2019 Virtuoso Travel Week Recap #1
Virtuoso Travel Week is the biggest week for our business. It’s considered the “fashion week” of luxury travel. As a Virtuoso-member agency, Sea to City Travels spent the second week of August shopping for incredible experiences for our clients. Over the course of 4 days, we had 232 scheduled meetings with suppliers. We spent an evening volunteering at a local women’s shelter with one of our favorite marketing representation companies, Bennett and Mercado. We hopped around countless happy hours and went to two Virtuoso galas with Context Travel and Le Royal Monceau. The cocktail hours and galas allow us to connect with our partners in a more fun setting so we can not only get to know their products, but also the people who make those companies so successful. In turn, we stayed up-to-date on properties and companies we know and love, but we also learned about products and destinations that we weren’t previously aware of that we can now incorporate into our clients’ itineraries. In addition, we now have the direct contacts of owners, general managers and sales reps who VIP our clients and assist in creating “wow” travel experiences for them.
It’s a demanding week but oh so worth it!
We are now completely re-inspired and want to encourage you to travel as well. A major theme of this year’s Travel Week was The Wanderlist. A Wanderlist is not just a list of places you hope to visit one day. Instead it is an intentional vision for your travel. That’s where we come in! We want to help you make your Wanderlist so we can plan where you are celebrating your next milestone, whether it be your anniversary, birthday, family reunion, etc. In your Wanderlist, let’s include your family Christmas trips, spring breaks and big summer vacations. By being intentional about your travel, you’ll be able to look down the road and be excited about planning the next trip on your intentional Wanderlist!
In this post, we’ll be sharing our first recap of our favorite hotels that we met with during the 2019 Virtuoso Travel Week. We’ve broken down our favorites list into various themes, including our favorites, new-to-us finds, family and group travel spots, as well as our favorite hotel groups. You can expect a second recap next week so be sure to check back with us.
Reconnecting With Favorites
Halcyon House - We would hire the designer of Halcyon House to design our office in a minute if we could! Every corner is beautifully decorated with an amazing attention to detail. This boutique hotel is a 30-minute drive to the Gold Coast and located away from the tourist hustle and bustle. It’s located on a gorgeous stretch of beach that is a surfer’s paradise. Halcyon House is the perfect place to start an Australia itinerary - it’s less than a 2-hour drive from the Brisbane International airport! Arrive here for some sun and relaxation to fight your jet lag before you move onto your Australia adventure.
Finca Cortesin - Southern Spain is often overlooked for the Amalfi Coast or south of France but we encourage you not to miss it! Finca Cortesin is located 5-minutes from the beach and the hotel provides a complimentary shuttle to it’s beach club. A 3-4 night stay here is perfect after a cultural and historical trip through Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, etc.
1 Hotel South Beach - If you’re in need of a little domestic vacay, we adore 1 Hotel South Beach. It’s location at the northern end of South Beach means that you aren’t directly in the traffic and crowds of South Beach, but that you do have close access to it. One of the hotel brand’s major pilars is sustainability so it’s architecture and design focuses on using reclaimed materials. The hotel may seem large in it’s pictures, but the layout makes it feel significantly more intimate. We love the adults-only rooftop pool.
São Lourenço do Barrocal - Portugal is growing in popularity so we’re encouraging all our clients to book their trips asap. Fly into Lisbon and drive 2-hours to Sao Lourenco do Borrocal. This ancient farming village turned hotel has been in the same family for over 200 years and welcomes its guests with stables, olive groves and rural outdoor dining. Plus there’s some of the best stargazing in the world here.
IL Borro - Send us to Italy any day! IL Borro is 45-minutes outside Florence in Tuscany. Owned by the Ferragamo family, IL Borro is located within a medieval village so you can really feel the heart and soul of Italy while on the property.
Al Maha - Americans generally use Dubai as a stopover city to places like the Maldives but we can put together a more inclusive itinerary within the UAE. Al Maja is an hour outside Dubai and is THE desert camp to rest your head at night. And don’t you worry, the tents have AC so you can visit year-round.
The Egerton House Hotel - There’s no shortage of hotels in London but this was our first time learning of The Egerton House Hotel. The hotel oozes English charm. This boutique hotel is located in the heart of Knightsbridge, which is the most expensive postal code in the city. All of the rooms are individually designed and with less than 30-rooms, you know the service is spot on.
