Broadening our horizons to enable us to discover and experience arts and cultures around the world is what many of us aspire to. Captain’s Choice is an exclusive travel company that turns the dream of that adventure into a reality.
Think of a city that has had three names and is guardian of some of the world’s most unique treasures. Istanbul!
Formerly know as Constantinople, and more exotically as Byzantium, this is the city that has been the gateway to east-west trade since around 660BC and has been the capital city of no fewer than four empires—Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman.
This gives Istanbul an exceptionally rich mix of cultures and architecture, which includes the world famous landmark, the early 17th-century Sultan Ahmed Mosque, popularly known as the Blue Mosque due to the great expanse of some 20,000 blue tiles that decorate the interior. This mosque is one of the wonders of the world, with its majestically oriental architecture, Venetian coloured glass windows, ornately carved marble, together with the finest calligraphic texts from the Qur’an.
In September 2014 (and 2015) an opportunity arises to visit Istanbul in grand style, thanks to luxury travel company and pioneer of private jet tours, Captain’s Choice. The four-day trip to Istanbul is in fact a taster for those contemplating a longer journey of discovery of 16 days or more to remote cultural destinations, enticingly called ‘The Silk Road and Beyond’, all in the comfort of a private jet.
Even on the four-day visit to Istanbul you’ll have the chance to see just how smoothly this travel company operates both on the ground and in the air – although leaving your fellow passengers to continue the journey while you head home will make you wish you had booked for the duration.
Your journey to Istanbul starts at the Harrods VIP Terminal at Luton Airport, where the hassle-free boarding process takes place in a matter of minutes. Just 44 guests enjoy all business class seating in a privately chartered customised and reconfigured aircraft (an Airbus A319) throughout the duration of the private jet tour. On arrival in Istanbul guests are sped through immigration and then taken by private transfers to the 5-star Ciragan Palace Kempinksi.
The ‘Highlights of Istanbul’ tour includes visits to the Blue Mosque, The Topkapi Palace, where lunch is served in the courtyard, and the Dolmabahce Palace beside the Bosphorus. Guests can opt for a cruise along the waterway to the Chora Church and there’s even a cruise across the Bosphorus and the Sea of Marmara to Buyukada, the largest of the nine small Princes’ Islands. Leisure time also gives guests the opportunity to visit the local bazaars and explore the city to experience the local culture.
While those guest travellers who opted for the taster experience of this four-day visit to Istanbul return to London, fellow travellers who choose ‘The Silk Road and Beyond’, their journey continues with a 17-day tour of Turkey, China, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
When still more distant destinations beckon, Captain’s Choice will take you on another private jet adventure, the ‘Exotic India & Mountain Kingdoms’ tour, where you will visit Bhutan, Oman, Nepal and India.
Today, the tiny kingdom of Bhutan (the Himalayan ‘Land of the Thunder Dragon’) remains an enticingly remote country where there has been little access for many centuries. This destination must surely be one of the highlights of the new 2014-16 series of Journeys by Private Jet organised by Captain’s Choice that takes the select group of travellers into Bhutan’s Paro Valley (by a privately chartered Druk aircraft) for a fascinating three-night experience of the Kingdom. This is for many the most anticipated sector of the 19-day tour.
This particular journey commences on 25 September, 2014. Guests will fly directly to Oman’s capital, Muscat, in all-business-class seats, from the UK’s VIP Harrods Terminal. In keeping with Captain’s Choice policy of using the finest 5- star hotels or the best available, accommodation for the first two nights is at the Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton property set on a private beach with a dramatic mountain backdrop, allowing an in-depth tour of Oman, a country that was once known as the ‘Hermit of Arabia’.
The private jet departs Oman for India, where five days are spent exploring Central Rajasthan—Udaipur, Jaipur, and the cultural and religious centre of Varanasi, where bathing in the Holy River, the waters of the River Ganges, is a time-honoured ritual. On day nine of the tour, Captain’s Choice guests will take a dawn boat trip down the river before travelling by private jet onwards to Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
Three nights are spent in Nepal, exploring the cities of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, and there will also be an unforgettable early morning flight around Mount Everest. After a further three nights in the secretive Kingdom of Bhutan, guests return by their private jet to India to explore the cities of Delhi and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Here, Captain’s Choice has chosen the Oberoi Amarvilas for its guests, just 600 metres from the Taj itself and perfectly situated to admire the vista of one of the greatest man made monuments in the world.
From 2015, all Captain’s Choice private jet tours will include 5-star accommodation and dinner the night before departure, free private transfers to and from home within a 100-mile radius of the Harrods VIP Terminal at Luton Airport and fully comprehensive travel insurance with no upper age limit. Most pre-existing medical conditions can also be covered within the travel insurance. For complete peace of mind, an on-board doctor accompanies the tour escort team from day one of the tour until its completion.
In the next issue of Arts & Collections, we’ll be exploring further with Captain’s Choice, looking particularly to fulfil a dream journey that has been specially devised as the ‘Circumnavigation of the World’, an adventure that takes place 4-26 March, 2015. In addition, we will look at the 25-day tour ‘Ultimate Africa’, and also the 24-day tour ‘Ultimate South America’.
Meantime, Captain’s Choice is pleased to extend an invitation to readers of Arts & Collections to attend its Information Seminars, a series of presentations for those considering travelling with Captain’s Choice on one of these remarkable tours.
The Information Sessions
To find out all about the Private Jet Tour experience and meet the team, simply sign up for one of the Captain’s Choice Information Sessions which are taking place around the country in September. Each session begins at 2pm and takes the form of a one-hour presentation followed by drinks and discussions, with plenty of opportunity for questions. The sessions are due to finish by 3.30 pm. Edinburgh is an exception, with a morning session starting at 10.30am and finishing at around midday.
Dates and venues 2014
Winchester – September 3
Harrogate – September 9
Chester – September 10
Edinburgh – September 11
London – September 17
Ashford – September 18
Bath – September 27