Barbara King

You might say Barbara was “born to travel!” The daughter of an importer, Barbara has traveled the world. As Co-President of Great Getaways Travel, Barbara has searched the world for unique experiences for her clients. From upscale cruises to small ship expeditions, white sand beaches to bustling metropolitan city stays, discovering the treasures of the Galapagos to the Masai Mara, experiencing the serenity at Udaivilas to the rush and utter silence of Outer Space, Barbara can create the vacation of your dreams.


May, 2013: South Africa, Namibia

Michael and I attendede INDABA, a trade show highlighting the best in African tourism, held in Durban, South Africa. Because we are passionate about this continent, mother to us all, we stay on top of the newest trends, camp openings, hotels, guided experiences, etc. We used the opportunity to double-check the details of our SOLD OUT South Africa/Botswana safari that we are hosting in October, 2014. (We have others we host, so contact *protected email* for the latest news). We then traveled to Namibia, a first visit for me. Towering sand dunes in the Sossusvlei, petroglyphs and a petrified forest in Doro !Navas (the ! is a click sound in tribal languages) highlighted the first few days followed by meeting a Himba tribe family near Serra Cafema and game viewing in and around Ongava Lodge. Quite a different African experience, we were continually amazed to see how the people, animals and vegetation adapt to life in the 3rd driest country in the world.

April, 2013: Argentina, Chile

Virtuoso held its International Symposium in Buenos Aires this year and what an amazing event it was! In addition to being wined and dined, we experienced horse racing, an Asado (Argentine BBQ), and even visited a silversmith who was making a special silver chalice for Pope Francis. I was invited to add a few hammer-marks to the sacred vessel—how cool is that? Leaving the sophisticated, European-style city, I spent 4 days in Patagonia, Chile at the to-die-for Tierra Patagonia in Torres del Paine. The views were extraordinary, animals galore, gourmet food, plush accommodations, expert guides and a superb spa—-you guessed it—I alreay have made plans to return next year!

February, 2013: Kauai, Maui

What’s a grandma do when she misses her grandson who lives in Kauai? Go visit him, of course! We spent a week on the Garden Isle beaching it, playing with our grandson, spending time with our daughter, and relaxing. Then we flew to Maui to spend a few days at one of our favorite resorts, Ritz Carlton Kapalua, and we enjoyed visiting with our dear friend and consummate giggler, Heidi Denecke.

November, 2012:  Abu Dhabi, Danube River cruise, India, Bhutan, Maldives

Who? What? Where? Grab your passports and follow our incredible 5 week journey crisscrossing the world! We began this odyssey with 3 nights in Abu Dhabi, followed by an enchanting, pampering and gourmet-filled week cruising the Danube from Budapest to Nuremberg as guests of Ama Waterways. While the weather there was cold (or brisk, as they say when cold sounds daunting), the amazing crew, the food, the sights and spending time with fellow Virtuoso members warmed our hearts. Next stop, Bhutan, a tiny Buddhist kingdom tucked in the Himalayas next to Nepal. We spent 10 days absorbing the views, hiking, dining and relaxing our way through 5 Aman properties. What can follow that experience? How about a tiger watching safari in central India? We learned that the Indian safari is a distant cousin of the African safari. Tigers are very rare and we tourists have a choice: visit when the weather is pleasant and risk not seeing a tiger or visit in the springtime and see several tigers but suffer high humidity and temperatures in the high 90’s. We obviously opted for the former and saw only one tiger. We may try another National Park if we try spotting tigers again. The road to get to Bandhavgarh, which boasts 60 tigers, must have been designed by a chiropractor looking for business. After that Indian massage, we finished our sojourn with 4 glorious nights at Taj Exotica in the Maldives, which we LOVED! Maybe we need to open a branch of Great Getaways Travel there!

