Virtuoso Will Rock Your World With Upscale Amenities
Let’s face it – we are all time-starved – whether you are a Millennial, or part of a mature audience that is retired.
But despite the years between you, all can agree that there is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done, 24/7 – which is why it’s helpful to plan your travel with a reputable advisor who can not only save you valuable time, but also provide extraordinary experiences.
That’s where Virtuoso comes in. This upscale, upper-crust, go-the-extra-mile travel company puts the “L” back in luxury and also provides a wealth of special extras to make any trip truly memorable.
Not convinced? Take a look at some of these extraordinary complimentary experiences that Virtuoso travel advisors have created for their clients. (And please note: These are just the tip of the iceberg, or should I say, the ice bucket.)
A martini-making lesson with the King of Martinis – Antonio Pizzuto, the head bar man at the Egerton House Hotel in the UK – plus two martinis, and two tickets at the Victoria & Albert museum
A 45-minute photo session at the St. Regis Punta Mita, including two print photos
A Sri Lankan cooking experience with class and market visit followed by private dinner or lunch
A horse show hosted by the Horse Whisperer at the Estancia La Bamba de Areco in Argentina
Sounds pretty good, right?
These special complimentary experiences are in addition to the everyday services that typically come when you book through Virtuoso – and these can add up, sometimes, to a value of more than $500. They include, for example, a room upgrade, daily breakfast, early or late checkout, and a crave-worthy amenity such as a signature treatment or tequila tasting. Who doesn’t love inimitable extras when you’re on the road? (If you were at any of the tony Virtuoso luxury partner properties in Hawaii, for example, you’d definitely be getting more hula for your moolah.)
An Elite Army Of Upscale Experts
Virtuoso has more than 1,000 agency locations with 17,500 travel advisors in 50 countries that it counts as its members. It also has 1,700 preferred partners that include the world’s finest hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, tourism boards, airlines, in-country destination experts, and specialty providers. More important, it offers accountability. Should something go wrong – your Virtuoso travel advisor is always at the ready to assist. That quality? Priceless.
If you’re into personalized experiences, and top-of-the-line luxury when you travel – Virtuoso should be on your radar screen. It sees to it that you only stay at the world’s best hotels, resorts, lodges, tents, camps, private islands, villas and apartments.
David Kolner, Senior Vice President of Global Member Partnerships for Virtuoso, spoke to me at length about what makes Virtuoso special, unique and different.
“Virtuoso vets every single partner,” Mr. Kolner explained to me. “There are no hotels in our network on a chain basis. We only review a hotel on its individual merits, and it’s typically one of the best in the area.”
He added, “We vet them continually, according to consumer reviews, advisor feedback and usage of the property. We work with the best of the best in the industry.”
In other words, Virtuoso is one of the world’s greatest quality control systems. “We know what is good, and we inspire consumer confidence,” he explained.
“Our advisors sell luxury 24/7,” he further explained. “They know the latest travel trends.”
Importantly, Virtuoso runs an online travel academy exclusively for its agents, so they can learn directly about the hottest new trends to make your trip all the better. In 2018, more than 100,000 courses were completed, Mr. Kolner reports.
If you’re a cruiser, you should definitely know about Virtuoso.
Yes, you definitely will be spoiled. In the best way possible.
Mr. Kolner explains that Virtuoso Voyages “allows for enormous customization, as a Virtuoso advisor is on the ship working as a host, to offer what is above and beyond expectations.” It’s like having an extra friend aboard. Each advisor will host welcome and farewell receptions, introduce you to other travelers and crew, assist you with exclusive shore excursions, and actually attend with you. Your Virtuoso advisor can also assist with the day-to-day requests that can make your cruise more enjoyable – hosting at dinner tables, conveying your food allergies and special requests to the chef, assisting in planning an anniversary and birthday celebration, and a lot more. Virtuoso says that it offers more than 550 amenities on cruises, worth up to as much as $800 per couple.
For example, on an upcoming Seward-to-Vancouver itinerary departing July 3 on Regent Seven Seas Mariner — one of the world’s best luxury cruise lines — the Virtuoso perks include a $150pp shipboard credit, a special “Taste of Alaska” worth $75pp, and much more.
In fact, Regent Seven Seas Cruises just announced on January 29, 2019, that guests who book an Alaskan voyage — on the intimate, 350 all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner — will save up to $1,500 per suite and also enjoy a shipboard credit of up to $500 on 10 select voyages. Add it all up and it means you’re going to have a heck of a good time on a five-star — no, make that a six-star — ship.
Actually, you will discover that Virtuoso Voyages are a unique point of differentiation when you’re sailing on the upper-crust cruise lines, including Regent, Oceania, Silversea, and Crystal. For example, if you check out Crystal Cruises on Virtuoso Voyages, you’ll see that there are at least 14 itineraries, taking you over the world, which feature a travel advisor onboard and the other posh perks plus a private car and driver in port. Crystal is hailed as the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line, with superb service for a mere 848 guests.
Another characteristic that sets Virtuoso apart is its global connections throughout the world, in all areas of the hospitality industry. For example — and this is an important distinction – when you book at a luxury Virtuoso property, your advisor can put you in touch directly with the general manager, which is a definite plus when you travel. (It’s quite the advantage to be able to connect with the GM on a first-name basis, trust me.) Virtuoso can also do the same with the head concierge, the spa manager, or the director of Food and Beverage. “It’s the secret sauce that goes above and beyond,” says Mr. Kolner. “All of our advisors can log in Virtuoso.com to see the exclusive “little black book” of contact info for all of the best hotels and luxury travel providers around the world. It’s at their fingertips. Many of them even personally know these colleagues.”
In addition to all of that, you need to take a good look at this – Virtuoso’s new 2019 Best of the Best is every luxury traveler’s dream book. It’s lined with more than 1,300 of the globe’s top luxury hotels as well as the hottest trends for the coming year, with a shot of the beautiful Brando resort on the cover. In an effort to keep it fresh and responsive to consumer preferences, Virtuoso added 94 properties to its 2019 Best of the Best book. Best of the Best is distributed to the homes of 150,000 of Virtuoso’s finest clients around the globe (and this means you). You may want to book at its Hotel of the Year, which epitomizes excellence in luxury hospitality and acts as a positive change in its community. Adare Manor in Limerick reopened in November 2017 following an extensive 21-month restoration, refurbishment and expansion, marking a new beginning for this historic property. The warmth of the staff, the personalized service and the extraordinary experiences create a sense of belonging and home for guests — not to mention that it’s a great golfing haven.
In addition, travelers seeking a short break from the stress of daily life or unpleasant weather can choose from 21 new American gems, as Virtuoso’s domestic bookings have grown 13% year over year. These include:
Iconic Gurney’s in New York’s Hamptons, which offers access to a 2,000-foot private beach, five restaurants and bars, and an ocean-fed seawater pool, the only one of its kind in North America.
Mr. C Beverly Hills, which marries timeless glamour with contemporary amenities and personalized experiences from the fourth generation of hospitality’s famed Cipriani family.
Prestige at the Palazzo is one of Las Vegas’s best-kept secrets – a hotel within a hotel offering elevated luxury with benefits such as a champagne check-in.
So, in other words, just as you have a financial advisor for your investment portfolio – you need a travel advisor to assist in helping you to enjoy a successful trip. I’m going to leave you now — there’s an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora that’s calling my name.
Debbi K. Kickham is author of ‘The Globetrotter’s Get-Gorgeous Guide.’ Follow her on Twitter at @SATWgal.