Black Tomato has launched a ‘joyful’ collection of group experiences that are designed to bring people together at a specific place and point in time. Jenny Southan reports
Luxury adventure travel company Black Tomato says it has had a long-held belief that some experiences are “exponentially more meaningful and memorable when shared with those you love”.
This has inspired Black Tomato to review the best and worst parts of group travel and to develop a new innovative range of pick-and-mix experiences called “See You in the Moment“, which take place at a specific place and point in time.
Working with partners around the world, Black Tomato has curated a collection of more than 30 “remarkable travel moments”, which can be incorporated into existing or newly created Black Tomato itineraries. They are categorised by: The Meal, The Event, The Challenge, The Journey and The Celebration.
Rather than booking a restaurant or private chef for a birthday dinner, Black Tomato suggests organising a gourmet banquet (The Meal) inside Iceland’s Thrihnukagigur volcano crater, illuminated by a thousand candles.
For a VIP bonanza, Black Tomato can take groups to Italy for Siena’s famous biannual Palio horse race (The Event) where they will watch the medieval spectacle from a private balcony overlooking the Piazza del Campo.
Alternatively, a group might want to embark on an expedition down the Apurimac River (The Challenge), through the heart of Peru’s Sacred Valley, where they will navigate the otherwise inaccessible Ancient Valley of the Incas by raft, staying at “mind-blowing” luxury campsites along the way.
Tom Marchant, co-founder, Black Tomato, says: “Serving as an antidote to over-scheduled, time-poor stressors that pervade our busy lives, ‘See You in the Moment’ encourages being fully present in the moment with others; being mindful, which by design is innately therapeutic.
“At Black Tomato, we have a deep understanding of the psychology of travel, pioneering travel experiences designed to be transformative and bring lasting impact, from getting lost (Get Lost) to find yourself in Mongolia, to harnessing travel as a self-improvement tool, with Bring it Back.
“Ultimately, we believe these unforgettable shared experiences foster a profound sense of belonging and togetherness, bonding a group by becoming part of their shared narrative. While some moments can still be enjoyed as a couple, there are some that are so much better with more people, when ten years on you just have to look at a friend and there’s an immediate connection from the past that keeps you reminiscing together down the line.”
While Black Tomato has long excelled in executing group trips, the new range of “shared moments” are hoped to appeal to families and friends who want to “connect and commit to carving out time to do more incredible things together with those who matter”.
Black Tomato says: “In looking at how we curate and optimise group travel, which is traditionally defined by compromise, from a practical perspective, a core innovation of ‘See You in the Moment’ is bringing everyone together for a celebratory moment, made all the more poignant and captivating when shared with others, but allowing everyone’s individual needs to be met via bespoke itineraries.
“Crucially, this flexible and customised approach, which removes common friction from the inherent challenges and frequent pain points of group travel, is driven from years of hearing about myriad challenges when clients attempt to organise group trips themselves, with one set itinerary for all.”
Here are some examples of See You In The Moment experiences:
The Meal: Dining under the midnight sun in the Lofotens, Norway
A gourmet private retreat in the Nordics, perched on a secluded beach on an uninhabited island in the Lofotens, is where guests will enjoy the best of nature’s bounty, while relishing the simplicity of living in the elements. A tailored takeover allows creating a memorable multi-day adventure, with options for hiking, kayaking, surfing, RIB boats, cold-water plunges, while a team of world-class chefs and artisans will create magnificent meals throughout the stay, culminating in a gastronomic beach barbecue on a deserted shore accessed by Zodiac; a magical setting for sharing stories.
The Event: Discovering the Lost Songkran, Thailand
Celebrations for the bucket-list festival, Songkran, take place in a local village in the untouristed Isaan region of Thailand, with the chance to forge cherished local connections. Lost and forgotten traditions await discovery as guests will observe the festivities at a temple, take part in a traditional rural temple blessing of the elders, join the night market merriment, and spend an evening with a historian explaining the origins and variations of Songkran across Thailand. Back in a luxurious exclusive-use villa, a private celebration will include a joyous, no-holds-barred water fight with water guns, water balloons, a sand pagoda building contest, and a lavish Thai feast to wrap the day.
The Challenge: An expedition to the last extremity of The Andes, Peninsula Mitre, Argentina
An intrepid and first of its kind exclusive expedition to the very tip of Tierra del Fuego, an almost unknown corner of the world, where guests will tackle an extreme physical challenge together and celebrate their sense of esprit de corps, against the backdrop of crashing surf at the confluence of the Atlantic, Pacific and Southern Oceans. Far from Argentina’s usual travel circuit, this high adrenaline trip combines helicopter and sailboat journeys, hiking and horseback riding, with specially built nomadic campsites along the way, all designed to test the group’s endurance and spark camaraderie, in total isolation from civilisation.
The Journey: Exploring untouched oceans surrounding Poor Knight Islands, New Zealand
Onboard a privately chartered, sustainable motor yacht, affiliated with ocean conservation charity, Live Ocean, which works to protect the fragile underwater ecosystems, guests will embark on a pioneering journey to explore untouched oceans off the remote, undeveloped Poor Knight Islands, in search of some of the world’s best diving. Accessible only by sea, this life-affirming experience offers a new perspective on New Zealand and culminates in a collective dive into the subtropical waters amidst orcas, dolphins and rays, before spending the evening stargazing, mesmerised by the clear night skies devoid of any light pollution, replete with an astro-photographer onboard
The Celebration: Ring in the New Year with a Celtic Celebration, Scotland
Blend tradition and modernity in a fitting NYE celebration, immersed in the rich history of the highlands. Learn from the land in bushcraft survival while imbibing on the spirits of the region, learning to pair flavours with modern spices. Explore the mysteries of the loch before participating in a personalised Highland Games, both as spectator and athlete. A gala complete with traditional Ceilidh dancing will ring in the New Year with an awe-inspiring firework display shimmering over the waters of the loch.