under 12, you’d be looking at just over £4,500 in a really good hotel, which compares very favourably with Europe.

For example, I have an offer for 7 nights from 16th August at the 5* Long Beach, Mauritius in a junior suite on half board for a family of four from £4,685 with direct flights on Air Mauritius!

Apparently, 75% of luxury travellers are concerned about the impact of their holidays on the environment. This is great news! Let’s think about travelling less, staying for longer, taking fewer flights and more trains, and choosing destinations that rely heavily on tourism in poorer, developing countries.

Feeling inspired? Book your next escape now. Get in touch with Lizzi by emailing [email protected] to book your dream trip!

Stay in the loop with the latest developments in the worlds of charity and travel with the Charitable Traveller Report! Discover great travel deals for EuroPride 2023 in Malta, an all-inclusive escape to 5* Dreams Tulum in Mexico, and even a romantic 4* adults-only escape to Aruba.

Got the itch for Italy? In this edition, Lizzi is taking a look at her favourite spots across the country so you can plan your perfect 2023 trip, and if you’re looking for even more inspiration check out the in-depth features on the Isle of Wight and the Great American West!

This week I would like to share with you my love of Italy and some luxury hotels I have been introduced to recently. Italy is a large and diverse country, with mountains, beautiful coastlines, lakes, and historic cities. One mustn’t also forget the islands of Sardinia, Sicily, Capri and Ischia. All regions have so much to offer and are best explored by car or train, but if you are short on time, you cannot beat a city break in Italy either.

Let’s start with the main cities:

Rome: here you’ll find so much to see, from the Colosseum to the Vatican, and both require time to do them justice. Then there are the Spanish Steps, the piazzas, the food, the ice cream, the fashion and the pizzas! Right in the city centre is The Hoxton, a quirky hotel with 192 rooms which come in all shapes and sizes, with bold furnishings, a farm-to-table restaurant and a great cocktail bar.

Venice: there’s nothing like Venice! No matter how many times you visit, surely you can never tire of walking around, visiting the churches full of priceless art, sitting in a square sipping a coffee or a cold beer, and riding along the canals. I particularly like the new The Palazzo Hotel, off the beaten track and near the Guggenheim Collection and the Galleria dell’Accademia. It has a delightful secret back garden that lets out onto a quiet canal served by the hotel’s own pontoon.

Florence: sort of like Venice without the canals, it is a very walkable city. Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region, and home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, such as the iconic Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s “David” sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus”. The Brunelleschi Hotel stands out for so many reasons including its fantastic location. Many of the rooms overlook the Duomo and the plush furnishings and the 2 star Michelin restaurant, make it a great choice.

Don’t forget that there are many other cities worth visiting including Verona, Bologna, Pisa, and Naples.

The Amalfi Coast: I’d say take a drive in an open-top car along the coastline, with the wind blowing in your hair, but the reality is that the roads are very congested in high season and the hairpin bends are a bit scary. I would opt for a private transfer by a local driver! This also gives you the chance to appreciate the breathtaking views as you pass through Sorrento, Amalfi, Positano and Ravello. Such a romantic place! The Excelsior Vittoria is amazing if you can get a room, but I should also mention the Bellevue Serene and the Monastero Santa Rosa, a converted monastery.

The Islands

Ischia: the closest island to Sorrento and reached by a lovely ferry ride with views towards the volcano of Mount Vesuvius, this small island can be visited in a day, but if you’d like to stay a few nights, the Botania Relais and Spa is a great choice. This beautiful Ischian resort comprises 50 rooms and suites spread across 9 villas of typical Mediterranean architecture, with three acres of flower-filled relaxing gardens.

Sardinia: Sardinia is a really large Italian island.  It has nearly 2,000km of coastline, sandy beaches, and a mountainous interior, great for hiking. Its rugged landscape is dotted with thousands of nuraghi – mysterious Bronze Age stone ruins shaped like beehives.

