Historic Hotels Not to Miss

This little island packs its fair share of wonders all different from one another, and all giving a different punch. History, and traditions explored in various angles is just one of them. In hospitality as it should this historical imprinted has a definitive space, in monuments to archeology, the fallen buildings to stories and Sri Lanka has quite a pack, ready to be explored.

What if we tell you, there’s a huge part of unexplored history, often told in ways that the caretakers only wish to tell. “The hotels” with history, from a bold design style from the Dutch coming down to the English, there are some very distinctively featured hotels that have stories waiting to be told.

Today, we take you down the path of historic hotels that you shouldn’t miss in your trip to the paradise island.

Queens Hotel

Just across the Temple of tooth in Kandy stands the white washed colonial building, the Queens. Presently known as the best spot to spectate the Kandy perahera, this magnificent building once used to be the residence of Dullewe adikarama (chieftain), in the latter years after the fall of Kandyan kingdom the building was converted as the mess complex of the Ceylon Rifle Regiment and was subsequently named as Malabar House. In 1879 it was passed to one Miss Piachud as a Kandy viewing spot and in the years to come it got converted to a hotel held by Kandy Hotels Limited. Queens has managed come through waves of time, just maintaining its own distinct shape and had attracted a spectacular crowd with this same reason. Do not forget to visit the museum housed at the premises for better dusting off on the history of the establishment. At Tripavi we bring you the best rooms to watch the annual Kandy perahera from the rooms facing the lake.

Hill Club

Founded in the year 1876 just as a home spot for the planters from England and Scotland, the Hill club largely resembles the shape of a country stone house in the UK. Hill club had maintained their club status from then to now, still operating the by invitation only club in the premises. As it should the Club still maintains the colonial dress code and the style. This grandeur building and the neat gardens has seen a lot, rise and fall of governments, wars ad peace and the change in times just to name a few. But it still maintains that once grand and spectacular taste of stone cottage and popular stay among British and European travellers. Hill Club is among the most preferred accommodation options among our sustaining Danish clientele and we use it as one of the main stop overs for our golfing holidays.

Tintagel

Tintagel is undoubtedly the epitome of modern Sri Lankan politics. Quoting the official website “Completed in 1930, Tintagel was intended as a residence for Dr. Lucien de Zilwa. In the mid 1940’s de Zilwa was given a week to vacate the property by the British Military to house one hundred soldiers. The military occupation saw the house wrecked and de Zilwa sold Tintagel to Sir Solomon Dias Bandaranaike for his son, Solomon West Ridgeway (S.W.R.D.). It is from this point in time that the house gained recognition as a structure of national importance. It was here that Ceylon’s political history was decided. S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike became Prime Minister in 1956 and he was shot on the verandah of Tintagel in 1959 and subsequently died in hospital. In 1960, his widow, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, became the world’s first female Prime Minister. The younger daughter of S.W.R.D. and Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga progressively became a Chief Minister, Prime Minister and then Sri Lanka’s first female President in 1994. In 2005 Tintagel went to the hands of private owner and was developed to a hotel, and was even graced by the presence of Prince of Wales at the Commonwealth Summit in 2013. We recommend Tintagel for the historic and a memorable stay in a quiet part of the vibrant city of Colombo.

Mount Lavinia Hotel

Carrying a telltale of love story Mount Lavinia hotel used to be the residence of Sir Thomas Maitland, the second governor of Ceylon. The 46 year old Maitland came to Sri Lanka and wanted to build himself a mansion in the close proximity to the capital, which eventually became Mount Lavinia Hotel named after his lady love Lady Lowina Alponso, a low caste dancer from out and about. As it should be Maitland and Lovina’s love story was looked down on and Maitland built a tunnel from Lovina’s house to his for them to meet secretively which to date is at the hotel. After the British reign fell, the grandeur house was converted to a hotel and is among the finest in the country even still. Mount Lavinia hotel is one of our recommended stays equally popular among all our traveler groups and especially among the sports groups who travel to Sri Lanka with Tripavi.

