1. Head to Hawaii for an Adventure
Un-Cruise Adventures’ 7-night Hawaii adventure cruise, Hawaiian Seascapes, with only 36 guests on board the Safari Explorer, will have your clients night snorkeling with giant Pacific manta rays; kayaking through a lava tube or near volcanic cliffs; jumping in a skiff to look for whales, giant sea turtles and other marine life; watching dolphins off the bow; and paddleboarding near the yacht. The itinerary offers up a unique mix of islands—Hawaii, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai, an island few travelers have the opportunity to visit. Departures are November 2014 through April 2015, and rates start at $3,595 pp dbl and if you act VERY quickly, by July 31, you can save $600 per couple (excludes the Dec. 20 and 27 holiday departures).
Who to book: “Clients who are enquiring about resort vacations in Hawaii may be ideal for an all-inclusive week aboard our 36-guest Safari Explorer. There is a sense of exclusivity with the small numbers of guests on board. Families celebrating a milestone event such as a wedding, anniversary or reunion can be presented a private charter option,” says Tim Jacox, executive v.p., sales and marketing, Un-Cruise Adventures.
2. A Ranch Experience in Florida—Who Knew?
The 1,400-acre, third-generation-owned Creek Ranch in Haines City in Central Florida is, as owner Jim Black says, “a delightful surprise for most people. Our family has preserved a part of Floridian history that most people do not realize exists. We share with guests an authentic ranch experience; believe it or not, there is no need to travel out west.” On this working ranch, with 400 cattle, guests can go horseback riding with the herd or along the main trails, take a trip on an airboat, go fishing, canoeing, clay pigeon shooting, or mountain biking, take a self-driving jeep tour of the ranch, or hop on a pontoon boat for a ride on 9-mile-long Lake Hatchineha, rich with wildlife and rare birds. The outdoor activities are complemented by meals prepared by a personal chef, with menus discussed in advance, and accommodations in the lushly decorated, 9,000-sq.-ft. main house, which is filled to the brim with family heirlooms, antiques, paintings and art books. The minimum rate to rent Creek Ranch exclusively for a group is $3,250 per night; that rate covers up to eight guests and includes all meals, beverages, wines and all activities.
Who to book: “We are perfect for a girlfriend getaway because our staff is welcoming and pamper each guest. Meals are cooked whenever they like and schedules are set up so each day is relaxing and adventuresome. We offer a great atmosphere to reconnect with friends,” says Black.
3. Train Like an Athlete in Arizona
Kara Thomas, the fitness and wellness manager at Arizona’s Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, puts it nicely when she describes the lure of this resort for active travelers: “The breathtaking views and relaxing facilities of the resort, nestled on Camelback Mountain, lend themselves to a serene yet productive getaway.” And active travelers won’t be disappointed if you book them the resort’s 3-night Triathlon Training package, which includes three days of training with Sanctuary’s team of experts, with each day focused on the different elements of a triathlon, such as core training, swimming, biking, and running; power breakfast each morning; three spa treatments, including a sports massage; and casita accommodations. During the getaway, guests work directly with swimming instructor Misty Hyman, who earned a gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney; take a guided desert bike ride; and embark on a tandem run with a fitness instructor. Rates start at $1,797 sgl.
Who to book: “Fitness and wellness retreats are a fast-booming business with health-conscious travelers looking to upkeep their exercise routine while vacationing (and leave them some more wiggle room to indulge),” says Thomas.
4. let’s rally in the northeast
brite spokes by Kuoni, a new travel brand that is offering vacationers a variety of thematic trips, exclusive experiences and personally enriching adventures, has included a rally car racing itinerary in its lineup that’s ideal for the adventure traveler. Guests will learn to slide around a slalom course with complete precision, do a J-turn, a pendulum turn, and pull a reverse 180° and they’ll also have the opportunity to sit shotgun with a pro-driver as they speed through a private off-road course. “People want to get the most out of everything they do and add to their own story, which makes obscure activities such as rally that much more intriguing,” says Mark C. Morello, CEO of brite spokes. Gateway cities are Boston or New York and the getaway includes a 2-night stay at a luxury resort; transportation to and from the hotel and driving school; two breakfasts, two lunches, and one dinner; a trip manager; and 24/7 customer service. The rate is $5,450 pp or $5,050 if it’s a 4-person group.
Who to book: “The rally consumer speaks specifically to the active adventure traveler, business leisure traveler, and the affluent traveler; men looking for an adrenaline-filled guy’s weekend, as well as women looking to challenge themselves and feel empowered. There’s nothing like doing a reverse 180° like a Bond girl to make a woman feel sexy and confident,” says Morello.
5. hop on a bike…take a sip of wine
Backroads, known for creating extraordinary biking tours throughout the world, pairs wine and biking in the 6-day California: Wine Country Bike Tour that has riders biking through Napa and Sonoma vineyards, where they’ll visit galleries, markets and tasting rooms in vibrant towns as well as pedal through quaint towns; picnicking in Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve; dining on culinary feasts inspired by local vintages and fresh California ingredients; riding through windswept headlands to Bodega Bay, on the Pacific Coast; partaking in a Roman bathing ritual at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa; and tackling the well-known climb on Pine Flat Road. Best part? Hundreds of wineries line the cycling routes. “I simply can’t imagine a better way to immerse yourself in the life of a region, to explore hidden corners and appreciate nuances while enjoying the benefits and enormous satisfaction of traveling under your own power. These are experiences you cannot have behind the wheel of a car, or on a train or a tour bus, or in a few excursions from a cruise ship or a secluded resort,” says Tom Hale, CEO/founder of Backroads. Numerous departures through November; rates start at $2,898, and depend on departure date. Solo departures are available in September and October.
Who to book: “Clients who want to really connect with a place up-close; without barriers between them and the destination,” says Hale. “The majority of Backroads adult guests are between 45-65. We also have Family trips for families with children aged 8-16 and Family Breakaway trips for families with teens and 20-somethings.”
Backroads: (800) 462-2848; backroads.com or backroads.com/travel_agent/travel_agent_registrations/new
brite spokes by Kuoni: (800) 986-4735; britespokes.com
Creek Ranch: (800) 225-4255; creekranch.net
Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain: (855) 245-2051; sanctuaryoncamelback.com
Un-Cruise Adventures: (888) 862-8881; un-cruise.com or un-cruise.com/extranet/index.php (travel agent log-in)