Our Style of Luxury Travel
Artisans of Leisure - luxury travel experts
Client Testimonials
company background


 

Our travel experts have spent years living and traveling abroad, visiting compelling sights (those well known and those off the beaten track), comparing luxury hotels and room categories, and establishing relationships with local tour guides, chefs, artists, and hotel general managers. We share our intimate destination knowledge with our clients, who benefit from an extensive network of connections, privileges, and arrangements already in place.

Artisans of Leisure - Luxury travel


Our Travel Experts

Our travel experts have spent years living and traveling abroad, visiting compelling sights (those well known and those off the beaten track), comparing luxury hotels and room categories, and establishing relationships with local tour guides, chefs, artists, and hotel general managers. We share our intimate destination knowledge with our clients, who benefit from an extensive network of connections, privileges, and arrangements already in place.

Ashley Isaacs GanzAshley Isaacs Ganz
The founder of Artisans of Leisure, Ashley is an expert in all of the company’s tour destinations. She is passionately committed to providing authentic travel experiences, sophisticated recommendations, and an extremely high level of luxury and personalized service. Born and raised near Philadelphia, Ashley has also lived in Australia, Japan and England. When she travels, Ashley is particularly interested in culture, cuisine, the traditional and decorative arts, and family travel. Read more about Ashley in our Company Background.

Favorite tours:

Exclusive Italy
Spain, Morocco & Portugal
Contemporary Art of Japan
Exclusive China
Southeast Asia in Style
Essence of India

Istanbul in Depth
A Week in Mexico
Best of New Zealand & Australia
Budapest, Vienna & Prague
London & Paris

Journey Through Scandinavia & Russia
Best of Puglia & the Amalfi Coast

Favorite hotels:

Hotel Caruso (Ravello, Italy)
George V, Paris (France)
Claridge's (London)
Park Hyatt Tokyo (Japan)
Castiglion del Bosco (Tuscany, Italy)
Villa d'Este (Lake Como, Italy)
Peninsula Hong Kong (China)
Four Seasons Chiang Mai (Thailand)
Four Seasons Florence (Italy)
Four Seasons Budapest (Hungary)
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park (London)
Gleneagles (Scotland)
Grand Hotel Stockholm (Sweden)

Favorite museums:

Victoria & Albert Museum (London)
Benesse Art Site (Naoshima, Japan)
Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)
National Museum of Rome (Italy)
Museo Dolores Olmedo Patino (Mexico City)
Sintra Palace, Portugal
The Egyptian Museum (Cairo)
Russian Museum (St. Petersburg)
Istanbul Modern

Favorite dining experiences:

Shojin ryori (vegetarian Zen cuisine) in Kyoto
Da Delfina (near Florence, Italy)
Gundel (Budapest, Hungary)
La Cheneviere (Normandy, France)
Eating in Barcelona's markets (Spain)
Barnsley House (Cotswolds, England)
Maroush II, London
El Cardenal (Mexico City)
The Verandah, Hong Kong
Dining on mezzes while overlooking the sea in Tel Aviv (Israel)
Meinl's Restaurant (Vienna)

Favorite excursions:

Traditional neighborhoods in Kyoto (Japan)
Villandry and gardens in Loire Valley (France)
Tivoli (near Rome, Italy)
Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
Sintra, Portugal
Eastern Bali villages and festivals (Indonesia)
The pyramids (Egypt)
A private cruise on the Bosphorus (Istanbul)

Best shopping:

Liberty in London

Favorite cities:

London, Rome, Istanbul, Kyoto, Paris, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Sydney

Leah ReilleyLeah Reilley
Leah joined Artisans of Leisure after years spent traveling the world. A passionate foodie, Leah's travels have ranged from exploring Italy's Slow Food Movement in Piedmont to finding Cambodia's best Khmer cuisine. As well as eating her way across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Australia, Leah lived in Madrid and Barcelona for four years, experiencing Spain as a local. She has studied art at the Prado museum, cooking, and flamenco dance, and received an MA in Spanish Language and Literature at Middlebury College. She has also lived in Paris, makes frequent trips to Italy, and has traveled extensively through Turkey, Morocco, Israel, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Peru. Some of her favorite travel experiences include attending classical music performances in Salzburg, Vienna and Prague; walking Spain’s Camino de Santiago; bargaining in Marrakesh's souks; snorkeling off the Similan Islands, Thailand; witnessing an aarti ceremony in Udaipur, India; ice-trekking on Perito Moreno glacier, Argentina; and watching dawn break over Machu Picchu. Leah recently returned from fantastic tours of Patagonia, Morocco, Spain, Australia, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Belgium, Chile, Belgium, Bhutan, Japan, Kenya and Tanzania.

