Spanning land, sea, sky, and even space, Virtuoso offers memorable experiences no matter what the destination. The April/May issue of its VIRTUOSO TRAVELER magazine highlights “29 Experiences of a Lifetime,” which can be brought to life by Virtuoso travel advisors together with the network’s preferred travel providers. Virtuoso also includes insider tips from some of its most knowledgeable advisors, ensuring travelers get the most from their global escapades.
These enticing experiences offer something for everyone, from adventure (African safari), to magic (David Copperfield’s private island), to the ultra-romantic (tango for two in Buenos Aires after touring the breathtaking Iguazú Falls). No matter the destination, travelers can be assured that Virtuoso’s advisors have extensive product and destination knowledge, and often firsthand experience, as is the case with Buenos Aires, where Virtuoso recently hosted 135 advisors during its Symposium. These travel professionals left Buenos Aires with a greater understanding of what the city and region offer, a tangible benefit to their clients wishing to go.
These 29 memorable experiences align with Virtuoso’s 2013 Luxe Report, a survey in which the network’s 7,200 travel advisors provided insight into where, when and how travelers will go next. When discovering what motivates luxury travelers, Virtuoso advisors report that clients want to explore new destinations; seek authentic experiences; rest and relax; spend time and reconnect with loved ones; gain personal enrichment; and seek adventures.
Tapping into its impressive portfolio of more than 1,700 world’s-best travel providers, Virtuoso has selected 29 defining opportunities to motivate would-be travelers. The Top-Ten Virtuoso “Experiences of a Lifetime” include:
- Hiking in Bhutan: Nomadic Expeditions takes travelers to Taktsang (“Tiger’s Nest”) Monastery, perched 2,000 feet above the Paro Valley in the Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan in a ten-day private journey. Available throughout 2013. From $6,395.
- Seeing the Northern Lights: Iceland Encounter’s five-day adventure includes seeing the aurora borealis while offering the chance to dogsled and walk onto Sólheimajökull Glacier. Available between September 15, 2013, and March 31, 2014. From $2,950.
- Wine Tasting with a Master: The five-day tailor-made tour from Découvertes includes a sampling of wines from a 35,000-bottle cellar with one of Paris’ master sommeliers. Available through December 31, 2013. From $8,460.
- Escaping to a Private Island: Make magic with a stay at David Copperfield’s private Caribbean island, Musha Cay. The illusionist even autographs a special memento for Virtuoso clients. Valid through December 31, 2013. From $37,500 per day for up to 12 guests staying a minimum of four nights.
- Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef: Orion Expedition Cruises takes water enthusiasts on a six-day voyage to the world’s largest reef. Departs December 8, 2013. From $3,640.
- Dancing with the Masai: Nature enthusiasts traveling with Micato Safaris track wild animals in the bush and explore the cultures of Africa, visiting and dancing with members of the Masai Tribe. Weekly departures available throughout 2013. From $11,740.
- Tangoing the Night Away: Excursionists with Abercrombie & Kent can learn the national dance in Buenos Aires after touring Iguazú Falls. Available throughout 2013. From $5,995.
- Floating in the Dead Sea: Guests of the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar Dead Sea can trek in Petra, dune-buggy in the Wadi Rum, and, of course, swim in the waters of the Dead Sea. A $100 spa credit is just for Virtuoso clients. Valid through December 31, 2013. Contact a Virtuoso travel advisor for pricing.
- Getting Up Close on Easter Island: The mysterious South Pacific island is home to hundreds of moai, monolithic stone giants. The explora Rapa Nui-Posada de Mike Rapu is the perfect base from which to adventure and provides Virtuoso clients with handcrafted keepsakes. Valid through December 31, 2013. Three- and four-night stays from $2,415 and $3,220 per person, respectively.
- Living Like a Catalan: Hosted Villas offers families the opportunity to bond in the Spanish countryside, whether perched over the ocean or situated on a farm complete with horses and chickens. A Virtuoso travel advisor can arrange the ideal stay.
The remaining 19 experiences can be found at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/virtuoso/traveler_20130405/index.php?startid=48.
To learn more about or book one of these experiences, contact Virtuoso at 855.570.3830 or by visiting www.virtuoso.com.
