Pro-Tip Blog: Travel Planning in 2022

It has been established that the demand for 2021 will continue to climb to all-time highs in many destinations, but what about 2022? As more travelers get vaccinated and more countries adjust their COVID requirements to open their borders, the pent-up desire for travel continues to rise to insatiable levels. Avid travelers are eager to get back out into the world and after over a year of extreme limitations, they are looking to take trips they had put off before the pandemic and make up for lost time. How will increased travel demand affect travel planning and what are the best ways to adapt your travel planning approach in 2022? Team Ourisman is here to offer advice on travel planning for 2022 to ensure you are able to go where you want and get the best value possible!

Appreciating Supply vs Demand

The pandemic was truly a shared global experience, impacting everyone’s lives in immeasurable ways. We experienced limitations we had never faced in the modern age and watched travel all but disappear. Now, as the world begins to reopen post pandemic, is greeted with unprecedented eagerness making it crucial to manage expectations out of the gate. We are all adjusting to this new world post pandemic and helping our clients understand that planning is not going to look the same as it did in the past has been a major theme in 2021. There has always been a finite number of hotel rooms in any destination and now the competition for those rooms is fierce! The key to successful travel planning in 2022 and beyond will be flexibility and appreciating that hundreds if not thousands of other people are looking to travel and considering the same destinations you are. This will naturally drive up the prices and might make it hard to find what you are looking for. Sifting through thousands of results populated by a quick Google search will take even more time as you try to understand rates, promotions and cancelation policies alongside ever changing travel requirements.

Understanding Hotel Rates

First things first, we need to acknowledge that hotel prices have surged and are at an all-time high for the summer of 2021. So what does this mean for the coming months and beyond? After taking huge losses due to the pandemic in 2020, the travel industry at large is doing everything it can to recuperate those financial losses and we are seeing that reflected in hotel rates. High-demand destinations like Hawaii are seeing prices increased by as much as 3 times what they were in years prior and while the rates might even out as summer 2021 draws to a close, higher rates are likely here to stay. We are advising our clients to book as far in advance as possible to secure what is likely to be the lowest rate a room will be listed for. Beyond securing a rate before it spikes, we can provide context into what the different rate options are and guide you to the rate with the best value. In the world of luxury travel, value is determined by several factors including the deposit required at booking, the cancellation policy, and the amenities, if any, that are included in the rate. Do yourself a favor and reach out to us before locking yourself into a reservation you can’t change at a rate with limited value!

Here’s a piece of insider info for you: hotel rates follow airlines’ publication schedules, becoming available about 330 days out. Sometimes advisors are able to access rates before they are published, which is a great advantage to working with a trusted advisor with great connections, like Team Ourisman.

Lean On An Advisor

With rates and demand steadily rising, having a wide planning window will be a must for anyone who considers themselves to be travel savvy. Another must as we enter this post-pandemic era of travel post will be having a trusted advisor on your side to help you navigate the ins and outs of planning, booking, and managing your travel. Advisors have access to more than just great value-added amenities and if you have not already been working with an advisor, now is the time to start! Beyond providing complimentary breakfast, resort credits, and priority for potential upgrades, Team Ourisman has spent the past 15 years developing close professional relationships all over the world to the benefit of our clients’ travels. Reaching out to us and asking for our advice can mean the difference between reaching your destination with ease and being stuck at the airport because you didn’t fully understand a country’s new entry requirements. We are here and happy to support you, whether it is your first or fiftieth trip with Ourisman Travel.

Appreciate The Adaptive Advisor & Their Value

Like hotels, airlines, and cruises, the travel advisor community has had to adapt to survive the COVID-19 pandemic and those of us that came out of 2020 did not come out unscathed. Our community was forced to learn tough lessons and for many of us, this meant changing the way we do business to ensure we are operating in a more sustainable way. For us at Ourisman Travel, and many of our colleagues, this meant trimming down our team, learning new skills to be as versatile as possible, and learning to place value on our expertise by adjusting our booking policies to ensure we are compensated for our work. There are tons of articles coming out these days applauding the work of the travel advisor and urging travelers to lean on them in the years to come. We have found that while most of these articles are right on the money with the why of using an advisor, many times they create false expectations in how advisors work, namely when they mention fees, specifically a lack thereof. The phrase “you get what you pay for” rings true in many circumstances, but particularly when it comes to travel planning. At the luxury level, advisors invest countless hours into research, communication, planning and management of trips for their clients. Like any professional service, advisors are experts in their field and we believe it to be a good rule of thumb to expect some type of fee from your advisor for their hard work and time. Place value in their abilities and watch your travel planning experience improves!

