I’m settling back into a routine after several weeks of travel, including our annual Virtuoso global conference. I had almost 400 meetings with hotels, tour operators and suppliers from all over the world! So in this newsletter I will provide my takeaway of trends in travel, as well as the best offers out there right now.
I am headed to site inspections at Disney World & South Beach in Nov, and then a flying safari through Botswana with a quick Christmas stop in London so let me know if you have any questions about these specific destinations. I hope this inspires you to travel more in 2016 and beyond!
Lastly–we just went live with our newly re-designed website.
Please take a look! It’s now full screen and mobile friendly.
Travel Trends from Virtuoso Travel Week
Virtuoso’s “Top 10 Destinations” for 2015 based on bookings:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Canada–the fastest growing destination!
More interestingly, here’s the Virtuoso “Hot 10”–the ones to watch as bookings are on the rise:
- French Polynesia & Fiji
- US Virgin ISlands
- Costa Rica
- The Netherlands
And here’s my two cents: Ireland is having a moment! I expect to book more Ireland business in 2016 due to a favorable Euro but also because of the warm and friendly people and beautiful countryside that clients always rave about! And, Ashford Castle in County Mayo won HOTEL of the YEAR!
BEST OF THE BEST AWARDS
HOTEL OF THE YEAR: ASHFORD CASTLE in Galway, Ireland
And we can provide you with some wonderful extra benefits if you want to stay a night or few! Check it out: http://www.ashfordcastle.com/
BEST CULINARY EXPERIENCE: Epicure at Le Bristol in Paris
BEST SPA: The Dolder Grand Spa in Zurich
BEST FAMILY PROGRAMS: Four Seasons Resort, Orlando at Walt Disney World
BEST AIRLINE: Emirates (flies out of Dulles)
BEST TOURISM BOARD (for engagement): New Zealand
BEST SAFARI OUTFITTER: Micato Safaris
BEST TOUR OPERATOR: TAUCK
BEST RIVER CRUISE LINE: AMA Waterways
BEST CRUISE LINE: Crystal Cruises
All earned their accolades!
I met with many small boutique hotels and spas at Travel Week, and all are right here in the USA. Some are even all-inclusive, such as Miraval and Lake Austin Spa Resort. Yes, that’s right–Austin, TX!
There are a handful of really nice places in Cape Cod that I would also recommend. We can provide additional amenities and benefits–like spa credits– that you can only get from us!
- Inn by the Sea in Maine
- The Ocean House in Rhode Island
- Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham MA
- Blantyre in the Berkshires, looks just like an English manor house
And if you want a warmer climate, this is a favorite of our staff: – The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, near Charleston SC.
Rosewood Tuckers Point in Bermuda–great rates in low season!
For Tennis Players:
Boca Raton Resort & Club Waldorf Astoria–Jimmy Connors is their new tennis pro. Really.
The Sebastian in Vail
Blackberry Farm in TN. WOW.
For Wine Lovers:
The Carneros Inn, CA
For “GLAMPERS” (you know who you are:) )
The Resort at Paws Up
The Ranch at Rock Creek, both in Montana
Call me if interested in putting together a girl getaway!
Best Hotel Offers
There are several high value Free Night offers out there and you can only get them from us!
- St. Regis Aspen: 4th night free
- Salamander Resort: 3rd night free. This is right in Middleburg, VA!
- Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Fiji: Provides a personal nanny for each child guest, included in rate!
- The Lanesborough in London: 93 rooms and every one gets its own butler!
Best Cruise Offers
- WINDSTAR CRUISES: FLASH SALE right now until Sept 17th with insanely low fares. How low? $1299 to $2009 per person for sailings that usually cost $3,599 to $7,599 pp! Mediterranean and French Polynesia included thru end of year.
- REGENT SEVEN SEAS: Just lowered fares on 23 cruises and is still offering $499 Biz Class Air upgrade on 23 sailings. Inquire for specifics.
- UNIWORLD RIVER CRUISES: $200 shipboard credit plus fruit basket on ANY Uniworld cruise you book with us!
- SPRING BREAK 2016: I have group space blocked on 2 sailings during MCPS Spring Break. For those who do not want to drive, I can offer NCL BREAKAWAY 3/27- 4/3 Round trip from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas with $50 shipboard credit and great pricing on mini-suites! Also have blocked space on Celebrity REFLECTION 3/26-4/2 RT Miami to Western Caribbean. Great pricing on Balconies and Sunset Verandas PLUS $50 credit, martini or wine tasting and chocolate-covered strawberries for everyone!
Call me if interested.
Top Industry News
- CRYSTAL CRUISES is getting a lot of new ships! New ocean ships, yachts and even river cruise ships. And, Crystal will have two private jetliners for trips around the world. Millions+ infusion of cash investment from their owners, Genting Hong Kong. Look for new ships in 2017, with sales opening on 12/1/15.
- The brand new Viking ocean ship STAR is an absolute stunner and a game changer for Viking. Getting RAVE reviews. Sold out for the rest of 2015 but selling 2016 and beyond.
- Regent Seven Seas new ship EXPLORER launches Summer 2016 and is promising to be absolutely spectacular, and with the most expensive suite at sea. Pictures of the ship so far are incredible. PLUSH.
- For East Coast cruisers, there will soon be a new game in town: Royal Caribbean’s brand new ANTHEM OF THE SEAS will be arriving in its year round home Cape Liberty NJ in Nov 2015.
- Norwegian’s brand new build ESCAPE will be arriving in Miami in Nov 2015 (I will be sailing the pre-inaugural and will report on it).
- CUBA is still not really open for business outside of scheduled group tours. Will have to wait a little longer for truly independent travel.
Don’t hesitate to call us for more information at 301-217-0027. We are here to help!