June, 2012: Tanzania

Tanzania had our name written all over it when we escorted some clients for their first African Safari. In the Ngorongoro Crater we witnessed a pride of 11 lions proudly strolling down a road, literally weaving between safari vehicles. We also were fortunate to enjoy the Great Migration seeing hundreds of wildebeests and zebras on their annual pilgrimmage to Kenya.

April, 2012: Paris, Portofino, Rome, Naples, Sorrento

What says romance more than springtime in Paris? Michael and I spent a few days at one of our favorite hotels, Esprit St. Germain, on the tony Left Bank and enjoyed strolling the streets and we believe we sampled some of the best macarons! A fun train ride took us from Paris to Genoa and a short drive brought us to Portofino. As guests of our friends at IC Bellagio, we spent 2 luxurious nights at Hotel Splendido before journeying to Rome. IC Bellagio arranged a breathtaking after-hours private tour of the Vatican Museum and they included a tenor singing the Ave Maria to us  in the Sistine Chapel! The next day we boarded Regent Seven Seas Mariner for a wonderful time at Virtuoso’s International Symposium.

 2011: Hawaii, South Africa, Botswana, China

So much for keeping up-to-date—we were so busy traveling the world we forgot to let you know where we’ve been! A quick synopsis: Hawaii, of course, to spend time on Kauai with our daughter and adorable grandson

South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia where we saw a baby rhino immediately after it was born! Unforgettable! Add in several elephants, lions, leopards, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, and breathtaking birds and we had an incredible safari! We even had a cooking lesson in the Malay section of Cape Town, a real treat.

China, off the beaten path, starting with our favorite, Shanghai, and visiting Huangshan, Hangzhou, Chengdu and Lhasa. Guy Rubin and Nancy Kim, Managing Directors of Imperial Tours, mesmerized us with blue ribbon service, superior guides, and sumptuous meals. I came home for a month and my husband, Michael, spent 3 weeks trekking to Base Camp Everest. Not to be outdone, I returned to China, indulging in a week of pampered bliss in Beijing and Shanghai. Was the highlight our sit-down luncheon on the Great Wall or our elegant dinner at the Water Cube? Decisions, Decisions!

October, 2010: Kenya, Rwanda

Safari means journey and we were fortunate to enjoy a safari in Kenya as part of Virtuoso’s Chairman’s Event. Our friends, the Pinto family of Micato Safaris fame, entertained us royally! We even had a police escort help us battle the rush hour traffic in Nairobi! We revisited Fairmont’s Mara Safari Club and the refurbished Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club. While we always love the animal sightings, the highlight of this safari came when we took our “adopted” son, Salim, to lunch in Nairobi.  We hadn’t seen Salim since 2005 and we delighted in spending time with him, much taller and now an official teenager. Salim borrowed Michael’s headphones and enjoyed rocking out to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA.”

May 2010: Kauai, Maui

“Great things can come in small packages and this is true of our recent visit to Kauai to meet our newest grandson, Jacob! Born on May 1st, we got to be in Kauai a couple of weeks later to hold him, cuddle him, and smother him with kisses! Our daughter, Lauren, moved to Kauai a few years ago and is a licensed wedding officiant ( Jacob’s daddy, Jon, captains sightseeing cruises (think Whale Watching in season!) so the King family has you covered for the perfect Kauai vacation! Many thanks to the Grand Hyatt Kauai, our host!  Then it was off to Maui, the Ritz Carlton Kapalua, always wonderful! What an amazing refurb! And the Children’s club–oh my! We got to sample the Fairmont Kea Lani, too, family friendly with an inviting layout, prior to its renovation project.”

February, 2010: Scottsdale, Arizona

“I accompanied my husband, Michael, to a meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona and I loved every minute of my mini-vacation while he was deep in “collective experience and growth.” The Four Seasons Scottsdale at Troon North was a great spot to relax, wander, rest and feast! We even had a meal that was chocolate from beginning to end!”