Understand Services Available to You

We encourage you to take time to learn what your advisor has to offer and how each trip request might be best served by their expertise and the various services they may offer. At Ourisman Travel we have worked hard to create different service levels to accommodate a range of requests, making us one of the more flexible agencies in our luxury travel community. Our Hotel Only service, for example, provides hotel reservation services with no upfront fees provided the request is straightforward. If you find yourself in need of some consultation and extra assistance in finding the perfect place to stay or understanding travel guidelines, we are happy to provide that additional support tailored to you and your needs through our Hotel Plus service. Hotel Plus also includes assistance with concierge services ranging from dinner reservations, spa appointments, and airport transfer arrangements. As we look to the future of travel, we are finding that planning ahead for hotel stays is becoming the norm and advise that our clients arrange for dinners, spa experiences, and the like ahead of their arrival. If you are looking for a fully curated itinerary, we are able to assist with that as well! Our Tailored Luxury service is our top-tier planning service designed to manage trips from beginning to end, including all elements and fully personalized experiences.

In short, the demand for travel is not going anywhere and 2022 is shaping up to be a record-setting year in the travel industry. If getting back out there, anywhere, is on your list be sure to set yourself up for success by managing expectations, giving yourself an ample amount of time to plan and adjust as needed, and by leaning on a great travel advisor to help you navigate the post-pandemic travel landscape. If you don’t already have a great advisor in your corner, reach out to Team Ourisman to see if we are a good fit for your needs! We are always happy to schedule a phone call for you to get to know us better and learn how we work. Reach out to us via email at team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a Travel Request Form!

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Pro Tips: Festive Travel Planning

Getting away during the holidays in December, referred to as “festive season” in the travel industry, is popular for many reasons. From ease of taking vacation time due to the holidays to winter school breaks, December is an incredibly popular month! Festive season is unofficially identified as December 20th to January 4th and within those two weeks, there are more restrictions in place compared to other times of the year. From blacked-out dates to minimum night stay requirements and extended cancelation windows, festive travel can feel daunting. As always, Team Ourisman is here to assist; we have outlined a few of our top tips for successfully planning festive travel!

When should I start planning?

We advise clients to start thinking about their festive travel plans as early as possible! Knowing that demand for December, in general, is always high, particularly over the dates of December 20th through January 4th, it is always best to think ahead. Tackling planning for travel over the holidays early will give you more options to choose from rather than having to choose from what is leftover. Also, hotels usually give guests who have previously stayed with them over festive, first right if they would like to re-book for the following year. Otherwise, festive availability typically becomes available in early February, so mark your calendars if you want to get a jump on planning!  

Are there deals during the festive season?

While some properties may have specials running through the festive season, most hotels and resorts at the 4 and 5-star level will have higher than usual rates during the holidays. Again, this is due to high demand. Don’t count on discounted rates during December and make sure you budget accordingly to avoid disappointment!

How will festive restrictions come into play?

Because the demand is high for festive, many hotels and resorts lean on stricter policies to ensure their inventory sells and stays sold. It is very common for resorts to have minimum night stay requirements ranging from 7 to 10 nights, higher deposits or even prepaid stay requirements depending on the size of the property, blacked-out dates that can only be seen by travel industry professionals, and extended cancelation windows. These policies are important to remember and understand as you are planning your festive vacation. Our team is here to help break these policies down for you and make sure you have the full picture before making your reservation!

How can I protect my investment when strict cancelation policies are in place?

Whenever a client books a trip with a cancelation window of 30 days or more, we recommend travel insurance. We are partnered with Travelex, a leader in travel insurance, and our team is trained to quote the best plan to give you the most coverage and include your airfare if necessary. We are also able to offer travel insurance through our partners Ultimate Jet Vacations and Island Destinations as a package with your hotel reservation for ease and to make the claim process more straightforward.

Are there any fees involved when booking festive trips with Ourisman Travel?

In cases when rates and availability are readily available, we do not charge a fee. However, we do require a festive fee of 100 USD per hotel if rates and availability are restricted.

Many times, clients have an idea of where they want to go and what they want to spend but have a hard time finding viable options that fit their needs. This is where Ourisman Travel can be a huge asset to you in your planning process! Festive trips can engage with our Hotel Plus service for an additional $150 and our team will present you with several options that fit your needs. Spare yourself the headache of sifting through thousands of Google results and leave it to the professionals!

What else should I consider when planning festive travel?

Because hotels are at capacity over the festive season, it is important that you make all of your transfer arrangements, dining reservations, and spa appointments ahead of your arrival to ensure you secure the times you want. Ourisman Travel is happy to assist and can make these arrangements on your behalf through our Hotel Plus concierge service!

To learn more about how Ourisman Travel can assist with your festive travel or other trips, reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hotel Spotlight: One&Only Palmilla

Located on a private peninsula in Los Cabos, One&Only Palmilla has long been a destination in and of itself for families, couples, and friend groups for years. Ourisman Travel was lucky enough to send a team member to check out this high-profile resort this February and we are pleased to report that it definitely lives up to the hype. We were lucky enough to have an exclusive tour of Villa One, the most luxurious villa on the property, and though we were more than stunned we fell in love with the resort as a whole. From the arrival cocktail to the seamless check-out, One&Only Palmilla will not disappoint.

