December 13, 2016 | Kirker Holidays
Having celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016, specialist tour operator for discerning travellers Kirker Holidays is making sure that 2017 will be a year to remember, too. Expanding its popular Italy programme to include an even wider choice of hand-picked hotels in city, coast and countryside locations across the country, Kirker has also added several new Italian Cultural Tours & Music Holidays to the destination where the company’s story began.
Since the launch of its first ‘Italian Cities’ brochure in 1986 – which featured just Venice, Florence and Rome – Kirker’s enthusiasm for Italy has remained as passionate as ever. Its Italian short breaks selection has expanded over the intervening years to encompass over 200 properties, ranging from characterful coastal pensione and grand countryside villas to stylish city palazzi.
Kirker clients receive a range of added extras including tickets for Rome’s Vatican Museums, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Doge’s Palace in Venice and, new for 2017, tickets for the Brera Gallery in Milan. For those seeking to create a tailor-made holiday including more than one destination, Kirker’s experts will create a bespoke itinerary combining selected hotels with travel by high-speed rail, car hire or private car transfers.
ITALIAN LAKES: A favourite summer retreat of Sir Winston Churchill, the lakeside village of Moltrasio enjoys a quiet setting just a few minutes’ drive from both Cernobbio and Como. Stay three nights at the four-star superior Grand Hotel Imperiale from £698 pp*.
LIGURIAN RIVIERA: Much beloved by Lord Byron, Alassio boasts Art Deco villas and one of the best town beaches in Italy as well as a magnificent promenade, and is easily accessed by train from both Nice and Genoa. Stay three nights at the five-star deluxe La Meridiana from £759 pp*.
MILAN: Enjoy the buzz and cultural highlights of Italy’s fashion capital, where Kirker has added three new hotels to its city break selection: Milan’s newest luxury hotel, the five-star deluxe Mandarin Oriental (three nights from £1,448 pp*); the intimate, Art Nouveau Château Monfort (four-star deluxe, three nights from £876 pp*); and the four-star superior Manzoni – a peaceful, privately owned retreat in the heart of the shopping district (three nights from £788 pp*).
NAPLES: Explore the historic heart of Naples from the four-star superior Grand Hotel Santa Lucia (three nights from £559 pp*), where Kirker clients stay in deluxe rooms with wonderful views over the Bay of Naples.
PISA: Moments from the famous Leaning Tower, the five-star Relais dell’Orologio (three nights from £598 pp*) is ideally set for enjoying this stylish university town’s vibrant atmosphere and excellent restaurants.
PUGLIA: Often overlooked in favour of its more famous neighbour, Alberobello, Locorotondo is home to Sotto Le Cummerse ‘Albergo Diffuso’ (three nights from £498 pp*), a series of apartments dotted throughout the pretty whitewashed town that give guests the chance to live alongside locals. In the ‘heel’ of the Italian boot, Lecce’s reputation as the ‘Florence of the South’ is well-deserved. Enjoy its beautiful architecture from the four-star deluxe La Fiermontina, just moments from the basilica, where three nights cost from £669 pp*.
ROME: Particularly idyllic in summer, when its lush garden and large swimming pool provide a haven away from the city heat, three nights at the five-star superior Aldrovandi Villa Borghese cost from £859 pp*.
THE CINQUE TERRE: Enjoying a prime position with glorious views across the Gulf of La Spezia and Palmaria Island, the four-star superior Grand Hotel Portovenere (three nights from £846 pp*) is a perfect base from which to explore the region’s renowned UNESCO-protected coastline.
TUSCANY – COAST & COUNTRYSIDE: Discover the stylish and relatively unknown coastal resort of Punta Ala during a stay at the five-star deluxe Baglioni Hotel Cala del Porto (three nights from £998 pp*) or sleep in a 16th century watchtower set right on a sandy beach at the four-star deluxe Torre Mozza (three nights from £678 pp*). The hotel is also close to the island of Elba, where the five-star Hermitage (three nights from £1,098 pp*) joins Kirker’s accommodation selection. Set within a private park, there is a private beach, sailing school, walking trails, tennis courts, golf course, spa and swimming pools to enjoy, too.
