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Travel Week Day 4: Hotels Dinner with The Dolder Grand

After about 7 hours of drooling over gorgeous five star hotels and getting to know their representatives I decided I needed to relax and unwind a little bit. Mostly because my back was so stiff from sitting all day, but also my brain was a little fried from taking in so much information. So, I headed out to the Bellagio pool on the hunt for a hot tub. One fun little fact about me is that I can withstand extreme amounts of heat compared to a normal person, so, even though it was 105 degrees outside I ended up sitting in the hot tub for at least thirty minutes. Of course I was the only person in there so I had a chance to reflect on the overload of information that I had just received during the meetings. In future posts I will write specifically about some of my favorite properties and suppliers that I met that day.
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Now, on to the more exciting part of my day! That night I got invited to attend the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Dinner with Anna and Matthias from The Dolder Grand. The Dolder Grand is located hilltop in Zurich and has accommodated everyone from Albert Einstein to the Rolling Stones. Oprah recently tweeted, “I had a GREAT time in Zurich. Best spa ever @doldergrand. Would love to experience again.” If its good enough for Oprah then its good enough for me!…and probably anyone else on the face of the planet. I am extremely excited because in just three weeks I will be staying there for a night before I head back home from my birthday trip to France/Switzerland. I have heard nothing but great things about this hotel and Anna and Matthias are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met so needless to say I think it will be a great time.
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At dinner I was excited to find the one of my favorite luxury travel gurus, Tiffany Dowd (aka LuxeTiffany),  was great friends with Anna and Matthias and also sitting at our table for dinner. I’m even more thrilled to be staying at the Dolder Grand now that I know that it’s one of her personal favorite hotels!
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The dinner was “Great Gatsby” themed and opened up with a show of dancing flappers. I’ve had that song “a little party never killed nobody” stuck in my head literally 24/7 ever since this night and I’m totally okay with that.
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After dinner and dessert we got another special treat…the group Mo5aic (mosaic – five members) came to entertain us. If you haven’t heard of them they are an A cappella group with a pop/R&B twist and they won MTV’s Top Pop Group contest and were Semi Finalists on Americas Got Talent. Click here to watch their performance of Bohemian Rhapsody. You won’t believe that there isn’t any background music or interments being used…
Here is one last picture from the night of some of my favorite Smartflyer buddies: Ginny, Pace, and Courtney.
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Keep checking back to hear about how my visit to The Dolder Grand goes!

Travel Week Day 3: Islands and STK Dinner

After a successful morning of meetings I went to lunch with Janine and Anthony Cifelli of Janine Cifelli Representation and the rest of the Smartflyer Atl team.
The exclusive members of their collection were “personally hand-selected for their attention to detail, service, and unparalleled experience.” At lunch I had the pleasure of sitting next to David Stepetic, the general manager of a private island property in Fiji called Laucala Island.  Set on a lush 3,000 acres and previously owned by Malcolm Forbes, Laucala island offers 25 villas (with 1,2, and 3 bedroom options). The island has a golf course, equestrian center, and 14 boats available for guests to use to explore the 18 mile long coral

around the island.  If you are interested in booking Laucala I can get you an upgrade upon arrival (subject to availability), a daily full breakfast for two, one 90 minutes “spa journey” per person, and one private golf lesson with a professional per person.

 

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Also at the luncheon, I was lucky enough to sit across form Sue Bosdet from Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, located a short seaplane transfer away from Vancouver near the village of Tofino on Vancouver Island. The resort is very popular with families and gets many returning guests each year.  If you love the outdoors this is the perfect place for you – kayaking, hiking, whale watching, fishing, horseback riding, climbing, and mountain biking are just a few of the activities that Clayoquot offers. Let me know if you’re interested and I will get you an upgrade (subject to availability) daily breakfast, and a 60 minutes massage in the Healing Grounds Spa on the property.

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That night the whole Smartflyer team went to dinner with our friends from Park Hyatt at STK in the Cosmopolitan. While the rest of the crew ate their steaks I dined on bucket loads of gourmet mac n cheese, creamed spinach, truffle fries, fancy salads, risotto, and check out what we got for dessert!! One of the many perks of being a vegetarian is that everyone else fills up on their main course and leaves you with a tray of 9 ice creams cones all to yourself.
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Dinner was really fun and I especially enjoyed talking to our Park Hyatt representatives from Nice, France and Buenos Aires, Argentina. On a side note I really want to find out who the DJ was that night because he had us all grooving in our seats and wishing we could stand up and create a dance floor in the middle of the restaurant.
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Oh, and check out my awesome roommates!