The resort blends Mediterranean design components like white-washed walls and pops of color with hacienda-influenced architecture, making it one of the most stylish properties in the area. The property saw a complete overhaul in 2015 after it was hit by Hurrican Ordile in 2014 and One&Only has diligently worked on upkeep to ensure the finishes aren’t dated and the rooms are pristine. Rooms and suites are located in stand-alone one and two-story villas, all of which offer ocean views. The villas are well placed throughout the property with privacy for all.  The rooms are richly adorned with dark wood accents, rich handwoven fabrics & are generous in size. The bathrooms are stunning too with cobblestone floors, marble countertops boasting double vanities with hand-painted sinks and toiletry holders for a pop of Mexican flair, and marble double-headed showers for an extra perk. The Casita Suites are the highest category before the two villas, Villa One & Villa Cortez, coming with their own private infinity pools and dedicated butlers.

The spa is a huge draw for many, featuring a clean white design and miniature villas rather than the traditional spa treatment room; each coming with its own air-conditioned pavilions, whirlpool tubs, outdoor rain showers, and other areas to relax between treatments. Guests can choose from a wide variety of ESPA treatments and even enjoy in-room treatments or seaside massages. Those who are less inclined to luxuriate the day away will be pleased to find other activities to keep them occupied. Those golf enthusiasts will be pleased to find a 27-hole Jack Nicklaus designed course, made up of three nines with sweeping ocean views and a RoboGolfPro Swing Training facility on the property. Those who love to enjoy a game or two of tennis while on vacation will be more than happy with the brand-new state-of-the-art tennis complex complete with internationally trained pros to help you perfect your swing. Parents will be pleased to find a great kids club on property for kiddos from 4 to 11. The KidsOnly program provides unique opportunities to little guests to enjoy the sun and learn during their stays. Certified childcare professionals are always supervising, making sure everyone is safe and having a great time while the parents enjoy some well-deserved adult time.

Guests looking to add a spiritual element to their getaway can do so easily at One&Only Palmilla. Daily yoga sessions are offered on the beach, with sunrise and sunset options. The resort has a resident shaman on property to provide guests with therapeutic and soothing rituals that are rooted in ancient practices. For those who are interested, the shamanic ceremonies can be incredibly restorative and help guests return to their “real lives” with a greater sense of self and a connection to the world around them

Beachgoers and pool loungers will both be happy here. One&Only Palmilla has one of the best beaches in Cabo. The beach is calm and is one of the only swimmable beaches in Los Cabos, great for families with kids who love to splash in the waves. Kiddos will be especially pleased with the popsicle cart that regularly comes around, offering guests house-made, artisan popsicles in a variety of flavors. The property has two pools for guests to choose from, Tortuga Beach & Agua Pool. Tortuga Beach is the adults-only pool and is located off of the non-swimmable beach on property. Eight cabanas line the beach and can be rented out with food and drink service. Agua Pool is the family-friendly pool, close to the KidsOnly clubhouse and the swimmable Pelican Beach. A few floating beds are situated between the two beaches, swinging above the waves and offering stunning views. Be sure to snag one if you see one available – they are not up for rental!

Foodies will be more than happy here with four, soon-to-be five, restaurants on property. Suviche offers Japanese Mexican fusion and Seared is the steak and seafood fine dining option. Agua provides guests seasonal Mexican farm-to-table dishes and Breeze, located on a rustic terrace, has a menu of gourmet Baja meals on the menu. The property will soon feature a plant-based restaurant as well, slated to open in early 2022. Not to be outdone by the fabulous food, the property caters to guests in search of a Mexican-inspired cocktail. From expertly blended margaritas greeting guests upon arrival, to a tour of Mexican wines and even a mixology masterclass on offer guests will definitely feel the Cabo spirit.

From the exquisite design featured throughout the property to the soothing beach and incredible dining, One&Only Palmilla is an amazing destination resort in Cabo. From families to honeymooners there is something for everyone here. As proud partners of One&Only and our luxury affiliates, we are pleased to offer our guests incredible value-added amenities like daily breakfast, complimentary upgrades, resort credits, and more! For more information on how Ourisman Travel can assist with your trip to One&Only Palmilla or another one of our partner hotels in Cabo, reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a Travel Request Form.

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Villa One at One&Only Palmilla: An Inside Look

Mexico’s most coveted address, One&Only Palmilla’s Villa One is the last word in Los Cabos exclusivity. If you’re looking for an exceptional Cabo retreat, look no further. It is truly iconic with an ultimate level of privacy fit for celebrities (and houses quite a few each year)! The two-story, 15,000 square foot, four-bedroom villa sleeps up to 10 guests and is equipped with everything guests can need, and more. Breathtaking hilltop ocean views and just moments from the beach in combination with an unforgettable infinity pool — it celebrates the enigmatic beauty of Los Cabos. It is a secret sanctuary within the grounds of One&Only Palmilla, hiding among lush greenery and flowering cacti. This makes Villa One only visible at the top of its private, gated drive.

The indoors-outdoors living design of Villa One offers endless opportunities to enjoy the celebrated Los Cabos’ weather. They have about 350 days of sunshine per year! The modern design is warm with touches of authentic Mexican accents. This provides a luxurious atmosphere without losing the easygoing and laid-back feel of Los Cabos. The main communal areas are open floor plans, creating an intimate yet relaxed space for all. 