Virtuoso is now accepting entries for the 2013 Virtuoso Traveler Photography Contest. (As seen in the May issue of Virtuoso Life® magazine)
As some of the most well-traveled people on the planet, our clients, we invite and encourage you to submit your original travel photographs that best reflect the contest theme – Your Virtuoso Travel Moments. So, round up your photographs from your worldwide travels, and submit them today. Four lucky Virtuoso travelers will earn cash prizes and may even have their photo featured in Virtuoso Life magazine or other Virtuoso materials.
The deadline to enter is Sunday, June 16, 2013. ENTER HERE
Judges will be looking for images that show you, your family, and/or your friends enjoying moments captured during vacations planned by your professional travel advisor. You’ll have a chance to title each image, to indicate where and when it was taken, and to tell us a little about what made it a special Virtuoso moment for you.
WIN FABULOUS PRIZES
Virtuoso will award cash prizes to four lucky Virtuoso Travelers – one Grand Prize (US$1,000), one first prize (US$500), one second prize (US$300), and one third prize (US$200). In addition, you might just have one of your vacation photos published in an award-winning travel magazine. Submit your entry, and you’re one step closer to fame, fortune, and cash.
HOW TO ENTER
The contest entry form is available exclusively online. To enter (and for complete image requirements, contest details, and official rules), visit the Virtuoso Traveler Photography Contest website today. Good luck!
Email us at email@example.com
Today is the deadline to join Virtuoso and over 200 travel industry professionals worldwide who have already signed a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary LaHood stating opposition to IATA Resolution 787. To add your signature, go to http://btcnews.co/YoB3yJ. It will be filed on the docket tomorrow, the DOT’s deadline for industry comment. If passed, this resolution would negatively impact airline competition, and increase airline prices for consumers. For more information, visit http://businesstravelcoalition.com.
The benefits of working with Virtuoso travel advisors are immeasurable and often intangible, from the huge time savings (just researching air schedules makes my head swim, much less attempting to coordinate a family vacation) to their impressive global connections and know-how. And by know-how, I don’t just mean expertise in where and when to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to do, and how to do it – though that is a pretty impressive wealth of knowledge. I mean know-how in you: your preferences and peeves, your hobbies and interests, your calendar and budget, among others. One of the more tangible benefits of working with a travel advisor is Virtuoso’s hotel program. With nearly 1,000 properties in more than 100 countries around the globe, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes, whether you prefer sprawling resorts or intimate family-run inns, established classic hotels or trendy new properties. (For a peek at the latter, turn to page 80 of Virtuoso Life for a roundup of the year’s hottest hotel openings.)
Virtuoso hotels vary in size, style, and location, but they all offer five-star service, personalized attention – and perks you wouldn’t receive if you’d booked the hotel on your own. Every single property in our portfolio includes in its Virtuoso rates breakfast for two, as well as upgrades, early check-in, and late checkout, when available. But Virtuoso travelers also receive extra benefits, from bottles of wine to spa treatments, dining credits, and creative offerings such as horseback rides, rounds of golf, cooking classes, snorkeling excursions, and more. These amenities add value to your vacation – plus, they’re a fun reminder of the VIP treatment you receive when you work with a Virtuoso advisor.
My daughter and I enjoyed many such perks when I took her to Paris for the first time (read about our trip on page 144). Our favorite: At the Trianon Palace Versailles, a Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, the Virtuoso amenity (in addition to a $30 dining credit) is entrance for two to Versailles Palace, which is walking distance from the hotel.
Here’s to the perks of traveling like a VIP.
Virtuoso’s four newest additions to the esteemed Hotels & Resorts program are all unique luxury properties. Two of them are outstanding for their settings of peaceful natural beauty, and two of them offer thoroughly modern accommodations and service in distinctive historic buildings. Discover why these properties are worth booking and how, when you book with a Virtuoso travel advisor, you will benefit from the exclusive amenities they offer.
Mashpi Lodge, Mashpi Reserve, Ecuador
The contemporary, sophisticated and intimate Mashpi Lodge – located three hours northwest of Ecuador’s capital, Quito – provides the perfect base for nature adventures amid its 1,300-hectare private reserve, part of the highly biodiverse Andean rainforest known as the Chocó. The 22-suite lodge – built with the latest in low-impact techniques – will delight guests who seek to discover this world while enjoying creature comforts, fine dining, an extensive wine list and fantastic service. The Lodge is perfect for families, nature lovers, and well-travelled guests with distinguished tastes who think they have seen it all. Virtuoso guests receive a $100 credit for treatments in the Wellness Area.