December, 2009: Mojave, California

“I attended the unveiling of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip 2, the VSS Enterprise, in Mojave, California. As one of only 800 invited guests, I witnessed the birth of a new era—Consumer Space Tourism and Commerce. I already told my 5 month old grandson about the experience and intend to remind him of that many times over!”

September, 2009: South Africa

“Michael and I spent 10 days in South Africa on safari and doing site inspections of safari camps and city properties. I fell in love with Londolozi and the Varty family and who doesn’t love the Singita Sabi Sands camps? We stayed in the small Singita Castleton camp, an ideal spot for a family or a few couples traveling together! Cape Town faves were Cape Grace (for in town) and Twelve Apostles for the best of both city and resort feel. Thank you, Anne Pace of Swain Tours for this experience!”

December, 2008: Chile, Argentina, Antarctica

“We spent 15 days in Antarctica and it is way more than a “trophy” destination! We sailed with Lindblad Expeditions’ Explorer and loved every minute of our experience. It was a mixture of “other worldly feel” with the business of breeding penguins dotted with seals, birds, underwater drama (we watched the video, thank you very much!), and the most incredible ice formations imaginable. Forget the “ice scupltures” at the fancy buffets and go for the ones sculpted by Mother Nature!”

October, 2008: China

 “China called our name on this journey. Starting in Beijing, our expert host, Gerald of Abercrombie & Kent China, created a memorable experience! We loved the location and rooms at the Peninsula Beijing and also did several site inspections around the city. We got to revisit some of the sights we saw on our first visit in 2004 before heading for Xi’an and the Terra Cotta Warriors, great art museum and wonderful massages at the Shangrila! Next we sailed the Yangtze River in grand style. My favorite stop was when we visited an elementary school in the countryside. Our journey ended in Shanghai, the Paris of the Far East. We had knock-your-socks-off service at the Portman Ritz Carlton, by the way.”

May and June, 2008: South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius

“Picking a destination to celebrate one’s 10th wedding anniversary can be unnerving, almost overwhelming if you love traveling all over the world; however, Michael and I love Africa so we chose to safari in Botswana, Zambia and spend a few days on the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

My faves: best “cat viewing” was in Mombo, Botswana; best elephants and unbelievably gourmet cuisine and sleek interior design goes to Kings Pool; best city hotel, hands down, is the Saxon in Johannesburg.”

April, 2008: India

“We went to India for the Virtuoso Chairman’s Recognition Event so I got to spend time at one of my all-time favorite resorts, Udaivilas in Udaipur, India. I added another top favorite when we experienced a few days at Wildflower Hall in Shimla, India. David, the general manager at the property treats each guest like a long lost friend! Besides, being at 8000 feet in the Himalayas defies description!”

2006: Florence, Tuscany, Lisbon, Kennedy Space Center, India

“Oh, the places I’ve been and the places I’m going! 2006 was filled with lasting memories of Tuscany, Florence, and Siena, Italy; Lisbon and Sintra, Portugal; Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and Udaipur, India; and soon I’m off to the Kennedy Space Center to train to sell Space Travel! In Florence, I discovered a wonderful guide for historic and art walking tours, a great trattoria, and many unique properties that focus on personalized service!

Lisbon and Sintra were a fascinating blend of many cultures. My favorite hotel was Lapa Palace. Located near several embassies, the property prides itself on creating an ambiance of a resort and yet it is definitely urban!

And on to India—I fell in love with India and with our expert guide, Raju! My favorite properties in India were Oberoi Hotels and Resorts—especially Udaivilas! Contact me so I can rave about the food, service, atmosphere, accommodations, historic sites—need I say more? Oh—and in Agra, be sure to stay at the Oberoi Amarvilas. When I woke up in the morning and opened my curtains, there stood the Taj Mahal in all her glory!

The biggest news is that I’ve been selected by Virgin Galactic as an Accredited Space Agent. Consumer space travel is a reality! When you sing, “Fly me to the moon!” I can provide the experience—well, not to the moon–but to Space!”