Sanctuary Retreats‘ Global Director of Sales & Marketing, Pieter van der Schee, was in Sydney late last month to update trade partners, travel advisors and media on the group’s current transitional period, which includes investment in Africa, China and Egypt as the company looks to drive change and improvement in the industry.
The renewed investment includes the recent upgrade of Sanctuary Retreats Sun Boat IV which operates on the Nile in Egypt. Sanctuary Retreats is a collection of 12 luxury African safari camps & lodges and six luxury cruise ships in Myanmar, China and Egypt.
Sanctuary Retreats has a long record of creating authentic, luxury safaris, not just with camps and lodges in the most iconic locations in Africa – such as the Masai Mara, the Serengeti, near the Victoria Falls and in the Okavango Delta – and reflecting the natural environment in the buildings, but also through some of the very best guides and professional but warm, friendly service from the staff who come from the local communities.
A few years ago, however, Sanctuary Retreats noticed that travellers from Australia and around the world are changing. Although they still want to experience the heart and soul of Africa, tastes in design and style have changed, and Sanctuary Retreats is leading this change with a massive investment in upgrading our portfolio.
The rustic atmosphere of the past decades is being replaced by contemporary designs, much brighter and more elegant, opening up the tents and rooms to let the natural surroundings speak for themselves, instead of trying to replicate them on the inside. Some of the camps and lodges are brand new, from the ground up, while some are renovations and re-designs, but always transforming the experience and sense of Africa to keep honouring this wonderful continent.
In addition to the Nile, the luxury travel company has river cruises boats in China and Myanmar, but it’s Egypt where Sanctuary sees the biggest growth in the year ahead.
“Enquiries and bookings for our cruises on the Nile are booming as Australians are re-discovering the truly amazing artworks, temples and tombs of the ancient Egyptians located along the Nile’s river banks. And now is a great time to go there because it’s still quiet when you’re visiting the temples which gives you a great chance to see the highlights from up-close and at your leisure,” van der Schee said.
Upgrades are also planned for Sanctuary’s other vessels, Sanctuary Sun Boat III, Nile Adventurer, Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau).
“We are proud that we have operated our entire fleet in Egypt throughout the quieter years, making sure our boats and staff are ready to offer an unrivalled luxury and sophisticated experience to the new influx of visitors to Egypt,” van der Schee added.
In Myanmar, Sanctuary has been operating Ananda since 2014, a custom-built, state-of-the-art ship that combines the comforts of 5-star contemporary luxury with the refined elegance of authentic Burmese design.
Ananda is already established as one of the most luxurious river cruise ships in Myanmar, but last year Sanctuary Retreats enhanced the offering still further, partnering with French skincare brand, L’Occitane en Provence, to offer a new spa experience aboard its luxurious river cruise ship. Named after a paddle steamer in the old Irrawaddy Flotilla, L’Occitane’s first cruise spa, Thambyadine Spa by L’Occitane, is located on the Yangon Deck, and offers a range of therapies from two treatment rooms for guests of the 21-suite river cruise ship.
Last year, Sanctuary also saw the relaunch of the company’s Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer in China following a comprehensive refurbishment.
A cruise on the Yangtze River is a real must-do experience as part of a China trip and the new-look Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer offers an authentic and ultimate cruise with unprecedented 1:1 service. The ship has 38 deluxe cabins which are the largest entry-level cabins on the river as well as 20 suites and 4 specialty suites, and all of them have private balconies.
LATTE attended the intimate lunch with Sanctuary Retreats at Bentley Restaurant & Bar in Sydney on Wednesday 24 October.
Lead image: Pieter van der Schee, Global Director Sales & Marketing for Sanctuary Retreats, Mary Morton, Director of ID Collective and Michael McCall, Director of Sales, Australia and Asia.