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Dorado, Puerto Rico
With its serene coastline and palm-fringed beaches under the Caribbean sun, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is a tropical enclave. Situated on three miles of coastline with 1,400 acres of natural beauty, the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve in the Americas offers a remarkable luxury retreat, including 115 spacious accommodations directly on the beach, a restaurant by José Andrés, a five-acre Spa Botánico, an eco-adventure program by Jean Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment and three championship golf courses. Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve creates memories that will last a lifetime. The Virtuoso amenities are an American breakfast for two, $150 resort credit and upgrade at check-in upon availability.
Monastero Santa Rosa & Spa, Conca dei Marini, Italy
A 17th-century former monastery perched on cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean, Monastero Santa Rosa is the Amalfi Coast’s newest gem. More than a decade was spent transforming the property into a boutique luxury hotel with 20 unique rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant with coastal views and a full-service spa. Secret gardens, canopied lounge chairs, and rooms with soaking tubs make the resort an ideal romantic getaway, while an infinity pool, 24-hour room service, and attentive staff make it perfect for any occasion. Virtuoso amenities include a welcome drink and fruit basket in room on arrival, three-course lunch or dinner for two, and a 50 Euro spa credit per room with a minimum three-night stay.
The Ritz-Carlton Vienna, Austria
Enter a world of history, contemporary design and impeccable service. The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna (Austria) is an elegant building composed of four former palaces from the 19th century and is located in the heart of the city with breathtaking views of Vienna’s landmarks from its rooms and rooftop bar. This truly unique property combined with our personal service will make your stay a memorable experience. Virtuoso guests receive an upgrade on arrival (subject to availability), continental daily breakfast for two guests and a € 85.00 food and beverage credit (not applicable for alcohol, in-room dining or mini bar).
Virtuoso amenities are only available when you book through your Virtuoso travel advisor. Don’t have a travel advisor? Find one here.
Looking to wow a foodie who seemingly has experienced it all? Look no further than the incredible wealth of culinary delights housed in Virtuoso hotels worldwide. With the help of your Virtuoso Travel Advisor, you can book some of the best tables in the world helmed by celebrated chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Joel Robuchon and Daniel Boulud.
With 94 Michelin-starred restaurants in 13 countries and a total of 143 stars, Virtuoso properties are thriving in the culinary tourism boom. The foodie blog The Daily Meal has also included 53 restaurants at Virtuoso hotels on its list of the 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World.
Part of the appeal of an outstanding meal while traveling, stated Catherine Scown, is the desire to experience things in person rather than on a computer screen. The senior director of marketing at Virtuoso hotel Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong said, “What we cannot experience through sight, we need to experience with the other senses of our body. And so we travel to see these things in the flesh.”
Scown’s property occupies a unique position in the culinary pantheon. Four Seasons Hong Kong is the only hotel in the world to house two restaurants with three Michelin stars. Lung King Heen is a mecca for dim sum lovers, with dishes like garoupa fillets with ginger and spring onion soy in a bamboo basket. On the other side of the culinary coin, French-themed Caprice serves mouthwatering langoustine lasagne and chanterelle mushrooms in a shellfish bisque.
Part of the thrill of culinary travel is savoring local specialties and ingredients. Aude Bourgouin Lebarbier, press relations manager at Virtuoso property Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, commented, “Eating is really part of local habits and sharing local culinary habits is a good way to discover a foreign way of life.” The hotel’s three-star restaurant, Alain Ducasse, celebrates local culture with meals like the one-dish cookpot homard pommes de mer featuring lobster from the Brittany region.
Travelers’ desire to sample local cuisine to have a more profound experience has played a significant role in the foodie boom. “Travelers are genuinely interested in understanding where their food comes from,” observed Jennifer Chiesa, senior public relations manager at Virtuoso hotel Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, California. “They want to learn about the region they are dining in and why it’s so special so that they feel even more connected.” The Restaurant at Meadowood brings that to life with its farm-to-table philosophy, such as its locally sourced guinea hen baked in a salt crust with Meadowood garden herbs. The Restaurant is one of only two restaurants in the Western U.S. to earn three Michelin stars.
By planning ahead, Virtuoso member advisors can provide their clients with a trip-making meal. Many restaurants are booked weeks or even months in advance. A good rule of thumb: book the meal, then the flight. When making a reservation, ask questions, and determine how the restaurant can cater to each client with perks like special tasting menus and wine pairings. It also pays to get a feel for the cuisine of different regions, both through travel and advance research.
