NEW YORK – Virtuoso, the international luxury travel network, is celebrating a quarter-century of delivering the world’s finest upscale lodging experiences. From just 20 hotels in 1992 to today’s 1,246, Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts portfolio has grown to become the industry’s luxury leader, recognised as the longest running and most prestigious program, with more five-star properties than any other organisation.
Virtuoso’s collection extends across 100 countries, with properties ranging from four to 4,004 rooms. The organisation prides itself on the diversity and exclusive nature of its program. Nearly 500 of the program’s partner hotels work solely with Virtuoso, eschewing any other travel organisation. Virtuoso also strives to maintain a balance between big and small by constantly unearthing hidden gems. Nearly half of the hotels within its program are under 100 rooms. The program’s remarkable expansion has continued in its 25th landmark year: to date, Virtuoso has added 94 properties in 2017. The portfolio encompasses amazing diversity with hotels, resorts, lodges, tents, camps, private islands, villas and apartments.
With annual sales of US$21.2 billion, Virtuoso’s clout in the luxury marketplace translates into an array of benefits, including VIP treatment, special access and preferential pricing for its clients. While complimentary to Virtuoso guests, perks at hand-picked partner hotels are valued at up to $450 per stay.
“Since its inception, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts has thrived due to its superior collection of world’s-finest properties, its commitment to excellence, and its continual innovation,” said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships.
“However, it’s the commitment to working with travel advisors and the value these hotels place on the human connection, be it the advisor-client relationship or the hotel-advisor partnership, that makes them stand apart from other luxury hotels.
“The magic of the program is that it is constantly advancing to deliver exciting options to upscale travellers.
“These include everything from exclusive amenities at buzzed-about new hotels; to stays at intimate boutique properties in off-the-beaten-path locales; to unique, authentic experiences that can only be enjoyed in a specific place.
“With the level of support and respect we enjoy from within the industry as well as our clientele, we look forward to the next 25 years of successfully breaking new ground.”
Virtuoso’s properties share a dedication to offering guests an extraordinary local experience to enrich their travels. Here are 20 incredible experiences available at the network’s original 20 hotels:
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane – After a long trip, guests can relax and re-energise at the hotel’s glass-walled rooftop floor with its spa, fitness centre and lounge. Refresh in one of the private shower suites, indulge in a spa treatment with views of Hyde Park or Westminster, or keep the time on Big Ben while running on a treadmill.
Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay – Explore local religious traditions with the resort’s Hindu priest, who leads ceremonies, blessing rituals, offering-making to thank the gods, and meditations. Aji Ngurah tends to guests’ spiritual and cultural connections at the resort temple, where he also conducts tours and shrine visits.
Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea – Join the award-winning Cesere Brothers on a customised seasonal whale-watching and photography adventure. Guests can experience whales with two of Maui’s top photographers–snap shots from above, learn to photograph smaller marine life underwater, or just enjoy the show while the experts capture images to bring home.
Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara – Sharpen beach volleyball skills with two-time Olympian, gold medalist and Santa Barbara native Todd Rogers. He will share the tips he’s picked up in 19 years as a professional. Then guests can join Rogers behind the net or face off with him for a friendly match.
Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scotland – Stay in a unique two-bedroom suite: inside a historic lighthouse on a world-famous golf course built atop the ruins of a medieval castle. Experiences available in the elegant Lighthouse Suite include a personalised spa treatment and a private dinner, complete with harpist.
The Lanesborough, Oetker Collection, London – Study one of the most timeless British social pursuits and gain insight into the history of afternoon tea with a Debrett’s Social Etiquette Advisor. Anglophiles will learn why it became one of the most beloved British pastimes, and how best to enjoy it with grace.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva – Experience a watch-making workshop in the city renowned for its luxury timepieces. Observe a master watch-maker assembling a timepiece and work next to them as an active participant, learning about the mechanics of a finely crafted watch.
Mandarin Oriental, Munich – Enjoy an exclusive individual experience at BMW World, the home of the internationally renowned Bavarian auto innovator. The day’s visit naturally includes a ride to and from the museum in a private BMW.
Belmond La Samanna, Saint Martin – Charter a yacht used in the America’s Cup Regatta, which might even be Dennis Conner’s winning Stars & Stripes. Expert crew will guide everyone on board in the 12-meter America’s Cup Challenge, allocating positions to match interests and experience.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills – Kids will become celebrity VIPs in an interactive simulation, where they experience a day in the life of Hollywood’s hottest stars. They will film a live-action movie and walk the red carpet at the film’s premiere, complete with paparazzi.
The Peninsula Hong Kong – Become a dumpling master during a dim sum class at Michelin-starred Spring Moon. A hotel chef will guide participants through the history of the popular dishes before imparting the secrets of dim sum creation. At the end of the lesson, guests can savour their own delicacies.
Rosewood Mansion On Turtle Creek, Dallas – Consult with one of Dallas’ top fashion experts at the iconic NorthPark Center. A stylist will provide bespoke fashion recommendations and advice for clients who want to grow, customise and refine their personal flair. A two-hour private session and $100 shopping spree at the upscale center will get them started.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island – Experience unspoiled natural beauty on a guided kayak tour through the scenic salt marshes of the Intracoastal Waterway. While paddling through the calm waters, adventures will enjoy an interactive overview of the local eco-system and wildlife.
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – Design a personal keepsake alongside Conrad Williams, a Dale Chihuly-trained glass artist. Guests can choose from a rainbow of colours and work with the artist, forming molten glass with their breath and shaping tools. When done, they can take home their creation as a one-of-a-kind souvenir.
The Pierre, a Taj Hotel, New York – Music lovers have a treat awaiting them at the hotel’s swanky Two E Bar: a live jazz performance three nights a week. The bar’s Art Deco surroundings, as well as the hotel’s status as a Jazz Age landmark, also enhance the experience.
Claridge’s, London – Executive chef Martyn Nail will share secrets behind the cooking and presentation of Claridge’s menus while preparing dishes, assisted by class members. Each dish will then be served to the audience with complementing wines chosen by the hotel’s sommelier.
Connaught, London – For those who have always wanted to know how to effortlessly stir and shake their way to the perfect blend, the world-renowned Connaught Bar introduces a series of mixology masterclasses led by award-winning Director of Mixology Agostino Perrone. Master the innovative techniques that make the Connaught Bar so special, from making your own bitters and syrups to the art of ice carving to how to shake the perfect martini.
Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort – The young, and young at heart, can learn to ride the waves at the Flow House Boca, the ultimate surfers’ destination. Body surfing, stand-up surfing, even night sessions – guests master surfing in whatever style they prefer at the ultimate surf-on-land experience, the FlowRider dual-sided wave simulator.
The St. Regis New York – The hotel’s King Cole Bar is the birthplace of the Red Snapper, the original Bloody Mary. Created in 1934, the hotel recently celebrated the millionth sale of the cocktail. Patrons can sip a Red Snapper in the intimate lounge, named Best Bar by Virtuoso.