Archive for December, 2018

Virtuoso Elite Travel Network Partners with Luxury Retreats Villa Rental Company

December 26, 2018

Virtuoso’s affluent clientele will now have access to Luxury Retreats’ more than 4,000 private villas in hundreds of the world’s top destinations.

NEW YORK – Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® has entered into a strategic partnership with Luxury Retreats, a full-service villa rental company dedicated to creating authentic travel experiences. With an increased preference by upscale travelers for greater personalization and flexibility – as well as the more immersive experience that comes with villa stays – Virtuoso’s affluent clientele will now have access to Luxury Retreats’ more than 4,000 private villas in hundreds of the world’s top destinations. Luxury Retreats will also offer Virtuoso clients additional advantages, such as a generous travel credit, superior technology and the support of a global 400+ person team for an unmatched experience.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen demand for private villas reach new heights with a 40 percent year-over-year increase in bookings, leading us to seek out more products and services to feed this skyrocketing trend,” says Albert Herrera, senior vice president, Global Product Partnerships at Virtuoso. “People want to experience destinations as if they’re living like residents, and many times they want seclusion and privacy as well. Whether it’s a Parisian pied-à-terre, beachfront getaway in Malibu or private island in the Caribbean, Luxury Retreats’ portfolio keeps Virtuoso’s industry-leading Hotels & Resorts program at the forefront of traveler demand.”

Luxury Retreats extensively vets every villa in its portfolio, ensuring the highest level of quality accompanied by a best-rate guarantee. With homes in coveted destinations, including Hawaii, Tuscany and Mexico, along with urban retreats, they provide personal concierge services 24/7 to assist with details big and small. In recognition of Virtuoso’s leading position in the industry, Luxury Retreats will offer the network’s clients a generous concierge credit per rental.

“As the world’s leading luxury rental site, Luxury Retreats has the proven ability to match discerning travelers with authentic experiences, personalized service and incredible properties to create unforgettable vacations,” said Amr Younes, head of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Luxury Retreats. “In partnering with Virtuoso, we are able to further deliver on our mission of bringing luxury travel to an even larger, highly-discerning clientele.”

Virtuoso clients can now enjoy the best of both worlds when booking a Luxury Retreats property: access to some of the world’s most exclusive private homes coupled with the expert guidance and peace of mind that come when collaborating with and booking through a Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisor. Furthermore, given the boom in multigenerational travel – the top trend of the year according to Virtuoso’s 2019 Luxe Report – demand for Luxury Retreats’ extensive worldwide roster of fashionable homes will continue to increase given their ability to cater to the preferences of each family member.

Virtuoso® is a leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 17,500 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than  $23.7 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.

Luxury Retreats is one the world’s leading villa vacation rental companies, offering over 4,000 homes and villas in the most sought after destinations across the globe. A global team of passionate travel experts and partners hand-pick and inspect each property, ensuring that guests are offered only the very best on the market. Luxury Retreats provides 24/7 concierge service to customize each getaway, as well as dedicated villa specialists to help guests find the perfect villa – all without charging membership fees. In 2017, Airbnb acquired Luxury Retreats to help further its mission to provide a variety of homes and experiences for every type of traveler. For more information, visit www.LuxuryRetreats.comwww.LuxuryRetreats.com.

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Belmond, Owner of Luxury Hotels, Orient Express, River Cruise Properties, to be Acquired by LVMH

December 21, 2018
Venice_082418_331e2(c) Karen Rubin-San Marco

Venice, Italy, where 40 years ago, Belmond was established with the acquisition of the iconic Hotel Cipriani, Belmond is being acquired by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, one of the leading luxury groups in the world, and Belmond Ltd., owners, part-owners or managers of 46 luxury hotel, restaurant, train and river cruise properties, jointly announced they have entered into an agreement for LVMH to acquire Belmond.

Established over 40 years ago with the acquisition of Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Belmond owns and operates a global collection of exceptional hotel and luxury travel adventures in some of the world’s most inspiring and enriching destinations. The company operates in 24 countries with its unique and distinctive portfolio of 46 hotel, rail and river cruise experiences.

Belmond’s iconic properties include hotels like Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Splendido in Portofino, Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg, Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico, Hotel das Cataratas in the Iguassu National Park in Brazil, and Cap Juluca in Anguilla.  Legendary trains, such as the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express and Belmond Royal Scotsman and exceptional cruises such as Belmond Afloat in France fleet and Belmond Road to Mandalay, complete a portfolio that offers extraordinary experiences with curated activities and an understated personal service to a globally-diverse, highly refined customer.

Through this acquisition, LVMH will significantly increase its presence in the ultimate luxury hotel world. Synonymous with history, heritage and timeless experiences, Belmond has a seasoned management team and is an ideal complement to the Cheval Blanc masions, renowned for their exceptional service, architecture and unique gastronomy.

Bernard Arnault, Chairman and Chief Executive Offer of LVMH, added: “Belmond delivers unique experiences to discerning travelers and owns a number of exceptional assets in the most desirable destinations. Its heritage, its innovative services, its excellence in execution and its entrepreneurship resonates well with the values of the Group and is complementary to our own Cheval Blanc maisons and the Bvlgari hotels activities. This acquisition will significantly increase LVMH’s presence in the ultimate hospitality world.”

For more information, visit Belmond.com.

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2018’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations – WalletHub Study

December 21, 2018
Holiday Lights in New York

Enchanted by Macy’s holiday windows with a whimsical snowy spaceman theme © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner. With Christmas being the most popular holiday in the U.S. and one of the most expensive – Americans are projected to spend up to $720 billion over the holiday season this year – the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations as well as accompanying videos.