The Grand Relais Dei Nuraghi hotel is situated on a natural rock formation just a few meters from the sea with magnificent views of the Maddalena Archipelago. The suites have been designed as small villas immersed in greenery, for absolute relaxation.

Capri: the best way to reach Capri is by ferry from Sorrento or Naples. It is a beautiful island, kept immaculate year-round and is the place to be seen! Celebrities flock there and keep their yachts there. Capri is famous for its rugged coastline, it’s trendy hotels, piazzas, and shopping! One of the most famous places to visit is the Blue Grotto. The grotto’s extraordinary optical effect is created by the sunlight bouncing on the cave walls, producing electric-blue water that seems to glow.

The Capri Palace is one of the finest hotels and spas in Italy, with its cool stone floors and luxurious white décor. It is perched high up in Anacapri with fabulous sea and mountain views. It has a large outdoor pool and a Michelin-star restaurant. It is simply glorious!

Sicily: well known for its scenery, as captured in The Godfather film, Sicily is steeped in mystery and history. Here you’ll find temples galore, amphitheatres, and churches that reflect Greek, Roman, Arab, and even Norman influences. Along with delicious local food and wine which adds an extra dimension.

Formerly a private residence, the Villa Athena Hotel on the island is an 18th-century palace and a very unique property. The hotel is in a stunning location overlooking the Temple of Concordia and some of the 27 individually furnished, modern bedrooms boast a stunning temple view. The summer swimming pool is set in the garden amongst olive trees.

The Lakes: a wonderful playground to explore from late spring till the end of Autumn.

Top tip: Lake Maggiore is cheaper than Lake Garda, so you can afford to upgrade your hotel. It’s easy to reach by train from Milan, too.

Castello dal Pozzo resort is a five-star luxury independent family-led property on the hills of Lake Maggiore, set between the Italian Alps and the warm-welcoming waters of the lake, just behind the charming medieval town of Arona. Elegant furnishings yet an inviting, modern outdoor pool.

The Mountains: not just for skiing, the Italian mountains are fantastic in the summer, too. And oh, the scenery!! Plenty of hiking and other sports to keep you active. However, you might be surprised how warm it is in this region in the summer, so bring your swimsuit!

I’ve come across the most amazing hotel here: the My Arbor, a tree hotel set on stilts in South Tyrol. The décor in this new hotel, set in the forest, is stunning! Perfect for the winter ski season but also for a summer holiday immersed in Nature. Indoor and outdoor pools. It really has to be seen to be believed.

I just can’t wait for my next holiday in Italy, and I hope you have been inspired by my whirlwind tour of this amazing country.

Feeling inspired? Book your next escape now. Get in touch with Lizzi by emailing [email protected] to book your dream trip!

By Melissa Tilling, CEO and Founder of Charitable Travel

Getting around in Athens is easy on foot or by metro which connects most of the key neighbourhoods of the city. Athens is a city with a rich history and many interesting sights to explore. Here are some popular walking tour areas for tourists in Athens.

Monastiraki is a lively neighbourhood that is home to the famous Monastiraki Flea Market, where you can browse through a wide variety of antique and souvenir shops. The atmosphere was quite touristy but there were glimpses of past promise, with the antique section. There are some great hidden places to hang out too, including a converted residential covered courtyard run by TAR, The Arts Foundation. Quirky and great vibe.

Syntagma Square is a central square in Athens that is surrounded by important buildings, such as the Greek Parliament, the National Garden, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is also a popular spot for people-watching and relaxing. The square has been synonymous with the social justice spirit of Athens.

The Roman Agora is an ancient marketplace that dates back to the first century BC. It is located in the heart of Athens and includes the Tower of the Winds, a fascinating ancient monument that served as a weather vane and water tower.

