vl-may-coverHe (and sometimes she) is the first person you’ll meet at any high-end hotel, greeting you upon your arrival and ushering you into your new home for the next few hours or days. He wears a snazzy uniform and many metaphorical hats, from greeter and gatekeeper to weatherman, personal valet, information desk, and who knows what else. You’ll meet more than a few of these friendly faces on our cover and inside this issue because we wanted to celebrate the warm welcome – and the often strong sense of place, not to mention style – they represent.

When we asked Virtuoso advisors and hoteliers around the world for their recommendations for stand-out doormen, I was surprised at how many had snapped their own iPhone pictures of these hotel staffers. (I was also surprised to learn that some guests want mementos beyond a snapshot, from the doorman’s caps for sale at Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Rome in Berlin to Raffles Singapore’s stuffed doormen dolls, which fly off the hotel’s gift store shelves.) It just shows that a hotel is a cornerstone of almost every trip – and it’s not only the place but the people who make a trip memorable. Check out some of our favorites – shot by 15 photographers we commissioned, plus a few iPhone amateurs – on page 92.

Elaine Snrka, Editor of Virtuoso Life. Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki/ReduxVirtuoso travel advisors open doors of a different sort. With their connections and know-how, they can create some pretty impressive travel experiences. They can get you behind-the-scenes access to museums and shows, upgrades on cruises and at hotels, that last seat on the flight you need, and much more. If they can’t make things happen themselves, they know the right people to call. Their savvy insight makes all the difference in the way you travel – and in these pages. You’ll find in-the-know advice throughout this issue, from their opinions on the brand-new Park Hyatt New York (page 54) to sailing tips in our special cruise feature (page 124) showcasing new ships, itineraries, and exclusive suites. One Virtuoso advisor in this issue is particularly newsworthy: Anne Morgan Scully, who was recently honored as godmother of the Viking Ingvi, which she christened during Viking’s Guinness World Record-breaking ceremony. Read about it on page 46.

Enjoy this issue, and as you embark on your next journey, remember the doormen’s tradition at The Ritz-Carlton, Istanbul: When travelers depart, they pour water from a jug onto the road as a way of saying, “Go and come back like the water – come back soon.”

Elaine Srnka
Editorial Director