The master suite features a king-size bed, an oversized walk-in wardrobe, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, and a large private terrace with ocean vistas. One of our favorite touches is the one-of-a-kind, breathtaking black stone tub. A second private suite has a king-size bed and an en suite bathroom with a double shower. Downstairs, a third king-size bed suite includes ocean views and a fire pit on its terrace. The fourth suite offers two queen-size beds and a private terrace with an outdoor shower. 

Wide, open terraces curve around the lengths of your glass-walled, infinity-edge swimming pool. The main level has a courtyard at the back of the house, complete with fruit trees and a soothing fountain. This is the perfect place to enjoy your morning coffee or read a book. The lower level stars a large fire pit with built-in, surround seating, and a hot tub. 

Villa One sports a full kitchen with first-class appliances. In addition, a butler pantry is a perfect spot for your personal chef to arrange your meals while not disturbing guests. The private cinema, located on the lower level, can seat ten people and be a great hangout spot for the kids, or adults, to enjoy over 2,000 films. The outdoor kitchen space sits alongside seating for up to 12 guests and cocoon swings.

The bar is generously stocked with premium labels and guests enjoy priority access to the resort’s restaurants. If you do not want to utilize the resort Spa, Villa One houses its own private spa treatment room.  One&Only’s is unrivaled in the category of hospitality and personalized service. At Villa One, a staff of 12 including two chefs and a personal trainer or yoga instructor stays in their own living quarters just behind the villa. We ensure your group’s every need is anticipated and satisfied. Whether you are dreaming of a magical getaway with your significant other or getting your family or close friends together — Villa One is a truly breathtaking Los Cabos residence not to be overlooked! 

The additional benefits of booking your stay with Ourisman Travel are truly the icing on the cake. Take advantage of our exclusive Virtuoso amenities including daily breakfast, a $150 USD Resort credit, early check-in/late check-out based on availability, and more! Our close relationship with One&Only Palmilla allows us to grant you VIP status for your stay. In addition, we can easily relay your preferences and requests, prior to your arrival, to ensure your stay is perfect! Reach out to the team to plan your once-in-a-lifetime getaway to Villa One by emailing the team at team@ourismantravel.com or filling out a Travel Request Form! We can’t wait to help you get away!

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COVID-19 Travel to Mexico: What You Need to Know

After a year like 2020, taking a leap and being spontaneous might be a bit scary for some. We have all experienced the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and after a year, it has become a source of exhaustion for many and people are looking forward to the day they can take a much-needed vacation. If you have yet to travel since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be pleasantly surprised by the way the travel industry has adapted in the wake of the pandemic. From air to hotels and everything in between, there have been safety improvements and updates made across the board in travel to welcome you back with peace of mind. The realities of COVID-19 travel may still be daunting to some and as your trusted travel advisors, Team Ourisman is here to support you as you go back out into the world. We recently sent our Sales Coordinator Meg down to Cabo to explore One & Only Palmilla and to experience how COVID-19 has impacted travel to Mexico. Below, we recap Meg’s experience in taking a spontaneous trip south of the border.

We were very lucky to be given a spot on a trip to visit the beautiful One&Only Palmilla in San José del Cabo, Mexico. The trip was a bit last minute, but nothing we can’t handle! With three days before departure, Meg purchased a roundtrip ticket from Baltimore to San José with Delta. The following morning, she was able to get a rapid PCR test, without an appointment, at the local Urgent Care. We would suggest arriving 30 minutes prior to opening to avoid lines for a clinic such as this if you do not have an appointment. The negative results were received via email within one hour and printed out at home, to have both a digital and printed copy handy for the airlines. Delta emailed one form to sign and print to bring to the flight with a few basic questions regarding COVID-19. All that Meg had left to do was pack her bags!

The departure flight from BWI was a morning flight and Meg was lucky enough to find short lines at security with the airport feeling close to empty. All of the airports stopped in, both to and from Mexico, (BWI, ATL, DTW, and SJC) were spotless and hand sanitizing stations everywhere. Everyone encountered at the airports, both travelers and employees, were very respectful and cooperative with regard to social distancing and wearing their masks appropriately. Horror stories surely happen, but Meg’s experience was smooth and conflict free.

Meg had a connecting flight each way and luckily each flight on her itinerary were at about one-third capacity with only passengers in the same party sharing a row. The planes were sanitized and cleaned prior to boarding and you could tell — they were spotless! The flight attendants handed passengers a sanitizing wipe as they boarded and once in flight, the attendants handed out plastic baggies stocked with a water bottle, 2 snacks, an extra mask, and more sanitizing wipes. They also handed out 3 short forms to complete for immigration upon arrival in Mexico.

Upon arrival in San José, Meg found the airport to be very clean, well organized, and easy to understand. Papers and passports were checked efficiently and the process only took about 20 minutes. Walking through the small airport and outside to the pickup area, it was very easy to find the One&Only greeter waiting with a sign. The driver took a quick temperature read while all bags were sanitized before being loaded into the vehicle. After a 25 minute drive to the resort, guests passed through a large yet discrete thermal thermometer in the open-air lobby to read temperatures once more while bags were sanitized again for extra precaution. 

