Experiences You Can’t Plan. Even If You Wanted To. How I Provide Exclusive Access

Expert Tips

September 24, 2021

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i'm cassandra marcella


The travel industry is deep and vast. What is visible to the public is truly only the tip of the iceberg. And many of the treasures are hidden underneath.

Our most special ingredients are the extraordinary partners that are on the ground. Destination Management Companies (or DMCs as they are called in the trade) only work with travel advisors.

And they provide a pivotal link to resources, local knowledge, authentic dining, scholarly guides, and extraordinary and exclusive experiences. They have long-standing relationships with suppliers on the spot. These relationships simply can not compete with a Google search.

The destination management companies are an extra level of security to ensure that all goes well and according to plan. This protection means that my clients have a trouble-shooter right there on the ground and in the same time zone.

Also, the hotels and other travel providers have an extra incentive to ensure top-notch service – that the destination management company uses them again and again. One-off tourist trips do not have that leverage.

They are my most critical partners with whom I collaborate to wow and delight my clients.

I rely on them to offer insider knowledge and ideas, and they also negotiate exclusive rates and provide access to sites and experiences that are only available because of their contacts and connections in their country.

Here are a few examples of the kind of experiences only travel advisors and their partners can provide ::

1 || Design a custom purse

Enjoy a private fashion show and shop with the designer in Paris, along with the opportunity to make a custom handbag with a designer.

2 || Tour the Patek Philippe Facility

Private tour of the Patek Philippe factory in Geneva with a private shopping experience.

3 || Race Card to Galway Races

Admission to The Galway Races, a seven-day festival known for its vibrant, bustling atmosphere. Enjoy reserved seating, lunch, and a race card. This tour also includes a private helicopter ride over Ireland’s West Coast.

4 || Sleep in a Castle

A stay at the home of the 7th Earl of Erne’s Crom Castle. This 19th-century fairytale castle sits in 1900 acres of beautiful National Trust property which is one of the most important nature conservation areas in The British Isles. Built circa 1840, the famous architect Edward Blore designed this castle, and he was also responsible for parts of Buckingham Palace.

5 || Lunch in the home of renowned artists

Lunch and private tour in the home of famous Peruvian artist, Victor Delphin, whose home on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific, like a Salvador Dali painting.

6 || Tour Historical Sites Off-Limits to the public

Tour the houses of Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia (which have been open to the public on and off since 2008)

7 || Sail on a private yacht along the Amalfi Coast

Private yacht excursion along the Amalfi Coast to visit Cetara, Maiori, Minori and Atrani as well as Amalfi, Ravello and Positano. Dive into the aquamarine waters, stop for a picnic or taste the renowned ricotta pastries.

8 || Design your own perfume

Create a bespoke perfume for you to take home as your signature scent.

9 || Dine in a Silver Factory

Catered dinner in an Italian silver factory that is little known but makes everything from the Super Bowl trophies to the Popes’ chess set to Tiffany jewelry. And obviously, the table was decked out with pure silver candelabras, plates, goblets, and water decanters.

10 || Meet the Pope

Private audience with the Pope in Rome and visit The “Room of Tears” or the “The Crying Room,” off of the Sistine Chapel, where newly elected popes would go to weep out of joy or fear. This room is where the newly elected pontiff changes from his cardinal’s red robe to the papal white. The name originates from the story of Pope Leo XIII. He was elected pope at age sixty-five, in 1878, and is supposed to have cried that he was too old to be elected and that he would surely die. He actually ended up living to the ripe old age of 93.

11 || Herd Sheep with Sheepdogs

Have a go at herding a flock of sheep with the working dogs of one of the world’s best Sheepdog handlers (a member of England’s National Team) in the English Cotswolds.

12 || Stay in a Room with its Own Postal code

Rosewood’s first property in Europe is simply stunning. It’s in London and features wrought-iron gates, a cobblestone carriageway, and a grand courtyard. Rosewood London is also home to the one and only suite in the world that has its own postal code.

