We spoke with Dream Escape’s head of guiding, Rosie Peattie, one of Travel + Leisure's “World’s Greatest Tour Guides,” about what makes the U.K.-based experiential tour and event company a true standout in the industry.
Our team of experts shares a single vision: to be the best in the business by providing an unrivaled range of services and creative itinerary design.
Hideaway Report: Dream Escape has a reputation as one of the top tour operators in the U.K. To what do you owe this distinction?
Rosie Peattie: Our team of experts shares a single vision: to be the best in the business by providing an unrivaled range of services and creative itinerary design for travel advisors and their clients. We are the only on-site to have offices in both Scotland and England and we also have a partner office in Ireland. For discerning travelers looking for a unique and creative travel experience we really are the “go-to” company and you can be confident that we will take care of everything from start to finish—we leave nothing to chance.
HR: How does a guided tour with Dream Escape provide a more exclusive and authentic experience for the traveler?
RP: As an in-country on-site with guides as staff members, we have a natural advantage insofar as we know our own country like the back of our hands. We know the best-kept secrets, the hidden gems and the best ways to feature them within a great program. Because of this we can offer far more than a standard itinerary based around a set list of hotels—this is the true advantage of working with Dream Escape. Our fantastic list of personal and professional contacts built up over our lifetimes is second to none and the answer to even the most difficult question is never more than a phone call away. The people we can call on to take care of clients are all genuine experts in their own fields and many of them are internationally renowned.
HR: Can you share some examples of the most extraordinary and memorable experiences you’ve arranged?
Dream Escape recreated the Hogwarts Express using the renowned Jacobite steam train.
RP: A great example of a spectacular event we created relates to the continuing popularity of Harry Potter. Dream Escape recreated the Hogwarts Express using the renowned Jacobite steam train. With a full complement of witches, wizards and “magical” food, this unique experience (including hand-made personalized wooden wands for the kids) could only have been delivered by an on-site with significant insider knowledge, creative flair and the best little black book of contacts.
For another of our clients, we arranged a private evening tour of a malt whisky distillery which involved arriving and departing by boat. We then arranged for renowned chef Albert Roux to prepare a birthday dinner for the host and his family and friends in a private castle—this was before he was surprised by a very rare bottle of whisky from his year of birth. The finale was a fireworks display choreographed to his favorite piece of classical music—a dramatic end to a spectacular trip.
HR: It sounds like you’re well-equipped to accommodate any sort of group, even families with small children. How do you specifically tailor activities for the kids?
RP: The sky is the limit for family holidays—if the kids are happy, everyone is happy! The range of family-friendly activities and experiences we can provide to suit any age group is unsurpassed. From quad-bike adventures on private estates, treasure hunts in atmospheric castles or hidden city streets, land yachting on a beach or private falconry lessons and husky racing in the wilderness—there is really no limit to what we can deliver.
Many of our guides have their own children. We understand the needs of clients traveling with families and how important it is for children to not only have fun but to also have their knowledge broadened.
HR: What are some of the most interesting backgrounds or areas of expertise of your guides and guide services?
RP: Individual guides have university degrees in art, music, history and geography, to name but a few. In addition, we all have our own specific areas of expertise and interests which could be literally anything: wildlife, geology, Neolithic monuments, clan history, whisky, the Monarchy, Edwardian architecture, world wars, art history or fashion. Whatever the client’s interests may be, we will find the guide to suit them best.