I'm half Scottish, half New Zealander, born and raised in Hong Kong and Japan, schooled in England and now living in Spain. I'm a mish-mash of cultural backgrounds and now an adopted Sevillano!
My love for Spain began when my school rugby coach, also head of the Spanish department, asked if I would like to join his class and try learning Spanish! There was no looking back from there! I went on to complete Hispanic studies at Leeds University and was on a flight to Seville the day after my final exam.
I've lived here ever since and I'm married to a lovely “Sevillana” called Lucia! I created Tailormade Andalucia in 2008 and ever since I've since specialized in unique itineraries and experiences taking travellers off the beaten track and getting under the skin of Spain.
I try hard to combine a resident’s knowledge with a foreign traveller’s eye. It's easy to visit grand monuments and travel using Tripadvisor's top tips. But I believe its all about getting away from the hordes, immersing yourself in the real culture and most importantly, meeting local residents, hosts and artisans.
What places and activities do you specialize in?
"Honestly, we specialise in tailor-making experiences. It can be anything from Michelin Star restaurants to renewable energy, from hiking with a local biologist to taking part in a flamenco jamming session. The fun is in the creating!!"
How did you get involved in travel?
"Before starting Tailormade Andalucia, I worked for a travel & lifestyle magazine in Andalucia. This job opened my eyes to all of the boutique, charming and hidden experiences that could be enjoyed in Spain. "
Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.
"If we're talking unique, I was once contacted by a wealthy Chinese couple who wanted to go on a "pre" wedding honeymoon. They wanted to take a lot of photos and videos that they could then project during their wedding ceremony. We arranged a very special trip for them and they arrived into Sevilla with evening gowns, wedding dresses, tuxedo's, morning suits and more! For just these 2 people, they had requested a guide (me), a driver, a Chinese interpreter, a photographer/videographer and a make-up artist! We had prepared all sorts of wonderful insiders access and special places for photos. But halfway through the itinerary, they told me that they needed more "wow" factor!! I suggested a sunrise hot-air ballooning experience, photos on a bravo bull farm, a private boat ride through the Straits of Gibraltar, but none of this enthused them. My suggestions got more and more desperate until I mentioned going to "Smurftown" in the mountains. The little village of Juzcar had been used for the film premier of the smurfs and to this day is painted surf blue! The couples eyes lit up and they were delighted with the idea. So we drove over there, with the couple dressed in wedding attire! When we turned up in smurftown and out jumped a Chinese wedding couple and all of our entourage, it was one of the few days that the public were more surprised by a fellow visitor than by the smurfs who were posing for photos in the village!! A very surreal experience! "
Featured trips & expertise
This 13-day itinerary takes you from Seville to Jerez de la Frontera for the ultimate tour through Spain's Andalusia region. Along the route, you'll visit scenic villages like Ronda, set on a spectacular gorge, discover gorgeous Moorish architecture, and enjoy fabulous tapas in true Spanish style.
This 8-day itinerary is pure holiday bliss on the Mediterranean. Kick off the trip in Barcelona, an enchanting European city that needs no introduction, where you'll have a few days to explore Gaudi's architectural masterpieces and the popular gastro scene (i.e. tapas galore). From here, you'll jet off to the capital of cool—Ibiza island—for five days of white-sand beaches, sparkling seas, and serious bohemian relaxation.
This 8-day self-drive itinerary takes you from Malaga to Cadiz through a gorgeous section of Spain's southern coast. Along the route, you'll explore Andalusia's White Villages (including Ronda, set on a spectacular gorge) as you head towards the Atlantic coast while discovering a range of landscapes, centuries of history and tradition, local producers, and exquisite cuisine—often with the help of a local guide.
Discover the highlights of Andalucía, from the Mediterranean coast in Málaga to the Atlantic coast in Cádiz. On this eight-day self-drive tour you will drive through whitewashed villages built into cliffsides, sample some of the country's best wine and sherry, explore ancient Moor and Roman ruins, and eat delicious local cuisine. Marvel at southern Spain's stunning landscapes, passionate people, and colorful culture.
See the cultural highlights of Spain's most captivating cities on this 10-day itinerary, showcasing Barcelona, Granada, and Sevilla. You'll start in Barcelona, fly to Granada where you will pick up your car rental and drive to Ronda, before ending your stay in Sevilla. Along the way, you will drive through the Andalucían mountains, explore colorful cities, and marvel at ornate Islamic architecture.
See the jewels of Madrid and Andalusia with this 10-day itinerary. Start off in the capital city with a walking tour including the collection of El Prado Museum, then make your way south with a stop in Cordoba, followed by the cultural scene of Seville and historic palaces of Granada. Take advantage of the combination of private guided tours and free time to make sure you don't miss a beat.
Recent trip reviews for Sam
Spain 2019, Spain - Jun 14 - Jun 22, 2019
Sam was fantastic. His communication was superb, he listened to our requests well and provided excellent experiences coordinated by reliable, on-time, friendly, competent and helpful drivers and guides. He made us reservations at restaurants with unbelievable vistas - we couldn't believe our views in Granada and in Ronda - once-in-a-lifetime dining! Our guide in Seville was our favorite - Delia was kind, helpful, friendly, engaging and professional. The bike ride she took us on was... read more