“We’re kind of the antithesis of those wellness trips.”
That’s the best description you’ll get of A Moveable Feast, a new luxury vacation concept accepting reservations around the world right now.
Taking over plush but off-the-radar private properties, AMF offers small-group, weeklong cultural excursions to exotic locales for just 16 people at a time, a curated process that ensures diversity, fun and even romance. Each day is a mystery excursion, each night a decadent dinner party.
A Roving Hotel (4 images)
A Moveable Feast (which lives under The Roving Hotel umbrella) was started by John Munson, a hotel/hospitality vet and hardened, memorable Jeopardy contestant. A few years back, a stay in a decked-out French chateau opened Munson’s eyes to a new type of vacation stay: put up a small, sociable group of strangers in a ridiculously beautiful home in Europe, then imbue those properties (briefly) with all the perks of a luxury hotel, with housekeepers, private chefs and drivers.
The endeavor’s intimate size and strangers-only vibe are also informed by Munson’s late-in-life backpacking adventures across Europe: “When I was backpacking, I’d stay in hostels and make new friends and meet cool people. That goes away when you get a bit of money and want to stay somewhere nice,” he says. “And that’s a real bummer.”
The first two iterations of A Moveable Feast took place in The Alps and in Basque Country. For their third trip, Munson’s setting foot in Marrakech, Morocco. Guests will stay in a guard-gated villa in the Palmeraie. The owners? A French couple who own a contemporary art gallery in Paris (you may spy a few Warhols on the walls).
While there, you’ll have access to a swimming pool, fitness center, tennis court and traditional Moroccan hammam spa. Each day sends you on a mystery excursion, which you’ll only find out the night before via a note left on your pillow. Perhaps a trip to the Berber Villages of the Atlas Mountains, maybe a camel trek through the Agafay desert.
And each night? Extremely decadent dinner parties in a different room of the chalet, where you’ll be sitting next to a different person, swapping stories and bonding (in various ways). The last night, you’ll be part of a surprise theme party inspired by the area.
Overall, Munson says, he wants to the trip to remind you of the Rolling Stones in the south of France in 1972, recording Exile in Main Street.
If you’re worried about the “curation” part of the guest list, don’t. Munson describes the process as picking the 50 or so people among your larger group of Facebook friends that “you could listen to all day long,” then finding the 50 people on each of those fascinating people’s social media feeds, and putting out an invitation among that select group. “It’s not all musicians or startup executives,” he says. “It’s just about creating a vibe. If you’re willing to go to some new place with 16 people you’ve never met and really bond with them, that’s 80% of it right there.”
A Moveable Feast 3: Marrakesch will run in two weeklong excursions in November. For more information, go here (mention InsideHook, and you’ll score a special discount off).
Can’t make this one? Munson hopes to offer four or more of these a year and a possible, shorter New Year’s excursion. Possible upcoming locations include Lisbon, Colombia and unspecified areas in Eastern Europe.
Photos: (Hero image, slideshow) Alex Merrell