Friday, September 16, 2011

Virtuoso Travel Mart = My Fashion Week

A few weeks ago, I returned from the annual Virtuoso Travel Mart in Las Vegas where I had the chance to meet with hundreds of top luxury hotels and travel companies....in person, one on one....and hear about the latest, greatest openings, renovations, excusive promotions and unique opportunities for our jet-setting clients.

In essence, Virtuoso Travel Mart to someone like me who eats, breathes, sleeps luxury travel is akin to New York Fashion Week for the fashionistas. It's the ultimate "Travel Buyer's Market" and an incredible way for me to find out what's hot and happening in the luxury travel world so that we can continue to stay on top of the trends and present the absolute best ideas and options for our clients around the globe. Just like the buyer from Barney's needs to know what's hot for fall fashion, I need to know the same for luxury travel.

The amount of information I brought home from Vegas this year is beyond "blog-post" friendly, but I do want to share some of my favorite finds. Below are just a few of the very cool things I learned at Virtuoso Travel Mart 2011 (more to come in next post, I promise!):

1. Hayman Island on Australia's Great Barrier Reef reopened August 1 after its cyclone-forced closure and an extensive renovation. What wows me most are the eight brand new Beach Villas, designed by Amanresorts designer Kerry Hill. .
Each villa features a private pool, a totally private terrace, outdoor shower, water views and very cool technology that even includes Apple TV with cable and movies. The "new" Hayman has honeymoon written all over it

2. Bulgari's newest hotel will open next spring in central London (near Hyde Park), just in time for the 2012 Olympics. The luxury brand's third hotel--following Milan & Bali--will have a sleek, silver-themed design and will feature 85 rooms and suites, a private screening room, a huge spa and an indoor pool. As a sibling of Ritz-Carlton, the Bulgari London will offer our clients exclusive STARS benefits along with VIP Virtuoso perks.

3. One of my favorite Italian hotels, the Gritti Palace in Venice, is closing for a 15-month, 43 milliion Euro renovation this fall. Upon reopening in January 2013, the legendary canal-side hotel will feature modern technology and a gorgeous new room and suite product. Recently added to the Virtuoso Venice hotel portfolio is the Gritti's 225-room sister property, Hotel Danieli (shown).
Fresh from a total redo of all three wings, the historic Danieli offers our Virtuoso clients breakfast-inclusive rates, priority upgrades and a $75 credit for dinner at the famed Terraza Danieli.

4. Casa del Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic is already an incredible vacation option for families, couples, golfers and it will be even easier for our NYC-area clients to reach when JetBlue adds twice-weekly service straight into La Romana from JFK this November. The totally renovated property features gorgeous suites and private villa homes, complete with their own private pools and access to the new BeachClub by Le Cirque.
All-inclusive options are available; our Virtuoso rates include full breakfast or a $200 spa credit depending on rate type booked. Note: There's Xmas space available for those still deciding where to spend the holidays, and until December 20, enjoy a free 5th night!

5. If all (or mostly) inclusive rates appeals to you, then you'll love the new concept from select Four Seasons hotels inlcuding those in Denver, Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Nevis, Palm Beach, Punta Mita (shown below), Scottsdale and Whistler.
The new packages include all sorts of extras from meals to in-room movies to complimentary parking, golf, transfers, spa treatments, golf, cabana rentals and more. The specific packages vary by property and are often combinable with our Preferred Partner perks.

For more information on the hottest happenings at the best luxury hotels or to book your next luxury vacation (or business trip!), contact me via email stacy@elitetravelinternational.com or call 310.979.9036.

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