I’m sitting down this morning to tell the world, and all of our baby boomer travel fans about our recent Connections journey to Spain hosted by the kind folks at Abercrombie & Kent (A&K).
You see, A&K believes so strongly in their new Connections program, they felt that they needed to bring a collection of storytellers to experience the program in hopes that the storytellers might, through their collective experiences, bring a perspective that could only come from outsiders looking in.
So, in late November, and into early December, a group of us storytellers flew to Spain to experience what Abercrombie & Kent calls Connections.
Fifty years ago, Abercrombie & Kent all but invented the African safaris with little more than a Bedford truck and a sterling silver ice bucket. Now, a half-century later, A&K runs 50 full-time offices around the world, staffed by more than 2,300 people, and have become the world’s preeminent luxury tour provider in desirable destinations around the globe.
Each of A&K’s signature brand travel experiences brought the absolute highest of amenities with only the best 5-Star hotels/resorts, ulta-luxury African camps, world-renowned restaurants, chauffeured in the world’s best motorcars, and absolute attention paid to even the smallest of details.
However, as you might imagine, this level of service comes at a price that only a few could afford.
With a deep desire to share the great beauty that is planet earth, married with an equal desire to introduce its inhabitants to one another, and provide this all at a price point that a great many more might enjoy, the Abercrombie & Kent Connections program was born.
You might say that the A&K Connections program is a luxury travel program instead of an über-luxury travel program.
Instead of staying in 5-Star hotels/resorts the program features 4-Star hotels/resorts. Instead of dining with only the world’s absolute best restaurants, you will be enjoying the world’s great restaurants. Instead of being in a group of 18-24 guests, you enjoy the company of 24-28 guests. Instead of being lock-step with your tour guide every moment of the day, Connections offers a fair amount of free time to explore on your own.
With these adjustments to their programs, A&K Connections is able to offer a luxury tour experience that is financially attainable by millions more of the world’s travelers.
Enjoyable Highlights of our Experience
Tour Host & Guides – Our tour host in Spain was the former British Ambassador to Spain. With his obvious connections, he also brought remarkable local guides aboard to bring us unparalleled intimate knowledge of our destinations. Seeing and understanding is a far greater thing than merely seeing.
Remarkable Hotels – Every single hotel we visited exuded luxury. If there were better hotels available in our locations, we certainly didn’t feel slighted in any way, shape, or form.
Connections – Looking back on this experience, A&K’s desire to connect travelers with the local culture is perhaps one of the richest parts of the experience. Because we were being guided by locals, we were taken behind the curtain of the Great Oz and allowed to meet, befriend, and experience shoulder-to-shoulder with the locals. Perhaps the most intimate example of this was enjoying evening aperitifs with a local diplomat and his wife in their personal palace in Seville.
New Friends – Unless one is the greatest of wall flowers, spending time exploring with others is certain to bring new friendships. What a great joy to have new friends all over the world, and from all walks of life.
Sights – I suppose everyone who travels to Spain get to see the sights we saw. However, other travelers are unlikely to get a closed museum in Malaga to open up to them for a private tour. While other disgruntled travelers waiting in a four-hour long line to get into Barcelona’s famous Sagrada Família, we walked right in the door like we owned the place. Plus, we greatly enjoyed wonderful sites tucked out of the site of the typical Spanish tourist.
Food – A wonderful part of any travel experience is to enjoy the local cuisine. We have fabulous memories of tapas crawls, local Spanish beers, tasting sherry in local bodagas, bustling metropolitan food markets, drinking cortado (Spanish espresso cut w/ warm milk) at small coffee stands all over Spain, fresh sardines in the south of Spain, wonderful cheeses, drinking sherry from a porrón, an absolutely fabulous dinner of paella, and so much more.
To be completely honest, I (David) have not been a big proponent of group travel in the past.
However, not having to give a moments thought to planning the trip, connecting with locals as we did, enjoying the level of luxury that we experienced, and now having new friends to boot, we now find ourselves hooked on Abercrombie & Kent Connections and hope to high heavens to experience this type of travel again, and again.
We highly recommend and give our absolute highest endorsement to the Abercrombie & Kent Connections travel experience.
Disclosure: our Spain travel experience was provided by the kind, and very cool folks at Abercrombie & Kent.
Bio: The Roaming Boomers is a luxury travel blog spotlighting experience, adventure, learning and exploration. David and Carol Porter, Michigan natives who retired to Scottsdale, started the project in 2008 after the market collapse took away almost half of the savings they’d carefully put together to be able to retire at age 50.
The couple combined their years of entrepreneurship with a love of travel and set off to see if they could build success. The Roaming Boomers do occasionally accept free lodging, food and other gifts, but disclose that in their posts. They hope to build an audience of Baby Boomers who join them vicariously on their adventures. But they also hope to instill their love of travel so that the coming bubble of 79 million Boomers will join them.