Amangalla

Carrying the Dutch Colonial Legacy between its thick walls, Amangalla is an icon inside an icon. The classic now hotel inside the fort walls of Galle was initially used as a headquarters for Dutch commanders and staff, in the latter part of English rule this grand building served as a hotel named New Oriental, serving mostly the British clientele coming to and from the Galle port and Colombo (when Galle used to be a port for international travel vessels). In 2005 Aman group overtook the ownership of the building and converted it to the luxury hotel Amangalla preserving its colonial shape and making it a very comfortable lodging for the international travellers. Aman is among the luxury hotel recommendations we always put to in the Sri Lanka map and a recommended choice of accommodation preferably for honeymooners by us.

Fort Bazar

Which once stood as a 16th century merchant house, now is a super luxury hotel. A luxury merchant house in the latter part of the Dutch ruling was very much neglected from the 1950’s, being inside the Dutch Fort, this building even though needed specific attention with its immersive Dutch architecture was beyond reach. In the beginning years of 2000 it was found appealed as a historic monument and was beautifully restored to a fort house retaining its original charm and the beauty just like it would have been in the glory days.

Galle Face hotel

Starting out as a Dutch villa in the 1600’s as a meeting point for the gentlemen, the Galle face dusting off to a proper hotel in the 1800’s went on to gather fame as the best hotel in the south of Suez. With its brown walls and the unmistakable colonial charm mixing along with the sea spray at the side of the hotel, now one of the iconic buildings in Colombo, the hotel maintains its grace, even well so than it was yesterday and brings out the polished look of the meeting point of Colonial charm and the metropolitan glam. Definitely a worth visit not forgetting a pop of head to the olde cellars. In Colombo, there’s no better historic hotel we would want to recommend for you to stay.

Bandarawela Hotel

A popular tea planters retreat from the beginning part of the 18th century, Bandarawela hotel was built as a hotel preserving its colonial charm at an easy reach from the train station. Time has not done a  many changes to the preserved property of Bandarawela Hotel, still very little developed from what is has been, from the heated rooms to the cemented floors, and lattice separators with bright colored flowers vines running up, it is as if time stood here. Bandarwela is an intermediary zone to the hills and a comfort stop to many planters which now belonging to a popular hotel group staying as it would Bandarawela hotel just makes a classic example of British comforts landed in the 21st century. Banadarwela hotel is a popular stopover point by our and European clientele who takes the amazing hill country journey by train.

Grand Hotel

Originally constructed as the summer retreat of the then governor Sir Edward Barnes and subsequently named after him as the Barnes Hall, this one story manor house looks over the Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya. In 1892 it was sold to a hotel management company and to date the governor’s wing stands, the original Elizabeth Era manor then took a turn to run along with the modernity as a mock Tudor manor and different wings and additions along the way had now made the Grand Hotel of what you see today. Today with an indoor heated pool and a neatly manicured garden the Grand maintains the undiluted class among the fellow regency era classics and serves up high perhaps even more. We vouch no better place than Grand Hotel to stay in Nuwara Eliya with all the grandeur comforts and modern day living. We recommend The Grand if you are looking for a luxury stay, with easy access and other recreational activities in Nuwara Eliya.

Viceroy House

The ancient Nugedola Walauwa built in the latter part of the 1930’s is a manor house as intended for the then governor of Ceylon and as time would, it got passed down the ownership a several generations after. The grand white building then caught attention of the renowned American actress Gillian Anderson from the X-Files series. After her brief ownership the Nugedola Walauwa was abandoned and then was gone to the hands of another private owner who then reinstated the colonial charm as a hotel and restored the historical masterpiece. Now belonging to a boutique hotel chain the Viceroy house shades to a long route of ironwood trees back to the main house and spread around about 27 acre garden.

The Foundation set right – community based tourism and responsible tourism by Tripavi

Sri Lanka is much more than just sightseeing and culture and strolls. As an island destination we boast a lot more and what if I tell you, your good heart is rewarded while holidaying in here. As a developing country we understand we have a lot on the development side, a lot to offer back to our community and with a little support from you, we have been doing just that.

Down in the south in your holiday, do not forget to step into the Foundation of Goodness. A goodness organization driven completely on the goodwill of you and a little help of you, which multiplies the simple thought of giving to something much more and keeps the community enriched. In the recent years Tripavi as a patron support of the foundation have also received an award appreciating what we have done to the betterment of the community with the support of the foundation itself.

