Black Tomato is the award-winning travel company that specialize in creating exceptional tailor-made experiences for its clients. The company started as the brainchild of three well-traveled friends, Tom Marchant, James Merrett and Matt Smith, who left the corporate world to work on what they loved – travel.
Nearly a decade since its inception, Black Tomato has grown into a renowned travel brand offering expert knowledge and an insight into unique destinations that few other companies can match. The LuxPad asked Co-Founder, Tom, to share his top five unique holiday experiences. From Wild West road trips to snowmobiling in Alaska, these unique vacation experiences will make even the most faithful of sun-worshippers hang up their beach towel in favor of an adventure…
A Cultural and Safari Adventure in Nepal
Nepal is a destination with fantastic diversity in culture, scenery and wildlife.
This nine day adventure begins in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital and the centre of Nepalese culture, architecture and heritage. After spending your first night in Dwarika’s Hotel, you will start your adventure with a 6 hour drive to Chitwan, home to Nepal’s first national park.
You will arrive in Chitwan around lunchtime at Meghauli Serai, a Taj Safari Lodge which will serve as your home for the next two nights. The majority of your time in Chitwan will be spent in the jungle, taking part in various outdoor activities, spotting wildlife and enjoying bush dinners around the campfire. After an eventful two days, it’s back on the road and onto your next destination: the lakeside town of Pokhara.
A place of remarkable natural beauty, Pokhara is a popular place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the lakes and the magnificence of the Himalayas. During your time in Pokhara, you will enjoy a peaceful stay at Tiger Mountain Lodge which offers panoramic views of the Himalayas and is the perfect base for hiking and exploring the local community. This leg of the trip combines a sightseeing tour of Pokhara City, a visit to Devi’s Fall Waterfall, Gupteshwor Cave and the white-domed Bindhyabasini Temple before ending the day with an evening walking tour around the resort and an unmissable view of the sunset.
For your last stop you will visit the Dhulikhel City that is situated 5,500ft above sea level. This magnificent city offers a complete panoramic view of the snow-capped ranges from Karyolung in the east to Himalchuli in the west. Here you can indulge in treks to numerous temples and take in the art and culture before flying home.
The Ultimate Volcano Adventure in Iceland
This trip aims to teach you all about the natural beauty of Iceland.
Your first stop is at Thingvellir National Park where you will find the Silfra fissure (a crack in the earth’s crust where the European meets the American tectonic plate). Here you can dive into the clearest water on earth, with visibility often reaching over 100 metres.
After a good night’s rest at the Hotel Ranga you will head to your first volcano of the trip with a scientist who specializes in volcanology. The visit takes you to the Eyjafjallajokull volcano which has a space-like landscape studded with huge formations of recently cooled lava. Your specialist volcanology guide will explain the amazing processes going on and above ground as you gaze into the vast crater. After you can enjoy a trek up the volcano or get a bird’s eye view with a helicopter flight from the hotel.
For the next part of your trip you will venture inside the magma chamber of the dormant Þríhnúkagigur Volcano. Here you will descend through the crater opening and down to the floor of the chamber using an open elevator system before your privately guided tour of the vast chasm. To make the visit even more special, Black Tomato has a unique dining experience lined up for you and your travel party. With a team of experts on hand and up to four hours to explore the inside of the volcano, it will be an excursion you will remember forever.
On the final morning of your trip you will visit the famous Blue Lagoon where you can relax and reflect on the volcanic experience that only a handful of people have been lucky enough to see.
Snowmobiling and Sledding in Alaska
Alaska’s snow-strewn plains are the ideal location for an unforgettable adventure holiday.
This seven night trip begins in Anchorage, a city known for its action-packed winter adventures. Here you will stay in downtown accommodation where you will have the chance to acclimatize to Alaska’s wintry conditions. From Anchorage you will be taken to the historical gold-mining town of Girdwood to begin your snowmobiling adventure. The luxurious Alyeska Restort will serve as your base whilst you skim across open snowfields, along frozen rivers and swamps and through open meadows on the back of a high-speed snowmobile.