Favorite tours:

Culinary & Art Tour of Spain
Best of Egypt & Jordan
Flavors of Southeast Asia
Journey Through China
Best of Morocco
Jerusalem in Depth
London & Paris
Gourmet Northern Italy
Cultural Highlights of Argentina


Favorite hotels:

Amanbagh, India
La Residencia, Mallorca
Hotel Astoria, St. Petersburg
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok
Explora Lodge, Patagonia
The Peninsula, Hong Kong
Banyan Tree Lijiang, China
Amanjena, Marrakesh

Favorite dining experiences:

Breakfast at Boqueria Market, Barcelona
Fresh sfogliatelle in Naples, Italy
Borscht at Cafe Pushkin, Moscow
Lunch at La Terrazza di Lucullo, Capri
Egg coffee at Cafe Giang in Hanoi, Vietnam
Dinner at Sin Huat, Singapore
River shrimp at Yuqilin, Hangzhou, China
Pintxos tour in San Sebastian, Spain
Anything in Goa, India

Favorite sites:

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Alhambra, Spain
Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia
10,000 Buddhas, Hong Kong

Ajanta and Ellora Caves, India
The temples of Abu Simbel, Egypt
Petra, Jordan

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Sergiev Posad, Russia
Songzanlin Monastery, Yunnan, China
Machu Picchu, Peru

Best shopping:

Sculptures and artifacts in Ubud, Bali
Winter sales in Paris
Gourmet foods in Barcelona
Textiles, ceramics, jewelry in Jaipur
Shoes, leather, antiques in Buenos Aires
Rellik in London for vintage designer goods
Antiques along Dong Tai Lu, Shanghai
Art galleries in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv

Favorite cities:

Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, London, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Jerusalem , Mumbai, Udaipur

Sandy SchnurSandy Schnur
Sandy grew up in Westchester County, New York. A high school trip to Spain sparked her passion for international travel, and she later studied abroad in Italy and Australia while earning her BA at Washington University.

Since then, Sandy has rarely stopped traveling. A recent eight-month journey through Southeast Asia and Europe included volunteering in Cambodia; traveling in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia; living with families in Italy; and spending time in Amsterdam, Paris and Prague. Sandy has also traveled in Israel, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico and Kenya.

When traveling, Sandy enjoys local cuisine, cultural performances, adventure activities, volunteering with local communities, wandering the streets, and browsing markets for local goods and handicrafts. Sandy has recently returned from extensive tours through Morocco and Peru.

Favorite tours:

Highlights of Puglia
A Week in Kenya
Journey Through New Zealand
Highlights of Australia
Journey Through Indochina
Vietnam for Foodies
Journey Through Italy
Highlights of Thailand
Highlights of Bali
Journey Through Peru

Favorite culinary experiences:

Watching burrata being made in Puglia
Taking a street food tour of Ho Chi Minh City
Eating snake in Hanoi
Making traditional ragu in Bologna
Eating dinner in a cave in Halong Bay
Eating xiao long bao and sheng jian bao in Shanghai
Wine tasting in Tuscany

 

Favorite places:

Halong Bay, Vietnam
Puglia, Italy
Queenstown, New Zealand
Cambodia
Luang Prabang, Laos
Kenya
Byron Bay, Australia
Hoi An, Vietnam
Ostuni, Puglia
Amsterdam

 

Favorite experiences:

Learning to surf in Bali
Bottle-feeding a baby tiger in Chiang Mai
Cruising Halong Bay
Hiking Fox Glacier in New Zealand and Mount Batur in Bali
Sharing lunch with a Burmese monk
Going on safari and visiting a Maasai village in Kenya
Exploring the Western Wall tunnels in Jerusalem
Hiking Huayna Picchu for views over Machu Picchu

Luke PyensonLuke Pyenson
When Luke was growing up in the Boston area, his bedtime stories often came from the pages of travel magazines or cookbooks. He has had an intense interest in other cultures from a young age, eventually earning a BA in International Literary and Visual Studies from Tufts University, as well as an MA in the Anthropology of Travel, Tourism and Pilgrimage from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. He has studied French, Arabic, Italian and Mandarin, and he picked up Spanish while interning in restaurant kitchens in his teens. In addition to extensive travel around Europe, North America, and parts of North Africa and the Middle East, Luke has lived in Morocco, England, France, and Italy.

An accomplished writer, Luke began contributing food and travel articles to the Boston Globe while still in high school. Since then, he has written for VICE, Edible Boston and other publications. He has also played the drums for indie rock bands in Boston and London, and toured extensively around the U.S. While traveling, Luke seeks out local food, drink, music, visual art, books and ephemera. Read more about Luke on our blog.