On a note, Tripavi as a destination management company with our strong hold in organizing school sports tours, always makes sure that it’s our ideal to teach the kids that come on tour the importance of giving and empowering, hence we always make sure that they do a community rebuilding program at the foundation of goodness during the beach stays while touring Sri Lanka and we also collaborate with other charitable organizations.

What else do we do? Yes. Sports tours are our strong hold and we always make sure our sports tourers gets the best of exposure, but we also do experiential tourism. We give back to the society and we take our experiential tours to see first hand how life in lesser privileged parts of the country has shaped along the years. With this they understand how difficult it is for everyone to reach to the required facilities and how much help and support our community as a whole needs. So far, the community support experiential tours have raised quite an awareness among the visitors to our motherland.

What way can you help? It’s simple. Travel. Travel with Tripavi. As a practice we make sure that you get the best and you get to see the not very shinier side of Sri Lanka and extend the support where it is very much needed.

Future of Travel – How Sri Lanka is looking

In the recent times, travel has changed so much as a concept, as a destination and as a notion in whole. We have got accustomed to spending indoors, protected and away from the buzz, but we all achingly want a vacation, an excuse to see the world, a reason to wander about and collect memories. So, how will it change in the longer run for the destinations, how has it changed recently and how has it changed for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka, the small island destination, the wonder for its size is packed with a lot. A lot of culture, a lot of places to see and in short, a lot of wonders packed in a bubble. So, how is this new concept of centered travel going to look like for Sri Lanka. The trend is as such for staycations, that is no change in Sri Lanka too. Staycations means that, tourists comes and stays in the hotel itself for a number of days. What’s to do here? Well, we understand what a great destination Sri Lanka is and what a lot you will be missing when you come along only for a hotel stay, but that is how the trend has been. Whilst some countries still have restrictions on international travel, we are hoping that as the vaccine program rolls out we will see greater numbers of visitors to Sri Lanka. Interest is certainly picking up. On the plus side of it, Sri Lanka has some really good hotels and resorts with some good facilities, until it bounces back, why not at least a hotel that pampering while you enjoy and relax the Sri Lankan luxury, with our exotic hotels & resorts.

On excursions as a topic, Sri Lanka is doing everything possible to stay within lines, to show at least a little bit of what spice island is about and also to keep you very safe while doing it, therefore, there’s only a little cross section of certified excursions that you are able to see as of now, but we promise the list is getting bigger. What is available for you to visit is a list of places covers history, culture and wildlife, so while you are at it, you get to see most of what Sri Lanka is and that too travelling in a bio bubble, safe secure and enthralled.

Why now? As we have rightfully mentioned, Sri Lanka is a country to be explored at a slow pace, and isn’t it the best that time had slowed down to offer just that. You can be slow and take your time to explore the island at your own pace and we think it’s wonderful opportunity turned by luck with the current situation of the world.

Wasgamuwa – A Tour Worth Inspecting Nature and Wildlife

As a part of the inspection tours team Tripavi is doing around the country in assuring the best services for you, in the first week of October we took a road trip to visit Wasgamuwa. Wasgamuwa is a quaint little town tucked in the foot hills of Knuckles range and greenery all year round. This little piece of paradise is rich in its take of trees and greens and not to mention the abundance of waterways paving way to its specialty, riverine forests.

With a pretty early start around 4 in the morning we hit the road to reach Wasgamuwa in time. Driving across Dambulla we decided to take a small stop for breakfast at one of the popular traveller hangout and after a hearty breakfast we started on the trip again. Driving towards Wasgamuwa will put you in one of the most picturesque roads to have a drive in Sri Lanka. Your way forward is laid through mountains, plains and valleys. The long drive will border rivers and sometimes forest reserves.

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Tripavi Launches the Brand New Website

Tripavi Sri Lanka shows up a vivid way to attract the clientele through redesigning the website www.tripavi.com . Changing from the existing website which had a fair bit of content to the new website, which equals to a full trip around the country, the new and updated version caters to all markets and all information needs.

Newly set up website makes it easier for a traveller to understand Sri Lanka in destinations, what Sri Lanka as a whole is reading out about the climates, popular attractions, hotel profiles, committing to responsible tourism, and highlighting how to travel safe under the new normal.

