Bespoke Journeys

CREATING YOUR DREAM VACATION

Over the years, Art of Living has curated many and varied, handcrafted and special interest journeys for individuals and small groups –

study tours for textile conservators from the MET, New York; a weekend of lavish parties for 120 international guests coming together in Jaipur to celebrate a joint 60thbirthday; a romantic 30th anniversary celebration through Rajasthan; an Indian itinerary for couples travelling in their own private jet; a special program for buyers stocking their store; a gentle trekking program for clients with a keen passion for travelling off the well beaten tracks; a family program where parents are wishing to introduce to their children a world where not everyone is as privileged as them….

We love this work and pride ourselves on being able to specifically interpret each client’s particular interests and needs. These are never cookie-cutter programs. Rather, we create itineraries that are original, imaginative, well-paced, and meticulously detailed – based on our intimate experience, connections, and many years of research that we constantly update.

Whenever feasible, we like to start the design process with a conversation so as best to understand expectations, budgets, time-frames, personal passions and style of travel. We urge clients to commence their planning well in advance, but have also been known to pull together last minute arrangements in high season in under a few weeks.

Pricing will vary widely depending on your time of travel and particular preferences. (Prices for our escorted tours are in no way indicative of the cost of a private tour, as the former are laden with many extra inclusions).

We provide unstintingly generous and very personalised service that includes comprehensive travel notes for your trip preparation, descriptive itineraries, curated and annotated sightseeing, shopping and dining suggestions, 24/7 assistance on the ground, as well as useful bibliographies for travellers keen to read up on their chosen destination.

For DIY travellers, we provide a concierge service by phone or email that is charged at an hourly rate, so you can incorporate our expert advice into a self-designed program.

SUGGESTED BESPOKE JOURNEYS

  • 7 DAYS
    Kashmir
    The Enchanting Kingdom
    “If there is a paradise on earth, it is this, it is this, it is this”.  Persian poet Jami Kashmir has been romanticised by everyone from the 16th-century Mogul emperor Jahangir (who, when asked on his deathbed if he wanted anything, whispered "Kashmir, only Kashmir") to...
    READ ON
  • small group tour
    14 DAYS
    Bhutan
    Land of the Thunder Dragon
    Bhutan is a country like nowhere else and a still relatively unexplored destination. For centuries, Bhutan has remained shrouded in a veil of mist and very little about it was known to the outside world until the 1970's. This isolation has given the proud people of this country ...
    READ ON
  • private travel itinerary
    12 Days
    Mid May- Mid September
    Trekking in Paradise
    the Mystical Mountains of Kashmir
    This tour is an exuberant and rewarding journey that will nourish heart, mind, body, soul and all the senses.... It has been designed for confident walkers and adventurers wishing to escape all vestiges of congestion, tourism, modern stress and seeking an immersion in all the jo...
    READ ON

TESTIMONIALS

Dear Marieke,

Thank you very much for organizing such a great trip. I was very happy with everything you have arranged for me in Ahmedebad: hotel, car and an excellent guide. Your service was absolutely incomparable, excellent and professional.

I enjoyed India very much, with all the beautiful colors, textiles, great architecture, polite and friendly people. Thank you again.

I am sorry I missed you in Jaipur. Yes, I would like to go back again.  I will give your contact information to all who, I know, would like to go to India. I will certainly leave it with our museum’s Travel Desk.

Thank you again,
Thank you again for your excellent service.
With a lot of appreciation,
Janina MET New York

Hi Marieke,

We had the most wonderful and amazing time – loved every minute of it, and the whole holiday was so well organised and co-ordinated.

Absolutely loved our stay at A  – what a magical place – made all the more magical with Ishwar and his team, and getting to visit his local village and spend time with people there – it was a truly wonderful experience we will never forget.  the rooms and food were also outstanding…definitely would like to return there again one day.  The children in the village touched our hearts – we took some great photos and are going to have these printed and send to them.

Also loved JB in Jaipur – fabulous time there getting to know Shiva, and some of his friends – made Holi a very special experience.
The accommodation in Varanasi at the Brij Rama Palace was excellent – fabulous location and a beautiful hotel – food and service was really good.
Tiger parks were great – really loved Sarai Toria – did not see a tiger there but the experience there was fabulous. We only saw one tiger during our stay at Kings Lodge – nice and lovely park, but a lot of other people staying there commented that Tigers in Ranthambhore were easier to see and appeared to be more in number.  We enjoyed what we saw and experienced.
Also loved the Stepwell dinner that was truly amazing, and something we will always remember.

All the representatives were great meeting us at the appropriate times, and keeping us briefed with timings, and checking if anything we needed – fantastic service and care.  Nirmal was fabulous throughout.

Overall it was a fabulous holiday Marieke and we have many, many special memories that we will cherish forever…India touched our hearts and we would love to return again someday.

Best regards Kerry & Andrew, March 2018

Our trip to India was organized so beautifully and carefully. The accommodation was varied as were destinations in themselves, a bonus to the excitement of each day, as well as havens from the intensity of life all around.
There was not a moment when we felt unwell or uncomfortable and arrangements were flexible and organised without a hitch. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable as well as being great company and tailored our days to include the areas that interested us most – in our case it was history and traditional artisans. We were also able to vary the pace of our days to suit our energy levels.
India itself is impossible to describe but the trip was one of the great experiences  of our lives.
Marieke’s notes on history, culture and shopping were invaluable and her suggestion to end our trip at a yoga retreat was inspired.

Peter and Penny Curry NSW

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“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in its frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.” –Freya Stark

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. James A Michener

People say that what we are all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think this is what we’re really seeking. I think what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. Joseph Campbell

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. ~Helen Keller

As you journey through life, choose your destinations well, but do not hurry there. Avoid the shortcuts… wander the back roads… enjoy the scenery. And remember that the true worth of your travels lies not in the destination but in who you come to be along the way. Anon.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. Saint Augustine