From Girdwood you will travel back to Anchorage ready for your next adventure: dog-sled racing. Here you’ll be a musher handler within the race chute, assisting in the handling of the race teams. You’ll get to know the dogs and follow the race until lunchtime when it’s time to enjoy a scenic flight on a ski plane over the nearby glacier.
The evening will be spent in the picturesque town of Wasilla. Surrounded on three sides by snow-capped mountains, you will have time to absorb Wasilla’s natural beauty beside your lodge’s crackling fire. The following morning you’ll assist the dog-sled race by manning a crucial road crossing on the trail, followed by a flight over Mount McKinley where you can view the race from a bird’s eye view.
The highlight of your trip will see you harness up and race your own dog team. During the race you’ll experience the thrill of skimming over the snow at full speed whilst watching the incredible landscape unfold before you. Once the race is over, you’ll enjoy a final night in Anchorage to take in the spectacular ethereal beauty.
A Stylish Italian Trio
This nine night trip will take you on an unforgettable tour of three of Italy’s most beautiful destinations.
Your Italian adventure starts in Venice where you will enjoy three nights at the Ca Maria Adele, an opulent hotel overlooking the canals in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood. The hotel is a short walk away from the city’s best galleries and landmarks, but for a truly unique experience take to the waterways in a canoe with an expert guide. After you’ve worked up an appetite, eat like the locals do and order a selection of ombra e chicetto (drinks and Italian style tapas dishes) before getting lost in the cobbled streets and unbeatable architecture.
A train ride takes you from the canals of Venice to the museum on the streets: Florence. Here you will stay at the contemporary Hotel Continentale for three nights. Gaze at the famous skyline from the rooftop bar of the hotel before heading out to find some of Florence’s famous cuisine. Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance movement so take your pick of the countless museums and religious sights which are waiting to be explored.
The final stop on your tour of Italy is the country’s capital, Rome. From your base at the stylish Inn at the Spanish Steps, you’ll have three nights to explore this stunning city filled with history and centuries of tradition. Spend your days strolling down the Via del Corso, watch the Romans go about their day at the Campo del Fiori or head east to the bohemian Travestere district.
Rome is an art lover’s paradise. From the Galleria Borghese to the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj, expert guides will take you around as you discover works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Titian and more. For a truly unique experience, Black Tomato can arrange an afterhours tour of the Vatican Museum which gives you a once in a lifetime chance to skip the crowds and experience Michelangelo’s masterpiece without hordes of tourists.
The Ultimate Wild West Road Trip
This 13 night drive of a lifetime takes you through the heart of Western USA.
Your epic road trip starts at the Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas. Indulge in the infamous shows and casinos of Sin City before exploring the incredible Mojave Desert and experiencing the Valley of Fire National Park. Here you will get your adrenalin pumping by riding a sun buggy across the Vegas dunes before taking to the sky in an exclusive helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon.
On day three you take to the road and find your next destination, the unique Amangiri resort in a protected valley on the Colorado Plateau. Here you will discover the beauty of Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley, as well as enjoy the turquoise waters of Lake Powell on a speedboat tour to the natural Rainbow Bridge.
After relaxing in Amangiri’s spa it’s time to drive to the next location: the Dunton Hot Springs in the depths of Colorado’s countryside. Whether you’re here for adventure or relaxation, in the Dunton Hot Springs you can enjoy private yoga lessons, kayak the river rapids or hike the surrounding peaks.
For the last leg of the trip you will swap your car for the sky as you fly from Telluride to Saragota airport. Brush Creek Ranch is located in the heart of Saragota and offers an unparalleled selection of outdoor activities from rock climbing and yoga classes to horseback riding. You’ll enjoy dinners overlooking the Sierra Madre Mountains and once you’ve had your fill of fresh air you can head indoors to the saloon for some classic evening activities.