Though the Connoisseurs Scotland family of luxury properties includes some non-traditional members – a train and a cruise ship, for example – perhaps the most unusual “mobile member” of the group is Little’s, a chauffeur drive service. Little’s differs from the rest of the Connoisseurs group because it doesn’t offer any accommodations, but it does provide the best and most luxurious way of getting guests from one member property to the next. For North American visitors who are intimidated by the prospect of “driving on the left” during a tour of Scotland, Little’s is the perfect way to relieve some stress and arrive in style. The company can craft fully customized tours throughout the country, ensuring that guests experience everything on their “must-see” list while traveling in complete comfort.
Because Connoisseurs Scotland hotels are scattered throughout the country – in both the Highlands and the Lowlands, in major cities as well as in the countryside – Little’s is able to devise memorable sightseeing tours among the properties, ensuring that all visitors get to see cultural, natural and historic highlights by day while enjoying luxurious accommodations and fine dining by night. Every Little’s experience is always tailored to each client. Services range from the basic – an airport or hotel transfer – to the more complex, including fully guided tours of the Scottish countryside. Little’s tour designers are experts in creating bespoke tours based on individual interests; among the trips they’ve developed for guests are castle tours and golf tours, visits to famous film locations, and hunting and fishing expeditions. In recent years, there’s been an increased interest in ancestry tours … and there’s simply no better (or safer) way to enjoy a whisky tour than to leave the driving to a professional.
And there’s nobody more professional than a Little’s chauffeur, always uniformed in a gray suit and hat and boasting years of experience plus regular tour training. Little’s is also pleased to be judged by the quality and appearance of its vehicles, which in Scotland include the Jaguar XF and XJ; Mercedes E and S Class; and the seven-seater, extra-long wheelbase Mercedes Viano, which is perfect for larger family groups or golfers. An on-site engineer ensures that all cars are maintained to perfection. But Little’s transportation service doesn’t stop with cars; the company also supplies luxury coaches, yachts, helicopters … or any other mode a guest desires.
All of these points – along with Little’s commitment to discretion – are among the reasons the company regularly works with celebrities and other VIPs traveling in Scotland (though now the company also provides service in several other countries). Little’s is also the first choice for wedding parties, many of whom host their celebrations at one of the Connoisseurs Scotland properties.
Little’s dates to 1966, when it was established in Glasgow by brothers George and Mike Wills. They began with just three cars and gradually built the company’s fleet … along with its reputation. By 1979, Little’s had expanded to include 10 luxury cars, a large office space in Glasgow and a full garage; in the early 1990s, the company got another boost when George’s daughter, Heather, now a partner and managing director, and Kenneth Good, the company’s current operations director, joined the team. Around that same time, Little’s opened a second base of operations in Edinburgh. George retired in 2005, leaving the business in the capable hands of Heather and Kenneth, who continue to be focused on operating a company that puts a huge emphasis on customer service. Today Little’s operates a fleet of more than 40 vehicles and employs 40 chauffeurs.
Among the 28 members of Connoisseurs Scotland that can be included on a Little’s itinerary are some of the world’s finest golf resorts, including The Old Course at St. Andrews and The Gleneagles Hotel. In addition there are city-center properties; country house hotels; exclusive-use properties; Scotland’s only destination health spa, Stobo Castle; the ultimate luxury train, The Royal Scotsman; and the only cruise ship in the world with a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen, The Hebridean Princess. Seven members boast Michelin-starred restaurants, including the only two-starred restaurant in Scotland, which is found at Gleneagles.
Information on Connoisseurs Scotland, its member resorts, partners and special offers can be found at www.luxuryscotland.co.uk In addition, travellers can download the Luxury Scotland app, which provides news and offers from members, onto their iPhones or Droids.
Gillies and Zaiser