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We’re incredibly excited to announce that Artisans of Leisure has been voted #1 in the Top 10 Tour Operators category in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards, honoring the top travel destinations and companies around the globe as rated by its readers.

Read the full article here!

“This is an incredible honor for our company and our amazing team. We pride ourselves on offering the very best in luxury travel: the best expertise, the best service and the best itineraries. The awards are based on client satisfaction—thank you to our wonderful travelers and everyone who voted!”
~ Ashley Isaacs Ganz, founder & CEO

Contact Artisans of Leisure to learn more about our customized private tours.

***

Travel + Leisure ® and ‘World’s Best Awards’ are trademarks of Time Inc. Affluent Media Group and used under license. Travel + Leisure and Time Inc. Affluent Media Group are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Artisans of Leisure. From Travel + Leisure Magazine, August 2018 © Time Inc. Affluent Media Group. Used under license.

The post Artisans of Leisure Wins #1 World’s Best Tour Operator in Travel + Leisure Awards appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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Among Rome’s famous cultural attractions are many lesser-known institutions often overlooked despite their magnificence. One such Eternal City gem is the spectacular Palazzo Doria Pamphilj.

Sure to appeal to art lovers, the 17th-century palace has 1,000 opulent rooms overflowing with fine art and decorative objects collected over centuries by the aristocratic Doria Pamphilj family.

Ceilings dazzle with ornate gilded plaster and trompe-l’oeil frescoes.

Silk-covered walls display works by artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian and Velazquez.

Marble floors inlaid with intricate patterns lead into the palace chapel.

Antique furniture, porcelain pieces, gilded mirrors, crystal chandeliers, stone sculptures and other decor add the finishing touches throughout the palace.

A leafy private courtyard offers a quiet outdoor respite.

A visit to Palazzo Doria Pamphilj is one of the many exclusive experiences Artisans of Leisure can arrange during touring in Rome.

Contact one of our Italy specialists to learn more about our customized Rome tours and our specialized art tours.

The post Insider Rome: Palazzo Doria Pamphilj appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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Many travelers often associate Poland with its rich cultural history and Jewish heritage touring, but it’s also a great destination for experiencing local food, admiring decorative arts, browsing boutiques and enjoying the atmosphere in its young, vibrant cities.

The newly opened Raffles Europejski Warsaw hotel is Krakow’s most luxurious hotel and the perfect base for exploring the city.

The hotel is housed in a 19th-century palace that has been updated with mid-century modern design details and local design touches, such as famous Polish ceramics.

Warsaw’s POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews is one of the key touring sights for those interested in Jewish touring.

The museum features rotating and permanent exhibits in a modern building detailing the history of the Jewish people in Poland.

Łazienki Palace (also known as Palace on the Water) is another highlight of Warsaw. The classicist palace dates to the 18th century and survived World War II. It is now home to several museums and beautiful gardens.

At E. Wedel, one of Warsaw’s most famous chocolate shops founded in 1851, Artisans of Leisure arranges private chocolate workshops with master chocolatiers, where travelers have the opportunity to make their own chocolate bars.

A highlight of traveling in Poland is the opportunity to try local Polish food specialties such as traditional pierogis, zurek (sour rye soup with Kielbasa) and beet soup.

In addition to the city’s highlights, Artisans of Leisure also takes travelers to lesser known sights, such as the library rooftop garden at the University of Warsaw.

For anyone interested in Jewish history, a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau is a sobering and moving experience.

Artisans of Leisure arranges private tours of the compound for those interested in experiencing the site alone with a private guide.

Krakow, Poland’s second city in the southern part of the country, is the royal seat of power in Poland and sustained much less damage during World War II than Warsaw.

It’s also a great place to further sample Polish cuisine, including potato pancakes with goulash…

Grilled highland cheese with cranberry jam…

…and obwarzanek krakowski, a popular street snack food similar to a bagel and a pretzel, served with garlic sauce.

