8.29.2014

luxury all-inclusive in Jamaica



Check out this 2 1/2 minute video of the two new all-inclusives opening on the former Ritz-Carlton Rose Hall in Jamaica, now accepting reservations for November 1, 2014 and beyond.

Hyatt Ziva Rose Hall — family friendly all-inclusive

Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall — adult-only all-inclusive

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

8.28.2014

Virtuoso Week | OneFineStay



Here's #3 on my top ten list of things that caught my interest at Virtuoso Travel Week.

A luxury version of airbnb and VRBO, OneFineStay is the perfect choice to rent a home or apartment in

     London
     Los Angeles
     New York
     Paris

Pictured above is the living room of an apartment on Passage Saint-Antoine. While it's not the most central location, this attractive 1BR apartment in the 4th arr. east of the Bastille and north of Ile St-Louis. Equipped with a King bed, washer and dryer and WiFi, it's extremely well-priced. For a random week in October, the rate is just $702 per night (flexible rate paid at booking, but cancelable and refundable up to 48 hours before arrival) or $621 per night (with some stiff cancellation fees).

Advantages over airbnb, VRBO and their kind…
  • exclusively managed, thoughtfully curated, insured
  • WiFi, housekeeping, and concierge services
  • check-in and luggage assistance
  • Quality linens and toiletries provided by OneFineStay
  • complimentary iPhone with unlimited data and domestic calls
  • personalized local recommendations on custom iPhone app
  • 24-hour access to "front desk" service support
  • 1600+ homes — from studio to multi-bedroom
Virtuoso amenities. While a privately owned apartment can't be upgraded, Virtuoso guests receive a pair of his and hers Arlotta cashmere slippers, and early check-in/late check-out if available.

Play around on their website. There are hundreds of choices, with homes as large as seven bedrooms. For instance, I saw an attractive 7BR, 6 bath home in Notting Hill, London from $1579 per night.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website. tasales@onefinestay.com

8.26.2014

Virtuoso Week | 1 day free LA car rental



Here's #2 on my top ten list… of things that caught my interest at Virtuoso Travel Week.

Midway Car Rental offers VIP rental cars in Los Angeles. While Hertz, Avis, and National are fine if you just want a Ford or Chevy, Midway has a fleet of 2500 vehicles including Audi, BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Mini Cooper, Porsche, Rolls Royce, and Volvo models.

Want to cruise Beverly Hills in a convertible? Midway has everything from a Mustangs and Camaros to Ferraris and Lanborghinis.

What about a one day Premium Car rental for free? The rep with whom I had an appointment was handing out the cards above. Can't tell you for sure what qualifies as a "premium car," but "1 day complimentary" speaks loud and clear.

The catch? You need the actual business card shown above to get the deal, and I only have one of them. How to get it for yourself? The first client booking a three night stay in a full Suite at one of the following Virtuoso hotels (through me, of course) — and requesting this card — is the lucky recipient!

If you want to drive some special wheels in Beverly Hills, Midway Car Rental is the place to turn!

Qualifying hotels:

Beverly Wilshire (a Four Seasons Hotel)
Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills (Doheny Drive)
Peninsula Beverly Hills
Montage Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills Hotel
Hotel Bel Air
L'Ermitage Beverly Hills

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

8.25.2014

Virtuoso Week | Virtuoso resorts in Los Cabos?



For the next ten posts, I'll be sharing highlights from my week at Virtuoso Travel Week. After over 300 appointments, as well as countless information social encounters with hoteliers and other travel professionals, these are the top things I learned at Travel Week.

#1 on my top ten list… 

There are four Virtuoso resorts in Los Cabos. Each is great in its own way, but how do you choose the right one for a particular client? Asking the hotels to help differentiate is somewhat helpful, but their feedback is understandably something less than objective! So I asked the rep from Terramar Los Cabos, the Virtuoso onsite in Los Cabos, for her opinion. Here's how she describes the four.

One and Only Palmilla — Hot and sexy with a swimmable beach. One and Only is smaller resort but at a distance from nightlife outside the resort. A place where guests go to be seen.

Las Ventanas Al Paraiso — A smaller resort with over the top luxury and a feeling of seclusion. Guests come here not to be seen; no paparazzi allowed on the resort.

Capella Pedregal — Very high end resort with great service. The resort's tunnel through the mountain makes it easy to walk into Los Cabos for shopping and nightlife.

Esperanza — More casual, great for families. The service is more relaxed and not as uptight as of the others.

Your Virtuoso travel consultant can provide you with hundreds of dollars of added value for your stay, including complimentary daily breakfast and available room upgrades, on top of any promotions that the resorts are already offering.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

8.20.2014

Shangri-La | it's in our nature




Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts hosted the Hotels Dinner on Wednesday night of this year's Virtuoso Travel Week. The dinner began with an amazing film that you can watch in the YouTube video above.

