Getting to Know: Gladstone London
Posted: 07 October 2016
As the UK’s leading luxury tour operator, Elegant Resorts has an intrinsic understanding of the elements required to design your perfect luxury holiday. From our iconic leather travel wallets, to our long-established travel expertise, we ensure that each detail is taken care of and our signature elegance is woven into each aspect of every luxury holiday we provide. With this in mind, our partnership with luxury fashion brand, Gladstone London, is something of a perfect match. Just as we at Elegant Resorts provide tailor-made luxury travel experiences, Gladstone London creates bespoke, handcrafted bags that represent their discerning clients’ needs and values. Gladstone London founder, John O’Sullivan, recently enjoyed a fabulous trip to Italy with Elegant Resorts, on our exclusive Elegant Journey: Italy Unpacked in collaboration with Aston Martin.
After the trip, John O’Sullivan spoke to Elegant Resorts to discuss his life in luxury travel and the history behind the Gladstone London brand.
Why is the partnership with Elegant Resorts so important to Gladstone London?
“Because we share the same fundamental values; attention-to-detail, care for the client, bespoke and tailor-made traditional heritage. Elegant Resorts has a very clear idea of who their client is and its the same at Gladstone. There’s nobody better qualified than Elegant Resorts and I admire the level of expertise that informs all that they do. It is a real pleasure for me to have enjoyed such wonderful experiences with them and I’m so inspired for my next trip!”
Tell us about your recent trip to Italy with Elegant Resorts and Aston Martin.
"Oh wow, it was the trip-of-a-lifetime! The three luxury hotels we stayed at on the trip were each so different. My favourite was Grand Hotel A Villa Feltrinelli because from the moment I walked through the door it just blew me away. The food was delectable and, of course, having your own Aston Martin at your disposal! The organisation of the event was flawless, which I knew was the result of advanced preparations, attention-to-detail and the utmost professionalism from the Elegant Resorts team. I’ll admit I hadn’t realised Elegant Resorts were so qualified in delivering that level of service, but it completely blew me away. I think Elegant Resorts is a hidden secret but I’ve been telling everyone about my incredible experience because it just beats anything else!"
As someone who travels so much for a living, you’re immersed in luxury travel more than most. Do you have a dream journey in mind for your personal travel itinerary?
“The idea of experiencing a variety of sights and sounds on one trip is ideal for me because I’m obviously pressed for time, so the concept of Elegant Journeys is just fabulous for me. I like to do things that are out of the ordinary. For example, I might like to be on the top of a mountain at Christmas time or escaping the city to Lake Como, but, generally, I want to go on an adventure.”
Our clients appreciate quality and style. What separates the Gladstone London travel collection from others?
“When we were first designing the concept for what would become the Gladstone London brand, someone gave me a book, dated 1936, which charted the history of leather craftsmanship in the UK and that gave me the idea of resurrecting the idea of craftsmanship and doing unique pieces. The book just blew me away because of the detail in the prints and also how relevant it all was to the contemporary scene. I was hearing a lot about retired styles and retired methods, such as hand stitching, and I decided we’d take the retired craftsmen, the retired crafting practices and the retired styles, update them and bring them back to life – like sleeping beauties if you will. The heritage in our pieces shines through and for travel, that quality, durability and functionality is essential. We have minimal branding and we have no labels, so in that sense, our customer can feel their own initials are enough and that all they want is an extension of their own values. The bag doesn’t wear them, they wear the bag."
Read more about John O’Sullivan’s incredible Italy Unpacked journey with Elegant Resorts and Aston Martin in this month’s edition of Elegant Traveller magazine.