Virtuoso, one of the leading luxury travel agency groups, is expanding its Hotels & Resorts program. In the last year, Virtuoso added 95 new properties, bringing the total portfolio to more than 1,100 hotels in 100 countries. Of this total, 468 properties partner exclusively with Virtuoso. Designed to benefit leisure travelers, the program offers benefits worth up to $450 per stay that are only available through a Virtuoso travel advisor. Standards such as breakfast, room upgrades and early check-in/late check-out are matched with value-added extras that enhance the overall experience like spa treatments, dinners, airport transfers or rounds of golf.
Here are five 2016 trends shaping the growth of the portfolio of hotels, resorts, spas, lodges, camps, villas and even private islands.
Larger Suites and Villas: Multigenerational travel is the hottest trend of 2016, according to the Virtuoso Luxe Report. Hotels are responding to the demand for group lodging by offering extremely large suites and villas. In Virtuoso’s portfolio: an 11-bedroom suite opening this year at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman that will be the biggest in the Caribbean, the largest penthouse suite in the U.S. at New York City’s The Mark at 12,000 square feet, and Four Seasons Nevis offering guests 40 villas.
Experiences that Create a Sense of Place: Voyagers today place great value on experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime. Virtuoso’s collection of hotels and resorts offer an array of authentic experiences that are distinctive to their destinations. As a result, Virtuoso clients can enjoy everything from world-class concerts at Schloss Elmau, a historic Bavarian castle; to a Western cattle drive at The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch in Wyoming; to a private coffee-tasting experience at El Silencio Lodge & Spa in Costa Rica.
Lifestyle Hotels: As Millennials blaze a new trail in the luxury travel world, Virtuoso has grown by selecting properties appealing to that demographic. Exciting brands such as Andaz and W Hotels are represented in the portfolio, which has also recently welcomed its first Conrad hotel (in the Algarve in Portugal) and first Edition hotel (in New York City).
Virtuoso Preview: Luxury travelers want to be the first to discover the globe’s hottest new properties and if they can get exclusive access and perks, even better. Virtuoso offers just that through its Preview program, which introduces emerging or reemerging hotels and resorts. Current participants include the Ritz Paris and the Faena Hotel Miami Beach (pictured above).
Broadening Global Appeal: In the past year, Virtuoso has expanded its network of worldwide members, adding its initial travel agencies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as growing its presence in Europe. To get ahead of the demand for destinations that appeal to those markets, the Hotels & Resorts program has invited
properties in strategic locations to join the network. New hotels have been added in Cyprus and Paraty, Brazil.