Lisbon, Portugal

The 10th hole at Oitavos Dunes

The 10th hole at Oitavos Dunes

After years of travel to the British Isles for their golf trips, last year the men decided to make a change.

The goal?

More sun
Less travel time
No unpacking - one great hotel
A few memorable golf courses

Eight experienced golfers got to experience the crystal skies, warm sun, and perfect conditions for their golf trip to Lisbon. They golfed for a week straight at some of the best courses Portugal has to offer, while at night they returned to their luxury, five-star resort to relax, unwind, and sample delicious food and Portuguese wines. 

Cascais, Portugal

Cascais, Portugal

Although this trip was all about the golf, the group had plenty of chances to check out great towns (such as Estoril and Cascais) and eat in fantastic restaurants. The group sailed on the Tagus on a private boat, and around the Troia peninsula on a private catamaran. They ate on the beach, and in Michelin Starred restaurants. 

Portugal is Hot!

At the end of September, we helped a couple with a trip to Portugal. For twelve days, the pair explored some of the best and most beautiful sights in Lisbon, Évora, the Algarve and the Atlantic Coast.

Top-down view of the Bela Vista. Check out that beach!

Top-down view of the Bela Vista. Check out that beach!

Highlights included their guide, Jorge, who took them on a private tour of Lisbon and their day trip to Sintra, and the hotels, the Villa Joya and the Areias do Seixo (the location, the room, the food), and a sushi joint in Lisbon called Bonsai. 

Stages we love...

You don't need to love golf to enjoy The Masters, horses aren't your thing, you'll still get a kick out of the Kentucky Derby. Similarly, you don't need to be an opera buff or an Impresario to appreciate the spectacle of these beautiful stages in Italy.

Ravello Festival has a stage with a view - overlooking the Amalfi Coast.

This amphitheatre in fair Verona has been in use since the 1st century. This summer, you can see famous operas; such as Aida, Carmen and Turandot.

In Love with Costa Rica

File this one under Hotel Villas We Love!

If you ever wanted to stay in the heart of a jungle, yet near the ocean in a luxurious villa, this villa in Costa Rica has got you covered.

5 bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, in the jungle, close to the ocean and only 15mn from the closest airport. Seems pretty perfect to us!

 

Notes from the Road ... The Palio in Siena

Watching the Palio in Style...

Twice a year Tuscany's biggest event, the Palio, comes to Siena.

The Palio is a year-long strategic battle culminating in a crazy horse race, where jockeys ride bareback and sprint around the Piazza del Campo on dirt laid to create a track. If the Derby is the most exciting two minutes in sports, this is the most exciting 90 seconds in travel.

Where were our travellers? Ensconced in front row seats on the balcony of a private palazzo overlooking the famous piazza, the ultimate flies on the wall!

Dinner was 50m away with a table al fresco, where the adults could recount the race over Chianti, while the kids ran across the cobblestones.

Reviews from the Road

Private Cruise on Seine

One of our favourite travellers went to Ireland with a side of France. It was a quick trip to Paris, their first time to France. Many take the Bateaux Mouche up the Seine with 200 others, but we prefer a private cruise. 

We agreed to help with the little detour, but only after they promised to plan a trip back back to France. After all, France is too beautiful, its culture too rich, to take in during just a few days!

Oz at Xmas

Spend a Luxury Christmas in Australia

Fresh Oysters from Freycinet Estuary in Tasmania

We've got a family of three heading Down Under for Christmas this year!

They'll be hitting up the big city (Sydney) for three days, exploring the wildlife of Tasmania for seven days, and experiencing the beauties of the Great Barrier Reef on Hamilton island for four days. 

We love this pic, showing people eating fresh oysters straight from the sea with a lovely glass of local Tasmanian wine. 

Just Got Back ... Fogo Island


Trip type: Outdoor adventure, cultural exploration & gastronomic delight

Destination: Fogo Island, Newfoundland, Canada

Number of Days: 5

Meet the locals: Everyone is friendly on Fogo Island.  You'll notice lots of the same family names--Foley, Decker, Forster, Poole.  They've been there for centuries, and you'll meet them all.

Most other-worldly experience: Being surrounded by thousands of puffins and razorbills, furiously flapping their wings to stay airborne in the north Atlantic.  Take the boat out to Little Fogo Island to meet them.

Favourite hotel: Fogo Island Inn, an architectural wonder on the shore near Joe Batt's Arm.

Best meal: Cod au Gratin, which is Chef Murray MacDonald's modern take on a traditional Newfoundland dish.

Architectural fantasy: The Shorefast Foundation's artist studios--Squish, Long, Tower and Bridge--all designed by the Inn's architect Todd Saunders.  The studios host artists in residence year round on the island.

Recommended hike: The Lion's Den is a 6km ramble along the coast.  It takes you through abandoned communities and is a lovely way to spend the morning.  Have the Inn pack you picnic.

What to pack: More warm clothes than you'd think--mittens and hats came in handy for an afternoon at sea.  Don't worry if you forget something--the Inn has plenty of gear you can borrow, from rain gear to locally made wool wear.

 

Just Got Back ... Chile

Chiloé

Note's from the Road ... Chile style

Trip type: Outdoor adventure and research (the best part of the job)

Destination: Chile

Number of Days: 15

Best place to act like a local
Wander the Sunday morning at Bío Bío flea market in Santiago. Navigate the maze of antiques, look for rare books and eat empanadas. Need a wrench? You can get one of those, too. If it exists, you can buy it at Bío Bío.