Check-in was as seamless as always and before long Meg was in her room enjoying a welcome cocktail and the stunning views at One & Only Palmilla. Feeling safe to relax and unwind, her vacation was ready to begin! Be sure to check out our review of One & Only Pamilla and the extra special Villa One on the property, which plays host to guests seeking an extra special, truly luxurious, and one-of-a-kind experience! One & Only Palmilla is one of many fantastic resorts in Cabo and Mexico that will make for a perfect post COVID getaway! With 61 properties to choose from in the Virtuoso network alone, selecting the right resort to fit your needs can be a daunting task; reach out to the team if you aren’t sure which one to choose from!

While Meg had a fantastic time enjoying the wonderful One&Only Palmilla, the realities of COVID-19 travel did not disappear. For now, everyone returning to the States will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test and one of the benefits was the ease with which she was able to schedule a COVID test prior to her departure. Like many luxury properties around the world, the COVID test was offered on the property for ease of the guest. They had a designated room where guests went for their appointment to get a rapid test. Two doctors were present to administer the tests and all the typical procedures were followed from the privacy and comfort of a hotel room. The test itself cost 30 USD and all major credit cards were accepted by the testing company for easy payment at the time of testing. Negative results were emailed as well as printed and in an envelope under Meg’s suite door, within one hour of her test. 

All in all, the travel process was extremely smooth, felt very safe & clean, and ultimately reassured us that the world is ready for travelers to get back out there and enjoy. COVID-19 has impacted travel in a major way and as the world recovers, we are here for you with the most up-to-date information and our own experiences. We completely understand that not everyone is ready to venture out into the world yet and we respect that. As always, our approach is designed towards your needs and comfort level. When you are ready to pack your bags and get away, Ourisman Travel is here to support you. For more information on travel to Mexico, other international travel questions, and how we can help you plan your next trip, please reach out to us at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a travel request form!

Cheers to health, happiness, and packing our bags again! 

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Après Ski: Our Top 5 Places to Ski in the States

For many, ski season is the best time of year! From hitting the slopes to enjoying spa treatments and lovely meals, ski resorts offer their own brand of paradise. We find it is always best to plan ski trips in advance, as the most desirable properties book up quickly and for good reason! Team Ourisman has put together a list of our top five ski destinations in the United States, complete with our favorite hotels in each location!

First up on the list is Aspen, Colorado. Aspen has long had a reputation for being one of the best destinations in the US for skiers and those who enjoy “see and be seen” environments. With incredible skiing, fine dining, galleries, and boutiques, Aspen has something for everyone. Our favorite property in Aspen is easily The Little Nell. This boutique property has long been a favorite of guests seeking modern amenities with old-school service. Ourisman Travel can offer clients great perks at The Little Nell, including free breakfast and potential upgrades.

If Aspen feels a little too posh for your taste, a great alternative is Vail, Colorado. While Vail only has one resort as opposed to Aspen’s 4, you will find that reflected in the price point of the accommodations in Vail. Vail offers a fair number of luxury properties throughout the ski resort town, but among these options, we tend to favor the Four Seasons Vail and Sonnenalp. Sonnenalp is a quaint boutique hotel that brings the feeling of European hospitality stateside. We love its location in the heart of Vail Village! The Four Seasons Vail offers a wider range of room types and our strong relationship with the property means our clients enjoy extra special service at the Four Seasons. We are able to offer free breakfast and other amenities like early check-in and late check-out at both properties.

In Utah, look no further than Park City, Utah for great skiing and lively Main Street with quaint shops and restaurants. Known for hosting the Winter Olympics, Park City is great for winter recreation junkies. We absolutely love the Montage Deer Valley. Located in the Deer Valley ski resort and on top of Empire Pass, the Montage Deer Valley’s location cannot be beaten. This property offers guests ski-in and ski-out access and complimentary ski storage, among other thoughtful touches. The Montage closes annually during the off-season to address any damage from the past season and ensure that guests always have the best experience. We are proud to offer our clients added benefits like potential upgrades, resort credits, and more at Montage Deer Valley.

If you are looking to be more removed from reality without sacrificing luxury Jackson Hole, Wyoming might be a good fit for you. The now-famous elk antler arch in the town square greets guests in this remote ski paradise. With three ski areas to choose from, there are plenty of runs to keep even the most avid skier or boarder busy. Of course, we love the Four Seasons Jackson Hole and our clients enjoy an array of perks when they book their stays with us, including daily breakfast and potential upgrades. However, if you are looking for something really special we have to recommend Amangani. Amangani offers guests the type of experience only an Aman property can, and with its own ski concierge and private ski lounge, it is hard to beat. We offer our clients daily breakfast, early check-in, and late check-out, and much more when we arrange their stays at Amangani!