Travelers interested in shopping and local crafts will have the opportunity to peruse shops selling local lace…

…silk flower crowns…

…and crystal, a typical craft found in Warsaw.

For those interested in delving deeper into local craft culture, Artisans of Leisure can arrange private stained glass workshops and other craft experiences.

In Poland, artisans carefully create modern glass that is matched to historic glass in structures all over the world. Artisans in Krakow are responsible for stained glass windows all over the city, including at St. Mary’s Basilica…

…and Wawel Cathedral.

 A popular day tour from Krakow is visiting the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

The salt mine is among the earliest UNESCO-listed sites in the world.

Artisans of Leisure arranges private tours of the Wieliczka Salt Mine. We also arrange family-focused tours in the mines and even Sunday Mass in Saint Kinga Chapel inside the mines.

Another recommended day tour is to Zalipie, a village known for its traditional painted houses.

 In the mid 1800s, the women of the village whitewashed their homes to cover dirt and imperfections in the architecture.

Over the years, the villagers have developed a friendly competition for the most beautiful homes.

The painted decorations can now be seen inside and outside of the homes throughout the village.

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The highly anticipated royal wedding between Great Britain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle takes place this weekend at Windsor Castle.

The bride and her mother will spend the night before the wedding at Cliveden House, an iconic country house hotel outside London that has long been one of our favorite hotels in the English countryside.

Cliveden’s proximity to Heathrow Airport makes it ideal for anyone wanting a luxurious stay or memorable meal before or after an international flight, with time to enjoy the hotel’s heritage architecture, extensive grounds and spa.

Most of our travelers stay in Cliveden’s Italianate mansion, a National Trust-owned Relais & Chateaux property with beautiful interiors and renowned cuisine.

Cliveden also offers accommodation in the charming Spring Cottage, a Tudor-style house built on the banks of the River Thames in 1857.

The three-bedroom cottage sleeps six and is booked only on a private basis. It also has two lounges with fireplaces, a small office and a country kitchen with dining space. A private boat launch gives easy access to the river.

Cliveden is getting a lot of attention now because of the royal wedding, but it has hosted many notable visitors over the years.

In fact, Queen Victoria used to take a boat up the river from Windsor Castle to Spring Cottage to have tea with her friend, the Duchess of Sutherland, who was the lady of Cliveden House at the time.

Artisans of Leisure can arrange a cruise on the Thames by vintage boat, complete with sparkling wine and canapes.

Cliveden’s Great Hall is an unforgettable place to have afternoon tea, and the award-winning restaurant is a wonderful spot for lunch or dinner.

Staying at Cliveden may be the easiest way to experience either of these, but we can also arrange private transfers to the hotel for travelers staying in London.

Many visitors will also enjoy exploring the Cliveden estate, which covers approximately 375 acres (180 of which are gardens) and provides the perfect setting for a lovely afternoon walk among formal parterres, a rose garden, a water garden, a walled garden, woodlands and lawns.

Artisans of Leisure can book a stay at Cliveden or an excursion from London as part of any private England tour.

The post Vacation Like Royalty at Cliveden appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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The Four Seasons Hotel at the Bosphorus in Istanbul is one of our favorite hotels in Turkey—it’s the perfect base for exploring the city and an ideal haven for enjoying the warm weather.

The hotel has a prime location on the Bosphorus, the strait that separates the European and Asian sides of the city. The hotel rooms, restaurants and pool all offer beautiful views of the water.

In addition to a fascinating and rich cultural history, Istanbul also offers incredible dining, shopping and luxury in general. Summer is the perfect season for exploring the city with one of Artisans of Leisure’s top insider guides.

Artisans of Leisure arranges exclusive tours of Istanbul including visits to Istanbul’s many beautiful palaces and tile-covered attractions, Turkish cooking classes and tasting tours, in-depth shopping in the bazaars, private cruises along the Bosphorus, and much more.

