In mid-December, I went to meet my cousin in Budapest. We were spending just a few days there before heading to Italy for Christmas. Before I left the States, I reached out to preferred partner Four Seasons Budapest to see about a site tour. When they came back with an industry rate, I accepted. Four Seasons Budapest is in the Gresham Palace, and I knew from photos it is seriously decked out for Christmas. Here is my experience of the Four Seasons Budapest Gresham Palace! More
On my way home from the Shetland Islands back in early February, I had one night in Edinburgh. Since I was with my parents, I reached out to one of my suppliers to ask about hotels. They came back to me with the Old Town Chambers, serviced apartments in the heart of the old city just off the Royal Mile. These apartments are super easy to get to from Waverley Train Station, the bus stop at Waverley, and the tram station at St. Andrews Square. They’re also literally only steps from the high street. Great food, drink, shopping, and nightlife is on your doorstep at the Old Town Chambers!
On our way to the Shetland Islands for Up Helly Aa, my parents met me in Edinburgh, Scotland for Burns Night. This national night celebrates Scottish poet Robert Burns, most well known for Auld Lang Syne. With only one night, we stayed at the luxurious Prestonfield House in Edinburgh and attended their gala Burns Supper. If you have already been to Edinburgh and seen the sights, this is a great hotel to relax at. However, for travellers keen to get out and explore town, it’s a bit removed.
Recently, while in Edinburgh, Scotland, I had the chance to visit The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel. This five star property sits atop Waverley Station, Edinburgh’s main train station. It’s well known for its clock tower, which is visible from almost anywhere in Edinburgh, and its kilted doormen who also meet guests trainside. The Balmoral isn’t to be confused with Balmoral Castle, in the Scottish Highlands, the Royal Family’s Scottish home, although the hotel is certainly fit for a queen, or possibly a Half-Blood Prince. Read on for a glimpse into this Virtuoso luxury hotel in the heart of Edinburgh.
Florence, Italy is on everyone’s list of places to go in Italy. Its narrow, cobblestones Renaissance streets, towering Duomo, and exquisite food and wine top the list of reasons to go. But where do you stay in Florence, Italy? What are the best hotels? It ought not surprise you that there are some impeccable Virtuoso properties in the heart of the city, all within walking distance of the major attractions. Whether you want to stay at a boutique property with less than twenty rooms or the always five star Four Seasons, there is a place for you to stay in Florence! I recently had the chance to visit four of the properties, which is not all of them, to get a feel for the variety of options in luxury Florentine hotels.
Aloha! Mahalo, from the new Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii! I recently spent a few days in paradise at the inaugural Classic Vacations E3 learning conference! This great learning opportunity was held at the recently opened Alohilani Resort. While in the heart of Honolulu’s chic beach district, I learned from some of the top travel advisors who specialise in Hawaii, dined at some fantastic restaurants, and simply soaked up the sun. I also wandered the beach promenade and people watched – this is a great place to do that! The sun rose dramatically over Diamond Head and set serenely into the Pacific Ocean. Surfers congregated before the sun rose and the beach was awash in people from all over. But what about the hotel? Well, it was chic, contemporary, and classy. It’s also in the heart of the district with access to all the wonderful attractions of Waikiki Beach.
For anyone considering a weekend in Boston, one of the first things to think about is what hotel to stay at. There are a bunch of great hotels in the city, and Virtuoso is lucky to partner with six of them. Over the last few months, I’ve made a few trips to Boston and had the chance to visit with five of my reps at five hotels. I also stayed at a few and will disclose that in the individual posts! For now, let’s talk a little about Boston, what to do there, and what Boston hotels to consider!
The leaves are changing a bit late this year, at least where I am (Pennsylvania). I came back from a trip to find that only one of my trees has turned red; the rest remain green. (Still, I’m eagerly awaiting when my lawn is littered with golden leaves.) Seeking out fall foliage is a time-honoured American tradition up here in the Northeast. New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York all showcase the vivid colours of autumn. Trees burst with golds, reds, and browns, often so seductively its hard to remember we’re just looking at the landscape! Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or simply want to experience the famed colours with family or friends, Virtuoso properties in this area have some of the best locations. Most are less than three hours from a major airport, too, making them an easy weekend destination.
Last week, I headed to Chicago to visit a friend. While there, and while they were at work, I took the opportunity to meet with seven of my Virtuoso hotel sales reps and one non-Virtuoso property. These eight Chicago hotels are concentrated between River North and Gold Coast neighbourhoods of downtown. They range from boutique residential-feeling hotels to skyscrapers with incomparable views of the city and Lake Michigan.
In late September, I attended a VCTA training course down in Sunny Isles, Florida. (VCTA is a Virtuoso professional development class.) Attendees are required to stay at the host hotel, although we do receive a discounted rate. For me, in Florida, this was Acqualina Resort and Spa, a boutique property right on the beach. In addition to staying there, I also got the chance to explore some of the other parts of the property, like dinner at Il Mulino and a spa treatment at Espa. The hotel also hosted a reception for us, where we enjoyed canapes and champagne in one of the three bedroom suites. More