A swanky gym can frequently be a good pitching point for a hotel…but what if your high-end clients want to exercise while touring a destination?
Bicycle tours are an ideal option for your health-conscious clients eager to keep their hearts pumping while they explore a destination. While pedaling through narrow country roads, hilly paths or trails through old forests, bikers can see areas of beauty and interest usually inaccessible by train, car or bus. And thanks to several innovative companies, travelers won’t have to sacrifice comfort—or their luxe lifestyle—while they do it.
Bike tours can bring travelers to intimate, exclusive places they might otherwise miss.
Massachusetts-based DuVine Adventures offers luxury bike tours in seven European countries, North America and Argentina. In each destination, the company provides travelers with new, high-quality bikes, luxury accommodations in local inns, gourmet meals, wine with meals (and tours of local vineyards) and a well-educated guide to show the small groups the hidden gems along each route.
To help clients discover a location’s unique flavor, DuVine seeks out small businesses that would appeal to high- end clients, finding wineries, chateaux and charming inns off the beaten path. The selected properties feature the ambiance, architecture and quality of service that reflect the highest standard of hospitality as well as the essence of the region. Our insiders say that DuVine’s most popular tours are to Tuscany, Provence and Napa Valley.
NAPA VALLEY TOURS gives bikers a chance to stop and smell the roses...or sip the wine.
DuVine offers two main types of bike tours. Guests can either be based in one or two properties, or can bike from point to point and keep pressing forward. A typical (or not-so-typical) day on a DuVine tour might include a breakfast of café au lait, fresh fruits and pastries on a terrace before guides come to review the route and daily activities. The biking begins after breakfast, and continues until the group reaches a vineyard for wine tasting and lunch. They can then relax and visit an ancient village, and then cycle back to the hotel or villa, or bike on to the next one (depending on the tour) for the afternoon. All the time, one guide is biking with the guests while another is nearby in a van (in case of emergency). Cocktails or more wine tastings might begin the evening before a gourmet dinner.
Luxury travel advisors should contact Alisa de Gaspe Beaubien ([email protected]; 888-396-5383).
Tuscany has a different ambiance in the fresh air.
In Toronto, Active Journeys offers around-the-world bike tours of varying degrees of difficulty. Several of their “Premium” packages, notably in France, include luxury accommodations, gourmet meals and fine wines along with two bilingual guides. The traditional customer for these tours is over 50, fit and healthy (or working toward being more fit and healthy)—in other words, someone who appreciates the finer things in life, doesn’t want to sit in a van and wants the chance to see things from a different perspective.
Each tour is planned depending on the terrain (biking through vineyards as opposed to forests), sights and sites (castles or coastlines). Cuisine, wine, local festivals, markets and other cultural events complete the tours, giving the guests a unique perspective of a location they could have easily missed on a bigger, more traditional tour.
But the true backbone of the tours, especially in France, is the selection of luxury hotels and inns for optimal rest and relaxation after a day of biking. Rather than choosing a route and then finding hotels in the area, Active Journeys finds a group of luxury properties—between four and six in an easily navigable 20- to 30-mile radius—and charts a trail through them.
The freedom of the road gives bike tours significant liberty in the organization of each trip, and no two trips are exactly the same. There is no set timetable on a bike tour, letting travelers relax while tour organizers take care of the details and keep track of everyone’s safety and security.
Luxury travel advisors should contact Tour Manager Lisa Didus ([email protected]; 800-597-5594).
At the end of the day, there is a very important benefit from a luxury bike tour: Travelers can get much-needed exercise while they experience the destination in-depth. While guests on bike tours can enjoy gourmet meals and fine wines—even more than they would at home—they also burn those extra calories as soon as they get back on their bikes and start pedaling. Without sacrificing comfort or luxury, travelers can improve their health and discover another, and often-hidden, view of the world.