Go way outside the box and spoil your loved ones with the gift of epic, experiential travel. Whether there’s outdoor adventure or a quiet hideaway on their list, our picks will wow them. There’s something for everyone in every corner of the big, beautiful world, only from Ker & Downey.
Teeing off from a sheer cliff face 1,400 feet above a green shaped like Africa… It’s the stuff a golfer’s dreams are made of, and it’s only found at The Legend Golf & Safari Resort in South Africa’s Limpopo.
This spectacle of glitter, color, feathers, and lots of skin is the place to be in advance of Lent. When experiencing Carnival in Rio de Janeiro with Ker & Downey, you have a chance to join in the fun in a costume of your own and see the party from atop a float – the best seat in the Sambadromo. Carnival starts February 9, 2013 and you can add this experience to any of our journeys to Brazil.
The Peninsula Hong Kong offers up some pretty incredible views from its chic accommodations, but none as stunning as what you’ll see on a helicopter tour of the glittering modern metropolis. Make this experience part of your trip to China with Ker & Downey.
Catch first light at this iconic monument and stroll the grounds before the rest of the city wakes up… just one of many unforgettable moments on our 13-day Modern India Unveiled journey.
The largest collection of ruins from the Roman empire can be explored at Ephesus, and Ker & Downey guests can experience the ruins in a unique way with a talented local quartet providing the soundtrack to the private gourmet dinner in this ancient place. Add this unforgettable evening to any of our journeys to Turkey.
Plan a royal romantic getaway to Seychelles’ North Island, the same idyllic resort where the Duke and Duchess escaped the paparazzi after their wedding. Copy their itinerary and spend ten days in the premiere multi-level Villa North Island, hidden away on a private beach.
The award-winning Australia Dreamtime takes you down under with Ker & Downey for an incredible 20 days, ample time to uncover the country’s diverse landscape. Spend time on Kangaroo Island, Australia’s Galapagos, where wildlife abounds in an incredible “zoo without fences” atmosphere.
Are your choices all just too tempting? Can’t decide where to go next? Sample a bit from almost every continent and escape on a thrilling 22–day journey that takes you Around the World with Ker & Downey.
Several members of the Ker & Downey family recently returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Our regional sales manager Wazha Dube recalls his journey and the luxury properties that welcomed him along the way.
On my most recent FAM trip I spent two weeks enjoying the opulence, thrills, and adventures that exist in Dubai and South Africa. Arriving in Dubai, I spent my first two nights at the Armani Hotel located in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The modern hotel’s minimal opulence in design and bare tones offer a distinct but discreet sense luxury that will have you entranced.
I checked into the Address Hotel Downtown for my last night in Dubai. This hotel is very comfortable and offers great dining along with a lounge on the 63rd floor – the perfect place to watch the nightly fountain show. The desert experience was a highlight that every visitor to Dubai should experience. The desert safari will soon have your driving up, down and sideways along dunes and mountains all the way to a Bedouin style camp where I was able to go dune boarding, smoke shisha and relax while watching a belly dance performance.
The next morning we were off to South Africa. Our first stay was at Grootbos Nature Reserve in Gaansbai. Forest Lodge, the newer lodge, boasts amazing views of the mountains and Atlantic Ocean from the comforts of your suite or from the restaurant, Red Indigo. Garden Lodge in contrast, is surrounded by fynbos and the forest garden, which I walked through on one of their many hiking trails, and is a perfect destination for families with children. The Villa was my home for the last night, and I say home because that’s really what it felt like. With six bedrooms, a pool, two BBQ grills, a full kitchen, bar, gym and private staff; you’ll quickly settle in. The staff members are great, the accommodation is superb and the cuisine was absolutely extraordinary… what else could you ask for?
Grootbos is a nature reserve unlike any other I’ve visited when it comes to experience. In just three days I was able to go shark cage diving, watch seals and penguins, fly over Hermanus, hike AND drive though the fynbos and milkwood forests, have lunch on the pristine beach of Walker Bay and explore the ancient caves. Although I wasn’t able to see the rest of the “Marine Big 5” or spend some time in the local vineyards, Grootbos is sure to offer something unique, whether you’re visiting South Africa for the first or fifth time.
My next stop was The St. James Manor for an overnight stay. A quaint seaside retreat located in the artsy district of Kalk Bay, the property is an elegant hotel with only ten rooms, all suited for the very best in relaxation, easily removed from the hustle and bustle but close enough that you can be in the city of Cape Town within minutes.
Next on the journey was Savanna Lodge in the Sabi Sand reserve. Savannah Lodge is a great hideaway in the wilderness, and with only nine suites it’s easy to settle right in. We were treated to game drives filled with amazing sightings, so much that leopards were seen regularly as well as the elusive wild dogs. With attentive guides and staff that take time to sit with you and make sure you enjoy every second, we were treated to an unforgettable experience.
