French Jewels of Hospitality

Cheval Blanc Courchevel

Cheval Blanc Courchevel

Ooh la la! Join me at Departure Lounge for a French wine and truffles reception showcasing the hospitality jewels of Paris, St. Barths, the French Alps & the Maldives. Learn about Hotel Esprit Saint Germain on Paris’ Left Bank and meet owner Laurence Tafanel. Then discover the exquisite Cheval Blanc properties represented tonight by Evelyn Weber, manager of Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France. She will present her property in St. Barths, as well as the Cheval Blanc properties in the French Alps and the Maldives. Continue reading

Winter Getaways and Gear

Winter Getaways and Gear
Come join me for Departure Lounge‘s last travel event of 2014, Winter Getaways & Gear. We’ll showcase the top snow destinations worldwide with exclusive promotional offers and door prizes.

At 3 p.m. our neighbor, St. Bernard Sports will feature a fashion show of the latest snow gear for your trip.

Also enjoy Departure Lounge’s wine flights and cheese plates at happy hour prices all afternoon.

This event is a come-and-go gathering, so stop in whenever you can between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Street parking and the parking facility at the former post office across the corner are the best options.

I’ll be available to help with any upcoming trips and St. Bernard Sports staff will be on hand to assist you with any gear or wardrobe additions you may need. I still have last minute (limited) availability for the holidays and other peak travel times at some of the top resorts.

What: Winter Getaways & Gear
Where: Departure Lounge, 311 W 5th Street (at Guadalupe), Austin TX 78701
When: Saturday, December 13th, 2014 from 2pm to 4pm (come and go)

RSVP: call me at 818-268-6552 or email vtondeur@departurelounge.com

As a Virtuoso travel advisor affiliated with Departure Lounge, I can offer my clients exclusive benefits and perks at close to 100 “Best of the Best” hotels and resorts in the top snow destinations:

– complimentary upgrades, daily breakfast, and special amenities at four- and five-star hotels and resorts

– exceptional savings or upgrades on business- and first-class international air fares

– destination-based experts to serve as your guides and local concierge service for insider experiences

What is your favorite snow destination? Call me now to discuss and book your travel plans!

Trips of a Lifetime

Taking a break in Fez, Morocco with my friend Chuck

Taking a break in Fez, Morocco with my friend Chuck

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

You’ve been imagining an African safari for ages, and your espresso this morning reminded you of that Mediterranean cruise you’ve always wanted to take. Well, now’s the time to follow those dreams straight to your Virtuoso travel advisor for a customized trip of a lifetime. With my insider connections and the $12.5 billion buying power of the Virtuso luxury travel network, I can make anything happen – so go ahead, dream big.

This issue of the Virtuoso Travel Catalog features trips of a lifetime like:

– Sipping Champagne while cruising the Chilean fjords;

– Getting a massage after windsurfing in Moorea;

– Feel right at home in Paris in your residence-style hotel;

– Let Irish lore come alive during your stay in a 700-year-old castle;

– Float over the Masai Mara in a hot-air balloon;

– Soak all your cares away in the Chihpen hot springs in Taiwan;

– Ski or ride the fabulous pistes of the Alps;

– Meet locals in rural Laos;

– Walk among polar bears in the Canadian Arctic;

– Wander the aromatic spice markets in Marrakesh.

Where would you like to go? Call me now to discuss and book your travel plans!

As a Virtuoso travel advisor affiliated with Departure Lounge in Austin, I can deliver enhanced experiences with Virtuoso benefits and exclusive perks:

– complimentary room upgrades, daily breakfast and special amenities at more than 1,000 four- and five-star hotels and resorts worldwide

– complimentary shore excursions with gourmet meals, exclusive cocktail receptions and dedicated hosts – including yours truly – on 400+ luxury cruise sailings per year

– special savings or upgrades on business- and first-class international air fares with the top airline carriers

– destination-based experts to serve as your guides and local concierge service for insider experiences

– a professional travel expert who is always there to correct any issues that may arise during your travel

World’s Best Ski Towns

Matterhorn in Zermatt

Matterhorn in Zermatt

National Geographic’s selection of the 25 best ski towns in the world. Do you agree? Where do you like to ski?

Just what makes a classic ski town? It starts, naturally, with skiing and snowboarding so good they attract people like youth-bestowing fountains. Then add an inviting mountain burg steeped in ski heritage, amenities, and culture. These are the 25 best. For insider tips, we asked local luminaries where to stay, play, and party, whether you’re on a budget or indulging.
—Aaron Teasdale

World’s Best Ski Towns – National Geographic.