Of course, we would be remiss if we were to leave Big Sky, Montana off the list. While in the past Big Sky has been lacking in true high-end accommodations that will all come to an end with the opening of Montage Big Sky. With the same ski-in ski-out model offered at the Montage Deer Valley, the Montage Big Sky promises to, at long last, bring luxury to this spectacular ski destination. Opening its doors in late 2021, we are thrilled to add this property to our list of amazing ski destinations and will be able to offer clients the same perks they can expect to find at other Montage properties, including daily breakfast, resort credits, and more!

To learn more about how Ourisman Travel can assist in planning your next ski vacation and our relationships with the properties featured, please reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or fill out a Travel Request Form.

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Hotel Spotlight: The Little Nell

For those ski and snowboard enthusiasts who wait out the summer months craving crisp mountain air and the thrill of being the first to cut across freshly groomed slopes, Aspen is at the top of the list. Even for those who prefer the lodge to the mountains, Aspen is still the place to be. And the place to be in Aspen, in our opinion, is The Little Nell. The Little Nell sets itself apart with its proximity to the slopes, attentive service, fresh design, and affiliation with Relais & Chateaux. We just can’t get enough of this incredible boutique hotel!

Steps from the Silver Queen Gondola, The Little Nell offers guests easy access to the slopes – a huge draw for seasoned skiers & snowboarders, and snow bunnies alike. The access is also a huge plus for families; in fact, The Little Nell is the only five-star property in Aspen offering ski-in ski-out access, giving it a huge leg up over the other luxury options in town. With this in mind, The Little Nell often offers ski packages, allowing for guests to bundle their hotel stay with lift tickets and rentals. This additional ease makes The Little Nell incredibly attractive for those who want to arrive with everything already taken care of.

Though the outside of The Little Nell represents a ski lodge as we imagine them and blends well with the exterior aesthetic of Aspen, you won’t find cheesy mountain-themed decor on the inside. The design is decidedly contemporary; with sumptuous upholstery in rich jewel tones and soft inviting neutrals, modern artwork intentionally selected to compliment the color palettes of the spaces and sleek furnishings. The rooms were given a refresh in 2017 and feature crisp white linens, opulent bathrooms and offer guests plenty of space with the smallest room coming in at a generous 600 square feet. The main public spaces, the lobby and living room, were renovated in 2020 with the goal of “creating a sense of place; a hospitality experience that evokes as a sense of elevated Aspen living”. The updates resulted in more areas for socializing and a more intimate feel for guests.

As a part of the Relais & Chateaux portfolio, The Little Nell puts a strong emphasis on the food and dining experience of the guest. Two restaurants on-site offer guests a choice of either fine dining at Element 47 or a more casual feel at Ajax Tavern. The patio of Ajax Tavern is steps away from the gondola, perfect for hungry skiers looking to dig into a well-deserved wagyu burger and truffle fries. Element 47 offers the elevated experience Aspen regulars have come to expect, with attentive service and creative cuisine worthy of its many awards. And though the experience at Element 47 is high touch, there is no need to dress for dinner – “Aspen casual” is completely appropriate. Element 47 also offers private dinners with wine tastings for those looking for something extra special.

While Aspen certainly gets a lot of attention in the winter months, that is certainly not the only time to visit The Little Nell. Summers in Aspen offer a wide range of outdoor activities and the galleries and boutiques in town are sure to keep visitors busy. The Silver Queen Gondola becomes pet-friendly in the summer months and The Little Nell welcomes four-legged guests with the same love and attention given to bipedal patrons. Take the gondola up and hike the trails with a picnic packed by Nourish by The Little Nell, complete with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. If hiking doesn’t sound appealing, there are plenty of other activities to enjoy in the town of Aspen during the summer months, from Thursday night concerts open to the public to the farmers’ market Saturday mornings. All year round, Aspen has a little something for everyone.

As a proud partner of Virtuoso and Relais & Chateaux, Ourisman Travel clients are able to take advantage of great perks like free breakfast for two daily, early check-in and late check-out, potential upgrades, and more! To learn more about our great relationship with The Little Nell and how we can elevate your next trip to Aspen, please reach out to the team via email at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form.

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Hotel Openings in 2021: Team Ourisman’s Top 10

As we close out 2020, Team Ourisman is looking ahead to 2021 with positivity and excitement for what the year will hold. Luckily, we already know there are some great things on the horizon for 2021 in the luxury travel world with some fantastic and long-awaited hotel openings! Take a look at the top 10 properties we are most excited about opening their doors in 2021!

Three luxury properties are slated to open in 2021 on the Fari Islands, an archipelago consisting of 4 islands in the North Male Atoll of the Maldives. This collective will feature brand new properties from Capella, Ritz Carlton, and Patina. The Capella Maldives will feature 64 villas and mansions with private infinity pools, a high-end spa, and an Omakase bar to the delight of foodie guests. The Ritz Carlton Maldives will feature accommodations that blend the indoors with the outdoors, all coming with an attentive personal butler. The Patina Maldives will focus on health and wellness in paradise with an emphasis on sustainable luxury. The Fari Islands will also feature a communal area where guests can enjoy high-end boutiques, exclusive restaurants, and beach-front bars. The Fari Islands is destined to become a bucket list destination within a bucket list destination!

