VL93_COVER_PMS186It’s the little things that elevate a hotel stay from good to great – and they almost always seem to start with a human connection. Like the time I left my iPad on the nightstand in my room at the Four Seasons Istanbul at the Bosphorus. When I returned at day’s end, I discovered that the housekeeper had plugged it into a charger, wiped it free of smudges, and left a logo-emblazoned microfiber cloth neatly folded beside it. What a small but impressive gesture: Empowered and thoughtful, someone who took pride in their work had risen above the standard room-cleaning checklist to tend to a need I didn’t even know I had. Even though I never met the staffer, such attention personalized the often-anonymous role of housekeeping.

IMG_1790This issue of Virtuoso Life celebrates Virtuoso’s portfolio of more than 1,000 hotels and resorts around the globe – and the employees who do their part to make your stay memorable long after checkout. A hotel is as much or more about its service as it is about four walls and fancy finishes. Though plush bedding, ample outlets, and good lighting in the bathroom may top my list of favorite hotel decadences, personal touches trump technology and thread count. With this in mind, managing editor Marika Cain interviewed a few standout hotel employees, from a Parisian housekeeper to a Hawaiian cultural heritage ambassador; meet them on page 84.

FullSizeRenderOf course, checking into a swank suite is part of the fun of a luxury hotel stay, so senior editor Justin Paul asked a handful of Virtuoso travel advisors to recommend their favorites in nine cities around the world (page 114). Also in this issue, we visit New Zealand’s South Island (page 94), home to some of Virtuoso’s most singular hotels (where else can you stay on a working sheep farm?); call on four high-style cruise ports; and more.

Wherever your next trip takes you, here’s to the places you stay and the people who make a difference along the way.

Elaine Srnka
Virtuoso Editorial Director

IMG_7539Snaps from my travels
Right, from top: Virtuoso travel advisor Tania Swasbrook, hotel representative Janine Cifelli, and I take our best shots with a boxing instructor at the Golden Door in San Marcos, California (read about my visit on page 138); the view from my room at Acqualina Resort & Spa in Sunny Isles, Florida; and Tierra Santa Spa at the new Faena Hotel Miami Beach.