Tripavi.com brings along interesting new aspects to the holiday makers of Sri Lanka adding some new and updated features like medical holidays, sports abroad tours, coach tours if you are vacationing on a budget and package tours where Sri Lanka’s highlights are showcased at the prime. As per the specialization of Tripavi, whichever the tour you select to traverse in the country you are assured the best attention by our team of consultants, get to know them by visiting ‘meet our team’ sections.

Events by Tripavi is another new entrant to the market with the launch of the website where periodical newsletter and promptly updated blog posts gives you the travel stories from around the island. If you are travel agent, coming on board with us is made easier with the new sign up for partnerships button and there is an interesting bit of information going along at the new website in all aspects. Why not type www.tripavi.com and find out what more is eye catching.

Whale Watching in Mirissa

Sri Lankan seas are known for the strange sea mammal the astounding whale. November to April each year is the whale watching season each year. Over the years Sri Lanka had turned to a whale watching hotspot and an international whaling community protected zone. Whales are warm blooded, marine mammals which are of the order Cetacea. They breathe air, give birth to live young and are found in all the oceans of the world. Whales are divided into two suborders, the Odontoceti (toothed whales) and Mysticeti (baleen whales). Mysticeti are toothless mammals while instead of teeth, they have a rigid brush like whalebone plate material which is called ‘baleen’ which hangs from their upper jaw area.

The island seas are known for the sightings of, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Mink Whale, Sperm Whale, Pigmy Sperm Whale & Dwarf Sperm Whale

And the list goes on also with happy dolphins popping from here and there swimming in teams to give you a pleasant time. Some of these species are occasional visitors while some are permanent residents around Sri Lankan waters. Most of these whales are seen while migrating from the Arabian seas to the Bay of Bengal. A high concentration of sperm whales and blue whales can be spotted off the coast of Dondra during the months of December to April. According to marine biologists, these whales can be residents or visitors since the continental shelf off Dondra and Mirissa is quite narrow.

What you need to know

Whale watching with Tripavi assures you a comfortable ride in a yacht ship with an amazing service oriented team, you will leave the shore by 5.30 in the morning and will approximately take you 5 hours depending on sea and wind situation. By the sun dawn you might have drawn further in the Indian Ocean and the breakfast plus snacks from time to time will be served.

Team Tripavi recently accommodated a special Danish group on a whale watching tour and the senior management team was present to ensure a smooth sailing experience to all our special guests.

Whale sightings are decided on the sea and water conditions and mostly can expect at least one sighting given the sea condition.   

#stayhome #staysafe – Message from Tripavi

With this COVID-19 pandemic the silent distractor reaching impacts on everyone around the globe, our passion and business of creating memorable vacations have changed as we stand in uncharted time zone in our history.

We take a moment out of our time to appreciate and thank everyone in our circle, our colleagues, hoteliers, ground handlers, partners, authorities and travelers included

At the times of this great uncertainty, let’s all take a moment to appreciate that we are getting the much-needed time with our loved ones, and the distancing had actually made us closer. We stand in the side of every frontier fighter in health sector, and security forces who are fighting this for us.

When we are apart at this time, let’s also take to mind that we are doing this for a time of being together again. At then we can make more memories vibrant than ever before. Only this time let’s all remember before we act upon to take care of nature and pledge upon being responsible to mother earth for a time like this will again found only in history.

The Gem of Northern Peninsula – Jaffna

Jaffna, the northern most peninsula of Sri Lanka is a pop of culture, color and ethnicity. With a foremost Hindu based culture, the majority of the residents are Tamils. From the food to the attire, everything takes a tumbling turn in Jaffna. Flying is the easiest method of transport to Jaffna and with scheduled flights operating from Ratmalana to Jaffna you can reach Jaffna in a mere 1 hour. The second best method of transport is the goo old locomotive, with much comfortable trains and a few trips available from Colombo to Jaffna on a daily basis.

Jaffna has a list of attractions, varying from religious pit stops to natural bindings. The list of attractions worth covering properly takes you three days. A quick cut can take you through the places of utmost importance. In a day’s trip Nallur Kovil, Jaffna Fort, Jaffna Library, Minister’s house, is worth covering.

Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil – Nallur Kandaswamy Kovil is a temple to the deity of Lord Murugan. The vast temple is mostly embodied in gold with miniature statues from top to bottom. As for all Hindu temples, Nallur temple also has a pond in center. The main shrine is far inside the temple and a pilgrim can walk around the temple reading the wall paintings that say a cultural story. Dress code to enter the temple, women should cover the knees and shoulders, men are expected to enter shirtless. Photography inside the temple is prohibited.

Library of Jaffna – Jaffna library at one time used to be the best library with the most number of first copies in the south Asia. As a result of the civil conflict the whole library was burnt down in the year 1983 losing all valuable books. It’s been rebuilt now with most books restored. You can walk around the library to get a good idea of the collection but visitors are not permitted to enter the library sections.

The Jaffna Fort – the second biggest Dutch fort built in Sri Lanka is an archaeological monument that has had a direct onslaught as a result of the recent 30 year of armed conflict. An outer moat exists outside the ramparts. Outside the moat is the outer rampart which has built in to it five tunnels each in a twin formation. The monuments within the fort had been destroyed during the conflict that raged in the area. Of these the monument named the Queen’s Palace is in sufficient level of preservation than the rest as it could be identified. Its superstructure is completely destroyed and the remaining walls are in the process of being destroyed due to the presence of invasive plants having taken roots in them. The fort is a free visiting area to the tourists during the day. Carry a hat to protect from direct rays of sun.

Minister’s House – Jaffna being a sub kingdom as in relation to the main ruler of the country. The independent remnants of it lie around the city. Of it is the minister’s house, a fully formed building which clearly looks being belonged to elite. The house is in full structure and is made of wood and clay and is full with intricate wood carvings. The site is without any much information and in Tamil it is known as manthri manai.

Stop for an ice cream at Rio – from the days of history, Jaffna inhibitors preferred their ice cream sweeter. Thus, Jaffna’s Rio ice cream became a stop to any tourist entering Jaffna. The wooden stool laid ice cream shop doesn’t really let you pick ice cream looking at it directly; instead you have to look at a menu with pictures and order. As almost, the ice cream comes out similar to what the picture shows. Rio is known mostly for sundae style ice cream and this is a sweeter a little less creamier version to the Italian gelato.

On a day’s trip to Jaffna the important island tours such as the Nainathiu island which houses Nagadeepa Buddhist temple, a Hindu Kovil, the island of delft with the remnants from the Dutch period and wild horses, the point pedro cannot be covered but a proper trip to Jaffna should cover all these attractions.

The food in Jaffna – Jaffna takes shape of food similar to southern Indian cuisine. Once in Jaffna the Jaffna Crab curry with white rice (Jetwing Jaffna serves a tasty portion of Crab), which cooks the whole sea crab in a chili infused curry served with plain white rice is a must try. Also, try the oodial kool, a seafood broth also served with white rice. In other dishes, idiappam, idli and chapahi with local curries are fusion favorites too.

What to take with you – although most Jaffna towners speak very good English, a guide to take you around who speaks Tamil will come in as an advantage. Do remember to carry a hat, sunglasses and lotion to cover from extreme sun. It is advisable to carry bottled mineral water or buy high quality bottled water than drinking water direct from the tap.

Inspection Tour to Down South

In constant updating of the information we have of the hotels and its facilities to give a better service to the clients of ours, team makes sure that we have a warm and an updated on track with our service providers mainstreaming hotels. As another chapter in assuring that, the team went on an inspection tour to the south to personally see the facilities of the properties being used for our upcoming tours and to inspect the possible usable properties which are new market entrants.

Starting off our journey in the morning and taking the southern expressway we reached Galle and drove a bit afar to reach Kabalana in Ahangama. A popular surfing beach stretch with some new and excelling hotels of kind.

Our first stop was Hotel Kabalana , built in the feel of Egyptian culture made alive here in the southern coastal town, Hotel Kabalana carries forward itself as an icon to the hotel stretch. The entrance itself is made as a replica of the famous Abu Simble temple in Egypt symmetrical to the four king statues being seated outside. The hotel boasts a stunning surfer beach right from the lobby and the rooms and hallways compliment the architectural choice with a standing row of god Anubis statues in each hallway. The rooms are comfortable and equipped with high tech amenities.

