An interview with Mark Allvey, managing director of Niquesa Travel

26 June 2019

April French Furnell

Niquesa Travel is a luxury travel company creating experiential holidays, journeys and expeditions for couples, families and small private groups. From organising the ultimate party on a glacier to a very special proposal including diving for a diamond, Citywealth’s April French Furnell spoke with Mark Allvey, managing director of Niquesa Travel to find out more.

Tell us about the philosophy behind Niquesa Travel

Niquesa Travel creates luxury holiday experiences globally for families, couples and small private groups that can be tailored to specific needs. Our black book of insider access to people and places around the world allows us to enrich, educate and enlighten through the unique activities we build into each journey.


How has luxury travel changed over the last decade?

These days experiences are very much in demand and Niquesa Travel was established to answer the growing need of affluent travellers to deliver something beyond a two-week beach holiday. For many of them, their objective is to find experiences that are outside the box and to experience a much deeper connection with the world around them. The desire to be unique has driven a trend in bespoke; turning products into personalised experiences. We also see more demand for transformational travel, for physical and mental well-being and a growing number of sabbaticals both for individuals and families.


Where are the current ‘hot spots’?

We are seeing a growing interest in Japan, Northern Lights/Iceland, Arctic expeditions, Morocco and new resorts and islands in the Indian Ocean


What makes travel an ‘experience’, can you provide some examples.

It’s about the ability to provide something truly unique and memorable and that would be difficult, if not impossible to organise. A few examples of what we have arranged for clients over this year include:

  • Caribbean Treasure Hunt. After three nights at a luxury resort the children were handed a ‘treasure map’ at breakfast. The family were then escorted onto a fully crewed yacht and so began a three-day adventure using the map to follow clues around some of the lesser known islands and coves. Along the way we planned surprises such as a beach BBQ, snorkelling etc. until ultimately, they found the ‘treasure’ – This has also worked well for proposals and anniversaries.
  • An ultimate party. We had a group of 12 people for a birthday celebration where we arranged a heated pop-up camp on a glacier in Iceland and we flew in a DJ from Reykjavik and they partied all night under the Northern Lights.
  • A group of guys wanted to explore Cuba on Harley Davidsons so we arranged for them to be escorted around Cuba for a day with the son of Che Guevara who took them to cigar bars and areas of Cuba they wouldn’t have found by themselves. They ended the day at the house of a famous jazz trumpeter and his musicians for a private audience.
  • An immersive family holiday to Morocco. With only a telephone, £100 in local currency, a pack of tools and a box of clues, our family had to figure out a series of puzzles in the mountains, city souks, coast and dunes of Morocco.
  • A 10-day African Safari adventure where the teenage children spent three days in the bush with a wild-life expert and a videographer and they created their own wildlife documentary.
  • We also created a Lost & Found experience for a senior partner of a bank who was, in his words ‘burnt out’ and had lost his work/life balance. We dropped him onto Vancouver Island by helicopter with no more than provisions for 48 hours and some directions and then, with the assistance of our expedition team on the ground and a prominent life-coach. He went through a well needed transformation over 7 days.


Describe your typical client.

Our clients are individuals, couples, families and small private groups who are looking for something more when they travel. They are in search of life-enhancing, sometimes life-changing experiences. Everything we do is bespoke and tailored to the individual needs and desires of our clients.


Can you tell us the most exotic trip you have arranged?

We had a client who wanted to find a unique way to propose to his fiancé so we flew them both down to Cape Town. We arranged for the fiancé to have a spa day while we flew the client an hour west where he went diamond diving for a day with a professional dive team. The small diamond he found was embedded into the side of the ring and while the ring was being made, they spent a few days in the wine regions and then flew to Victoria Falls for the proposal. Fortunately, she said yes!


What would be your recommendation for a couple looking to celebrate a 60th birthday with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  1. Take samples of DNA and plan a trip around the origins of their family tree
  2. Yacht charter in the Caribbean visiting six different islands to represent each decade with an appropriate gift/experience on each
  3. Private camp and hot air balloon over the Masai Mara
  4. A 10-day trip in season visiting four of the best cherry blossom countries (Vancouver, Kyoto, Paris, ending in Amsterdam for the Cherry Blossom Festival)


Tell us a bit more about your service for the home whilst a client is away.

We can take the worry out of leaving the home by providing security, house-keeping, dog sitting etc. and can make sure the fridge is fully stocked before return. This means a client can focus on enjoying every aspect of their trip.

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