It’s fair to say that George Morgan-Grenville has had his fair share of adventures.
In 1990, he was the first westerner to travel by private saloon rail carriage across Central Asia. He has accompanied HRH The Prince of Wales on a remote Himalayan expedition, set up gorilla trekking in the Congo, served in the Falklands and Hong Kong (as an officer in the Coldstream Guards), and in between all of this, somehow gained a Fast Stream pass in the Foreign Office exam. But in 2010, on a cold, wet night in China, he decided to plug the gap in the market for a luxury travel brand with a difference.
Red Savannah was born.
‘I began to formulate a plan for a travel company where every aspect was underpinned by meaningful experiences but without the hackneyed travel jargon. In short, travel with depth, breadth and substance. No glitz, just the real thing, redefined for the 21st century by some of the most knowledgeable names in the business,’ recalls George. ‘We were not motivated by gold taps and Michelin-starred restaurants. Instead, we wanted to design journeys that would take our clients under the skin of a destination.
Nowadays, people don’t just want to see – they want to participate, engage with interesting people and feel the rhythm of a place. Ubiquity is everywhere and we spend a great deal of energy working out how to avoid it.’ One way he and his experienced team do that is by delving into an unrivalled black book of extraordinary contacts which spans the world, from kings to concierges and, of course, the very best guides.
The company launched with two divisions: worldwide tailor-made journeys and safaris and a luxury villa portfolio that spans France, Italy, Spain and the Balearics, Greece and the Caribbean. The growth has been phenomenal. In addition to adding multiple destinations, a new division called Private Estates has been established – think uber villas fully staffed and capable of hosting milestone celebrations and large parties. These include a stunning lake house in the Adirondacks in Upstate New York (once owned by the Vanderbilts), the most beautiful estate on Lake Como, an outstanding Provençal château, Tuscan estates and private islands in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. This is complemented by a hand-picked fleet of yachts and gulets that has been painstakingly created in the Aegean and Ionian seas, with the Adriatic to follow shortly.
Red Savannah likes to be at the cutting edge and last year saw the launch of Zen Savannah. Focused on wellbeing, it has been divided into Nutrition & Weight Loss, Yoga & Mindfulness, Detox and Beauty & Youth. Zen Gurus work with clients to identify the right retreat (they have identified the top 22 places in the world) to meet achievable health goals. This is definitely not a one-off holiday, but more the beginning of a journey to rediscover core wellness against a background of increasing lifespan and growing antibiotic immunity.
Since the first booking in 2011, the philosophy of the company has remained the same: to do things in a way that exceeds clients’ expectations and always with a generosity of spirit. ‘It might sound dated at a time when the web has tended to commoditise every aspect of travel, but it is the single most important ingredient
in our success,’ says George. ‘We recognise that for today’s traveller, cost is paramount, but it is actually value for money
that drives satisfaction and repeat business.’
RED SAVANNAH EAGLE TOWER, MONTPELLIER DRIVE, CHELTENHAM, GL50 1TA +44 (0)1242 787800