Rocky Mountaineer - If you’ve ever wanted to explore the likes of Vancouver, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff in one go, we’d like to introduce you to Rocky Mountaineer. This luxury train offers the option of dozens of itinerary that combine day trains with luxury hotels at night. It’s such a unique and scenic way to combine these western Canada destinations.
Hotel Splendide Royal Paris - The price tag on a Paris hotel room can be shocking, which is why we were so excited to find Hotel Splendid Royal Paris. The hotel is comprised of only junior suites and suites. And with a junior suite in high seasons costing under 1000.00 Euros/night, we can’t wait to book your next Paris stay here so you can spend your savings on a champagne, cheese and croissants!
Family & Group Travel
Mustique Island & Villas - Mustique is a hidden gem in the Caribbean. The island is a part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and is comprised of dozens of homes and villas dotted around the island. The only other accommodation option is The Cotton House, a boutique hotel with less than 20 rooms. Spend your days beach hoping or sailing through nearby islands. Perhaps stop at Basil’s Bar for a sunset drinks as well. If you need a bit more convincing, Mustique is a favorite destination of the Royals; Kate and William just spent a summer vacation here with their kids.
The Lodge, Verbier - During the winter months, Richard Branson’s The Lodge in Switzerland operates as a full property buyout. With just 9 rooms, The Lodge is meant to feel like your own private ski chalet. Don’t worry, if you can’t fill all 9 rooms, The Lodge runs as a normal hotel during the summer months.
ME to WE - ME to We is unique because it joins together luxury leisure travel with community outreach. With their own 4* hotels in Costa Rica, India and Kenya, ME to WE helps connects it’s travelers with their on-going community projects. There are also options to add onto the ME to WE hotel/project portion of the trip with customized extensions around the country of travel.
Layan Residences by Anantara - Phuket may have a reputation as being a party island but it also has wonderful hotels that allow you to slip away from the late-night buzz and immerse yourselves in culture and beautiful beaches. The Layan Residences range from 3-7 bedroom pool villas. Their hillside location allows for sweeping views of the Andaman Sea. Master Muay Thai boxing in the resort’s own stadium; enjoy Thai cuisine during a cooking class; hop on a private yacht to explore the surrounding islands’ coves. There’s plenty to do at Layan Residences to keep your whole family and/or group of friends happy!
Our Favorite Hotel Groups
Rosewood - When we think of Rosewood, we think of impeccable yet comfortable design and top-of-the-line service. The brand is actively expanding and we can’t wait to see where they pop up next. Did you hear that Rosewood Hong Kong won best design hotel at the Virtuoso Best of the Best hotels?
Capella Hotels - Capella Hotels is small but expanding, with new hotels opening in the coming months in Bangkok, Sydney and the Maldives. Their hotels are centrally located but encourage their travelers to stroll of the beaten path and delve into the culture of the destination. The design is amazing, often destination-themed and over the top - we love a sense of place! Check out their most recent opening in Ubud, Bali. All tents come with private plunge pools.
Inkaterra - Inkaterra is a Peruvian company that owns and operates hotels throughout the country. Not all their properties are Virtuoso properties (the collection contains some 4 star hotels) but we love that they are locally run and each hotel has a Peruvian soul. Perhaps the most famous of all their hotels is the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel. It’s a member of the Nat Geo Unique Lodges of the World and the rates include programmed guided excursions within its 12-acre property.
COMO - We’ve been crushing on COMO for a while now but always love an excuse to remind everyone. When a brand’s pilars are design, cuisine, wellbeing and service, you know it’s a company we can and do support. We want to point out COMO Castello de Nero. This property was always a gem in Tuscany but COMO just purchased it earlier this year making it the brand’s first hotel in continental Europe. We’re excited to send client here in 2020 once the spa has under gone a refresh with the COMO touch.
Six Senses - Six Senses strives to create hotels that are in total harmony with their surroundings. Travel + Leisure announced in June that Six Senses had been voted the world's No. 1 Hotel Brand for the third year in a row by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. But what really caught our attention at Virtuoso Travel Week is that two of a planned five hotels are now open in Bhutan!
Check back next week for our second 2019 Virtuoso Travel Week recap to discover our favorite Virtuoso hotels that fit the following themes:
Beach and island destinations
For the adventure seekers
Your next romantic getaway
The best in food and wine
A big perk of working with Sea to City Travels to create your next trip is that we can add value to your hotel bookings at no extra cost to our clients. The added value comes in the form of complimentary breakfast, hotel or resort credit, early check-in and late check-out subject to availability, upgrades subject to availability and more. These amenities apply to all Virtuoso hotels (amenities may differ pending hotel choice).