Travel Agents

NSFW: The story these agents don’t want you to read

Hannah Edensor

Stuck behind the desk today? Well, maybe don’t read this because it’ll spark a jealous outrage.

The TTC Great Escape is well underway, and 100 agents are making their way around the West Coast of the United States.

The first brand Travel Weekly was lucky to spend some time with was Insight Vacations, the luxe escorted touring brand known for its attention to detail and artful travel style.

Straight out of the gates at LAX and onto the tour coach, the group of 30 plus agents hit the shores of Santa Monica for an abundance of tourism goodness at the final stop of Route 66.

Next stop on the comfy coach was Fess Parker’s Doubletree by Hilton resort in Santa Barbara, just across from the beach and filled with fun features (like the token warm cookie on arrival) and spacious rooms.

But a standout of the Insight Vacations tours is its Signature Experiences, which are unique ways for clients to experience a destination in methods only offered by Insight. This highlight shone through on a trip to Hearst Castle on Day Two, where guests typically get special treatment and skip queues to view this awe-inspiring marvel.

Built in 1919 over 28 years by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst. He hired architect Julia Morgan to help him realise his dream of creating a traditional and magical Mediterranean-style castle like the ones he saw when he was a boy travelling through Europe with his mother.

Visitors to this castle on the Insight program watch a short film on the history of Mr Hearst, before taking the shuttle up the long and windy road to the steps of the magnificent building.

The agents of Insight Vacations were treated to a tour with an incredibly passionate and enthusiastic guide, who knew more about William Hearst than most people know about their own family.

We wandered, took photos of and explored the nooks and crannies of the brilliant architectural masterpiece. The castle features 115 rooms, including 38 bedrooms, a library, movie theatre, stunning indoor Roman pool and 32-metre outdoor Neptune pool.

Talk about impressive living quarters!

The magnate invited celebrities like Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin, along with politicians and other fascinating people like JFK, to his mansion to spend time in his home.

And while agents were probably wishing they had similar invitations, it was on to the next destination of Monterey.

A final dinner at the original Bubba Gump next door to the gorgeous InterContinental The Clement Monterey (a cool perk for clients visiting), and it’s time for Travel Weekly to move on to more fun times with Trafalgar.

Check out all the pics from the Insight Vacations team, and stay tuned by following Facebook and Twitter and the #ttcgreatescape hashtag.

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