For those looking for an ultra-exclusive and private experience in 2021, look no further than Armonia San Miquel de Allende. This expansive 7 bedroom villa, opening Spring 2021, offers guests an exquisite escape tucked away in the expansive vineyards outside of San Miquel de Allende. This colonial-style villa features a simple yet elegant rustic design with all of the amenities a modern traveler requires. Two kitchens service the property with menus thoughtfully designed around the guests’ dietary needs and preferences. Guests can enjoy dedicated 24-hour butler service, in-room wine tastings, a private gym and yoga studio, and a gorgeous pool. Look no further for your most exclusive stay in 2021.

Set to open in the Spring of 2021, Aman New York is the minimalist luxury brand’s first urban oasis in the United States. This unique property is on the precipice of staging a coup in the New York luxury hotel scene and we can’t wait to check it out! On the corner of Fifth and 57th in the prestigious art deco Crown Building, the Aman New York is a five-star stunner. Featuring a 2,300 square meter spa with a 20-meter indoor swimming pool and divine treatments geared towards wellness, guests will be free to indulge in ultimate luxury. Stay tuned for updates on this one of a kind property!

After years of anticipation, the Four Seasons New Orleans is finally set to open its doors in mid-2021. After a 530 million renovation of New Orleans’ World Trade Center, the opening of the Four Seasons New Orleans brings an elevated sense of luxury to the Big Easy. By revitalizing the World Trade Center, the Four Seasons brand has fostered a sense of goodwill with the New Orleans community and the excitement surrounding the long-awaited opening is palpable. Adjacent to the French Quarter and the Garden District, this property gives guests unparalleled access to the city. The accommodations are incredibly stylish and guests can trust they will find the Four Seasons patented service at this new gem in the heart of New Orleans.

Opening in time for holiday ski trips in 2021, Montage Big Sky brings the high service standards of the Montage brand to Montana. Commanding 5,800 acres of Montana’s best slopes, guests ski enthusiasts will be able to ski in and ski out without sacrificing luxury. In fact, they will be able to indulge in more than just prime access to the slopes. A year-round outdoor paradise, guests can enjoy some of the best fly fishing in the world, hikes leading to expansive mountain vista views and so much more. Where modern amenities meet mountain design, the Montage Big Sky is high on our list in 2021!

Le Guanahani St Barth originally opened in 1986 and quickly became one of the most prestigious resorts on this ultra-exclusive island. Rosewood acquired the property in the summer of 2020 and has closed the property for a massive renovation. Slated to open in late 2021, the Rosewood Le Guanahani will feature 66 accommodations all meticulously designed to reflect the luxurious lifestyle of St Barth. Located on two gorgeous beaches and adjacent to a reef-protected lagoon, La Guanahani revitalized under the Rosewood umbrella will be in high demand!

Located in Israel’s remote Negev Desert, Six Senses Shaharut is expected to open in the spring of 2021. This desert oasis features a striking modern design that blends seamlessly into the expansive landscape. Expansive sunsets give way to star-filled skies, reminding guests of their place in our world. Designed as a spiritual escape with wellness top of mind, Six Senses Shaharut delivers a sense of peace & serenity. Offering an array of activities, the jewel of which is overnight camel camping, guests will find plenty of opportunities to disconnect and reinvigorate their spirituality.

Opening in Spring 2021, Villa Igiea, a Rocco Forte Hotel features incredible views of the Gulf of Palermo. Sicily, one of the last Italian destinations to escape the throngs of crowds, offers visitors an incredible blend of unique architecture, history and cuisine. Thoughtfully designed rooms masterfully blend a contemporary motif with antique furniture and luxurious fabrics. With only 100 accommodations, guests are guaranteed personal service and privacy while they enjoy this painstakingly restored Italian villa resort.

Coming to the Dubai skyline in 2021, One & Only Za’abeel is a truly one of a kind property that has the luxury travel industry waiting with bated breath. The property features unique architecture worthy of Dubai and offers guests a decadent experience in downtown Dubai. Promising unparalleled service devoted to accommodating guests’ every need and rooms so luxurious even the most discerning luxury enthusiast will be more than impressed, One & Only Za’abeel is sure to become a bucket list property.

Located in the heart of Paris and expected to open its doors in mid-2021, Cheval Blanc Paris will feature 72 sumptuously designed rooms providing guests with an intimate experience in the most romantic city in the world. The property will feature Majordome Service for each room, ensuring the attentive and unobtrusive service that Cheval Blanc is known for. For those looking to indulge in decadent relaxation, the Dior Spa Cheval Blanc will deliver a sublime experience. This high-end boutique property is sure to become a favorite amongst those who truly appreciate luxury.

Ourisman Travel is delighted to offer our clients exclusive amenities at all of these incredible properties; ranging from daily breakfast for two, room upgrades, resort credits, and more. To learn more about these properties opening dates & when you can make a reservation, feel free to email the team at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form.