Favorite tours:

Culinary Tour of Sicily
Best of Southern Australia
Food & Wine Tour of Italy
Ryads of Morocco
Jerusalem in Depth
London in Depth
Culinary Tour of Mexico

Favorite places:

Reykjavik, Iceland
Genoa, Italy
Le Langhe, Italy
Talloires, France
Chefchaouen, Morocco
Mexico City, Mexico
Stockholm, Sweden
Melbourne, Australia
Jerusalem

Favorite restaurants:

Rosendals Tradgard (Stockholm, Sweden)
El Cardenal (Mexico City, Mexico)
St. John (London, England)
Gostilna Na Gradu (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Charcoal Lane (Melbourne, Australia)
Aponiente (El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain)
Le Pre Catelan (Paris, France)
Du Pain et Des Idees (Paris, France)
Ikermawi (Jerusalem)
JEF (Ghent, Belgium)

Favorite museums:

Arken (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca (Oaxaca, Mexico)
Tate Britain (London, England)
Zentrum Paul Klee (Bern, Switzerland)
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid, Spain)
Moderna Museet (Stockholm, Sweden)

Favorite music venues:

Power Lunches (London, England)
The Pop Inn (Dublin, Ireland)
Molloy and Dowling Opticians (Dublin, Ireland)
Melkweg (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)
Donau115 (Berlin, Germany)
Harpa (Reykajvik, Iceland)
Uganda (Jerusalem)

Favorite sites:

Quinta da Regaleira (Sintra, Portugal)
Jokulsarlon (Hofn/Skaftafell, Iceland)
Kasbah des Oudayas (Rabat, Morocco)
Great Orme (Llandudno, Wales)
Cube Houses (Rotterdam, the Netherlands)
The Great Ocean Road (Victoria, Australia)

DavidDavid Carson
David has a passion for food and exploring cultures different from his own. He is also an avid photographer and loves capturing scenes of dailylife, architecture, and local flora and fauna. He has a graduate degree in theater and is a founding member of the Metropolitan Playhouse in New York City. David has traveled widely, from France to Lithuania to South Africa.

Favorite tours:

Normandy & Paris
London in Depth
Romantic Italy
Essence of Japan
Best of Angkor & Thailand
Highlights of Australia & New Zealand

Favorite hotels:

Chateau la Cheneviere, Normandy
The Sukhothai, Bangkok
Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town

Favorite restaurants:

La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek (South Africa)
Agnes Sorel, Loire Valley (France)

Favorite museums:

Musee d’Orsay, Paris
Victoria & Albert, London
Gold of Africa Museum, Cape Town

Favorite experiences:

Walking on the city walls in Lucca (Italy)
Strolling the waterfront of Honfleur (France)
Visiting the American Cemetery in Normandy
A three-day photo safari in South Africa

Favorite shopping:

Wine in the Loire Valley and Tuscany
Paintings or prints of local scenes
Local crafts markets in every destination
Woolens in Ireland

 

John McGee John McGee
John loves experiencing local cultures. Wherever he travels, he seeks out traditional and contemporary art and architecture, visits museums, wanders city streets, hikes, meets local people, turns an ear to local music, scours markets for what’s typical to locals but unusual to visitors, forages for local food and drink, and buys lots of books. Originally from California, John has also lived in Copenhagen, Edinburgh and Tokyo. He has traveled extensively and intensively throughout most of Asia, Europe and New Zealand, large parts of North America, and a bit of Africa. Recently, John has spent considerable time in New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Ecuador & Galapagos, Switzerland, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the Baltic States, Taiwan, Norway and Peru.

John has a BA in studio art from Occidental College and an MFA from Art Center College of Design. While living in Tokyo for six years, John wrote a weekly art column for Japan’s leading English-language magazine. He has also contributed articles on art, cuisine, shopping and travel to “Time Out” guidebooks, Art in America, Art+Auction, Four Seasons and many other publications.

