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Issue 29 - Beyond your wildest dreams

Scotland Magazine Issue 29
October 2006

 

This article is 11 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Beyond your wildest dreams

For the right money Dream Escape will provide your dream Scottish holiday.

What would constitute your ultimate Scottish short break? Perhaps it entails being met at the airport by a chauffeur-driven vintage car, and being driven to the Balmoral Hotel for dinner and an overnight stay; collecting a sports car the following morning, maybe, and driving yourself down to Turnberry for lunch and a round of golf; then a helicopter ride up the coast and back in time for dinner and bed; and finally a seaplane over to Jura for a spot of deer stalking before flying back to the airport.

Sound wonderful doesn’t it? And now, thanks to the launch of a new company, even your wildest dreams can become a reality.

Dream Escape is the brainchild of David and Holly Tobin, a couple who met while travelling in Australia and who had both grown disillusioned with living and working in London.

“David was offered a job in Edinburgh and as I already knew the city well having been to University up here we decided to make the move.

“I began to work for VisitScotland and it was then that we saw the opportunity for a business serving the short break market.

I was able to see easily what was available and we saw the possibility of launching a business for people like our friends in London, people who needed a short break to get away but were really unaware of everything that was on offer in Scotland.” Originally Dream Escape was going to be aimed at people wanting to go away for a long weekend, but rapidly the couple realised that the concept applied equally to a wider range of breaks, from single nights and events to lengthier breaks. So Dream Escape was launched – and it was aimed at the very top of the market.

“We are offering something unique,” says Holly. “There are luxury destinations in Scotland that offer fantastic sporting and outdoor pursuit facilities. Many of them offer a concierge service, but normally it’s someone working nine to five in an office. But we wanted to join the dots up and manage every aspect of someone’s stay from the moment they arrived off the plane.

“The idea is to let people relax and have the perfect holiday while we worry about all the little details.” To put the theory in to practice the couple organised their concierge service through Travelex in Peterborough, where 400 people are employed around the clock to meet customer needs.

“This means unlike a lot of places we can offer a 24 hour service. We talk at length to people about exactly what they want from their holiday and then put together an itinerary. When that has been agreed they are given a direct telephone number to the concierge service.

“Should they call it, they will be answered by someone on behalf of Dream Escape and they can use that service for just about anything. If we had a Russian client, for instance, who had forgotten to organise a party in Moscow, then that could be arranged. If they found out their flat was leaking the concierge could arrange a plumber. Pretty much anything really to make sure that the person can really relax on holiday.” Dream Escape is a little like an upmarket version of the British television show Challenge Anneka, with the company prepared to meet pretty much any demand.

It’s not just the sky which is the limit, but the road and sea, too. Transport options include a range of wonderful cars to private planes, seaplanes and helicopters.

If it’s possible, it’ll be done. Which means if you like whisky then Dream Escape will team up with an expert who will not only give you access to a VIP tour at some of Scotland’s best distilleries but will arrange Clockwise from left: Some of the experiences available to Dream Escape clients. A luxurious velvet bedroom at Prestonfield near Edinburgh; Calm waters for kayaking; Cuisine at the renowned three Chimneys restaurant; Beautiful views from a cruise on the Hebridean Princess; A luxurious bathroom at the Boath House Hotel for you to fill your own cask and have it displayed in the visitor centre for a few years until it’s ready for you to come and bottle and have your own whisky.

“If you want to have your own fashion show, models can be arranged and a private showing held. We are talking to top chefs such as Nick Nairn who for the right price will come and cook for you. We can even arrange for Harvey Nicholls to open at 2am if you want to shop privately.” If all this sounds a little overwhelming and intrusive, then don’t fret: Dream Escape do simple and unobtrusive, too.

“The whole point is that different people want different things from their break,” says Holly. “If people want to be left alone then that’s fine. The point is that all our drivers are trained guides and can offer information on the history of a place, so if the customer wants that it’s there. But it’s entirely up to the customer.” The company, launched at the beginning of last year, has managed to make sufficient a name for itself to be included as part of the Luxury Marketing Group Europe, an elite body representing between 200 and 300 top brands, all of which have been invited to join. Members include the likes of Dunhill and Diageo’s Reserve Brands portfolio. And they have achieved it by dedication to detail – and by offering an exemplary level of service and expertise.

“While we try and offer a dream break we are also realistic about what we can do,” says Holly.

“We take in to account weather conditions, for instance, and avoid using some methods of transport for taking customers from one destination to another. We wouldn’t recommend flying lengthy distances between destinations by helicopter, because anything more than 45 minutes and it becomes a pretty uncomfortable way to travel and if the weather is poor the itinerary will be messed up.

“But we might suggest a lunch trip by helicopter. In that way if something goes wrong we can provide a good back-up and the overall trip isn’t affected too severely.” The strategy would seem to be paying off, and Dream Escape is going from strength to strength.

For Holly it’s a wonderful way to be involved with business but to show of a country she has such a love for.

“We found that there were so many people who had no idea what Scotland has to offer,” she says. “We’re promoting Scotland to those people at the very highest level. And we’re showing them that Scotland can really offer the very best of so many things.”
www.dreamescape.co.uk