It almost sounds like a joke—who would have thought two ex–British Army captains could be the perfect honeymoon planners? But Geordie Mackay-Lewis and Jimmy Carroll, cofounders of Pelorus, a luxury experiential travel company, are actually incredibly qualified for the job. They ran reconnaissance missions in the Middle East for the Royal Army, so they know all about getting the details right and the value of precision and scouting. They take the same approach to planning their clients’ trips. Here, the guys weigh in on what they do differently, their most epic honeymoons so far, and the destinations they’re stoked about right now.
What makes your approach to honeymoon planning so unique?
GML: “A honeymoon should excite, inspire, and offer a couple the chance to discover new and exciting experiences together. At Pelorus we believe that when planning a trip, we should put the focus on these experiences before the destination, with each trip crafted using our military-inspired process to create exceptional ideas that challenge and inspire but are planned to the finite detail and match the couple’s brief.”
JC: “We like to incorporate yachts into an itinerary when we can. We find they open up so many opportunities to reach destinations where roads aren’t yet built, allowing us to bring couples to a place from a new approach.”
What types of couples especially appreciate your services?
JC: “Couples looking to share their honeymoon with a good cause are a great cause for us, since we shine the spotlight on responsible luxury travel with a series of research journeys, unlocking groundbreaking experiences that offer exclusive access to many of the world’s hidden secrets. Every journey is built from scratch using a global network of local experts, as well as a deep-rooted and trusted black book of scientists, archaeologists, marine biologists, and conservationists with an intricate knowledge of their respective fields.”
Just how detail oriented are you?
GML: “Contingency planning is at the heart of everything we do. We always have a backup plan for each day of the itinerary. We often create shadow itineraries and take into account weather, guides, drivers, multiple restaurants, chefs, and the list goes on. We ensure meticulous attention to detail to ensure nothing goes wrong.”
How does the planning process start?
GML: “We require a minimum of a one-hour call with the couple to truly understand what they wish to accomplish. We actually prefer the calls to be separate so they can be honest about what they each want without feeling selfish.”
JC: “We’ll ask where they first met or where they had their first date and try to weave that into one of their meals. We might ask what they studied in school and incorporate that, too. It’s these special touches that make the trip a memorable one.”
What are some current honeymoon destinations you find hot?
GML: "The Caribbean but the Pelorus way; Oman, Greenland on an explorer yacht, sailing and kayaking on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast, Argentina and Patagonia, the Kimberley in Western Australia.”
JC: “For adventurous couples, Indochina, Georgia, Baffin Island, Bhutan, Greenland, and Papua New Guinea.”
You do dry runs for every itinerary; what’s been a favorite discovery?
GML: “Finding a rock formation in the jungles of Cambodia that allowed us to set up a private dinner, double bed, and hundreds of candles above the canopy with the most dramatic views. When they arrived at the camp, it took their breath away, and it was the highlight of their honeymoon.”
What are some of the rarest experiences you’ve brought to life for clients?
JC: “We’ve gained special permission to create a romantic dinner in jungle temples in Indochina or your own private island on the Nile in Egypt. We have arranged helicopters for couples to the top of mountains with a bottle of Champagne.”
GML: "One husband wanted to be James Bond and surprise his wife with Champagne on a desert island. We set up their scuba dive in Indonesia so they would finish on the beach, and while walking out of the water, spotted a table for two on the beach—there wasn’t another human in sight.”
What’s the coolest honeymoon you’ve planned so far?
GML: “It has to be Patagonia, where we created a luxury camp on a deserted island in the lake district of Bariloche, with a Michelin-starred chef. We created a treasure hunt around the island with hidden surprises and romantic gestures. After they finished paddle boarding to a secluded beach, we picked them up in a helicopter with kayaks strapped to the side and took them to a glacial lake high up in the mountains where they kayaked between icebergs and were some of the first people to ever do so. We then set up a gin tasting directly off the ice."