Bespoke personalised tours
We create personalised journeys of a lifetime for you from scratch and below are a mere suggestion of options for you to be inspired by and help you understand what is possible and your various options.
In addition to the iconic hotels listed we have access to dozens of more great hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs. There are simply to many to list. We work directly with the State’s regional tourist boards and have direct contacts to the hotels’ General Managers and Sales teams. To make sure you get that really get looked after.
If you wish to stay at a Four Seasons, Auberge or Rosewood all the way then great. But if you wish to mix and match to ensure you have a budget to also do some fun and authentic experiences then we work with you on your budget and tell you what you can do, guiding you to get the best value out of your trip.
Whether you are looking for the best vineyards to visit in the Napa and Sonoma Valleys (or indeed around Santa Barbara and Monterey) or visiting the famous National Parks of Yosemite, Kings Kanyon and Sequoia we can tailor make your special California-dreaming journey.
You can start in San Francisco and make your way down to Los Angeles or San Diego or create a trip the other way around.
We have an exceptional partners and the local tourist boards that we work with to offer private experiences from deep sea fishing off the Monterey Peninsula, to meeting and dining with a winemaker to a history or food tour of San Francisco.
Only Time for a Week
If you really are pushed and only have one week to spend in California we merely and humbly suggest the following. At least it forms the basis of a discussion to help you plan what is right for you. Of course these can be tailored for families with kids of all ages and couples from newlyweds to the active empty-nesters. In California age is no barrier.
Days 1-3 in San Francisco. Depending on your international arrival times you will probably arrive early to late afternoon. We would suggest going straight to your hotel (or course we have priority early check-in and all our SELECT hotels), showering and dining locally. To shake off the jet lag take a bike tour across the Golden Gate to Sausalito. You can cycle back or take the ferry. Personally highly recommended restaurants include The Lighthouse for an Americana lunch (they do great pancake breakfasts ideal for the kids too), Scoma’s on the pier (there’s also one in the city) or local favourite Poggio Trattoria and try one of their fig pizzas. The next day try out a foodie tasting tour at either the Ferry Building or in the Mission District. Depending on your sense of adventure and budget why not embark on a helicopter sightseeing tour of the harbour and city or a private sailing charter from Sausalito to San Fran. For other suggestions please refer to the dedicated San Francisco page.
Days 4-5 in Napa & Sonoma Valley. We’ll hire a car for you (convertibles highly recommended), leave the city behind and only 90 minutes away find yourself in another world. One of extraordinary wines, boutique wineries, world-class hotels and a thriving wonderful foodie scene. During your time in the two valleys (we have a choice of great hotels in both) you can choose from and we can create various private food and wine tours. Take a balloon ride as the sun rises, or a vintage family-friendly restored train. Go horseback riding along the Wine Trail and have a picnic along the way, all in the hands of an expert wrangler. Enjoy a cooking class whilst sipping local wines. For the more adventurous take a hiking excursion or fly fishing trip, both of course finished off with some local wines and a picnic. And for those real wine connoisseurs we can even arrange a wine tasting tour with a local sommelier, opening doors to some of the quaintest wineries and meet the winemakers. Many of our preferred hotels also have world-class spas and golf .
Days 6-7 Monterey Peninsula or Big Sur. Home to Clint Eastwood, world-class golf, spectacular coastlines, wine and adventure. All just 2 hours from the city. After your time in wine country, its a 2 and 1/2 drive to the Peninsula. Here we can tailor 2 days of various experiences whilst being based either in and around Carmel or at Big Sur. Again please refer to the page on detailed experiences and hotel options. We can arrange hiking adventures, food and art tours, helicopter trips, whale watching, more wine tastings, E-biking around 17-mile Drive, a beach horseback ride, sunset sailing and even a beekeeping experience. The choices are yours. Are you sure you only have a week ?
Day 8 Ok, strictly speaking this is one week and one day but bear with us….before you fly out treat yourself at the Rosewood Sandhill, Menlo Park, less than 1/2 hour from SFO international airport but an oasis of luxury and pampering to end your week on a true high and leaving you certainly wanting and needing more of the Golden State. Relax and find Californian karma in the spa “Alchemy of Sleep” and enjoy Michelin-star dining at Madera.
As an alternative after visiting Napa and Sonoma Valleys why not head over (for a 3 & 1/2 hour drive (in your convertible)) to Yosemite National Park for Days 6-7 and spend 2 days exploring home of Yogi Bear, Half Dome and El Capitan. For anyone that has watched Dawn Wall or Free Solo, they know what this captivating National Park has to offer in terms of awe inspiring granitic rock of Sierra Nevada Batholith. Inspiring Ansel Adams to create some of his most iconic work, take a family-friendly bike tour with a naturalist guide explaining and revealing local plant, wildlife and natural history. At night enjoy a private campfire, wake up the next day and take a breathtaking hike with your own guide to marvel at waterfalls (best viewed in late spring after the snow melt), vast monoliths and towering trees. In late summer you can enjoy soft adventure ideal for the entire family with white water rafting along the Tuolumme River (Class 2-3 rapids). For more options go to our National Parks page.