If you’re like me, there are days when I’m tempted to pack up and run away for a few days, relax, and meet new friends. However, the process of actually planning a holiday is almost just like work itself. But worry not, because this past summer I stumbled upon a new amazing way to travel!
I met Gillian – the co founder of G&T Weekends – your new favorite duo. G&T (for Gilian and Tess) hosts dreamy getaways – from weekends in Swedish mansions to an exotic riad in Marrakesh, they have got you covered!
How can one resist? Obviously, I had to get to know Gillian and Tess, find out how they came up with this great idea, and if I can pretty please join the party! I met Gillian (as she is a Torontonian) on a sweltering day at Lavelle, we had g&t’s obvs. Read on!
Please tell us a bit about yourselves.
Tess is Australian and I am Canadian – we met when we were both living in London, UK, where Tess is still based. Tess and I have lifelong appreciation for interesting travel – we both come from families that dragged us to all corners of the globe on holidays growing up. We both love the challenge of new experiences, the outdoors, and of course: a cracking party.
What are your educational backgrounds?
Tess has a business degree in Accounting (she does all of G&T’s accounts), while I studied Fashion Management (this has yet to translate to G&T).
How did G&T Weekends start/ What inspired it?
I was leaving London in November 2014, and Tess was helping me organise one big last hurrah in the English countryside. We rented a luxury mansion in the Peaks District for sixty of our closest friends, arranged a party bus to transfer everyone from London, and enjoyed a weekend full of clay pigeon shooting, country walks, and revelry. Tess and I organised everything – from which fine wines and cocktails were being poured by the bartender, to helping design a menu with the caterers. Our friends didn’t have to worry about a thing, except for their costumes for our James Bond themed party (yes, that’s me in the photos in head-to-toe gold body paint). Our friends have stressful careers and busy social lives; being able to show up for the best weekend of their lives without spending weeks organising travel details was a real luxury. We realised we were onto something great and decided our next weekend would be at a 17th century palace in Tuscany.
How does it feel having one of the coolest jobs in the world? Is this something you both do full time?
Tess and I are so grateful to be able to do what we love with G&T. Providing revellers (as we call our G&T guests) with unique travel experiences, new lifelong friends and unforgettable weekends is really a dream come true. We thrive on the challenge of what we can do next that is exciting, fun, cool: how can we make our next weekend even better than the last?
Tess and I both have full time jobs in Finance and Fashion. We are also very grateful to our friends and family who share their time with G&T on evenings and weekends. I am currently writing this from the passenger’s seat on my way to a friend’s cottage on a long weekend!
What are the challenges that come with this venture?
Every challenge has been impossible to see coming – thus is the nature of the business! Working in different countries, with unique suppliers, and new experiences provides challenges that are never boring. Being adaptable, resourceful, and knowing when to laugh instead of cry has saved us from having things go really wrong. I don’t think our guests have to date noticed when hiccups have occurred!
What is your favorite Weekend to date?
They all have been! Shooting in the English countryside, wine tasting in the Tuscan hills, partying in a French castle, sailing in Sardinia, swimming at a Swedish lakehouse…. Does it get any better??
What is your dream Weekend?
All of our Weekends combine awesome people, dreamy locations, with great food, fun activities and a spot of partying. Every weekend we’ve had thus far really feel like a fantasy. You will just have to wait and see what we dream up next!
How do you source ideas for Weekends?
We are fortunate enough to have a travel-savvy group of friends whose brains we constantly pick for cool places they’ve visited or heard about. We don’t want to hear about your trip to Paris or Rome – tell us about off-the-beaten-path things you’ve done, how great the surfing is in a remote village off the west coast. Tess’s Swedish family friend introduced us to the idea of a Swedish Crayfish Party. I will never forget our Crayfish Party in a 18th century barn outside of Stockholm. Singing traditional Swedish songs (translated for us and set to Lady Gaga and ABBA melodies), while wearing silly hats, eating crayfish and yelling “SKOL!” to cheers with Aquavit made for a very fun evening.
Is there a possibility of bringing the Weekends closer to Toronto?
Absolutely!! As our Canadian audience grows, we are researching more and more places in the Toronto area. Plus, I will be very happy to have a weekend closer to my home in Toronto. Live in the GTA and keen to revel? Get in touch!
Do you need a Weekends blogger/3rd bestfriend because I know someone who may be interested.
Yes please! Come on a trip and we can teach you how to sabre Champagne properly for an initiation ceremony.
What upcoming Weekends should we plan on joining this year?
We’re looking forward to dog sledding and Blue Lagoon swimming in our luxury lodge in Iceland over New Year’s Eve. We’ll be spending Easter weekend at a Moroccan riad out in the desert, complete with infinity pools, palm trees and a not-so-bad view of the Atlas mountains. May will see us revelling in an incredible Spanish villa (cava tasting? SI!) in Sitges and basking in the Greek sun from a stunning white-washed villa in Mykonos (you should see the colour of the water that comes along with truly epic seaviews).
I don’t know about you but I’m packing by bag right now. Check out their upcoming weekends at GandTWeekends.com and join the fun!