After a day of private in-depth touring in Istanbul, we love to relax at the pool, indulge with a Turkish hammam treatment at the spa, and savor the excellent Turkish cuisine at one of the waterfront restaurants.

Contact one of our Turkey travel experts to start planning a custom trip to Turkey.

The post Summer at the Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus, Turkey appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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Located on a ridge high above Lake Lucerne, the renowned Burgenstock Resort has recently emerged from a 10-year, $550-million renovation and expansion to become one of Switzerland’s most exciting properties.

The first hotel opened here in 1873, and the resort has since become a favorite among world leaders, European royalty and movie stars.

The heart of the refurbished resort is the newly constructed Burgenstock Hotel. One of our preferred hotels in the Lucerne region, it’s an elegant luxury hotel with spectacular views of the Swiss Alps, Lake Lucerne and the picturesque towns below.

The Burgenstock complex also has three other hotels, 10 restaurants and bars, and one of the country’s best new spas.

The resort’s flagship restaurant is RitzCoffier, a gourmet French restaurant inside the fin-de-siecle Palace Hotel, a landmarked building on the property. We can arrange reservations for our travelers there or at other resort restaurants, which serve pan-Asian, Middle Eastern, Swiss and international cuisines.A highlight of the three-story Alpine Spa is the outdoor infinity pool, where bathers can enjoy stunning panoramic views of the lake and mountains.

Other spa facilities include multiple treatment rooms, steam rooms, saunas, Jacuzzis, an indoor pool and a garden.

It’s the perfect spot for indulging after a day of strolling through the streets of Lucerne or hiking on Mount Pilatus during Artisans of Leisure private touring in the region.

Elsewhere on the resort’s sprawling grounds are a golf course, tennis courts and a movie theater.

The surrounding hills have numerous hiking trails, including a cliffside path to the Hammetschwand Lift. The highest outdoor elevator in Europe, the lift transports visitors 500 feet (153 m) up the cliffs to the top of the mountain for breathtaking views of the Lucerne region.

We highly recommend arriving at the Burgenstock Resort the traditional way visitors have for decades: via a lake cruise to the Burgenstock Funicular. The funicular transports passengers from the shore of Lake Lucerne up to the resort, offering scenic views of the surrounding region en route.

We also arrange private transfers to the resort from Zurich, Lucerne and other destinations in Switzerland.

A stay at the Burgenstock Hotel is included in our Highlights of Switzerland and Essence of Switzerland tours. The resort provides the perfect base for private touring in Lucerne and the Lake Lucerne region.

Contact one of our Switzerland specialists to start planning.

The post Must Stay: The Burgenstock Resort above Lake Lucerne appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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Flower and garden aficionados eagerly anticipate the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, held each May in London, England.

Beautiful plant and flower displays cover 11 acres of grounds at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for the five days of the prestigious event.

The Show Gardens—elaborate installations combining flowers, shrubs, trees, water courses, follies and other features—are a not-to-be-missed highlight. Designers of the Show Gardens may draw inspiration from themes such as sustainability or work with unique plants and landscapes from around the world, such as the salt-tolerant plants of Malta or the flowers of the Yorkshire Dales.

In the Artisan Gardens section, designers employ novel approaches to traditional materials and techniques, creating new versions of classic English landscape gardens.

Inside an enormous tented structure known as the Great Pavilion, top nurseries and florists create colorful arrangements large and small, which might be an ornate display of carnivorous plants, a forest of bonsai or a Cooper Mini covered in greenery.

Artisans of Leisure can arrange tickets for our travelers to attend the Chelsea Flower Show as part of a private England tour. We can also include private touring of the best of the surrounding neighborhood, including insider walks along the backstreets to see beautiful architecture and the fascinating Chelsea Physic Garden.

True flower fanatics will want to combine the Chelsea Flower Show with a visit to the Keukenhof, a park bursting with colorful tulips and other bulb flowers just outside Amsterdam, Holland, which is open through mid-May. The new Eurostar train connection between London and Amsterdam makes this easier than ever. We can also customize a tour of gardens in London and Amsterdam any time of year.

