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The Making Of A Luxury Travel Company

Elegant Resorts has a proud history stretching back twenty-five years to 1988, where two of the UK’s luxury travel pioneers recognised a gap in the market for a travel company that offered only the finest hotels and first-class client service, delivered by professional employees passionate about travel. Geoff Moss and Barbara Catchpole, who were both from travel backgrounds, joined forces, rented office space in historic Chester and set about creating Elegant Resorts.

With their sights firmly set on the upper end of the market, the vision of the company was to include only those hotels, villas and resorts that could be said to deliver a genuinely luxurious experience. This was complemented by partnering with major world airlines to ensure that the experience of travelling in any class – but particularly in First and Club – came up to the standard of the rest of the holiday. Particular emphasis was placed on producing stunning brochures, which pioneered the concept of dedicating one or two-page spreads to a single property. This concept was to convey – through description and photography – as many of a destination’s attractions as possible, ensuring clients could picture themselves enjoying all that was on offer.

The Old Palace

The Old Palace

As our company grew, we needed more space for over one hundred of our staff, so a new building was required to house us all and The Old Palace was found. A former residence dating back to 1751 and built for the Bishop of Chester, The Old Palace is a beautiful Grade II-listed Georgian mansion that overlooks the River Dee and has been our ‘home’ for over fifteen years.

We are very proud to have a long-serving team who believes in delivering uncompromising service. This extends overseas too, and we have established teams working their magic in Barbados, Antigua, Dubai and Mauritius. Our founders’ and our own continuing dedication to staff training means that Elegant Resorts’ Travel Consultants are some of the most knowledgeable in the travel industry, with an unerring ability to match clients with their ideal holiday.

Both overseas and here at the Old Palace there’s a friendly atmosphere conducive to a good working environment. We like to enjoy ourselves and have had some fantastic occasions over the years that have included everything from home-grown theatre productions to events that even our supplier and business partners join in with.

Every year we host an awards ceremony in London to say “thank you” to the people we work with. It is our extraordinary relationships with them that enable us to bring our clients exceptional experiences throughout the year and ensure they come to rely on us for all their travel needs. Testimony to this are all the wonderful awards we have received over the years.

The Caribbean Early Days And Concorde

The Caribbean

The luxury Caribbean market, which was the main area of Elegant Resorts’ expertise, was the initial focus twenty-five years ago. Travel to exotic destinations within the Caribbean was aspirational to many and, despite an economic downturn, the company achieved a profit within its first year. A major contributor to the success of the early years was the weekly winter service to Barbados from British Airways by Concorde. With a flying time of less than four hours, clients could leave the UK and be on the golden beaches of the Caribbean that same afternoon. Elegant Resorts was credited with booking more arrivals to Barbados on Concorde than any other travel company and it was a sad day on 30 August 2003 when the last scheduled supersonic service flew from Barbados. Clients who flew – and even chartered – Concorde now had to find a new mode of transport; the business then started to focus on private jet travel.

Elegant Resorts grew from strength to strength and gradually, over time, other areas of the world were added; meaning today, our portfolio now also comprises hotels, resorts, villas and private islands in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Gulf, Middle East, Mexico, North and South America, Canada, Africa, Europe, North Africa, Asia and Australasia. In addition, we offer a range of experiences, from luxury cruising, yachting and skiing holidays to a selection of adventure holidays – and not forgetting space travel – for our more daring clients.

Space Flights

Space Flight

Elegant Resorts was the first UK-accredited Space Agent to sell Virgin Galactic and are now able to offer a space flight programme – we are very proud of our own Accredited Space Agents who have been put through their paces as ‘space cadets’. We take great delight in sending our clients on fabulous holidays in this world; now we can send them to another.

The Chairman's Club

The Chairmans Club

Over the last twenty-five years, Elegant Resorts has built an extremely loyal following of clients and as a “thank you” to them we created our loyalty programme, The Chairman’s Club. Our Chairman’s Club is the most talkedabout, invitation-only, ‘private members’ club’ within the travel industry. The Chairman’s Club extends the range of services offered to clients and repays their loyalty with future travel credits.

The Future

Our Future

After nurturing their dream for twenty years, in 2008 our founders – whilst still involved in the company – made the difficult decision to sell Elegant Resorts to the longest established, leisure travel group in the UK. Under the new leadership of Michelle Sephton – who is a veteran of Elegant Resorts herself and has been with the company for twenty years – the team continues to deliver the personalised service we have always prided ourselves on and, moving forward, Michelle and the team plan to “maintain our strong position in the luxury market by providing trustworthy information and service, allowing our clients to enjoy their luxury holidays with confidence”.