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Dorchester Collection and Grand Tourist introduce the ‘Ultimate Grand Tour of Europe’ re-tracing the footsteps of 18th century British aristocrats

Re-creating educational journeys taken by British aristocrats in the 18th century, the ‘Ultimate Grand Tour of Europe’, incorporating five Dorchester Collection properties, takes inspiration from the original ‘Grand Tourists’ who travelled to discover the art, history, culture and treasures of the ancient world. Incorporating stays at The Dorchester, London; Le Meurice, Paris; Le Richemond, Geneva; Hotel Principe di Savoia, Milan; and Hotel Eden, Rome, Dorchester Collection and specialist travel company

Grand Tourist have recreated this ‘rite of passage journey’ for 21st century travellers. During the 12-day trip, guests will have the chance to travel in style by boat, train, limousine, classic car and helicopter.

Arriving in style in a chauffeur driven Bentley, the ‘Ultimate Grand Tour of Europe’ begins with a three-night stay at The Dorchester in London. Introducing guests to the world of the Grand Tourists, the itinerary includes a guided visit to the British Museum, a special tour of the Gentlemen’s Clubs of Pall Mall and St James’, and afternoon tea. A visit to Chiswick House can also be arranged - the classical country house which was inspired by the buildings and palaces which Lord Burlington, the third Earl of Burlington and member of both the British and Irish House of Lords, saw on his Grand Tour of Europe in the 18th century.

Nowadays, travelling from London to Paris takes just two and a half hours via Eurostar, rather than the two days it took in the 18th century. Once in Paris, guests will be greeted in a Vintage Citroën and will then check-in to Le Meurice for three nights and dine at its three Michelin-star restaurant overseen by Alain Ducasse, with views of the Tuileries Gardens.

Whilst staying in the city of light, guests will be invited to view the world-renowned art collections at Le Louvre with an expert guide who will explain the impact of the Grand Tour on Northern European culture and art appreciation. Visits to the Gobelins Tapestry Museum to learn about furniture and decoration in the Grand Houses of France, and Mariage Frères to experience the finest ‘salon de the’ in Paris will be coordinated.

Before departing for Geneva, guests have the option of embarking on an additional journey by chauffeur driven car to the Champagne Houses of Billecart Salmon and Laurent Perrier for a tour followed by lunch with the champagne makers.

En-route to Le Richemond in Geneva, there is the opportunity to visit the Palace of Fontainebleau - home to Francois I in the 16th century and decorated by Italian artists. The chateau is set in a large park which served as a hunting ground for aristocrats for centuries. Then travel from Fontainebleau to Beaune in the heart of the Burgundy wine-producing region for a short tour of the medieval city centre followed by a tasting of some of Burgundy’s finest red wines. During the two-night stay at Le Richemond a short cruise on Lac Leman serves as the perfect introduction to the city. The Old Town is just a short walk away, where a visit to a family-run chocolate maker comes highly recommended.

Transfers via Mercedes to Chamonix at the foot of the Alps are followed by a private helicopter trip carrying guests over spectacular views and mountainous landmarks such as Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, the Eiger and the Jungfrau. This is an exceptional ‘once in a lifetime’ experience.

Arriving in Milan by helicopter, guests will be taken to the glamorous Hotel Principe di Savoia in a Maserati. In keeping with the theme of the Grand Tourists of the 18th century, a private tour of the historic La Scala Opera House and a private viewing of Il Cencacolo, Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous interpretation of the Last Supper will be organised. The following day guests can travel to Lake Como, where the silk industry flourished until the 19th century, to tour a traditional Italian silk factory. Lunch afterwards will be hosted at the stunning Villa d’Este within its most exquisite gardens. At the close of the day, guests will be driven back to Hotel Principe di Savoia.

Rome completes the final stretch of the journey where guests will be taken to Hotel Eden, Dorchester Collection’s latest addition to its portfolio. Located on the sixth floor of the hotel and offering breathtaking views over the city, guests will dine in the hotel’s Michelin-starred La Terrazza dell’ Eden restaurant. From the hotel, guests can walk through the Eternal City to Via Condotti, throw coins in the Trevi Fountain and visit a Roman Palazzo for cocktails and canapés. In the days of the original Grand Tour young aristocrats arrived in Piazza di Spagna exhausted from their journey, whereas today’s travellers will be given a warm Italian welcome in relaxed and comfortable surroundings.

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