Admit it, one of the first things you do when you check into a hotel room is look out the window to take in the view. Unfortunately, most views are nothing to write home about. How many times have you just looked out over the parking lot, into the office building next door or into a brick wall? You need a much better travel agent, if this is the case! We can help! When you do get treated to an amazing view, it makes all the difference! Check out these spectacular hotel room views around the world. We are giving you a little mental break from your busy day….
There is nothing I like more in life than a vacation – especially when a passport is involved – but I’m not always great about disconnecting. I admit, I love all of my Apple products and they always accompany me on every trip. I like to stay connected to the outside world even when I am soaking up the sun in the tropics. What vacation does allow me is the opportunity to stay connected on my own time; not at the demands required back home. If you are like me and you can’t quite break the tether to technology, check out the 8 Ways to Stay Connected While on Vacation as presented by Conde Nast Travler.
When you vacation, do you stay connected or get lost completely?
Do you prefer glazed, filled or sugared?
Well on Friday, June 1st you have permission to try every doughnut under the sun because it’s officially National Doughnut Day! What a great way to show some appreciation to your staff or clients by treating them to a box of doughnuts in honor of this offbeat holiday!
We love any reason to celebrate and have a great time, especially when it comes to sugary goodness!
We are proud of our affiliation with Cadence Travel, which allows us to offer our clients full travel planning capabilities. Cadence is recognized in the travel industry as one of the top agencies internationally. Given that Cadence is a member of the Virtuoso Network, it allows us to offer our clients the best in luxury travel and experiences. We are delighted when we have the chance to work with our clients to plan fabulous adventures, tours to wonderful places and family experiences.
Hasn’t the dawn of the internet caused a decrease in the need for working with a travel agent? NO! We all agree that the internet provides the vehicle to learn about new and exciting places but someone still has to take the time to actually coordinate all the details. On average, we spend 10-12 hours coordinating a 2-week trip overseas for our clients. If you spent 10 hours planning your vacation, you would need a vacation from your vacation planning! Isn’t there something else you would like to do with 10-hours?
As “Architects of Experiences,” we are well positioned to step in to ease the burden of travel planning. Wouldn’t you rather just make one call to your personal concierge to discuss your travel desires rather than being glued to your computer researching which 4-star hotel will meet your needs?
Coordinating your travel plans is just one way we help design a lifestyle management program that allows you to benefit from the gift of time!
We were excited to see Virtuoso CEO Matthew Upchurch, appearing on NBC’s TODAY show this morning. Matthew was interviewed by the TODAY show’s Ann Curry for a segment titled “When to Use a Travel Agent.”
We look forward to helping you plan your next trip!
It’s becoming a tradition that we spend the first weekend in January in Cabo to conduct a business development seminar with the event professionals in this beautiful corner of the world. Our friends at Lifestyle Villas are wonderful partners and they handpick the vendors to be included in the workshop. This year the topic was Pricing for Profit! I always love sharing the stage with my girl, Marley Majcher, The Party Goddess. This year was a bonus because my darling sister Jodi was able to tag along. What better way to start the year than talking business in paradise? We are locking in dates for 2013 so keep your eyes peeled on our blog for more details so you can join the fun next year.
There are LOTS of very talented people who we have to thank for a fabulous weekend. The more event professionals we meet in Cabo, the more impressed we become with the business climate in Mexico.
Without hesitation, I would recommend every one of these vendors:
Lifestyle Villas (Lifestylevillas.net) – Ali & Sheri Ordonez are the owners of Lifestyle Villas, the largest lifestyle management company in Cabo. I freak’n love these two! Ali & I met several years ago at a concierge conference. We became fast friends, which had nothing to do of course with his access to the most stunning luxury villas in Cabo!! We quickly figured there was plenty of reason to partner and we have been off to the races ever since. I’ve been lucky to travel lots of places around the world but Villa Serena stopped me in my tracks. We are talking 5500 sq. ft of beach front loveliness. The entire experience with the Lifestyle Villas team is first rate. They truly define a quality customer service experience. Susana on the Lifestyle Villas team is a total rock star and always manages every detail of our stay from arrival to activities to departure. Why would you chose to stay in a hotel in Cabo when you could have this personalized service in a stunningly beautiful home?