My personal favorites (not in order):

1. Chamonix, France

2. Zermatt, Switzerland

3. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

4. Park City, Utah

5. Taos, New Mexico

and because I ski year round:

6. Valle Nevado, Chile

7. Bariloche, Argentina

On the wish list for 2014-2015 season (come to our ski event on December 13 for special promotions and door prizes): Whistler, British Columbia; Sun Valley, Idaho; Squaw Valley, California

Join me? Hit Follow and be the first to receive dates and rates.

Viviane’s weekly picks October 12

Paris in Autumn

– With it first renovation in 30 years, the Eiffel Tower’s highlight (literally!) is the glass floor pavilion which offers visitors incredible views of the landscape and people below from 187 feet up in the air. Insider tip: if you lie down on the glass floor, you can take a selfie that looks as if you’re in the air! Continue reading

Top snow getaways and gear

ski

Snow season is just around the chair lift! Did you know winter tourism started 150 years ago in St. Moritz, Switzerland? Join ski and snow travel expert Viviane Tondeur and St Bernard Sports at Departure Lounge to launch the slope season in style on Saturday, September 27 from 2 pm to 5 pm.

Departure Lounge’s screens will showcase the best snow resorts in North America and Europe and St Bernard Sports will demo the newest gear and latest fashions. Score great deals, learn about Virtuoso insider access, exclusive benefits and amenities, and enjoy happy hour pricing on Departure Lounge’s wine flights during the event.

Score amazing deals in the countdown to winter promotion or win the Grand Prize, a 2-night Vail ski vacay!

When: Saturday, September 27 from 2 pm to 5 pm

Where: Departure Lounge, 311 W. 5th Street (at Guadalupe), Austin, TX 78701

Questions? Call Viviane Tondeur at 818-268-6552

Don’t worry about missing the Longhorns @ Kansas, we’re broadcasting the game live!

Top Skiing Destinations in the World

International Bellhop Travel Magazine

Ski -- header

As wintertime is beginning to wane, and spring is chugging-along into summertime, we are already dreaming of the next ski season.  If you are a lover of skiing too, learn about these beautiful ski resorts and skiing destinations, and begin planning your next ski trip early…

Les Sybelles, France

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On of the most famous and most luxurious of the French Alpine ski resorts, Les Sybelles’ warm and comfortable rooms and haute cuisine are just as alluring as the pristine white slopes.

  • 20 green slopes
  • 40 blue slopes
  • 31 red slopes
  • 5 black slopes
  • 310 km (193 mi) slopes total
  • 2 snowparks

Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

Located in the valley below the famous Matterhorn Peak in the Swiss Alps, Zermatt is an agricultural community and area that became the epicenter for mountaineering, skiing, and vacationing for much of Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. The village itself is pristine, with much character, and is even a…

View original post 325 more words

Three Valleys

3-Vallees

Largest ski area in the world connecting Courchevel, Val Thorens, and Méribel with more than 174 lifts and 373 miles of ski runs. One ski pass is good for all areas. But wait, that’s not all: dine at 10 Michelin-starred ski-in ski-out restaurants. Gateways are Geneva and Lyon.

Destinations: Courchevel, Val Thorens, Méribel

Courchevel: France’s most exclusive resort consists of 5 self-contained villages with Courchevel 1850 (at 6070 ft) being the highest and largest boasts fabulous hotels, luxurious chalets, nightlife, shopping, and … awesome skiing, of course.

Val Thorens: with 99% of its ski area above 6,600 ft “Val Tho” boasts exceptional snow cover and state-of-the-art equipment.

Méribel: in the heart of the 3 valleys with excellent access to the entire ski region.

Departures: December, 7, 2013 to April 25, 2014

Call Viviane, the snow sport expert at 818-268-6552 for more information or to make reservation.

About Viviane Tondeur, MBA, CTC, DS: travel advisor affiliated with Departure Lounge, a member of the Virtuoso network. I focus on snow sports, river cruising, and delicious culinary experiences. As an expert FIT and group planner – I specialize in personalizing clients’ travel experiences, and regularly lead tours to favorite destinations.

About Departure Lounge in Austin, TX: sleek, elegant, one-of-a-kind coffee and wine bar with a cool travel discovery zone. Departure Lounge clients enjoy Virtuoso insider access plus complimentary upgrades and amenities. Departure Lounge travel advisors are part counselor, part global concierge and part magician. We follow a specific process in collaborating with you and have some very cool tools to lead you on the right path.

About Virtuoso: travel industry’s leading luxury network with 1,300 of the world’s premier travel providers, as well as exclusive services, experiences, and products.

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