Someone once said that if you have a handful of great moments, you have a great movie. Nobody remembers every plot point or line of dialogue. They remember the big emotional moments: Merely Streep having to choose which child to send to the death camps in Sophie’s Choice, John Cusack standing outside a girl’s window with a boombox in Say Anything, etc.
The same can be said of a trip. Special experiences are what forever etch that trip in our minds. Those can be anything from a glamorous dinner to a great hotel, from a mystical moment to an unexpected celebration.
And these special experiences are what Brand g prides itself in.
Our trips are not a bargain – they’re all-inclusive, 5-star vacations. But for that premium, you’re getting experiences that you can’t create on your own even if you tried. These unique tours, dinners and other experiences are typically ones you can’t even begin to book on Viator or Expedia; they’re created in concert with our land and cruise operators to be one-of-a-kind. But even in the cases where they’re available to the general public, Brand g makes them special by making them all-LGBT, so that our guests are in a gay “bubble”.
Here are some examples:
PRIVATE DINNER ON THE BRITTANIA (SCOTLAND)
Our Scotland trips conclude with a private, formal dinner aboard the Queen’s former royal yacht, the Brittania. My husband and I had taken a public tour of the Brittania a few years ago when we were in Edinburgh, but this dinner was something else altogether. All the areas that were roped off during the public tour were now open and accessible – we could sit on the queen’s couches and use her crystal. The yacht was entirely Brand g’s, and it was a glamorous, unforgettable evening.
There were cocktails and tray-passsed hors d’oeuvres, a four-course meal (where the waiters did synchronized serving, setting plates in front of all the guests simultaneously – very Downton Abbey), a tour of the ship, and entertainment. And a gift bag was presented to each couple/solo traveler as we departed.
To make the moment even more memorable, all guests were fitted for luxury kilts that afternoon. Getting your photo in a kilt on the Brittania is something probably none of your friends can say they’ve ever done.
WADI RUM 4X4 RIDE (JORDAN)
Our Jordan land tour (which is offered as an extension to our Egypt vacations) includes a private jeep tour across Wadi Rum, the vast, red-sand desertscape in southern Jordan. The scenery here is absolutely spectacular and otherwordly, and Brand g creates a gay bubble for our guests by coordinating jeeps (and camel rides) for our group alone. You’re not riding across the desert with strangers, here – it’s all-LGBT.
POSH PICNICS (SOUTH AFRICA AND PERU)
Both of these vacations offer a special picnic that is more elegant and memorable than any you’ve ever had. In Peru, it’s held in a private area on a nature reserve, and it begins with appetizers and champagne while you’re seated on colorful mats and throw pillows on the ground; then moves to a tented affair with food by one of Cusco’s best restaurants.
In South Africa, it’s a gourmet box lunch at a stunning winery in the Stellenbosch wine region. Trust me, this is no typical box lunch, and this is no typical winery. It’s breathtaking.
SHAMAN CEREMONY (PERU)
This mystical moment is held on the grounds of the 5-star Tambo Del Inka resort in the Sacred Valley and is a private ceremony strictly for Brand g guests. Here, a local shaman performs a half-hour ceremony that blesses each guest and gently ties us to the spirits of nature. Regardless of your religious beliefs (or lack thereof), it’s a terribly moving moment that reminds us to engage with the beauty around us and feel gratitude.
HOTELS (ALL OVER THE WORLD)
Brand g has a knack for sourcing spectacular properties for many of its trips. Some examples:
The Culloden House in Inverness, Scotland is a palatial, 28-room bed and breakfast on a 40-acre estate. The rooms are large and filled with chandeliers and antiques (and if antiques aren’t your style, the baths are completely modern), the staff is among of the finest we’ve ever encountered, and the food served there is exceptional. Brand g takes over the entire property for a gay-filled three days.
The Fairmont in Amman, Jordan is one of those hotels that literally no one wanted to leave. This spectacular contemporary hotel has rooms and public spaces that are over-the-top gorgeous. One evening, we had a Brand g welcome dinner in a private room, with the largest buffet for a small group (about 40 people) that I’ve ever seen. Everything about this hotel combines to create an atmosphere of casual splendor.
The Tambo Del Inka resort in the Sacred Valley of Peru is the epitome of a 5-star “lodge”, akin to a Four Seasons ski resort. The rooms are huge and plush, and the public spaces are majestic. It creates an air of relaxation and calm, like a luxurious wellness retreat.
The Kempinski Ishtar in Jordan is situated right on the banks of the Dead Sea. Everything about this resort is stunning – big, ultra-contemporary rooms with massive, enclosed balconies, gorgeous restaurants, and its own private beachfront where you can “take the waters”, i.e. float in the mineral-rich Dead Sea.
WINE TASTING UNDER A PALACE (AUSTRIA)
We’ve all been to wine tastings. But doing one in a gorgeously outfitted wine cave underneath a palace in Austria elevates this moment to unforgettable status. The room was lined with wine casks, lit by candles and chandeliers, and naturally, was strictly for Brand g’s guests. And the fact that the guy leading the tour was superhot certainly didn’t dampen the mood.
DINNER ON THE SERENGETI (SOUTH AFRICA)
Africa is a lifechanging experience on every level, and this dinner certainly added to that feeling. We were taken to a remote location one evening for a torch-lit dinner on the Serengeti. The nearness of wild animals (you don’t see them, but you know they’re around), the exquisite food – magnificently prepared elk, antelope, etc., along with more standard fare for the less adventurous – and the extraordinary location made this yet another treasured moment in a trip full of them.
Now, these are just a few of the events that I, as the writer of this blog, have personally experienced with Brand g. Every trip has these special moments, and this blog would turn into a novel if I listed every one.
Suffice it to say that if you’re looking for a cheap, no-nonsense way to see a country, take a different tour. But if you’re looking to create memories that will live with you forever, take a Brand g.