Cheque (Lifestylevillas.net) – He is driver extraordinaire. He picked is up at the airport so we didn’t need to deal with any nasty taxis. Before even leaving the airport he gave us an ice cold bottle of water and a super refreshing towel to tidy up for our drive. He is super sweet, helpful and informative. We are all convinced we need a driver at home too!
Daniel (Lifestylevillas.net) -Our personal concierge – LOVE him. He’s the go to guy for everything for our stay. He makes sure we had dinner reservations (super swanky or just down and local like we like it), delivered snorkel gear so we could just walk out the back door and putz around, coordinated Cheque’s arrival, finalized our breakfast menu and just overall made sure we had everything we needed for a flawless experience. Let’s not forget his daily dose of homemade guacamole and fresh margaritas!
El iTaKate Catering (www.casianos.com) – Love their mantra – “No Menu, No Rules, Spontaneous Cuisine.” Yea! They provided this super decadent lunch of lobster rolls, flank steak sandwiches, little coconut chicken salad leaves and white chocolate dipped strawberries and Mexican cookies and pastries. Their service was so attentive, professional and sweet. We wanted to bring them home in our suitcase they are so fabulous!
A Matter of Taste Breakfast (www.CateringInCabo.com) – The morning of the seminar we started with a fabulous spread from A Matter of Taste. You think you have tasted fruit until you taste fruit in Mexico and then you realize that everything else you’ve been eating has been a fraud! We were treated to delicious muffins, cinnamon rolls that made you want to cry they were so good and of course the aforementioned fruit! We met A Matter of Taste last year when they attended our workshop and treated us to a crazy delicious dinner. They continue to blow us away with their quality.
Suzanne Morel (SuzanneMorel.com) – If there is ever a company you want to know, it’s the team at Suzanne Morel. Seriously – the greatest spa experience you will ever have. They turned our crazy huge beach front villa into a spa haven! The Suzanne Morel team discretely set up massage tables in each of our bedrooms. Rose petals were sprinkled through the doorway to greet us as we headed to our table of paradise. When our face wasn’t pressed into the little massage table snorkel, we could look up and see the waves crashing onto the beach. This is the second year we have had the pleasure of enjoying Suzanne Morel’s services. To say we have a serious girl crush on this company is an understatement!
Annie Murphy and Pez Gato Marine Adventures / Tropicat Cabo (PezGato.com / Tropicatcabo.com) – If you are looking for the best experience to enjoy the water in Cabo look no further than Annie Murphy and her team at Pez Gato Marine Adventures & Tropicat Cabo. The sunset cruise aboard her catamaran was stunningly beautiful. What’s better than taking in the marine life frolicking in the Sea of Cortez / Pacific Ocean, while enjoying margaritas and the most breathtaking sunset? The catamaran is a perfect for special events, group tours and families. We even had the pleasure of watching a wedding proposal take place on the bow of the ship. The Tropicat team is super professional, attentive and want to make sure you are having a wonderful experience. They didn’t disappoint!
As the year comes to a close, it allows us time to look back at all the projects we have been involved with over the past year. If you have ever wondered how a personal concierge spends their time, here’s a list of the tasks we performed in 2011. By managing the to-do lists of busy folks, we are able to give them back the gift of time. We are excited that the personal concierge industry continues to grow so we can be of service to even more clients in the coming year!