Favorite tours:

Gardens of Italy
Contemporary Art of Japan
Contemporary Art of China
Culinary & Art Tour of Spain
Highlights of Poland
Highlights of New Zealand
Journey through Argentina
Introduction to Ecuador

Favorite hotels:

Llao Llao Hotel & Resort (Argentina)
Blanket Bay (New Zealand)
Hacienda Zuleta (Ecuador)
Benesse House (Japan)
Bauer Il Palazzo (Italy)
Amanjiwo (Indonesia)

Favorite dining experiences:

Al fresco lunch at a winery (New Zealand)
Private dinner at a Palladian villa (Italy)
Fresh soba, tofu and sake (Japan)
Fresh mushroom dishes (China, Poland)
Fresh oysters, venison and lamb (New Zealand)
Grilled steak at an estancia (Argentina)
Lunch at a historic hacienda (Ecuador)
Cheese tasting in northern Spain

Favorite Artisans of Leisure experiences:

Private wine tasting in Mendoza (Argentina) and Hawke’s Bay (New Zealand)
Flying over the Southern Alps and Milford Sound (New Zealand)
Horseback riding in the Andean highlands (Ecuador)
Touring less-visited temples at Angkor (Cambodia)
Seeing inside historic wooden churches in Poland
Experiencing the cultural history of Toledo (Spain)
Hiking with a private guide in Patagonia
Touring contemporary architecture in Tokyo

Favorite places:

Japan, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Patagonia, Taiwan, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Beijing, Yunnan (China), Potsdam (Germany), northwest Argentina, and the Ecuadorian Andes

Stephanie DoschStephanie Dosch
Originally from Seattle, Stephanie lived in Madrid, Spain for six years before moving to New York. Stephanie first went to Madrid to earn her master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College, but she became enamored of the city and stayed, working as a tour guide and a travel blogger and writer. Living in Spain allowed Stephanie to travel extensively in Europe, both as a guide and on her own. Memorable experiences include hiking in the Swiss Alps; biking through Amsterdam; eating her way through the Basque Country; riding a hot-air balloon in Cappadocia, Turkey; boating through Sicily’s Aeolian Islands; sampling port wine in Portugal’s Douro Valley; and soaking up the sun on Menorca’s wild and secluded beaches.

Stephanie’s lifelong birding hobby has also taken her around the world, from the llanos of Venezuela and Mayan ruins of Belize to the Ghanaian bush and Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater. She even dragged her Spanish husband on birding outings during their honeymoon in Southeast Asia. When traveling, Stephanie loves trying local dishes; hunting for treasures in markets; wandering through interesting neighborhoods; and visiting museums and art galleries. Her most recent trips have included Dublin, Basque Country, Sicily, Amsterdam, Innsbruck, San Sebastian, Bangkok, Cambodia, Vietnam, Mexico, Japan, India, Dubai and the UAE, and China.

Favorite tours:

Culinary & Art Tour of Spain
Highlights of Cambodia
Food & Wine of Portugal
Historic Turkey
Vietnam for Foodies
Amsterdam in Depth
A Week in South Africa

Favorite places:

Istanbul
Sicily
Cambodia
Lisbon
Menorca
Bayonne, France
Nicoya peninsula, Costa Rica
Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti, Tanzania

Favorite neighborhoods:

Kadikoy, Istanbul
Belleville and Canal St. Martin, Paris
Malasaña, Madrid
San Temo, Buenos Aires
Trastevere, Rome
Jordaan and Western Islands, Amsterdam
Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin

Favorite sites:

Great mosque, Cordoba, Spain
Basilica cistern, Istanbul
Arc de Triomphe, Paris
Angkor temples, Cambodia
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Favorite museums:

National Gallery, London
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Guggenheim Bilbao
Bargello, Florence
Museo Cerralbo, Madrid
Mauritshuis, The Hague
Fine Arts Museum, Saigon
MNAC, Barcelona

Favorite Dining Experiences:

Pintxos in San Sebastián and Logroño, Spain
Risotto at Antico Arco, Rome
Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa
Vegetable garden cooking at Treintaitres, Tudela, Navarre, Spain
Cannoli in Sicily
Suckling pig, Segovia, Spain
Chez Sophea, Angkor, Cambodia
Street food tour by Vespa, Saigon

Favorite Shopping:

Boquería Market, Barcelona
Marché aux puces, Paris
Grand bazaar, Istanbul
El Rastro, Madrid
The Kasbah, Tangier
Via del Governo Vecchio, Rome

Jane RoschJane Newton
One of Jane’s favorite pastimes is browsing food markets in search of authentic local cuisine. Luckily she has family throughout Europe, meaning she can indulge her culinary curiosity on regular visits to Greece, England, Italy and southern France. A Choate and Vassar alum, Jane has also studied French history and film at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her wide range of work experience includes editing a contemporary arts journal as well as a series of travel guidebooks. Jane and her husband and two daughters split their time between Manhattan and East Hampton.