As our next stop we visited Apa Villa in Thalpe, a straight beach front quaint little villa, Apa villa is complete with a lap pool, looking at the ocean. Being a small boutique property, Apa villa is complete with butler service and privacy in dining and relaxing options. Although the living spaces can add a bit more touch of art to the property, Apa Villa does in its take a good call in standing out as a boutique property. The Apa villa library is filled with Hans Hofer’s famous travel guides covering intriguing destinations far and wide. The suites are housed in three separate villas that incorporate typical southern architectural features of columns and verandahs, courtyards and open spaces that let the ocean breeze and fresh air in.

Era Beach standing a few blacks away from Apa villa is our next stop, still being a small boutique property Era Beach has a little bit more of a back garden than Apa, the rooms are much spacious and comfortable and some rooms also come with plunge pools. The pool of the villa is tucked in the middle of the extended hotel wing of the common dining space and the living lobby. As in Era Beach is also complete with sunbeds and private lounging helping the guests relax during their holiday. There are eight luxurious bedrooms with four on the ground floor opening out to the gardens and the swimming pool and four on the upper floor with spectacular sea views.

Angel Beach Club stands out from the rest of the properties being a beach club and a remodel of the popular Niki Beach clubs. The diverse and popping beach club is filled with travellers who are in seek of a holiday adventure and experience. Being a popular instagram location, Angel Beach Club is filled with spaces that lets you take instagram worthy shots. The food and the drinks are freshly made then and there depending on the client requirement and other than being a full time functional hotel, the beach club runs as a day lounge to the youth travellers who is looking for something of thrill and music

Galle Fort is location with centuries of history carved to it. Where Yara Galle Fort is located inside the fort itself. Being a small luxury hotel, Yara Galle fort is nicely tucked into the old style buildings of the Galle fort. Yara has an inside garden and rooms are speciously located around it to give a glimpse of the garden except for a few rooms. Though smaller in size in comparison Yara’s location gives it a prime advantage being at a spot of traveller preference and of easy reach to most Galle Fort attractions.

As the next step we went along to Haritha Villa and spa in Hikkaduwa, perched atop a hill and cascading in different levels, Haritha is a new purpose built resort with the perfect mix of country and the views balanced together. Haritha consists of individual villa concept and each villa has a specialized butler service. Haritha’s perfectly fringed gardens and a dozen of pools with plenty of sitting and relaxing places available along the property makes it an ideal stop along resort. They are also known for their spa services and immaculate detail into creating guest needs met.

Next we made a stop at the breezy hikkaduwa lake, to hop onto Kalla Bongo Lake resort a well preferred  and popular retreats among our European clients, a peaceful little gem tucked to the shores of Hikkaduwa Lake, the resort has gone through a facelift recently complete with television (even though the peace & tranquility doesn’t really require you to watch it), wifi and upgraded bathrooms. Consisting of 15 rooms in total, the resort is complete with a pool and lake views are the best about the resort. Kalla Bongo cooks up some delicious food, their club sandwich with a side of French fries and coleslaw is best around Hikkaduwa.

At the end of a busy day, after a successful hotel inspection and assuring what goes into your holiday is looked to, the team took the southern expressway to head back to Colombo at sunset.

Say “NO” for Plastics

As a responsible travel policy, we at Tripavi are taking initiatives to reduce the intake of plastics. When you come visit our beautiful island with Tripavi, you get a free re-usable water bottle to carry around with you, instead of the plastic alternatives which takes 450 years to even start decomposing.

Every year 8 million metric tons of single use plastics are dumped to the oceans around the world, and an uncounted about 500,000 plastic bottles end up in the oceans. This debris is causing a countable damage to the coastal belt of world oceans, and the trapped plastic damages the eco systems and wildlife at large.

This single use plastic takes about a million year to completely recycle and thus far of the single use plastic made, only 6% of them have been recycled. It’s high in red alert for us to do something about the damage we have caused to the planet we live in.

As a measure and a small part of contribution from our part to reduce usage of single use plastics, we give a re-usable metal bottle to our clients, touring our beautiful country. That way, you contribute to our small effort in keeping Sri Lanka clean which takes a notch back in your carbon footprint contributing to world pollution. This re-usable bottle can be refilled as and when you prefer as to your need of water while travelling assisted by your private chauffeur.