VL_sizedVirtuoso Life has racked up an impressive number of journalism awards over the last decade, for everything from writing to photography, graphic design, cover art, and overall magazine excellence. Recently we won yet another accolade, and this latest one happens to be the best ever bestowed on us – the Gold Award for Best Travel Magazine from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Competition. We took home a bronze in this same competition several years ago, and I was thrilled to keep company with such newsstand publications as Travel + Leisure, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, and the like. To actually now top the list of every travel magazine out there is a huge honor, and a testament not just to the editorial and art staffers who create Virtuoso Life, but to the caliber of the Virtuoso network.


People ask how our small but mighty team does it, and part of the answer is: They’re amazingly talented, passionate about publishing and travel and pushing themselves to be more creative and innovative with every issue. We also have remarkable colleagues who help market, sell, print, distribute, and provide back-office support for the magazine. But I think the distinguishing difference that elevates Virtuoso Life above the others is the Virtuoso network itself. After all, luxury travel is a pretty heady niche, and we have access to an expansive portfolio of travel providers around the world who offer unforgettable experiences. And with 7,200 in-the-know travel advisors to turn to for advice and custom itineraries, we have an unmatched source for travel tips, insight, and firsthand expertise.


The great thing is, you do too. Your travel advisor has the connections and experience to plan whatever kind of trip you want, to wherever you want to go (as well as ideas you might not have considered). Looking for inspiration on where to go? Check out the new Virtuoso.com, where you can search travel suppliers, compare different options, and connect with your advisor as you begin to plan your trip. We’re especially excited about the site’s reviews and recommendations feature, which showcases feedback from Virtuoso travelers who have taken a trip. Read more on page 22.


Of course, you’ll find plenty of inspiration right here in this issue. We asked Virtuoso advisors their picks for the year’s emerging destinations, and highlight 14 favorites for 2014 on page 88. We journey through the kingdom of Bhutan on page 100 (that’s the country’s cliffside Tiger’s Nest Monastery on our cover) and see Seoul through a colleague’s iPhone on page 120. (Associate art director Korena Bolding Sinnett was especially busy this issue, as she also hand-lettered the words on our cover and in the Bhutan story.)


So, where next? Life is short. Book the trip. Live in the moment. As our cover urges – go now.








scenes2SCENES FROM THE ROAD: With ESPA founder Susan Harmsworth at her newest spa in Dallas’ Joule hotel (learn more on page 142); Virtuoso’s editorial and art team in Seattle; up in the air at the Virtuoso Chairman’s Event in Geneva (read about the trip on page 24); and a souvenire from a recent flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (since the 1950s, the airline has gifted business-class passengers with genever-filled miniature Delft blue houses.