- Planned a retirement party for 75 guests
- Planned a 3-day romantic “staycation” for a couple in San Diego
- Created and managed a San Diego Scavenger Hunt for conference attendees
- Coordinated transportation and tours for a Chinese delegation visiting Salk Institute
- Produced a viewing party for Oprah’s Last Show – 300 guests
- Planned a 60th birthday party for 100 guests
- Managed a variety of non-profit fundraising events
- Produced a high-profile conference for event planners and entrepreneurs – 80 guests
- Coordinated an exclusive Royal Wedding tour to London
- Managed an executive golf outing and VIP tour at Callaway Golf
- Managed a wedding at a private estate
- Coordinated a cruise in Tahiti
- Coordinated a 10-day trip through Eastern Canada via train
- Coordinated a family cruise in Alaska
- Coordinated a 3-week family excursion to Europe
- Coordinated a 14-day family experience in Mexico
- Coordinated a 2-week trip to Croatia, France & Spain
- Managing the Executive Travel Program for an international medical device company
- Successfully relocated 25 international executive families to San Diego between June and November 2011 – managed home finding your, settling in services and school selection
- Hired a private investigator for a client
- Coordinated a closet organization and delivery of clothing to a consignment store
- Created unique gift baskets for an employee appreciation program
- Designed a VIP concert experience for 20 guests to see Elton John
- Coordinated household services from window washing to carpet cleaning
- Offered holiday support from carving pumpkins to ordering Christmas trees for clients
- Facilitated the ordering and delivery of client appreciation gifts
- Personal shopping for a client’s professional wardrobe
- Created legacy videos for a retirement party & 60th birthday party
- Gift wrapped holiday gifts
This Summer it seems like everyone is heading to Alaska for their family vacation. I personally know 6 families that have headed North. With the dollar so weak internationally and the negative press (unfortunately) Mexico receives, it seems like Alaska has become the vacation darling in the past 12-months. At the end of June, my parents and I took a 7-day cruise through Alaska, starting in Anchorage / Seward and ending in Vancouver, Canada. I was prepared for the luxuries of the cruise ship – first-class entertainment, unlimited dining options, friendly service and the opportunity to meet new friends. What I was not prepared for, which Alaska more than delivered, was the majestic beauty and jaw-dropping gifts Mother Earth has given us in that part of the world. Alaska’s landscape, in a word, is stunning! I admit I’m a bit more a city dweller than a real rough and tough nature girl. I can appreciate nature and what beauty it offers but I don’t really find myself needing to become “one with nature”. I prefer to become “one” with urban landscapes and the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s almost as if Alaska scoffed at my pre-conceived notion that nature is only pretty to look at but it doesn’t feed my soul the way European cafes, shopping bazaars and the metro station does. Upon arrival, I think Alaska made note that another one of the “lower 48’s” had arrived and it was challenged again to change yet another mind about the significance of lush landscape, vast terrain and wondrous wildlife.
The natives are quick to tell you that in spite of what Sara Palin says (via Tina Fey’s impersonation on SNL) they cannot see Russia from their porches. However, they are very committed to making sure you know that Alaska is a place they are very proud to call home. I think the reason they can’t see Russia is because Alaska is one frigg’n big state! Alaska really has 2 seasons – Summer (when everyone works 7-days a week and 14 hour days) and the rest of the year. Those that stay beyond the summer season have to navigate the brutality of below freezing temperatures, frozen pipes, and sustaining themselves financially on whatever they made during the “high season.” Imagine only working 4-months out of the year and then basically being forced to hibernate the other 8 months. Although at first glance this seems like a vacation, the truth is living in Alaska is not for the faint of heart. Although they work their hands to the bone in the summer and hope for a survivable winter, true Alaskans would not want it any other way. It’s obvious that Alaska is a way of life.
From the comfort of our luxurious cruise ship, we saw Alaska the easy way. Our ports of call included Seward, Haines / Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. Seaward offered us the chance to enjoy a great tour which included dog sled racing at the world-famous Seavey Family Homestead (The Seavey’s are the most prolific Ididarod racing family) and getting face to face with Exit Glacier in Kenai National Park. From cuddling husky puppies to seeing the vast glacial ice wall, Seward was a highlight of our trip. From Seward, we spent two days at sea, which took us to Glacier Bay. To be a stone’s throw from a glacier and to listen to the explosion as the ice falls into the sea is unforgettable. What I will remember about Glacier Bay are the sounds – crashing ice, the squawk of sea birds and the howling of the wind – Glacier Bay is nature’s soundtrack. You are truly at the alter of Mother Nature and you pay reverence by being quiet and still and just taking in the majesty that surrounds you.