Psiri is a vibrant and trendy neighbourhood located in the heart of Athens. It is located between Monastiraki and Thissio, and is known for its lively nightlife, street art, and trendy cafes and restaurants. The neighbourhood was once a working-class area of Athens with a mafioso past, but in recent years it has undergone a transformation and has become one of the most popular areas of the city for locals and tourists alike. Psiri is also known for its street art scene, with colourful murals and graffiti adorning many of the buildings in the area. The streets are narrow and winding, and there are many hidden alleys and courtyards to explore.

Feeling inspired? Speak to our expert travel agents to plan your perfect Greek escape, and remember, every holiday you book generates a free 5% donation to the charity of your choice at no extra cost to you! 

By Melissa Tilling, CEO and founder of Charitable Travel

Thanks to the superb organisation of the German National Tourist Board I recently had a fantastic visit to Essen in the Ruhr region of Germany, travelling sustainably by train to attend Germany Travel Mart. Germany Travel Mart is one of the largest international travel conferences, and I spent my time there meeting and making new contacts for Charitable Travel with the destinations and businesses that make German tourism tick!

Essen offers visitors a unique blend of sustainability, history, and gastronomy. Known for its industrial heritage and transformation into a green city, Essen has become a popular destination for eco-conscious tourists seeking to explore sustainable tourism.

One of the major tourist attractions in Essen is the Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This former coal mine and coking plant, which operated from the 19th century until the 1980s, has been transformed into a cultural centre with museums, galleries, and event spaces. Visitors can learn about the history of the coal industry and its impact on the region while also enjoying modern art exhibitions and concerts.

Another popular destination for tourists is the Essen Cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic architecture that dates back to the 9th century. Next time you find yourself in the city, I highly recommend exploring the cathedral’s intricate interior and admiring its towering spires. In the centre by contrast the latest in virtual reality is available with the new mixed reality experience Essen 1887 – #mindblown!

In addition to these historic attractions, Essen is also home to several new sustainable developments. One such development is the Grugapark, a large park that features a botanical garden, a lake, and several walking and cycling trails. The park is also home to the Grugahalle, an event venue that hosts concerts and other cultural events.

Another new sustainable development in Essen is Emscher Park, a green corridor that runs through the city and features parks, gardens, and wildlife habitats. The park also includes several industrial heritage sites, such as the former steelworks at Phoenix West, which have been repurposed as cultural and recreational spaces.

Of course, no visit to Essen is complete without experiencing its cuisine. The city is known for its hearty and flavourful dishes, such as Rinderroulade (beef roulade) and Grünkohl mit Pinkel (kale stew with sausage). Visitors can sample local specialities at traditional restaurants such as Haus Knipping, which has been serving traditional Essen cuisine for over 100 years. Every other type of food is available in this cosmopolitan city.
In recent years, Essen has also become a hub for vegan and vegetarian cuisine, with several restaurants offering plant-based versions of traditional dishes. One such restaurant is Goldknapp, which serves vegan versions of classic German dishes.

I travelled by train to and from London, which proved that the journey door to door was only a little over an hour longer than flying and there’s a lot less hanging around.

Feeling inspired? Speak to our expert travel agents to plan your perfect German escape, and remember, every holiday you book generates a free 5% donation to the charity of your choice at no extra cost to you! 

Welcome to the Charitable Traveller Report, your one-stop shop for all things charity and travel. In this issue, you’ll find the very best travel insights you need to plan your 2023 holidays, positive news from our charity partners, an in-depth look at the luxurious Silversea Cruises, a fascinating tour of India with an opportunity to volunteer with Wildlife SOS, and the brand new edition of Charitable Traveller Magazine!

We are proud to announce that Charitable Travel is a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism. The declaration represents a shared commitment within the travel industry to innovate and adapt industry practices to reduce negative climate impacts generated by travel.

As a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration, we commit to deliver plans aligned with the key pathways of the declaration (Measure, Decarbonise, Regenerate, Collaborate, Finance) to cut tourism emissions in half over the next decade and reach Net Zero emissions as soon as possible before 2050. We promise to deliver our climate action plan within 12 months of becoming a signatory and to begin to implement them.