Alternatively, head inland, where Kirker has added Tuscany’s most luxurious countryside retreat, the five-star deluxe Castello Di Casole (three nights from £978 pp*); the newly opened five-star Castel Porrona Relais (three nights from £886 pp*) in the Montecucco wine region; and the four-star deluxe Il Falconiere (three nights from £728 pp*), conveniently located for visiting Siena, Arezzo, Assisi and Perugia, where a Michelin-starred restaurant, wine tastings and cooking classes await.
Further illustrating its Italian expertise, Kirker has doubled its offering on the fascinating island of Sicily, adding the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Noto (three nights at the four-star Villa Favorita from £679 pp*), Menfi – in one of the island’s principal wine producing regions (three nights at the four-star deluxe Foresteria Planeta Estate from £746 pp*), and Cefalù, where clients can choose between the four-star deluxe Relais Santa Anastasia (three nights from £598 pp*) and the four-star superior La Plumeria (three nights from £569 pp*).
Also new to Kirker, on the fertile foothills of Mount Etna, are the five-star superior Villa Neri, just ten miles from Taormina (three nights from £679 pp*) and Monaci delle Terre Nere, a delightful country house hotel boasting volcano views to the west and the Straits of Messina to the east (three nights cost from £629 pp*. Kirker has also added Sicily’s fascinating, history-rich and unspoilt West Coast, including the sleepy fishing village of Mazara Del Vallo, home to the four-star superior Giardino di Costanza Resort (three nights from £668 pp*) and, on the picturesque San Vito Lo Capo Peninsula, the four-star Hotel Capo San Vito (three nights from £639 pp*) and the three-star superior Cala Marina (three nights from £539 pp*).
The brochure also suggests several sample self-drive itineraries guaranteed to whet the appetite of discerning Italophiles. Provided as a guide to the type of tailor-made, multi-centre holiday Kirker’s expert team can create for its clients’ own travel requirements, these include The Sicilian Quartet (nine nights from £1,745 pp), South East Hills & Coast (eight nights from £998 pp) and West Coast Wonders (12 nights from £1,625 pp). Prices include flights (London), car hire with driving maps and accommodation with breakfast. Private car transfers can also be arranged for clients who prefer not to drive.
Kirker’s first-ever dedicated Sicily brochure will be available from mid-December.
*All Kirker short break prices are based on two people sharing and include return flights (London – regional departures on request), private transfers, accommodation (two sharing) with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants, museums and sightseeing and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book restaurants, expert local guides or tickets to theatres, opera performances, concerts, museums and galleries. For multi-centre itineraries, clients can choose to transfer between destinations by rail, private car, hire car or a combination of these options.
Italy is also the subject of several new escorted Cultural Tours & Music Holidays from Kirker for 2017. Combining visits to the city’s great galleries, museums and churches with secret gardens and other lesser-known delights, Venice & The Palladian Villas of the Veneto (six nights) costs from £2,669 pp**. Dazzling artistic treasures and the beautiful Tuscan countryside surrounding them are the focus of Siena & San Gimignano (five nights) which costs from £1,449 pp**, while Turin & Piedmont (five nights) promises grand architecture, first-rate museums, Renaissance palaces and verdant vineyards in equal measure, from £1,598 pp**.
Private art collections, iconic cultural landmarks such as La Scala, the Duomo and Leonardo’s Last Supper, and the tranquil shores of one of the world’s most famous stretches of water, are among the highlights of The Duchy of Milan with a visit to Lake Como (six nights) which costs from £2,098 pp**, while the Eternal City continues to enthral during Opera & Art in Rome, which includes performances of classic Italian pieces at the famous Teatro dell’Opera di Roma as well as visits to historic cultural sites (four nights), from £1,278 pp**.
**Depending on the itinerary chosen, prices for Kirker’s Cultural Tours & Music Holidays are based on two people sharing and include return flights (London – regional departures on request), transfers, accommodation with breakfast, some other meals, excursions/musical performances and the services of a tour lecturer and/or holiday escort. 2017 departure dates vary – please follow the web links provided for more information.
For further information, please call Kirker Holidays on 020 7593 2283 or visit www.kirkerholidays.com.