Cazenove+loyd creates the ultimate tailor-made holiday, once in a lifetime family trips and luxury honeymoons. We caught up with Henrietta Loyd, Founder and Co-owner, to find out more.
LM: What is the philosophy behind cazenove+loyd?
HL: We create dream holidays for the discerning traveller who seeks the ultimate in the experience, which once executed, delivers the memories of a life time. We are passionate about service and knowledge and believe you cannot be all things to all men which is why we resolutely stick to selling only three areas of the world. We employ people who truly excel in their areas of expertise and have the passion for it. We believe it is all about building up a relationship with the client and really listening to what they want and then delivering, working closely with them at all stages.
Every holiday which we create is as individual as the person. That is because we invest in our knowledge of our destinations and give our people the time to get to know what every client is looking for. We may have been around longer than many travel companies but we are still owner-run and our philosophy is the same today as the day we opened our doors – we are about being the best rather than the biggest.
LM: Why do you have such a big focus on Africa?
HL: It is because of Africa that we started c+l. Susie Cazenove, my founding partner, is a South African and I lived and worked in South Africa, Botswana and Kenya for three years in the early 80’s running tented safari camps. Africa truly gets under the skin and it has certainly shaped my life, passions and interests. Our company evolved into Latin America 15 years ago and Asia 13, both regions that we feel we can add value and our style of expertise.
Although I try not to have a favourite place, I am afraid my heart really lies in Botswana as it is where I started on my African journey 30 years ago. There is something about flying up from Johannesburg over the vast expanse of the Kalahari Desert to Maun, the gateway to the Okavango delta that always lifts my spirits and I feel a huge sense of freedom and homecoming.
LM: How long have you worked within the hospitality sector?
HL: For over 30 years. When I arrived in South Africa not entirely sure what I was going to do, I was offered a job running a tented camp on a private reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park and the journey started from there. After a few months, I then went to the Okavango Delta in Botswana which is all anyone talked about as being the most amazing wildlife area. That is probably where my true love of Africa set in and I ran three different camps during my two years in Botswana. I then returned to the UK and set up cazenove+loyd in 1993.
LM: What is your definition of extraordinary tailor-made travel?
HL: We would say that it is all in the Guide. In our opinion, this is the key component in every trip we plan, whether it is a safari guide, a shopping Guide in Mumbai, an architectural Guide in Cartagena, or an art historian in Havana. We have always felt, it is rather like the Manager of a hotel, if they are good the hotel runs like clockwork. A guide is the deal breaker with a happy client and we get a lot of very positive and happy feedback on the guides we choose to work with.
Every moment of every day is meticulously planned and we have people on the ground and in the office who really care. We choose to work with people and in places not just because they are special but also because they are special to us. As such, we have included profiles of our guides on our destination pages on the website.
LM: What is the most extravagant excursion that you have organised?
HL: On a private scale: When a businessman with a thirst for adventure wanted to discover a Mayan ruin of his own, we weren’t daunted. We tracked down a professor of this ancient Central American culture, sourced a great helicopter pilot, and the rest is literally history. Our client made his first archaeological discovery at the age of 56. He fulfilled a childhood dream, and he did it while travelling with us. On a grander scale, I would say it would have to been a party in India.
LM: What are your current most popular luxury destinations?
HL: Burma is top of our list at the moment and we have successfully privately chartered the Orcaella, the smaller of the Belmond (Orient Express) boats on the Irrawaddy earlier this year, twice in 2015 and once in 2016 and the spaces are filling up fast. Cuba is also increasingly popular although one would not describe it as luxury in terms of accommodation. However, with careful management of client expectation, it is an incredible country to visit. We are launching Japan this year which in our opinion, is going to become increasingly popular.
Our other popular Latin American countries include Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil, but it is still the region where it is the most challenging to deliver and where travellers used to the best need destination experts the most. And in Asia, along with Burma, our firm favourites are Indochina and Thailand.
LM: What is the profile of your clients and are they all looking for some kind of unique adventure?
HL: Our clients in the main are adventurous individuals and families who want an experience dusted with some 5-star elements. They are looking for unique memories, value for money at whatever level, fun, soft adventure and good guides. They are not brand led and trust us to deliver on the brief. Our clients not only want our destination expertise but the personal one-to-one service we provide where they talk to someone with first-hand experience and personal knowledge before, during and after their holiday.
LM: Are the possibilities endless when it comes to satisfying customer requests?
HL: Yes and no. We never take an enquiry on until we have talked to the client as quite often what they think they might want to do is not always what they end up choosing to do once they have discussed it in detail with one of the destination experts. We are a company that likes to go that extra mile and push beyond the boundaries, so yes, the possibilities are endless – the more challenging the brief, the better!
LM: What is your favourite luxury destination?
HL: Having been in travel for my whole adult life, I genuinely don’t have one except that everyone at c+l always says, it is the last place I have been. Cuba, though not strictly luxury, was the last place I visited, and I loved its rich, vibrant and colourful Caribbean culture. All my expectations were surpassed by the life and energy of the country as well as its warm and friendly people.
I adore the sea and have been lucky to visit some amazing beach destinations worldwide. I love the African bush for the space, peace and being so at one with nature and scenery is my other great passion which is why Patagonia is next on my hit list having been there last over 25 years ago.
LM: Please tell our readers about the new Inspired Journeys for 2014 as you have now added new journeys to Fogo Island and Bhutan for 2015.
HL: Inspired Journeys are unique small group itineraries with a set departure providing unprecedented access to the world’s most extraordinary places in the company of truly inspiring people.
Arts, crafts and traditions of Fogo Island
30 September, 2014: 6 nights from £3,860
Accompanied by Zita Cobb, a native of Fogo and tech entrepreneur who has shocked the design world with her building of four striking art studios and recently opened hotel on the island. All in the name of sustainability and social enterprise, she will introduce guests to a 300 year old culture in a modern day setting. With the aid of private air charter, accessibility to this remote spot has been facilitated to allow more time to explore and participate in projects with local residents and specialists as your guides. Planned over what is known as ‘berry-picking season’, guests will be able to catch the last glow of summer before the icebergs move in and this stunning landscape is overwhelmed by the elements.
Buddhism and Meditation in Bhutan
27 September, 2015: 11 nights from £5,140
Accompanied by Lama Neten, a very well respected senior monk in Bhutan who has dedicated his life to the study of Buddhism and to meditation, this journey takes in the highlights of the country with private blessing ceremonies, meditation and exploring the history and culture of Buddhism in Bhutan. Timed over the Gangtey Festival, guests can experience this important yet little known festival from the comfort of the newly opened Gangtey Lodge.
Interview by Simon Wittenberg MIOJ