To find out more about the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism and our commitment to sustainable travel, click the button below. Will you sign too?

Our founder and CEO, Melissa Tilling has been officially appointed by Belmond to serve pro bono on their LGBTQ+ Commerical Committee. Belmond is a well established travel brand which operates and runs hotels, train and river cruises around the world. In this new role, Melissa will help support the direction of the group by helping to further its inclusion and diversity across its product offering and brand.

Melissa looks forward to working with the group and helping to promote greater inclusivity in the travel industry.

The question of how to travel ethically and sustainably has grown in its importance over recent years. Travelling by rail from the UK to Europe is certainly more environmentally friendly than flying, but not as time-efficient. 

To help you to find practical ways to travel and reduce your carbon emissions we now offer packages travelling one-way by train and flying one-way to help reduce emissions and incorporate more slow travel into your holidays in a practical way.

Your favourite European city breaks are still doable as a fly-one-way option, the price isn’t too different and the travel duration still makes a weekend trip possible, whilst cutting travel emissions in half. For example;

Long-weekend break in glamourous Cannes, 3 nights from £645pp. Travel by Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, transfer to Paris Gare du Lyon and continue on a picturesque rail journey to the south of France. Stay in the 4-star Hotel Colette for 3 nights on a B&B basis. Flying home from Nice to London Heathrow. Price is per person, based on 2 adults sharing, and includes a £65 donation to a charity of your choice. Subject to availability and valid for travel dates 25/08/2023-28/08/2023.

How does it compare?

– Outbound travel time by train is 9 hours in total (1 change) and flight home is 2 hours.

– Emissions: The 1041km average journey by plane produces 0.17 tonnes of C02 versus the equivalent distance by train is 0.006 tonnes of C02.

– Train & fly one way from £645pp, fly both ways from £535pp, or get the train both ways from £709pp

Overnight train to Barcelona with 2 nights stay from £639pp. Travel by Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, followed by an overnight sleeper train from Paris Barcy Seine to Barcelona Nord. Stay for 2 nights in the 3-star Catalonia Born hotel with B&B, returning to the UK by air from Barcelona to London Heathrow. Price is per person based on 2 adults sharing and includes a £64 donation to a charity of your choice. Price is subject to availability, valid for travel 15/09/2023-18/09/2023

How does it compare?

– Travel time by train is 19 hours in total (1 change) and return flight home 2.5 hours

– Emissions: Flying 1148km produces on average 0.19 of C02 emissions per passenger versus 0.007 tonnes for the same distance by train

– Train and fly one way from £639pp versus fly both ways from £585pp

Rail break in Venice with a 3-night stay from £989pp. Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris Gare du Nord, and change to Paris Lyon for onward travel to Turin for Milan, and finally journey through Northern Italy’s countryside before reaching Venice. Stay in the 4-Star Principe Hotel with B&B and return flight to London Gatwick from Venice. Price is per person based on 2 adults sharing, subject to availability and includes a £98 donation to a charity of your choice. Valid for travel dates: 31/08/2023-03/09/2023.

How does it compare?

– Outbound travel time by train is 14 hours in total (3 changes) and travel back by plane is 2 hours.

– Emissions: Flying 1117km produces 0.18 tonnes of C02 emissions versus 0.024 tonnes for the same distance by train

– Train and fly-one-way option from £989pp versus fly both ways from £855pp

Speak to our expert travel agents to plan your perfect break, and remember, every holiday you book generates a free 5% donation to the charity of your choice at no extra cost to you! 

Carbon footprint data provided by TerraVerde Sustainability Ltd. whose carbon measurements conform to the GHG Protocol Corporate with conversion factors from Defra (UK), Ademe (France) and other leading databases that operate across many countries

Prices shown are correct as of 11/05/2023