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Pro-Tip Blog: Wanderlist, Travel Inspiration By Virtuoso

Virtuoso created Wanderlist to act as a place for avid luxury travelers to browse and collect the experiences that stood out to them in neatly compiled lists based on destinations that inspire them. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tool has become a great source of travel inspiration while travelers wait for the world to reopen. With the ability to share what inspires you with friends and family, Wanderlist has enabled the connection that motivates travel to stay alive. Check out our take on the Wanderlist tool and how you can use it to catalog your travel inspiration for future travel and connect with your loved ones in the process!

First things first, to get started you will need to create a Wanderlist account. This account is separate from the Virtuoso account you may use to book hotel stays or browse amenities on offer through the network. Once you create a log in, you will be prompted with the question
“What do you want to experience”.

The choices range from culture, food & wine, wellness etc and you may select as many as you want. From there you will reach your profile page, which will list your interests and David Ourisman as your travel advisor. This will link your Wanderlist to Ourisman Travel and allow for you to share your inspiration with us!

At the top right of the Profile home screen, you will find a red button “+New List”. To get started, simply click on this button. You will then be taken to a page asking you “Which country would you like to visit”. The world is your oyster!

The map on this screen is interactive and you will be able to move over the globe as you weigh your options for your first wanderlist. Once you land on a destination, you can either leave the list title as the country you are visiting or name it after the special occasion or reason you are traveling.

Once you name your list, you will be directed to a page highlighting the experiences that you can arrange in partnership with Virtuoso and Ourisman Travel in the country you chose. These experiences will be tailored to the interests you previously selected when you set up your profile. This page also highlights the hotels within the Virtuoso network that you can book for your trip. Even cruise itineraries are featured on this page!

As you browse through the various experiences, hotels, and cruises that interest you, tap the heart to save them to your wanderlist for browsing. A great feature of Wanderlist is the ability to invite friends and family to view and add their own interests to lists. This is great when planning all kinds of trips, from honeymoons to family vacations to girls’ trips! This allows for quick and easy collaboration, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

Our favorite thing about Wanderlist is the ability to dream about travel using an interactive tool that can be shared with your friends and family. Connection will always be a motivator behind travel and getting to establish that connection when a trip is merely in the dream stages only makes it that more special when you do travel. The tool’s collaborative element lends itself to conversations about travel that goes beyond what hotel you will stay at or what flights make the most sense. Wanderlist facilitates deep conversations about what you will do when you get there, what has always been on your bucket lists and why and, perhaps most importantly, how much fun you will have when you get there.

To learn more about how Wanderlist works, how Team Ourisman has used Wanderlist for our own travel inspiration, or how we can help turn your Wanderlists into a reality please reach out to us at team@ourismantravel.com or submit a Travel Request Form.

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Hotel Spotlight: Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

Located only 5 miles from downtown Dallas, the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek sits on 5 lush acres, making it hard to believe you are so close to the bustle of Texas’ third-largest city. The property, which was once a private residence, is of a distinctly Italian design and features an understated mix of European and Asian antiques in the lobby. The décor gives guests the feel of entering the home of an eclectically elegant grand dame, one who wanted something to set her apart from her Turtle Creek neighbors.

A part of the Rosewood collection, guests can expect unobtrusive yet attentive service from well-trained staff. The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek went through a complete room redesign in 2020, giving the accommodations a fresh & elegant contemporary refresh. Neutral tones, dark woods, and shelves laden with books and tasteful decor give each room a homey feel. It is easy to see that the renovation was done with intention, as the room product does not depart from the façade of the original 1920s building. The gem of the renovation is the Turtle Suite which features subtle touches of chartreuse, lovely natural light, and spacious living spaces.

The pool at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek provides guests with an oasis in an urban setting. Flanked by magnolia trees, guests are free to take a refreshing dip before setting up to lounge poolside with a podcast or a good book. Guests can expect the same Rosewood service poolside and can enjoy an array of craft cocktails to enjoy featuring libations local to Texas along with a menu of light bites ranging from shrimp ceviche to lemon sorbet. The property also features a fitness studio and a small spa where guests can enjoy a range of massage treatments and unwind with a steam or a sauna.

The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek has one restaurant on property, with plenty of other options within the vicinity of nearby Highland Park and downtown Dallas. The Mansion offers American cuisine with French influences; maintaining a very relaxed air while delivering cuisine that is sure to impress. For those looking for something a little more casual, the Mansion Bar provides appetizers and desserts alongside a great selection of wines, whiskeys, & cocktails. The menu changes seasonally and is heavily influenced by Texas cuisine.

The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek is the perfect destination for local Texans looking for a luxurious departure from their day to day and out of towners seeking a unique experience for their time in Dallas. As proud partners of Virtuoso and Rosewood Elite, Ourisman Travel can offer our clients exclusive amenities for their stays at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek including daily breakfast, room upgrades, and resort credits. To learn more about the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, other properties within the Rosewood portfolio, and how Ourisman Travel can elevate your stay, reach out to the team via our Travel Request Form or by email at team@ourismantravel.com.

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