La Alamandas

Las-Alamandas-Conde-Nast-JohansensGood, bad, or indifferent –  I got into the habit of going somewhere every year for a long week end to celebrate my birthday. No stranger to jetting off to Paris for a weekend, this time around I wanted to be close to home and limit the flight to just a couple of hours. I ended at Las Alamandas.   Located between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo the resort is accessible by car (approximately two hours) or by private plane (the resort has a landing strip). Completely unique and exclusive Las Alamandas is isolated from the big tourist areas, small and very private. A stunner!!!! An oasis of relaxation, you really feel like you are the only person there.

I felt right at home at Las Alamandas. The resort is right on the beach and set on 1500 acres of pristine wild terrain including four stunning private beaches, 2 lakes, a river, vegetable gardens, hiking, riding, and cycling trails. The private beaches can be set aside and reserved just for you. A perfect place for romance and privacy. Totally disconnected (even from technology) on purpose so you can just rest and unwind.

With two open air restaurants by the ocean and a roof top bar, most food served comes from the hotel’s gardens and orchards. The food is simple, fresh and delicious, not to mention the excellent and attentive service. No wonder a staff of 86 looks up for 17 rooms!!!

If you want a luxurious resort, the ability to relax and the urge to explore, Las Alamandas has it all and it all kept deliciously secret.

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Virtuoso Week

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People wonder what’s Virtuoso Travel Week and what happens during that week. If I have to describe it in two words (ok, four) it would be Speed Dating on Steroids!!!! Virtuoso Travel Week is where Hotels, Cruises, and Suppliers unveil new destination products to the market. Virtuoso Travel Week is eagerly anticipated every year with a record attendance this year of 4800 attendees representing 90 countries including 2032 preferred partners and 2284 travel advisors.

During the span of 4 days, advisors and suppliers meet in a multi track series of 4 minutes appointment (i.e. approximately 100 appointments per day). The final countdown of the last appointment on Thursday is the sight of relief for Travel Advisors and Suppliers alike.

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The week is also full of events, dinners, cocktails, networking parties and receptions sponsored by suppliers and an all night party at Club V (The Bank, one of Bellagio’s night clubs) ending all festivities. Awards, that puts to shame any Grammy event, are presented honoring top hotels, tour operators, destinations as well as top travel advisors and travel agencies.

Virtuoso Travel Week is slowly but surely becoming a media event as well. This year we had coverage from CNBC and NBC and 60 press representative in attendance, who, I’ve heard had their own version of “speed dating”. As Forbes magazine article says The Travel Industry is doing well and consumers have a better understanding of the value of a travel advisor and the valuable service we can offer our clients. Let me tell you we are on a roll, last year alone, Virtuoso’s 9,800 advisors sold over $14 billion in travel. Please don’t tell me travel agents are obsolete!!! We make helping clients a very personal experience and definitely beat hitting the return button on your PC because there is nothing more valuable than the human touch and human advice.

With its 11th annual recurrence at Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Virtuoso Week now ranks as the largest luxury travel event in the U.S., if not the world.

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