13 || Luxury Tenting in the Desert

Experience Wadi Rum, Jordan’s desert with its Mars-like landscape. Enjoy a visit to a Bedouin camp while sipping tea and engaging with the local Bedouins. Retrace Lawrence of Arabia’s Jordan, atop a camel and in a four-wheel-jeep. Take in Wadi Rum’s breath-taking gorges and watch the colorful sunset before spending the night in a luxury Bedouin tent.

14 || Tour the Ferrari and Maserati Museum

Be immersed in the unique world of Italian racing and driving on the Ferrari and Maserati tour! Discover up-close why Ferrari and Maserati are the most glamorous names in automobile design. Visit these two incredible museums and explore their ground-breaking cars. Begin at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, which is home to the famous Formula One racing team. Learn about the company’s history from a passionate guide who will tell stories of the brand, and show displays of vintage and contemporary models. Marvel at some of the most spectacular models ever created. See the exhibit of World Championship cars and five themed rooms. The museum traces the heritage of the world’s premier marque. Continue your fascinating visit with a guide to the next world-famous car brand, Maserati. This is a must-see for aficionados of the four-wheeled arts. This exclusive collection features some of their most important models, including the rare 6 CM type, which was only built between 1936 and 1939.

15 || Learn How to Waltz in Vienna

Once considered unseemly, the Viennese Waltz today is the very definition of all things Austrian — and part of UNESCO’s cultural heritage. The people of Vienna love it, the music – made world-famous over 150 years ago by waltz king Johann Strauss – as well as the dance of the same name in three-four times, which is a fixed item at every ball. The journey from non-dancer to ball-ready is a short one with the assistance of the Vienna Dance Schools. The dance consists of just six steps; what makes it challenging is the high speed. Someone who dances twelve waltzes in a single evening will have completed about an hour of physical exercise, including 2,500 turns, 5,000 steps, and 3 miles.

16 || Sleep under the Northern Lights

Enjoy a special Arctic experience at the Snowhotel, a structure constructed entirely from snow and ice. Sleep like a Snow Queen or Snow King in a spacious, white Snow Suite, specially designed with snow sculptures. Discover the unique Arctic snow bar where a frozen icy glass gives the drinks a totally new stunning dimension and an experience beyond compare. Take a snowmobile trip into the wide-open space for the most gorgeous display of natural color and light – the Northern Lights.

17 || Private Sailing Excursion in Bariloche

Considered one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Bariloche is nestled on the shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi and is surrounded by mountains and forests. The mountains, rivers, and lakes of Bariloche are perfect for lovers of the outdoors. With endless opportunities to hike, kayak, and ride horses, the luxurious fresh air will keep you outside. Experience the true remoteness of the destination with a private sailing excursion on Lake Nahuel Huapi. Sail to an isolated island and enjoy the sounds of Argentinian music as a local musician serenades. Disembark and set out on a leisurely hike to a secret picnic spot, complete with a delicious meal, Andean wine, and Patagonian beer refreshments.

18 || Calligraphy Workshop with Nicolas Ouchenir

Discover the talented calligrapher Nicolas Ouchenir and admire his work in this calligraphy workshop. A unique opportunity to visit the artist’s studio and to exchange with him about his creations made to measure for the biggest houses: Bvlgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chaumet, Dior or Chloi©, Nicolas Ouchenir puts his know-how at the service of the particularity of each client and each object he designs. Under his fingers, writing becomes an art. Nicolas Ouchenir will guide you and tell you all about this unique know-how. Try your hand at the art of descending and ascending lines by imagining your signature or your own monogram-a sublime souvenir to take home with you.

19 || Dinner under the Lights of the Acropolis

Have a private tour of the New Acropolis Museum followed by an exclusive dinner on the museum terrace with mythological views of the Acropolis! When the Museum has closed its doors to the public, a licensed guide will take you to discover the artifacts that were found on the sacred rock of the Acropolis and uncover stories from antiquity that are still relevant today. After the private tour, have the opportunity to reflect on the ancient marvels with a welcome cocktail and breathtaking views of the Acropolis and stomping grounds of Socrates and Plato. Your intimate dinner with the live music from Harp and Violin further enhances your multi-sensorial experience. It ignites your palate with the curation of the finest locally sourced ingredients presented in the most timeless way.