Most other-worldly experience: Stargazing at 4am from the terrace of Tierra Atacama.  It's absolutely stunning.

Favourite hotel: Tierra Chiloé, a seaside hideaway among the picturesque fishing villages.

Best meal: Curanto, a traditional Chilean clambake where seafood, chicken, sausages, pork, vegetables and potato bread are layered over hot stones and covered with nalca leaves to trap steam.

Architectural fantasy: Tierra Patagonia, designed by Chilean architect Cazú Zegers to incorporate rather than fight against the strongest natural element of Torres del Paine National Park--wind.

Recommended hike: Cornesus Condoreras, a 6km hike up, across and down a prominent rock buttress. The reward?  Stunning views and, because of the high winds, the chance to see condors float up beside you.

Most other-worldly experience: Stargazing at 4am from the terrace of Tierra Atacama.  It's absolutely stunning.

What to pack:
For the desert: your hiking boots and sunglasses
For Chiloé: an appetite for unique indigenous culture, and seafood.  
For Patagonia: serious wind gear and a sense of adventure.

Want to go to Chile, email Jackie, she would love to elaborate on her trip.

 

Golf Mate?: Golf in the land down under

New South Wales - Hole #5


New South Wales - Hole #5

Australia

If you're going to make this trip, and spend the better part of a day in airport lounges and airline cabins, you're going to want to stretch those legs. Rest assured that with ten rounds of golf in ten days, on the country's best nine courses (five of them ranked in the planet's Top 100), is sure to help you work out the kinks (in your legs or your game, that's for you to decide.)

On the 'mainland,' we'll get you onto the continent's finest clubs, including Royal Melbourne (East and West), New South Wales, Royal Adelaide, and Kingston Heath. Stay at the finest city hotels as well, be it the Four Seasons in Sydney or the Langham in Melbourne. When you're not striking shots on the most heralded layouts, we'll have you enjoying an America's Cup yacht cruise in Sydney's famed harbour, or a private chef's degustation dinner at Penfold's Magill Estate (complete with the finest vintages of Grange wines).

10 rounds of golf

  •  New South Wales
  •  Royal Adelaide
  •  Victoria
  •  The National (Moonah and Ocean)
  •  Kingston Heath
  •  Royal Melbourne (West and East)
  •  Barnbougle Dunes
  •  Lost Farm

 

 

Da Adolfo, Positano, Amalfi Coast, Italy

We think Da Adolfo is exactly the type of restaurant experience everyone desires to have on vacation. Hidden off in a tiny cove, one takes the restaurant boat 10mns from Positano to Laurito Beach. Upon arrival one discovers a cabana restaurant so unpretentious - its hip!

Wine served by the jug, waiters in bare feet and a menu created this morning chalked on a solitary blackboard.

This is our kind of place.

Da Adolfo

 

 

Family Trip to Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Florence

The reviews keep coming in ...

After a family holiday to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Florence the first two weeks of July, we paid for it with a busy slate of trips waiting for us to get on the road.

They're all home now and this is what they said ...

 

 
“Just a quick note to say we had an amazing trip and cannot thank you enough. I am working on typing up my official feedback but just wanted to send this now just to let you know that I felt it was as close to perfect as life can be.”
— Two families to Burgundy and Provence
 

 
“Thanks so much! What a fantastic vacation!

The villa experience overall in Amalfi, gelato making a huge hit, gondola ride Venice and just sitting at a cafe at night in Venice on the water having drinks, kids loved watching glass blower in Venice arranged by Matteo, early morning private Vatican tour.”
— A family of five doing an "Italy 101" with a week on the Amalfi Coast
 

 

One of our favourites was a note sent to our referrer.

“At your suggestion, we retained Chris Tabbitt to book our trip to southern Ireland. We had 7 golfers and just returned on Sunday, August 17th. You should be aware that due to Chris’ efforts everything was perfect! The drivers, the hotels, the booking of the golf courses, caddies, all went according to schedule.Thank you very much for your recommendation and I recommend the use of Chris Tabbitt in the future for anyone booking a golf trip.”
— Eight men golfing the SW of Ireland
 

 
“All back safe and sound and enjoyed the week tremendously and yes we all played the Old Course. Mission accomplished! Thank you for your patience and diligence in making the event a great one.”
— A father and his three grown sons, who are all scratch golfers, were off hoping to play the Old Course and other classic Scottish Links
 

 
“What a trip! Everything was as smooth as silk and the courses were great. Your personal booklet for us was extremely helpful everyday... Congratulations on your exceptional service, recommendations and expertise.”
— A couple celebrating his 70th birthday with Dublin's best links culiminating with a stay up the coast with our favourite course Royal County Down
 

 
“House is stunning! Weather great ... Hiked the north shore trail today and swam in a waterfall pool ... Doesn’t get much better !!”
— A family of five escaping to Maui and Kauai for hiking, snorkeling, biking, surfing and lots of other adventurous things ending in "ing"
 

 
“Iceland is stunning .....I loved it.”
— A long weekend celebrating a 65th birthday in Iceland

The Benefits of Working with a Travel Consultant

There are many benefits of working with an experienced travel consultant when planning your vacation and/or holiday (which are two different things, by the way!). Travel planners enjoy pleasant relationships with all kinds of hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and more...