Favorite tours:

Journey Through Morocco
Highlights of Puglia
Vietnam & Cambodia In Depth
Best of Andalusia
England for Families


Favorite hotels:

Hotel Splendido & Splendido Mare, Portofino
Hacienda Benazuza, Seville
Hotel Tresanton, Cornwall
Hotel Hassler, Rome

Favorite museums:

Gipsoteca di Canova (near Treviso), Italy
Musee Marmottan, Paris
Bauhaus Site, Dessau
Sir John Soane's Museum (London)

Favorite site:

The Alhambra, Granada (Spain)

Favorite restaurants:

Cantinetta Antinori, Florence
Piazetta Cathedrale, Ostuni, Puglia
Amorino in Paris for Gelato!

Cate RoepkeCate Roepke
Cate first developed an unquenchable thirst for exploring the world when she traveled through Europe as a teenager. During college, Cate's love of history and culture led her to focus on international relations and spend a summer studying in London.

The Birmingham, Alabama native then pursued her dream of living overseas, moving to Madrid, Spain for two years. While there, she traveled extensively through Europe, including Portugal, England, France, Holland, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Turkey and Morocco. When traveling, Cate enjoys trying local cuisines, learning regional history and studying local architectural styles.

Favorite dining experiences:

Tasting olive oil and honey produced by Berbers in the Atlas Mountains outside Marrakesh
Afternoon tea at The Berkeley in London
Pintxos in San Sebastian and Bilbao, Spain
Raclette in the French Alps
Tasting Port on the Douro River in Portugal
Home-cooked Turkish meals while sailing the Turquoise Coast in Turkey
Conch fritters in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Favorite museums:

Victoria & Albert, London
Tate Modern, London
Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Reina Sofia, Madrid
Topkapi Palace, Istanbul
Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia), Istanbul

Favorite sites:

Alhambra, Granada
Fisherman's Bastion, Budapest
Pamukkale, Turkey
Duomo, Florence

Favorite places:

London, England
Cappadocia, Turkey
Marrakesh, Morocco
Olympos (Turquoise Coast), Turkey
Avignon, France
Elafonisi, Greece
Granada, Spain
Budapest, Hungary
Madrid, Spain
Salisbury, England

Maria MerrillMaria Merrill
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Maria made the most of every school-sponsored trip or family vacation growing up. It wasn't until studying abroad in Florence, though, that her love for independent and culturally immersive travel really took off as she was able to travel expansively through Europe.

Maria has lived in Italy, Spain, and Mexico, and she has traveled extensively through India, Nepal and Mongolia, as well as Turkey and many other European countries.

Maria graduated from Boston University and has loved putting her people (and hospitality) skills to the test in a variety of locales around the world. She loves the outdoors and always tries to include camping, hiking, canoeing or other outdoor activities in her travels. Additionally, because her father read her ancient Greek, Roman and Egyptian mythology rather than more typical bedtime stories, she takes a special interest in museums and sites encompassing the ancient history and folklore of a destination.

Favorite tours:

Journey Through Italy
Best of Paris
Highlights of India
Art & Design of Mexico

Favorite places:

Berlin, Germany
Istanbul, Turkey
Mexico City, Mexico
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Dharamsala, India
Florence, Italy
Cadaques, Spain

Favorite dining experiences:

Sunset dinner at El Farallon in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Fresh buffalo mozzarella appetizer and pizza at Il Pizzaiuolo in Florence, Italy
Seafood paella from 7 Portes in Barcelona, Spain
Tibetan momos from a street stall in Dharamsala, India

Favorite sites:

Delphi, Greece
Monkey Temple in Jaipur, India
Castle District in Budapest, Hungary
Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France
Ephesus, Turkey
Bayanzag (Flaming Cliffs), Mongolia
Tivoli City Park in Ljubljana, Slovenia
Salvador Dali House in Portlligat, Cadaques, Spain
Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) in Mexico City

MatthewMatthew Fries
A renowned jazz pianist, Matthew developed his passion for travel, food and culture on his frequent trips abroad as a musician. Matthew most enjoys visiting out-of-the-way places in Europe, focusing on their regional cuisines and cultures.

Favorite tours:

London & Paris
France in Style
Food & Wine of Austria
China: Past & Present

Favorite experiences:

Hiking in the Alps (Switzerland)
Touring the wine regions of Alsace, France and southwestern Germany
Traditional music in Galway, (Ireland)
Christmas Market in Berlin (Germany)

Favorite cities:

London, Copenhagen, Paris, Dublin, Berlin

Favorite museums:

Musee d’Orsay, Paris
Tate Modern, London
Louisiana Museum, Copenhagen

Favorite jazz clubs:

JazzHouse, Copenhagen (Denmark)
Unterfahrt, Munich (Germany)
Ronnie Scotts, London (England)
Bimhuis, Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Bird's Eye, Basel (Switzerland)