Virtuoso is an invitation-only consortium of the best luxury travel consultants in the world. About one thousand hotels and resorts are part of the program, and travelers can benefit from value-added amenities (such as free breakfast for two, room upgrades, and hotel credits) by reserving through their Virtuoso travel consultant.

Twelve Shangri-La properties are members of Virtuoso.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

8.04.2014

Virtuoso Travel Week | less than a week away



You might be interested in this video about Virtuoso Travel Week and all of the preparation that takes place for Bellagio to host 4,000 travel professionals. Travel Week has grown so large that attendees also stay at Aria and Vdara (not to mention the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, and other Las Vegas resorts).

Travel Week is the biggest event that takes place at Bellagio. All 8,000 Bellagio employees are involved in putting on the event (no one can take a vacation week during Travel Week). Despite the large number of guests, everything flows smoothly, and Bellagio's staff is incredibly hospitable. I even enjoy saying hi to the security personnel who make sure you're wearing your Travel Week credentials. Same people every year … almost like family!

Why travel to Vegas in the middle of August? It's not the balmy weather. It's the opportunity to build relationship with the hundreds of hotel sales reps — the very same people who help Virtuoso travel consultants create the magic to help get you upgraded and take care of your special requests. I have about 300 sales appointments during the week, as well the even more productive information encounters where relationships are enhanced.

Example: here's a true story from last year's Travel Week, republished from my August 15, 2013 post:

I was seated at a banquet table when an email came in from a client who had several specific requests related to a prospective booking at Four Seasons Hong Kong. Could he get a spa menu? Could he arrange for child care? Could he make an reservation at one of the hotel's two three-star Michelin restaurants?

I was seated immediately to the left of the hotel's Director of Sales and Marketing. I handed her my iPhone, she read the request, said "Confirmed!", and I immediately let my client know. When I woke up at 6 a.m. this morning, the restaurant reservation had been made, the spa menu was attached, and information on child care was provided. I forwarded it back to my client.

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

8.01.2014

Xander Bar at Four Seasons St Petersburg




Recently in St. Petersburg on Oceania's Baltic Cruise, my associate Sarah chose to forgo a tour of yet another beautiful cathedral (St. Isaac's) and took the opportunity to dash across the street to the newly opened (and utterly gorgeous) Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia. Located two block from the Winter Palace and the Hermitage Museum, facing Alexandrovsky Garden and St. Isaac's Square

Xander Bar is named after Tzar Alexander I and is decorated to create a clubby, library feeling. She took the picture above, and it give an idea of the beauty and sense of detail you will experience at the new Four Seasons St. Petersburg.

You can get an Experience More 3,000 RUB food and beverage credit, in addition to the valuable amenities you receive by booking through any Four Seasons Preferred Partner travel consultant: daily full American breakfast for two, a $100 spa credit, and a one-category upgrade upon arrival if available.

Is St. Petersburg on your bucket list? Get in touch, whether you want to travel by land or sea!

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.

Plaza Athenee Paris | reopening today



Plaza Athenee Paris reopened this morning, August 1, at 7 a.m. Paris time. The property had been closed for many months for a renovation project incorporating a recently acquired building into the existing hotel. The Art Deco hotel is located on avenue Montaigne, and all front-facing rooms offer guests a view of the Eiffel Tower (if you look off to the right).

A reopening special dubbed "Be The First" is being offered for stays in August at Plaza Athenee Paris, subject to availability. A quick check of the GDS indicates that these rates are discounted 20€ per night. Guests receive American breakfast for two, two Black Rose Royal cocktails at the bar, a chocolate souvenir, and a "ribbon cutting" picture of your room.

An even better value is to book through any Diamond Club travel consultant. You'll pay the regular rate (i.e., no 20€ discount) … but in return you receive the following Diamond Club amenities:


A guaranteed one-category upgrade. Diamond Club guests are upgraded at booking. You want to stay in a Deluxe Room? Just book a Superior! Guaranteed upgrades up to the Junior Suite category.

100€ hotel credit. Yes, one hundred euros, not dollars, and it can even come off your hotel bill. Book a room, and you get a one-time 100€ credit. Book a full Suite, and you score a daily 100€ credit.

Full Breakfast Daily. You can take it in any venue. Want breakfast in bed? Order room service. Want to order off the menu? Anything except caviar and champagne is included, including tax and gratuity.

Free premium internet. Their highest speed internet, for unlimited devices, all for free.


Diamond Club amenities also apply to the other Dorchester Collection hotel in Paris, Le Meurice, as well as to Diamond Club bookings at every Dorchester hotel in the world. (Note that the hotel credit is in local currency. Staying in London? You get a cool 100£ in credits.)

copyright (c) 2014 by David Ourisman LLC. All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell Travel. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, email me or visit my website.