20 || Royal Insider

Get draped in regal intrigue on an unequaled private journey with Simon Rhodes, great-nephew of the late Queen Mother. Over many days in England and Scotland, Rhodes will be a personal escort and provide behind-the-scenes access to such sites as Windsor Castle, Sandringham Estate, Balmoral Estate, and many others dear to the Royal family. Revel in a gala banquet aboard the former royal yacht.

21 || Murder Mystery Lunch

Dine on a sumptuous lunch and plenty of head-scratching are on the bill during this exciting Murder Mystery experience. Go back in time to the 1920s aboard the vintage train, sister to the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express. During the afternoon, meet the cast of suspects on board. Using a clue sheet and sleuthing skills, interview them to ascertain who is the most likely murderer. Piece together the clues while savoring exceptional cuisine paired with fine wines. Glamor, fun, and a dash of adventure are all part of this fabulous day out. There are even prizes for the best detectives

22 || Art and Wine

Go back in time to discover traditional winemaking in the heart of rural Mallorca, and embark on this exclusive visit to an off-the-beaten-track organic winery steeped in history. Take a guided tour of Son Sureda Ric by the oenologist and owner Javier Jara. End the tour with a red wine tasting in the stone-clad courtyard accompanied by homemade Mallorcan specialties. Javier and his lovely wife Carmi¨, the Marketing brain behind Son Sureda Ric, will treat you to an intimate Bossa Nova concert in the ancient chapel, where Javier will play the guitar, and Carmi¨ bewitches with her soothing voice.

23 || Glass-bottom Kayaking

Whether day or night, day or night, enjoy an adventure to explore the pristine British Virgin Islands waters and reefs. Discover the underworld beneath without getting wet in the 100% see-through kayaks. If feeling adventurous, enjoy the guided night tours.

24 || Mayan Mysticism meets Luxury

Shamanism, combined with luxury and ancient healing techniques with modern science, enjoy this unique combination to experience extraordinary and unique wellness results. Entering the spa is part of a personal journey, a deep immersion into an experience that will prepare a return to daily life feeling free, now transformed, and as part of continued evolution. Modern science, traditional Mayan wisdom, and a subtle cosmic influence are at the forefront of a complete spa experience.

25 || Spa & Wellness in the Arctic

Stay in an exclusive cabin by the water with a spa and wellness facility. Indulge in the best cuisine and come alive during bear spotting, moose safari, salmon/trout fishing, or horse riding. In the wintertime, anticipate northern lights and enjoy all the winter activities: snowshoeing, husky safari, snowmobile, and much more.

26 || Blue Lagoon Retreat

Stay at the only 5-star spa resort on the Blue Lagoon. The resort’s exclusive access allows for a more luxurious experience with private access and areas away from the crowds at Iceland’s most visited attraction. Featuring accommodations overlooking the geothermal springs and the moss-covered lava fields, underground treatment rooms offering unique mineral-rich spa treatments, it’s the perfect end to a vacation exploring the island.

27 || Meditation Maze

Surrounded by eighty-four Shiva Lingas, the cosmic pillar represents the infinite nature of Lord Shiva, the meditation maze is a synergy of spiritual power and nature, best experienced soon after sunrise. Gently lay your feet on the grass floor within the maze and absorb the early morning dew, the healing energies of the earth and the universe being transmitted to your body, leaving you feeling revived and fresh. In such a positive environment, nature does its own wonders by establishing an inner balance to be set on a positive path for the day. Meditating beside the maze in the mornings can help deepen your powers of concentration, strengthen the heart and the lungs, relax the body, and counter mental fatigue.


So, are you ready to plan your own adventure? What thrills me most is to surprise my clients with experiences that they didn’t even know were possible. Because I get to know my clients so well, I’m able to find original and very personal ways to delight them. And I’d love to do that for you too.



  

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