J5Travel celebrated 5 years in business this week, and while we are not quite in the party mood right now, we continue to remain optimistic and are hopeful that the first hints of tourism are returning both domestically and abroad. It's still a long path back to full scale international travel planning, but I'm pretty sure by the time our 10th anniversary rolls around we'll all be good, right?
A bellini, if you didn't know, is a prosecco and peach puree cocktail made famous by Harry's Bar in Venice (below). We did not have the requisite peach puree in stock this week, so made the toast to our 5 year birthday with a good red wine. Cheers to each and every one of you who have been a part of our exciting entrepreneurial journey, and thank you.
We also thank our host agency, Gifted Travel Network who remain a beacon of light for us, and in fact for the whole travel industry. They have been with us every step of the way for the last 5 years, and are leading by example right now, with a focus on the future and regular inspiration to keep looking that way, and not back.
To illustrate that, and providing a great boost during our anniversary week, we are totally thrilled to announce that thanks to GTN's vision and perseverance we are now, by association, members of the Belmond Bellini Club (yes, there had to be a link somewhere to this weeks obscure title). This weeks Top 5 will try to explain just how awesomely exclusive this honor is.
Top 5 - Belmond Bellini Club
1. Who Are Belmond?
Established in 1976, Belmond has been a pioneer in luxury travel for more than 40 years, building a passion for authentic escapes into an unrivalled group of one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. They are owned by LVMH, the world's leading luxury group. Belmond's current portfolio consists of:
- 34 hotels
- 6 trains
- 2 river cruise ships
- Belmond Safaris (Botswana)
A few names that you might recognize...Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice (and home to the aforementioned Harry's Bar), Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, Macchu Piccu (above), the Venice Simplon Orient Express (below) and the Royal Scotsman trains.
2. What's the Bellini Club?
Belmond do not have a consumer facing loyalty program, but they do have an exclusive invitation-only Club for the best performing luxury-oriented travel advisors throughout the world. Gifted Travel Network, and by extension J5Travel, have been accepted in to this program. Much like the Virtuoso amenities that we can offer clients, we now have access to many travel bonuses for you with every Belmond booking, including access to every General Manager, upgrades etc. How about a Suite at Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo in Sicily (below)?One biggie...any hotel or train booking over $5,000 and we will be able to offer you a $500 gift certificate towards a future Belmond experience.
You can only enjoy this offer by booking with a Bellini Club advisor!
3. Belmond Cap Juluca, Anguilla (below)
I have to at least mention this specific property because, as I've written before, this is where we were hit by a Category 4 hurricane on our honeymoon almost 25 years ago. It wasn't a Belmond property back then and seeing the upgrades completed since, I may have to use our travel agent rate to revisit soon.
4. Belmond Road to Mandalay (above and below)
Myanmar has captured the hearts and minds of travellers for centuries and there is no better way to travel to the heart of this mesmerising destination than to cruise along its vital waterways. Guests will become enchanted by the sight of golden sunsets over temple tops, and the gentle lilting sound of waves against the river banks as they cruise along the Ayeyarwady delta aboard Belmond Road to Mandalay.
This ship accommodates just 82 guests in classic-colonial style evoking a traditional oriental voyage. While a host of indulgent touches ensure that you don't miss out on the best of modern luxury.
5. Belmond Eastern & Oriental Express (above and below)
Venturing through Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the Eastern & Oriental Express traverses the most iconic rail route in Southeast Asia. A luxurious private cabin provides an indulgent sanctuary to relax in, with picture frame windows perfect for watching the scenery unfold. As guests you'll mingle with fellow travelers over cocktails in the Observation Car, and delight at gastronomic cuisine over dinner. You’ll become acquainted with local characters during excursions and onboard entertainment, from village elders to knowledgeable historians. I cannot begin to tell you how much I want to enjoy SE Asia again soon, and in such a different manner as this.
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