“People will travel to the ends of the earth for a unique culinary experience,” commented Scown. “They will save to splurge. The pleasure of enjoying good food or discovering new cuisine is worth travelling for – and it is very much part and parcel of the entire experience.” With the right guidance, Virtuoso member advisors can make that experience something to savor for a lifetime.
Find out more about working with a Virtuoso Travel Advisor.
Look who stopped by the St. Regis Princeville Resort on Kauai’s north shore (hey, it’s close to his house!) to chat about stand-up paddleboarding (SUP): Local boy-turned-phenomenal-big-wave surfer, Laird Hamilton. As a pioneer of SUP, Hamilton knows a few things about the sport. He gave just the pep talk our group needed before heading out for a stand-up paddle around Hanalei Bay.
Oh, and the other view wasn’t too shabby either:
Virtuoso Life writer Kim Brown Seely and photographer Kevin J. Miyazaki found some very customized treats in
their rooms earlier this week at The Oberoi, Gurgaon in New Delhi! (Yes, those are edible magazines.)
Looking for a fun way to create a travel wish list? The Virtuoso Life Travel Dreams Survey, now available at www.virtuoso.com, is a fast, entertaining and simple tool that compiles your globetrotting aspirations, and leaves you not only longing for your next vacation, but with a “where to next” list that you can save, share, print and use to plan your next getaway.
Here’s how it works. The survey first asks you to select a travel personality.
The Trendsetter: It’s all about what’s new and what’s next. An early adopter of emerging destinations, maiden voyages, and new itineraries, you’d rather not return to the same place. Instead, you’re a collector of experiences – the more passport stamps, the better.
The Go-Getter: You want to see it all, and your active and adventurous itineraries are packed from morning until night to make sure you check off the requisite sights, sites, and experiences.
If neither of these personalities is a good fit for you, there are others to choose from. The travel personality you select sets the stage for the destination and experience questions that come next.
Once the survey is completed, you receive your own personal travel wish list – a summary of all your responses plus Virtuoso recommendations for additional destinations and experiences you might want to consider. This wish list is the perfect place to start travel planning with your Virtuoso travel advisor.
Those needing added motivation need look no further than the sweepstakes’ Grand Prize giveaway: a 10-day cruise for two in a stateroom verandah cabin aboard Crystal Serenity sailing from Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden on July 30, 2013. Five first prize winners will each receive $1,000.
Look for the comprehensive survey responses to be revealed in the VIRTUOSO LIFE Travel Dreams issue this July. To better understand what you’ll get out of the survey, watch this inspirational video.
The VIRTUOSO LIFE Travel Dreams Survey and sweepstakes entry form and complete rules, terms, and conditions are available at www.virtuoso.com.
Must be a valid U.S. resident to be eligible to win. Non-U.S. residents are invited to take the survey here.
Costa Rica was one of those places for my family, and tales of zip-lining, white-water rafting, and colorful wildlife made us want to see if for ourselves. We did just that a few months ago (read about the trip on page 96), and the destination did not disappoint, from the scenery – it was so green! – to the outdoor adventures and the people we met. Though I tend not to repeat too many destinations - so many places to see, so little time, and I want to check off as many as possible – Costa Rica’s one of those rare places I want to return to again and again.
So what kind of traveler are you, and what’s on your wish list? Find out when you take our Travel Dreams Survey at www.virtuoso.com. The survey is fun, fast, and enlightening: choose your travel personality, then tell us what tops your travel dreams, whether it’s for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a trip of lifetime. When you finish, the survey will create your personal travel wish. You can download and print it for future reference to what destinations and experiences most entice you. Better yet: Share that list with your travel advisor, who can help you map out a plan to make those wishes a reality.
My own survey results? I’m a “Trendsetter” travel personality: “It’s all about what’s new and what’s next. You’re a collector of experiences – the more passport stamps, the better.” (Sound familiar?) The dream destinations that top my list:
Those last two? My goal is to call on all seven continents; only five down.
Try it yourself – you’ll also be entered for a chance to win a ten-day cruise for two from Copenhagen, Denmark, to Stockholm, Sweden, with Crystal Cruises; five other luck winners will receive $1,000 cash prizes. Here’s wishing you good luck. (Only U.S. residents are eligible to win prizes, however, consumers living outside the U.S. are invited to take the survey at www.virtuoso.com/traveldreams)
P.S. Do it soon – the survey ends March 31.