Our first port was Haines / Skagway. Haines is a very tiny town made famous in the gold rush era. After exploring Haines (which takes about as long as drinking a cup of coffee), we took the ferry across the bay to Skagway. With a more active Main Street, Skagway offers more in terms of restaurants, shops and jewelry stores (you’ve rarely seen the number of jewelry stores that Alaska offers). Our second port was Juneau – the capital of Alaska. Did you know there are no roads to drive to Juneau? It’s the only capital that you have to either get to by boat or float plane. Juneau offered us the chance to go whale watching. Within 10 minutes of leaving the dock, our Captain informed us that we had a pod of orca just off the bow. For nearly 45 minutes, we watched as 6 orca frolicked and hunted for lunch. We even had an up close encounter when a baby orca even skimmed the side of our boat. The trip also included humpback whale sightings, sea lions and bald eagles flying over head. Juneau also has Mt. Roberts Tram, which offers one of the most amazing views of Alaska. Within 7 minutes, you are transported 3800 feet from the seafront to the mountain tops. We were given the gift of perfect weather that day which made the view even more spectacular. Our last port was Ketichikan, which is known for the world’s largest rain gauge. That should tell you how much rain they receive each year! Our day in Ketichikan included a local tour and a visit to the Saxman Native Village, which offers insight into the history and cultural significance of totem poles. Our voyage to Vancouver took us through the Inside Passage, a beautiful route that skims tiny islands and provides the opportunity to see marine wildlife.
The natives say that Alaska gets into your soul. After 10-days in the great state, I would have to agree. It literally feels like you are in another world – and not just because you are a long way from home. Alaska is pristine; it’s crisp, it’s pure and it’s life-changing. I found myself in moments of devout gratitude that I was experiencing nature in such a profound way.
Do yourself a favor and put Alaska on your bucket list. If for no other reason than to allow Mother Nature to cleanse your mind and soul!
Here are a few special moments from our trip….[slideshow]
Clearly this article reminds us that “recess” does a body and mind very good! Taking time to decompress actually helps our bodies to restore and to lower stress levels.
Are you overdue for a vacation? Even a short weekend getaway is enough to allow for the body to feel restored and the mind to rest!
Next time the bell rings for recess, don’t ignore it! Instead go running out to the playground with full force! Your mind and body will thank you!
You are cordially invited to join The Henley Company
for a once-in-a-lifetime trip
to Celebrate the Royal Wedding of
HRH Prince William of Wales & Ms. Catherine Middleton.
“A Celebration of the Royal Wedding”
April 24 – May 4, 2011
“A Celebration of the Royal Wedding” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to celebrate the Royal Wedding of HRH Prince William of Wales and Ms. Catherine Middleton. For most American’s to enjoy a Royal Wedding they must get up in the middle of the night and watch the coverage on TV. It is how an entire generation of young women recount the wedding of HRH Prince Charles and Ms. Diana Spencer. Forget setting your alarm this time around! Grab your girlfriends, your sisters and your Mom and hop a plane to London so you can enjoy all of the pomp and circumstance first hand for the Royal Wedding of Wills & Kate! You can be witness to the dawn of the modern monarchy and celebrate the love story of a dynamic young couple.
Enjoy 10 days/9 nights in London, England for a unique Royal themed tour and celebration of the Royal Wedding!