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Travel Week Day 2: Lunch with Karen Bull

I was invited to attend a special lunch with Karen Bull on Monday. Karen is an incredible individual, full of life and enthusiasm for her company, Island Luxe. She has been representing a collection of gorgeous properties along the Atlantic and Caribbean for the past 20 years. I have already fallen in love with so many of Karen’s unique properties, so, let me tell you about a few that I am dying to see!

At lunch a had the pleasure of sitting next to a man named Rufus Gobat, who was representing a property called Cap Maison.  I have always longed to visit the stunning windward island of St. Lucia and now I have a great reason. The hotel is set on top of a private bluff with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. I would definitely recommend an Oceanview Villa Suite with a pool and rooftop terrace.
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Another great hotel that is part of IslandLuxe is Anse Chastanet, also located in St. Lucia. It is perfect for a secluded, romantic getaway or honeymoon and I was pleased to hear that they offer plenty of vegetarian food options.
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Another tablemate of mine at the luncheon was Sonia Tejero, representing Eden Rock in St. Barts. Let me tell you – it doesn’t get much more luxurious than this. A long-time favorite destination of celebrities, Eden Rock St. Bart’s is an excellent place to get away and be treated like royalty.

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Curtain Bluff is located on the southern tip of Antigua and includes 72 rooms and suites and a great all-inclusive plan.
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Check out the rest of the Island Luxe properties and contact me to get more information and start planning your luxurious island getaway!

Travel Week Day 1: Magic!

A few weeks ago I attended the Millennials in Travel launch event in Atlanta. During the event the subject of Travel Week came up and when someone asked me what day I was flying out of Vegas I responded with, “well, I want to stay an extra night so that I can go see Criss Angel…” Little did I know that Criss Angel is no longer cool and I had apparently just made the nerdiest statement of my life. Fast forward about a month and I’m stepping into a cab to take me to the Bellagio from the Las Vegas airport. As I’m chatting with my cab driver and picking his brain about everything cool to do in Vegas I find out that he used to work behind the scenes on Criss Angels show. I couldn’t help myself and I immediately started nagging him to let me in on the magicians secrets. Of course he responded with, “ Ma’am, that is confidential information that I’m not aloud to discuss.” He didn’t know who he was messing with and after a few more times of swearing myself to secrecy my powers of persuasion won him over and he began spilling all of the explanations behind my favorite magic tricks. Like I said, I’m sworn to secrecy so I’m not going to tell you the details but I will say that like all magic tricks, his are illusions and are mostly pulled off by the ability to distract you from what is really happening. After that cab ride I no longer needed to go see Criss Angel but little did I know that a night of magic was in store for me.

I checked in quickly at the Bellagio and sprinted off to the opening ceremony, which I was already a bit late for due to my flight. When I got there I met up with the other Smartflyer Atl girls and listened to a bunch of speakers, including Matthew Upchurch (founder of Virtuoso) and got really pumped up about the industry. As the last guest speaker is about to take the stage a video starts to play about a man that Forbes describes as the most successful magician in history – none other than David Copperfield! How ironic right? Its almost like there is a greater power drawing me away from my fascination with Criss Angel…Anyways, David Copperfield did a great magic trick where he somehow fit his whole body into a tiny box. No idea how he did it, I will have to ask my next cab driver. The coolest thing about him wasn’t even his magic trick though. David is actually a huge fan of Virtuoso and turns to its travel advisors to book his own private island in the Bahamas, Musha Cay. You can book the island for $37,000 a night for up to 12 people and for up to 24 people at $52,000. The group of 11 islands as a whole is called Copperfield Bay and other islands are named appropriately named by the magician: Forbidden Island, Enchanted Island, Secret Cay, and Imagine Island.  The resort includes five villas and a large building that serves as the restaurant/clubhouse. David Copperfield has visited many Virtuoso affiliated properties and it was so interesting to hear how he took what he loved from each of them, even the smallest little details, and created his own paradise that he can share with people and give them an experience they will never forget.

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Next we headed off to the opening night party. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this week it’s that Virtuoso throws great parties. Tribal dancers and singers greeted us as we were ushered into the party. The room was decorated as four different themed locations from around the world. My favorite part may have been the dancers hanging from the ceiling. I’m sure they had a great time observing us all from above.

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Special note to Criss Angel: If you’re reading this, which you probably are, I still think you rock and I still cant figure out how you pulled that girl on the bench in half and let her torso run off without her legs…

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