Ever wanted to experience the Sistine Chapel – alone and afterhours, with a private expert private guide? Or walk through Voltaire’s private library, tour St. Petersburg on a private excursion led by Dostoevsky’s great grandson, or mix your own scent at a famous Parisian house of perfume?
These are a small selection of the rare experiences possible through Kensington Tours via its new ‘Elite Collection’ of European tours.
“Each of the itineraries in Kensington’s Elite Collection features private tours led by renowned historians, museum curators, master chefs and even descendants of important European figures,” notes Phil Sproul, Kensington Tours president. “Travelers will spend nights at palaces, ancient citadels, famous vineyards, on private yachts and in the same hotels as Hemingway, Oscar Wilde, Queen Elizabeth and Hollywood greats.”
The tour selections are the handy-work of Kensington’s senior European specialists, and are private tours designed for behind-the-scenes explorations, extraordinary experiences and deep cultural connections.
Kensington’s Elite Collection premiers this year with its Europe itineraries described here:
Afterhours Vatican, Ferraris & Private Yacht Italy Elite – Rome, Florence & Amalfi
Unveil the secrets of the Sistine Chapel during a private afterhours tour of the Vatican. Experience “la dolce vita” behind the wheel of a Ferrari and in the caverns of exclusive wine cellars. Discover the stunning Amalfi Coast during six days on a private yacht. Meet local artisans, wine connoisseurs, master chefs and museum curators as you tour Rome, Naples, Procida, Ischia, Capri, Amalfi, Positano and Tuscany. Soar over Florence in a hot air balloon, be pampered at hotels frequented by monarchs and bask in the glow of bygone ages during expert private guided tours of everything from the Colosseum to the Uffiz Gallery. Cost: 14 Days from $45,185 pp
Haute Cuisine, Couture & Châteaux France Elite – Paris & Bordeaux
Immerse yourself in the country that gave the world Chanel, champagne and Michelin-class cuisine with this itinerary designed to showcase France’s art, fashion and gastronomy. Experience “joie de vivre” as you tour Paris, Bordeaux and St. Emilion and rest your head in style at castles, royal châteaux and an age-old monastery turned wine estate. Blend wines under the tutelage of an expert, enjoy a private collection at a fashion house, create your own scent at Guerlain, the world’s oldest perfumery, make macaroons at Lenôtre and sip your way through exclusive wine cellars. Fused together with historian-guided tours, personal shoppers, chauffeured Rolls Royce and Michelin restaurants. Cost: 7 Days from $18,750 pp
Jewels Of The Crown Russia Elite – Moscow & St. Petersburg Delve into Moscow and St. Petersburg in a style fit for a Tsar with private guide, chauffeur, caviar and champagne. From cocktails at St. Peter and St. Paul’s Fortress, a private choral performance at St. Nicolas and a backstage tour of the Bolshoi Theatre to an afterhours Hermitage visit, special access to Voltaire’s library, a tour led by Dostoevsky’s great grandson, and impossible-to-access restaurants, this is Russia at her richest. At night enjoy the finest hotels where Pavarotti, Queen Elizabeth and Tchaikovsky have also rested their heads. Cost: 9 Days from $15,487 pp
Private tours of aristocratic homes led by the Lords themselves. Behind the scenes at the Queen’s beloved Windsor Castle. An in-depth Stonehenge experience led by a famed Oxford archaeologist. The chance to bypass a three-year waitlist to visit Prince Charles’ gardens at Highgrove. These are but a few of the rare experiences carefully woven together in this itinerary designed by our most knowledgeable Anglophile. Michelin-starred meals, chauffeur, world-class shopping and a stay at the former guesthouse of Buckingham Palace perfect this escape. Designed for travellers with a thirst for in-depth cultural and historic insight, privileged access and thoughtful touches at every turn, this bespoke experience has no match. Cost: 7 Days from $15,487 pp
Long established as a haven for A-listers, the playground of the Adriatic makes for a sophisticated oasis when it includes embellishments like your own stylish private yacht, curator-led tours of national museums and sunbathing on golden beaches once reserved for royalty. From the moment you step off the plane you’ll receive VIP treatment as you’re greeted by private guide, whisked through security and chauffeured to the first of a collection of stunning properties including the former summer residence of Queen Marija Karadordev. Discover the treasures of Zagreb, Split, Hvar, Korčula, Sveti Stefan and Dubrovnik in true luxury. Sightsee and island hop in high style as you tour the birthplace of Marco Polo, indulge in a diamond massage, savor fine wine and gastronomical delights. Cost: 12 Days from $15,195 pp