Photo by Mario Testino
Tour Package includes:
4-star luxury hotel accommodation in central London with daily breakfast
Private coach service & transfers
Private visit of the Crown Jewels
Panoramic tour of the old City of London and City of Westminster
Private tour with expert guide of luxury boutiques and retailers with the Royal Warrant
Private tour and lunch at Chavenage House, the earliest Royal residence
Private tour of Eton College (school of HRH Prince William of Wales)
Visit to Runnymede & Windsor Castle
Private visit to the Judith Blacklock Flower School for a demonstration of Royal Wedding flowers
Join the public celebration of the Royal Wedding
Special dinner in honor of the Royal couple
Guided Tour of Westminster Abbey
Private tour of the Royal Garden with Royal Historian
Private lesson in the history and etiquette of High Tea
And more activities to come…
This exclusive trip will be limited to 25 guests.
Airfare will be priced individually.
Total Investment per person for a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
To secure your place, a deposit of $1000 is due by April 1, 2011.
to obtain a more detailed itinerary and additional tour information
Note: The tour does not include access to the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey nor does it guarantee that you will meet any members of the Royal Family. The tour includes the ability to participate in the public festivities being arranged around the Royal Wedding, in addition to the private tours as described above.
CST 201 1220 40
[slideshow]If you have been following our blog lately, you know that we recently took a trip down south to visit our office in Cabo San Lucas…and by “office” I mean the palapa next to the pool overlooking the ocean! There is certainly nothing like the creativity bolt that you get when your view is the Sea of Cortez, your co-workers for the day are the marine life swimming past and your employee lunch room is a 5-star catered meal poolside. To say that I love my job is an understatement!
The creative masters behind my flawless trip was the amazing team at Lifestyle Villas. When they invited us down to do a site visit and to “experience” their villa offerings I knew I was going to be impressed. I was not prepared to be blown away! Talk about a first class operation! My interaction began several weeks before my trip as my Destination Specialist, Susana, worked with me to ensure a smooth trip. Lifestyle Villas makes it their priority to make sure that your trip exceeds every expectation. Susana made sure that our villa was stocked with the appropriate amenities: tequila, margarita mix, guacamole…you get the hint! It was nice to have the comforts of home, including my beloved Diet Coke, in the refrigerator.
The airport pick-up could not have been smoother. Immediately upon exiting the baggage claim, a Lifestyle Villas representative was on hand. He immediately whisked me to a beautiful SUV and handed me a cold bottle of water. Within 20 minutes, we were safely delivered to our gated estate, Villa Anna-Lei, which is over 6000 sq. feet of beach front loveliness. Villa Anna-Lei is located in the corridor, about half way between San Jose del Cabo and Los Cabos. It is one of the most breathtaking pieces of property in the world. My consumption of the view was only interrupted by the heaping plate of guacamole and salsa that welcomed us into the property. I can easily lose my focus with chips & dips! Our personal concierge, Daniel, was at the house upon our arrival and made our transition easy. Within minutes we had a tour of the house and our luggage was tucked away into the appropriate bedroom. Daniel was on hand throughout the weekend to make sure we had everything we needed. The level of personal assistance that we had far exceeds any 5-star hotel.
Lifestyle Villas went all out to ensure that we had a very VIP treatment. The spa experience we had with Suzanne Morel Mobile Day Spa, followed by dinner by A Matter of Taste, requires their own blogs. I was stunned by the “experience” that both created for us. As an event planner, I feel very jaded about design, decor and good food because I come in contact with so much of it. Most is good; rarely is it remarkable. Both A Matter of Taste and Suzanne Morel are remarkable.
For anyone looking to get away, Cabo is an easy jaunt from Southern California. The flight time is less than 2-hours from San Diego/LA. With a direct flight, you are easily sipping margaritas under perfect sunshine by 2:00 p.m. Cabo is wonderfully safe, exceptionally clean and the level of service in the restaurants, bars and attractions is first-rate. It feels like worlds away from San Diego, while just being a stones throw away.
Muchas gracias Lifestyle Villas for a wonderful weekend! I look forward to the partnership we have established. I have every confidence that you will take care of my clients at the same level you took care of me!
I hope you will enjoy the slide show – the photos don’t really do the property and the experience justice. It was all breathtaking – from beginning to end!
For those looking to do events in Cabo, the go-to team is: