UK-based luxury adventure travel firm Abercrombie & Kent pioneered the private jet tour, launching its first such excursion in 1989. It was a natural evolution for founder Geoffrey Kent, who also created the first African photo safari. A dashing figure, at 16 Kent became the first person to travel by motorbike from Kenya to Cape Town; went on to attend the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst; had a distinguished career as an officer with the British armed forces; became one of the world’s top-ranked polo players, riding alongside the Prince of Wales; founded Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy to protect wildlife and ecosystems; and serves as Honorary Consul of the Republic of Kenya to Monaco.
Traveling around the world by private jet on an itinerary personally selected by Mr. Kent is obviously one of the great luxury travel experiences; to do so with Kent himself leading the expedition is truly beyond compare. Later this year Kent is inviting 50 discerning individuals to accompany him on one of the greatest excursions he’s ever created, dubbed “Around the World with Geoffrey Kent: An Inspiring Expedition by Private Jet.” The epic 25-day tour, aboard a custom-fitted first-class only Boeing 757 will begin in Miami and end in New York City, visiting places like Patagonia and Easter Island that are not accessible to commercial carriers. The cost is $150,000 per person, based on double occupancy.
Kent’s presence means that guests will enjoy the sort of VIP access that is normally out of the range of most travelers, no matter how wealthy. “I can’t think of a more fulfilling way to discover a new destination than by sharing the experience with people that share my passion for travel adventure,” Kent tells Luxury Life. “We’ll be circling the world to explore destinations I’ve always wanted to experience in person, as well as a few of my favorites, which we’ll offer up in an entirely new way. Every three days we have planned a choice of ‘Design Your Day’ adventures, from hiking through the rainforests of Nicaragua to taking part in a sailing on the Swan River. Our goal is for each destination to outdo the one before.”
The jet features fully lie-flat Italian leather seats equipped with a personal massage system, full privacy screens, four-way adjustable headrests and lumbar support, that open to 6.5-ft. long fully lie-flat beds. A dedicated cabin crew at a staff-to-guest ratio of 1:8 and an onboard executive chef will see to pampered travelers’ every need, while a doctor will be on hand to handle anything unforeseen. On board you’ll also find an espresso machine, Bose headphones and iPads loaded with music and movies.
The group will spend the first night getting acquainted at the Four Seasons in Miami, before embarking on the bespoke Boeing. The first stop will be Nicaragua to see Mombacho Volcano and the famous tropical cloud forest of the Emerald Coast, followed by Chile to see the scenic fjords and incredible wildlife of Patagonia. Next is a stop at Easter Island to visit the quarry where the iconic massive Moai statues of Napa Rui, and from there the jet will take the group to New Zealand for a helicopter tour of Milford and an off-road excursion to rugged Skippers Canyon, followed by Australia where guests will take place in a sailing regatta on a private yacht.
In India, guests will attend a traditional boat race and also cruise the backwaters of Kerala on a luxurious houseboat. Next, they will visit Oman, where Kent served while in the British Army, to experience the Gulf of Oman on a traditional dhow and explore the surrounding desert by off-road vehicle or paraglider. The final stop will be the “cultural crossroads of East and West”, the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia, where the group will explore picturesque medieval towns and fortresses.
Of course, there will be lavish five-star accommodations at every stop, including an eco-friendly luxury lodge on Easter Island; the stunning COMO the Treasury in Australia, a Victorian-era state house turned cutting-edge hotel; and a lakeside resort in India comprised of updated 16th-century villas. Meals will be equally memorable as Abercrombie & Kent partners with local chefs at each stop to ensure world-class dining in even the most remote locales. Highlights will include a picnic on the slopes of a dormant volcano, a torch lit feast on the shores of Easter Island, and an authentic Australian barbecue with a view of the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Along with a tour manager, luggage handlers, local guides and other staff to take care of all arrangements, a professional photographer will be on hand to document the entire trip. Of course, flying privately allows the group to bypass long customs and security lines and travel on a timetable based on the itinerary to avoid waiting around.
“Travel is transformational,” notes Kent, who roster of celebrity clients includes Bill Gates, Tom Hanks, Liam Neeson, Kristin Davis and Barbara Walters. “It puts people in touch with people; cultures in touch with cultures. It ultimately leads to understanding those who come from entirely different backgrounds. I truly believe that if more people travelled, there would be less conflict in the world.”