To help Americans celebrate Christmas without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest cities across 31 key metrics. The data set ranges from Christmas events per capita to average price per Christmas party ticket to shopping centers and outlets per capita.

Best Cities for Christmas Celebrations
1 Orlando, FL 11 St. Louis, MO
2 Las Vegas, NV 12 Washington, DC
3 New York, NY 13 Cincinnati, OH
4 Atlanta, GA 14 Birmingham, AL
5 Pittsburgh, PA 15 Denver, CO
6 San Francisco, CA 16 Houston, TX
7 Los Angeles, CA 17 Portland, OR
8 Chicago, IL 18 Tampa, FL
9 Seattle, WA 19 Miami, FL
10 Dallas, TX 20 Austin, TX

Key Stats

  • Fresno, California, has the lowest average price for a Christmas party ticket, $9.00, which is 5.4 times lower than in Plano, Texas, the city with the highest at $48.21.
  • New York has the most Christmas events (per square root of the population), 0.0472, which is 29.5 times more than in Wichita, Kansas, the city with the fewest at 0.0016.
  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.0225, which is 20.4 times more than in Fort Worth, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0011.
  • Orlando, Florida, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.2119, which is 51.7 times more than in Garland, Texas, the city with the fewest at 0.0041.
  • New York has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.1312, which is 62.5 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.0021.

To view the full report and your city’s rank, visit:
https://wallethub.com/edu/best-places-for-christmas/41924/

More from WalletHub

Best Winter Holiday Destinations

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Young Musicians Invited to Apply for 7th Annual “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at Gold Coast Arts Center, Long Island

December 21, 2018

All Types of Kinds was the 2018 winner of the “Your Big Break” Talent Competition at the gold Coast Arts Center, Long Island © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Long Island, NY (December, 2018) – Applications are now being taken for the 7th Annual “Your Big Break” (YBB) Talent Competition, organized by the Gold Coast Arts Center, Love Revolution Org., and the Rick Eberle Agency. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, January 6, 2019.

There is an OPEN CALL for submissions for musicians ages 15 to 25 living on Long Island and in all five boroughs, who do not currently have a recording or publishing contract to submit for the showcase events; interested artists must perform with a band or solo with an acoustic guitar or sing to a backing music track. Though artists are judged in areas from stage presence to overall musicianship, YBB is largely a singing competition. There is NO FEE to enter.

To be considered, email to gnacbigbreak@gmail.com: one MP3 song, one photo, a short bio. Or enter online at Reverbnation, https://bit.ly/2G8quOb.

Judges are major players in the music industry, with past years having included ReverbNation.com’s Lou Plaia, All Music Inc.’s Guy Brogna, songwriter Tara Eberle Drouin, producer David Caggiano, producer Richy Petrello,  and label executives Stephen Marcuccio, Jerry Lembo, Linda Ingrisano, and Mark Ambrosino. 2019 judges are soon TBA.

Finalists will be assigned mentors who will work to help them hone their craft before performing at the finals. 2019 mentors are still TBD – while this past year’s have included American Idol’s Robbie Rosen, Dream Recording Studio’s Jason Melker, Sojourn Record’s Mark Ambrosino, producer/songwriter and former VP of A&R at Atlantic Records Jimmy Bralower, singer/songwriter John Hampson of Nine Days, singer/songwriter Ryan Star, and songwriter/producer Donnie Klang of MTV’s “Making the Band”, songwriter/producer Ido Zmishlany, and others.

Prizes Include:

The chance to open for national acts at Revolution Bar & Music Hall in Amityville, New York (Tom Angenbroich, Loaded Concerts)

Recording Time at The Loft Sound Studio (Donnie Klang, Matthew LaPorte, The Loft)

PR and social media campaign including management, booking, and label services consultation with the Rick Eberle Agency (Host)

Musical equipment from All Music Inc (Guy Brogna, Judge) and ZOOM North America (Stephen Marcuccio, Judge)

Feature on ReverbNation.com (Lou Plaia, Judge)

Feature article in Good Times Magazine (Rich Branciforte, Judge)

Each evening is capped with a special headlining performance. Past artists who have performed in the headline slots have included: Buddhist Priest, Iridesense, John Hampson of Nine Days, The Brady Brothers, and Sir Cadian Rhythm – all of whom are local musicians who have had major success in the industry, with hopes to further inspire the next generation of New York stars presented each year.

The 2018 YBB champions, All Types of Kinds, play a wide variety of music ranging from rock to pop, folk, punk, funk, hip-hop, blues and country – even sometimes all at once. The members come from diverse backgrounds that make for an amalgamation of musical textures and vibes. Their EP, “Love Songs (Or Songs For Your Ex)” debuted earlier this year, and they are currently performing dates all over the country.

Past winners Paris Ray, Youth Be Told, Katie Zimmer, Annika and Matt Grabowski and finalists SEE and Zofolk have gone on to work with major producers, managers, and agents.

The semi-finalists are selected from some 1,000 submissions.

The Gold Coast Arts Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance, and outreach. Located on the North Shore of Long Island, it has brought the arts to tens of thousands of people throughout the region for over 20 years. Among the Center’s offerings are its School for the Arts, which holds year-round classes in visual and performing arts for students of all ages and abilities; a free public art gallery; a concert and lecture series; film screenings and discussions; the annual Gold Coast International Film Festival; and initiatives that focus on senior citizens and underserved communities. These initiatives include artist residencies, after-school programs, school assemblies, teacher-training workshops, and parent-child workshops. The Gold Coast Arts Center is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Partners in Education program, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. More information can be found at www.goldcoastarts.org.

For information on upcoming classes/exhibits/activities at the Gold Coast Arts Center, visit www.GoldCoastArts.org or call 516-829-2570.

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