It's 12 months since I was in Las Vegas enjoying the most exhausting week of my life. A lot has changed in that time, but there is an enduring truth in our industry that is as vital as ever to the service we can provide you. Connections matter.
Virtuoso's annual event has been shifted to the virtual world and in fact it has enabled me to exponentially reach more of the contacts that will make a difference to our clients.
This week there are 4,000 participants in 96 countries partaking in over 70,000 networking meetings so the scale remains epic, but at the same time incredibly personal, as all my meetings are on a 1:1 basis. Every meeting has been a lesson in togetherness, optimism and humor. Below is a Top 5 list, but really I could have picked any of my 60 or so meetings to be featured. I have renewed hope and faith in an industry that will be forever changed but will come back with amazing strength.
Top 5 - Connecting for You
1. Jennifer - Triple Creek Ranch, Montana (above)
The dude ranch/wide open space category has exploded in the last few months and Triple Creek Ranch is one of the very best. Their Sales Director, Jennifer was dressed for the part and impressed on me especially that this ranch is open through the winter, unlike many which are seasonal. Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday activities include ice fishing, horse riding (below), dog sledding, downhill skiing, and Christmas trees in your cabins, which you can have pre-decorated or decorate yourselves. The Ranch is All-Inclusive and all the above activities except the dog sledding are included, along with your meals and beverages.
The resort features a fine selection of private log luxury ranch cabins and splendid ranch homes ranging from 1 to 3-bedrooms and with easy access to the comfortable central lodge.
|2. Christa - Cuvee (above)|
Cuvee owns and curates a rare collection of ultra-luxury villas and chalets in celebrated global destinations. Christa, their VP of Marketing had me drooling over some of the slides she shared with me. Just one example, Royal Island, Bahamas (below), which can easily become your own private island, with just 5 beachfront bungalows.
- Daily housekeeping included
- A chef-prepared welcome reception awaiting you upon arrival with authentic local hors d’oeuvres, refreshments, and cocktails.
- Light pantry stocking, including refreshments, breakfast items, and an artisanal local snack basket, which can be customized to your preferences.
- L’Occitane and/or Molton Brown shower and bath products.
- A "Forget-Me-Not" basket for anything you may leave at home, ranging from phone chargers to over the counter meds.
- A washer and dryer in every unit.
- Their villas are built for entertaining, with professional cookware, entertainment ware, spices, and cooking appliances in every kitchen and dining area.
- Continental breakfast provided for your entire group the first morning
- Stocked bar (including wine and spirits) and pantry on arrival; chef-prepared hors d'oeuvres and cocktails upon arrival; and services of a dedicated Cuvée Destination Concierge
- Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
3. Yana - The Towers at Lotte Palace, NYC
Yana, the Director of Sales at this wonderful midtown NYC luxury property was delighted to announce that they had reopened just this last Monday. She shared recent photos of NYC showing that many streets have been closed off and have been reinvented as outside dining areas (above). New York has some serious restrictions on who can visit currently but it's recovering at a steady pace and I can't wait to get back there soon to a city that I rarely go a year without visiting. The Towers at Lotte Palace (below) are very high on our list of NYC recommendations and clients have raved about the service and how well they have been recognized as Virtuoso advisor guests. A great location, combined with true luxury but at a value point less than many more renowned rivals. Win/win.
4. Melissa and Michelle - Red Carnation Hotels
At the risk of exceeding my selfie quota for the current decade, I had to feature Melissa Young (above), Director of Sales with Red Carnation and Michelle Devlin (below right), General Manager of the incomparable Egerton House Hotel in London. I met with them on consecutive afternoons and both meetings featured big smiles and laughter. I was also treated to possibly the most popular "Virtuoso Amenity" on the planet - a Martini making lesson with the King of Martinis, Esley, Head Bar Man of Egerton House. I resolved to visit in person for at least 2 Martinis next April. You have to take my word for it...ANY booking through J5Travel at a Red Carnation property guarantees you red carpet treatment for your entire stay.
We love this brand.
5. Thais - St Regis Bora Bora
French Polynesia is open and we are all just a negative Covid test and a long flight away from paradise. Thais Magri (above), the Associate Director for Sales at St Regis Bora Bora also impressed on me that their rates have never been better value. You may start hearing this from me more often in coming weeks - airline and hotel booking policies are incredibly flexible right now, and it is almost a free option to make a booking for 2021. Worst case, we postpone your trip or cancel for the appropriate refunds. Best case, you have your trip of a lifetime at pricing that may never be seen again.
This week has inspired me to start booking my own travel again, and I am working on a UK and France trip for next Spring. I've also had a dawning realization that the higher end luxury hotels are going to handle distancing so much easier and consequently better than other categories of accommodation.
Meanwhile, as you can see below, paradise is open.
If you might be ready to "Book Your Bubble" please hit the button below.
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