Chef Keller Brings Award Winning Cuisine to Seabourn

Chef Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller

In an ongoing quest to provide a world-class experience, Seabourn has created a partnership with world-renowned American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller. The culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants – The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon – Chef Keller brings his award-winning French and American cuisine to the ultra-luxury cruise line adding new flavors and flair to complement Seabourn’s already celebrated cuisine. Continue reading

Stay More, Play More At Vail Cascade Resort, CO

Vail summer

Find a New Altitude in every season at Vail Cascade Resort. Along the banks of Gore Creek at the base of Vail Mountain, this Four Diamond ski-in/ski-out mountain retreat features the very best of Colorado. You’ll enjoy every amenity necessary to make the most of each stay, including creative Colorado cuisine and craft beer at Atwater on Gore Creek; the incomparable Aria Athletic Club & Spa; and a variety of guestrooms, suites and luxury condominiums. Vail Cascade provides elevated experiences delivered by a team whose true passion is to serve and share the Colorado they love. Continue reading

Iconic Alpine Experience

Intercontinental Davos, Switzerland

Intercontinental Davos, Switzerland

The future of travel has arrived in the Swiss Alps, and it is the InterContinental Hotel Davos. This glimmering steel orb, set high above Lake Davos, looks a bit like a golden spaceship, and the inventive gastronomy served at three distinctive restaurants is definitely out of this world. Parquet flooring and plush accents adorn the 216 individually appointed rooms and suites, and you’ll absorb the alpine splendor from your private balcony. Continue reading

Let The Journey Be Part Of The Destination

AmaSerena

AmaSerena

River cruise expert, Viviane Tondeur, recaps exclusive Virtuoso amenities with one of her favorite cruise operators. Virtuoso “Best River Cruise” winner in 2012, 2013 and 2014, AMA Waterways magnificent ships boast spacious staterooms with French or Twin balconies, delicious cuisine, live entertainment, and on board services like fitness room, hair salon, and massage; pool, whirlpool or sauna; and a sun deck with 360⁰ riverside views. Continue reading

FA Cup Final At Wembley Stadium In London

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

All eyes are on the FA cup with Liverpool traveling to Blackburn on April 8 for a replay after drawing on March 8. The winner faces Aston Villa in the FA Cup semi final on April 19. Arsenal and Reading will face off on April 18. On May 30th the FA Cup Final will take place in London at Wembley Stadium. Continue reading

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Barging and River Cruising

If you have questions about barging or river cruising, or if you are thinking about it for your next vacation, come to the Departure Lounge Barging & River Cruising event on March 11th. Continue reading

Insight To India

 

India

If you’re interested in exploring options for a magical trip to India, I invite you to a showcase and wine reception at Departure Lounge on March 5th. Come and meet Shonali Datta, Managing Director of Banyan Tours, widely recognized as one of the truly specialist companies in India. Shonali is the leading expert on the best travel experiences and luxury properties. Continue reading

Wellness and Wellbeing on Riviera Nayarit

View from our balcony

View from our balcony

I just returned from a magical week on the beautiful Riviera Nayarit in Mexico. Two villa stays – one on the beach and one in the hills, spa treatments (perks of being a travel advisor?!), cooking class, tequila tasting, swimming with wild dolphins, ziplining, margarita making lesson, horseback riding on the beach, whale watching, world-class golf, … Continue reading

Such A Deal!

FS Santa Fe

This week I scored my clients an incredible deal at the fabulous Rancho Encantado Four Seasons resort in Santa Fe, NM. Set in 57 unspoiled acres of the Sangre de Cristo foothills, the resort is just 10 minutes from Santa Fe’s galleries, shops and distinctive architecture. Complimentary transportation to the Plaza is provided by the resort’s Mercedes Benz. Continue reading

What Makes Four Seasons Hotels Even Better?

Four Seasons London at Park Lane

Four Seasons London at Park Lane

Know what makes Four Seasons even better? a FREE night!

Stay three consecutive nights in London or Florence and receive one free night from January 1, 2015 to April 30, 2015. Book through your Virtuoso Travel Advisor and enjoy exclusive upgrades and amenities. Here’s the scoop:

Four Seasons London at Park Lane
– Confirmed room upgrade (available until March 31)
– Complimentary fourth night with a three-night stay
– Continental breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests
– $100 spa services credit

Four Seasons Firenze - Courtyard Grandeur

Four Seasons Firenze – Courtyard Grandeur

Four Seasons Firenze
– Complimentary fourth night with every three consecutive nights
– Room upgrade upon arrival, if available
– Full breakfast daily for up to two in-room guests
– Welcome amenity in room upon arrival
– $100 spa services credit

LONDON CALLING
– Stroll along famed Bond Street, home to Sotheby’s, Christie’s and designer boutiques
– Treat yourself to a Signature Ritual or traditional massage in the hotel’s one-of-a-kind rooftop spa
– Discover London’s culturally rich history through its many museums and galleries
– Dine in one of 62 Michelin-starred restaurants, including two 3-star establishments
– Soak up the views from the giant Ferris wheel, London Eye, offering the best perspective of the city
– Go for a jog around Kensington Gardens or work out in the hotel’s state-of-the-art fitness center

Michelangelo's David at The Galleria dell'Accademia

Michelangelo’s David at The Galleria dell’Accademia

FOCUS ON FLORENCE
– Enjoy a four-course gourmet meal by Michelin-chef Vito Mollica in the hotel’s original 16th-century chapel
– Unwind in your well-appointed room featuring a European soaking tub and fully stocked bar
– Schedule one of the hotel’s unique spa services including the Chianti Wine Massage or Iris Sensations treatment
– Tour the city’s legendary landmarks from the Uffizi Gallery to the Medici Chapel and discover the charming villages of Tuscany
– Attend a private wine tasting class for two in the hotel’s winery where expert sommeliers will reveal the secrets behind great Tuscan wines
– Learn the secrets of Italian chefs during a cooking class arranged just for you by the hotel’s concierge

Ready to plan your trip? Ask me about special savings in business and first class on the daily non-stop from Austin to London with British Airlines. Don’t waste hours online, a professional Virtuoso Travel Advisor typically delivers an upgraded experience, secured through personal connections and insider access, for a better price than you would pay direct. Contact me here to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Upgraded New Year’s Celebration in New Orleans

Waldord Astoria The Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans

Waldorf Astoria The Roosevelt Hotel, New Orleans

I scored my clients an awesome Virtuoso experience at The Roosevelt New Orleans, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel for their new year’s celebration: confirmed upgrade to one-bedroom king suites, daily breakfast, a $50 per suite hotel credit for food & beverage or the fabulous spa, guaranteed early check-in and late check-out if available. All this and over $1,000 in savings over the hotel rates thanks to the $12.5 billion buying power of the Virtuoso luxury travel network.

The iconic Roosevelt Hotel offers an unparalleled combination of Southern hospitality, world-class service and historic surroundings. The hotel near the French Quarter is within walking distance to the city’s most vibrant attractions and entertainment, including Jackson Square, Bourbon Street and the Arts & Warehouse District. The luxury hotel offers guests expansive rooms and suites, destination dining experiences and absolute tranquility at the Waldorf Astoria Spa. This exclusive spa showcases eight private treatment rooms, two couples therapy suites, and a VIP treatment room.

Insider tip: sip a signature cocktail in the elegant surroundings of the renowned Sazerac Bar.

My clients are visiting St Louis cemetery with a private guide, embarking on a Cajun swamp adventure aboard a private airboat, and enjoying a traditional Lousiana Réveillon dinner at R’evolution Restaurant.

New Orleans is a fun getaway from Austin. Drive (ask me about interesting stops) or fly non-stop, soak up the colorful history, excellent dining, and legendary nightlife. New Orleans dining is truly an art form in itself, a testimony to the many cultures that have touched this lovely place. The local cuisine is a divine compilation of French, Spanish, American, African and Caribbean flavors.

Ready to plan your trip? Don’t waste hours online, a professional Virtuoso Travel Advisor typically delivers an upgraded experience, secured through personal connections and insider access, for a better price than you would pay direct. Contact me here to schedule an appointment.

2015 Wine Themed River Cruises and Unique Epicurean Experiences

wine-and-food-pairing-chart

The beautiful sights and scenery on any AmaWaterways river cruise are a feast for the eyes. On these select cruises, however, there’s something extra special — a feast for the taste buds. Experience wine tastings on board and ashore in Europe’s renowned wine regions. Indulge in sumptuous cuisine with wine recommendations and an incredible wine dinner, in which each course is specially selected and paired with a different vintage by our head chef and a wine expert. You’ll also have the opportunity to visit historic wineries and vineyards, tour wine cellars, and enjoy discussions with acclaimed wine experts. And don’t forget all the unforgettable European destinations you’ll experience along the way!

AmaSerena will debut in 2015

AmaSerena will debut in 2015

Cruise the legendary Danube, Rhine, Seine, Rhône or Douro and save up to $1,500 per stateroom or receive a single supplement waiver on selected departures in the spring and fall.

2015 Wine Themed River Cruises and Unique Epicurean Experiences include:

  • Inspired food & wine pairings
  • Exclusive shore excursions to historic wineries and vineyards
  • Exciting lectures with acclaimed wine experts
  • Select premium wine tastings from celebrated North American and European wineries

Viviane Tondeur, CTC, DS is the Departure Lounge river cruise expert. She has completed the AmaWaterways course of study and was awarded the designation of AmaWaterways River Cruise Specialist

Why rivercruising?

•    Small ships – no lines. Most ships carry fewer than 200 passengers, some fewer than 100
•    All inclusive: fresh regional cuisine, fine wines, and other local beverages
•    Well appointed cabins and public rooms
•    Dock in the center of town to explore a destination in depth
•    Shore excursions with English speaking guides are included
•    Culture comes on board with local performers
•    Ship amenities may include hot tub, pool, golf-putting green, salon, gym
•    Floating hotel – unpack once

Questions about river cruising? Contact me here and we’ll discuss your plans and find the ship that fits your style best.

 

Digital Sommelier and Wine Diary

Grapes

With over 4 million users already, Vivino is quickly becoming the #1 wine app. You can explore grapes, wineries and regions in the world’s largest wine collection and read professional tasting notes. Then, add your own ratings and Vivino will create your flavor profile to make recommendations on bottles that fit your palate.

Enjoying a memorable bottle while traveling? Snap a photo of the label with Vivino and the app will search its million-bottle archive. If no match is available, your photo will go to a queue for manual identification. The “nearby” feature lets you see ratings, reviews and pricing on wines sold at retailers near you.

Download the free app (iOS and Android) at http://www.vivino.com