A one night stay at the world-famous lodge, Royal Malewane, was next on our list. For anyone who has stayed at any of the Royal Portfolio properties, many know to expect a mix of African chic elegance, grand luxury, custom experiences, and invigoration with their spas. More so, one’s palate will enjoy an experience in itself with the culinary masterpieces created here.
Camp Jabulani would be the last location for game experiences, and the trip wouldn’t have been complete without it. What sets Camp Jabulani apart is the incredible game experience. Rather than focusing on game drives, guests get a hands-on experience with the elephants, Jabulani included, by spending time with them, riding them, putting them to bed and watching them on a daily basis. As well as the elephant experience, guests also get visit the Hoedsprut Endangered Species Center to enjoy interactions with various endangered animals, especially the cheetah which are bred and raised here. Needless to say, getting the chance to play soccer with baby cheetahs will not be forgotten by me anytime soon.
After a week in the bush we were bound for Jo’burg, and stayed at the famous Saxon. Their new villas are a great addition and offer a whole new experience for large groups. The Saxon has a reputation that needs no introduction and is the epitome of African elegance with world class service.
This was the perfect Ker & Downey experience. Enjoying such a myriad of luxury experiences and accommodations, I have now found it harder than ever to settle back into real life in a city such as New York City, but I just keep thinking that this is just an urban safari. Perhaps sooner or later, the recipes I brought back from the properties will taste the way they did when I was in South Africa.
Contact us today to begin planning your amazing journey with these properties included.
Soaring skyscrapers and architectural marvels define the next generation of opulence and visual art in today’s Persian Gulf region. Set off on Ker & Downey’s Sands of Arabia journey and travel to Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates for a glimpse at the culture, rich history, cutting-edge design, and futuristic innovation of these shimmering cities through experiential travel.
Doha, Qatar – The Islamic Museum of Art
Designed by Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, the designer of the Louvre Pyramid, the Islamic Museum of Art stands on an artificial island adjacent to Doha’s port. Pei spent a great deal of time traveling across much of the Islamic world studying architecture, drawing inspiration from Islamic buildings such as Ibn Tulun’s mosque in Egypt and the Al Hambra Palace in Spain. The imposing white building consists of a blend of modern and traditional styles, designed so that the cubic shapes of the museum, which descend from the dome in changing geometric patterns, will interplay with the sun and the shadows. A 200-foot causeway lined with palm trees links the museum’s island to the mainland. Opened in December 2008, the Museum showcases a selection of Islamic artifacts, many of which come from the private collection of Qatar’s royal family, the Al Thanis. This Museum also features several ancient Quran manuscripts and the Qatar National Collection of Islamic Art, comprised of metal work, ceramics, jewelry, woodwork and glass collected from three continents.
Muscat, Oman – The Grand Mosque
The mosque was constructed from 300,000 tons of Indian sandstone, with a central dome and four minarets as the chief visual features. The surrounding gardens, beautifully landscaped in traditional Islamic style, leading to the white marble courtyard through a series of symmetrical white stone archways which can only be described as a photographer’s dream. From the courtyard, meander through a wooden doorway carved with verses from the Koran that leads to the main prayer hall – an astonishing rotunda that can accommodate over 6,000 people. The prayer hall is dramatically arcaded on two sides with striped Islamic arches supported by black marble pillars. Gilded murals in floral and traditional Islamic geometric patterns decorate the walls throughout the prayer hall while stained glass windows allow filtered light to echo the murals. One of the most amazing facts about the Mosque is its prayer mat, which covers the floor of the prayer hall. It contains over 1,700,000 knots and weighs approximately 21 tons, taking over four years to produce. This mat features 28 colors in varying shades and is the largest single piece carpet in the world.
Dubai, UAE – Ski Dubai
Snow in the Persian Gulf? The first indoor ski resort in the Middle East covers an amazing 250,000 square feet, blanketed with real snow all year round. Ski Dubai has five runs that vary in difficulty, height and steepness. The longest run is over 1,300 feet with a fall of over 200 feet, making it the world’s first indoor black run. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy these various slopes and snowboarders can also practice their stunts on the 300-foot quarter pipe. Kids and parents alike will have fun in the interactive Snow Park, the largest indoor snow park in the world. Ski Dubai is prepared for visitors and offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment. Your skis will carry you down the slope and the quad-chairlift and tow lift will promptly carry you back to the top for another run. You will enjoy themed restaurants; the St. Moritz Café at the entrance to Ski Dubai, and the Avalanche Café at mid-station, with views of the slope. An exclusive retail shop, Snow Pro, has expert staff to advise you on your equipment needs and the team of professional instructors will guide you through the simple, fun process of learning to ski or snowboard.
These marvels are among the many highlights during your luxury travel adventure. Ker & Downey’s signature services bring you the majesty of this thriving region in absolute splendor with exclusive tours, five-star accommodations and professional care. Contact our specialists to begin your journey through the dunes and towers of Arabia.