Today (July 24, 2015): Travel Tip: 5 reasons why Virtuoso is one of my preferred sites to book luxury hotels.
Disclosure of interests: this post is not commissioned and solely based on my own experience.
As you can read in my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel, I mainly use 3 websites to book luxury hotels (and I advise you to do the same if you want to travel the world in style without breaking your wallet):
- Hotels.com – part of Expedia – is my overall preferred hotel engine booking website, mainly because of its very efficient Best Rate Guarantee program (they will match the price you find somewhere else), excellent customer support, and simple but rewarding loyalty program (you get one night free for every 10 nights you book with them). You can read here why I love Hotels.com so much, and how it can help you can save (lots of) money when booking luxury hotels.
- Jetsetter offers a limited but impressive selection of luxury hotels (in addition to private residences and tours) that you can book at up to 40 percent off the usual price. While deals (so-called ‘flash sales’) for a certain property are available for a limited time only (between five to ten days), these flash sales are often repeated throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out for their sales when you have a particular hotel in mind (by signing up to their newsletter). You can read here why I love Jetsetter and how it can help you make luxury travel affordable.
- When I stay a property of one of the big hotel chains, I mostly make the booking directly on the hotel website to take advantage of their Best Rate Guarantee programs (not only will they match the lower price you find somewhere else, but often throw in an additional 10 to 25% discount as well) and their Hotel Loyalty programs. This is especially true when I stay at a property owned by Starwood or Hyatt, which both have an outstanding hotel loyalty program, but not so much for hotels of the Hilton, Marriott, and Intercontinental chains, which have far less rewarding and interesting programs.
However, besides the 3 booking methods mentioned above, I sometimes make use of a 4th booking medium, Virtuoso, which can be extremely rewarding, not so much in terms of saving money on the room rate, but rather in terms of special perks that you will receive at the property itself (upgrades, free dinners, free spa treatments, etc …). Here is why I love Virtuoso so much, and why you should consider it too when booking your next holiday at one of the world’s top luxury properties:
- Virtuoso is not your classic hotel booking engine website. It’s the industry’s leading network of luxury travel advisors, spanning over 26 countries and 9,000 travel advisors. So when you book your holiday with Virtuoso, most of the time, you will be in touch with a Virtuoso travel agent and not make the booking online yourself. There are some Virtuoso travel agencies though that offer online booking tool, such as Classic Travel, which has an excellent website.
- These days, the internet makes it very easy to research and book your own travel. So why would one still choose to work with a travel advisor? I agree you don’t have to, especially when you are a seasoned travel. However, IMHO, the Virtuoso travel advisors – who are carefully selected individuals – are the exception: they will help you create unique journeys and explorations in every corner of the globe, and arrange experiences that make a trip truly extraordinary.
- The single best reason to book a stay through a Virtuoso travel agent is that it means value for money as it will get you access to special, complimentary VIP amenities and perks, such as room upgrade, free dinners, spa treatments and/or unique luxury travel experiences.
- Virtuoso networks with the world’s most luxurious hotels & resorts, most of them belonging to the portfolio of the world’s most exclusive hotel brands. All hotels were you can enjoy the Virtuoso extra perks are listed on their website.
- The advantage of booking through Virtuoso is particularly evident when staying at an Aman property, the world’s top hotel chain. In line with Aman’s hyper-exclusive and ultra-luxurious reputation, you will never find a lower rate than the one published on the official Aman website. But booking through a Virtuoso travel agent rather than on the Aman website itself will get you some free, extra perks (often worth hundreds of dollars). So if you are an Aman junkie, like me, then Virtuoso is the way to go.
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT VIRTUOSO
- Most of the times, hotel bookings are not made online, but through a Virtuoso travel agent. There are exceptions though, such as the website of Classic Travel which offers an online booking tool.
- Virtuoso does not offer the cheapest room rates in the industry nor does it match a lower price found somewhere else. In most cases, the Virtuoso rate will best the best available (and refundable) room rate that you can also find on the hotel website itself, but it does come with all the extra Virtuoso perks (which means a lot of savings in the end).
- Holders of an American Express premium or Visa Signature credit card can often benefit from more or less the similar perks that are offered by Virtuoso when they make the booking via their credit card travel office and/or pay with their credit card. Contact your local credit card company to find out whether this service is offered.
- Virtuoso does not have a loyalty program.
Enjoy the weekend and stay tuned for Monday when we reveal a new top 10 travel list.
Reviews of hotel stays that I booked through Virtuoso (including my favorite resort in the world: superb Soneva Kiri in Thailand):
- Hotel review: Amanyara (Turks & Caicos)
- Hotel review: COMO Parrot (Turks & Caicos)
- Hotel review: Mystique, Santorini (Greece)
- Hotel review: One&Only Reethi Rah (Maldives)
- Hotel review: Park Hyatt Sydney (Australia)
- Hotel review: The Peninsula Shanghai (China)
- Hotel review: Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing
- Hotel Review: Amanfayun, Hangzhou (China)
- Review: Soneva Kiri, Thailand (world’s best luxury resort)