Another option garden fans should consider is our private Garden Tour of England, which includes the finest gardens in and around London and the Cotswolds.

Contact us to start planning a private garden tour in England or elsewhere in Europe.

The post The Chelsea Flower Show and Garden Tours of London appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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Portugal is a fascinating, beautiful destination, with a rich history, incredible architecture and decorative arts, outstanding food and wine, and top luxury hotels.

Our private Portugal tours include insider experiences that capture the best of Portugal’s culture, history, landscapes, and food and wine, such as:

  • A tour of Lisbon’s centuries-old shops specializing in candles, gloves, ceramics, linens, gold jewelry, culinary items, antiques and more
  • Visits to the most picturesque viewpoints and a ride on one of Lisbon’s iconic trams
  • Touring along the Porcelain Route to visit world-renowned ceramics studios, villages with tile-covered buildings and other design highlights
  • Private tastings at the most acclaimed Port, Madeira and wine cellars and estates throughout Portugal
  • Behind-the-scenes tours of Portuguese tile and porcelain factories
  • Private visits to the studios of master Portuguese artisans
  • Tours of local specialty food markets
  • Opportunities for active touring including hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and bird-watching excursions in the Douro Valley and on Madeira
  • A private tour to see fossilized dinosaur tracks
  • Private yacht charters around Madeira
  • Expert-led garden tours in the Douro Valley, Porto, Lisbon, Sintra and Madeira
  • Stays at exclusive seaside resorts
  • Private cooking classes with top chefs
  • Tours of Portugal’s noteworthy historic and contemporary architecture with expert private guides
  • Visits to unique landscapes, including the dunes of Cascais and the cork forests of the Alentejo
  • Tours of ancient sites such as the neolithic stones of Almendres Cromlech in the Alentejo and the Roman ruins in Evora
  • Visits to important UNESCO-listed religious and pilgrimage sites
  • Exclusive Jewish touring, including visits to synagogues, touring in historic Jewish neighborhoods, and private meetings with rabbis and members of Lisbon’s Jewish community
  • Decorative arts-focused tours of palaces, churches and museums
  • Reservations at the top gastronomic restaurants and local restaurants

View our private Portugal tours and contact us to start planning a private luxury Portugal tour.

Destinations:  Europe, Portugal

Tags:  Algarve, architecture, art, Artisans of Leisure, Cascais, ceramics, culinary touring, culinary tours, culinary tours of Portugal, culinary travel, culture, decorative arts, design, Douro Valley, Europe, family travel, family vacations, food, garden tours, gardens, Jewish tours, Jewish tours of Portugal, Lisbon, Lisbon tours, luxury, luxury Portugal tours, luxury tours, luxury travel, Madeira, markets, museums, port, Porto, Porto tours, Portugal, Portugal culinary tour, Portugal culinary tours, Portugal food tour, Portugal food tours, Portugal tours, private culinary tours, private food tours, private Lisbon tours, private Portugal tours, private wine touring, restaurants, shopping, Sintra, tiles, tours, travel, UNESCO, wine, wine tasting, wine tastings, wine touring, wine tours

The post Ultimate Luxury Private Portugal Tours appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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A wildlife safari in Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal is the perfect complement to the unforgettable cultural touring and breathtaking scenery in other parts of the country.

The best way to experience beautiful Chitwan is with a stay at Meghauli Serai, a Taj Safari Lodge in an ideal location on the edge of the Rapti River and the national park.

The intimate lodge has 16 villas overlooking the river and the subtropical jungle of Chitwan. Each features a luxurious bedroom, an expansive indoor-outdoor bathroom and a private plunge pool with views of the landscapes.

Traditional Nepalese design elements in the rooms include wall murals painted by a local artist.

During wildlife safaris in Chitwan, guests take a boat across the river and then travel through the park by open four-wheel drive vehicle.

Chitwan’s dense forests, broad grasslands and oxbow lakes support an enormous variety of photogenic wildlife, including greater one-horned rhinoceroses, Bengal tigers, spotted deer, gaur, wild boar and mugger crocodiles.

Among the hundreds of bird species are great hornbills, grey-headed fish eagles and Indian pittas.

Breakfast in the jungle is standard during safaris.

A walking safari is a wonderful and unusual way to experience the forest and wildlife.

Another favorite activity at Meghauli Serai is floating in an open wooden boat down the Rapti River, passing Tharu villagers playing in the water and gharials (a type of crocodilian) hunting for fish.

The cruise ends with drinks on a secluded sandbar, the perfect place to relax while watching the sun set amid the stunning Nepalese landscapes,

Many guests also enjoy bathing an elephant in the river at Meghauli Serai, an unforgettable experience relished by both parties.

Other activities at the lodge and in the surrounding region include wildlife talks, swimming in the infinity pool, massages and other treatments at the Jiva Spa, biking through the countryside and visiting a rural village to learn about the local Tharu people.

Meals are another highlight at Meghauli Serai.

The chefs create some of the finest Nepalese and international dishes in the country based around vegetables grown in the lodge garden.

Guests can opt to eat in the main dining room with views through the glass walls, al fresco on the terrace overlooking the river, by the swimming pool, in their rooms, or, for a special occasion, at a private table in the shade of a shimul tree.

A stay at Meghauli Serai and wildlife safaris in Chitwan National Park are included in many of our private Nepal tours, including Highlights of Nepal, Journey Through Nepal, Best of Nepal and Luxuries of Nepal.

All Artisans of Leisure private Nepal tours include the top accommodations in each destination and customized private cultural and scenic touring. Contact an Artisans of Leisure specialist to learn more.

The post Must Stay: Meghauli Serai, a Luxurious Taj Safari Lodge in Nepal appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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The dramatic island of Capri has been a popular leisure destination since Roman times and makes for a fantastic day trip for travelers visiting the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

Artisans of Leisure arranges private tours featuring the best of the island, including seeing beautiful scenery, touring the historic highlights and time to shop and enjoy the outstanding local cuisine.

After journeying by boat from Italy’s mainland to Capri, our tours usually begin with an exploration of the hilltop town of Anacapri. Our guides take travelers to favorite places such as the historic Villa San Michele, an early 20th-century villa known for its extensive gardens adorned with antiquities and panoramic views of the island, and the Church of St. Michael, known for its hand-painted tile mosaic floors.

There’s also plenty of time to shop for upscale local specialties such as Capri sandals…

…and jewelry.

Elsewhere on the island, our tours visit the town of Capri, with time to explore its atmospheric backstreets and gardens, and indulge in its culinary highlights. Artisans of Leisure can also arrange a visit to renowned local perfume factory to learn about the local ingredients used to craft unique scents. Capri is also a wonderful destination for hiking, with the opportunity to enjoy privately guided hikes to our favorite scenic spots, gardens and ancient ruins.

Many travelers also want us to arrange a cruise through the glistening Blue and Green Grottoes, a series of sunlit sea caves, and past the Faraglioni, three jagged rock formations off the southern cost of the island, with time to enjoy swimming in the sea.

Upon request, Artisans of Leisure can arrange private yacht excursions to and around Capri for an exclusive experience of island, with the chance to also visit some of the region’s most beautiful coastal grottoes, beach clubs and more.

We’ll also make a lunch reservation at a favorite local spot to enjoy specialties such as handmade pizza and torta Caprese (chocolate and almond cake) or at an exclusive and romantic restaurant overlooking the sea.

An excursion to Capri can be included in any of our Italy tours that include a stay on the Amalfi Coast, such as Essence of Italy and Italy in Style.

Contact one of our Italy travel specialists to learn more.

The post A Private Day Tour to Capri appeared first on Artisans of Leisure.

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