“While I was busy hating Vegas, and hiding from Vegas, a funny thing happened. I grew to love Vegas.”
– J. R. Moehringer
Last week I attended Virtuoso Travel Week as I have done about ten times in the last twenty years. The first one I went to was in Phoenix in 1997, the week that Lady Diana and Mother Teresa died. Every time since then when I have attended, it has been at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. The week is filled with special presentations about wonderful opportunities in travel and four days of four minute “speed dating” interviews between travel advisors and operators. Much of the week runs together in our semi-porous minds by the last day. But some memorable visuals remain from the blur. Enjoy these snaps from the week as I experienced it.
I stayed next door to Bellagio at the newer (non-casino!) Vdara hotel. The sculpture outside the main entrance is eye-catching. Is this the result of a tornado on the lakes of Minnesota?
The welcome meeting on the first day usually ends with a brief appearance by a celebrity with at least a small connection to the leisure travel world. This year we met Olivia Newton-John, the recording artist and co-founder of Gaia Retreat and Spa in Australia. (Think “Canyon Ranch Down Under.”) Olivia sang “Magic” (“You have to believe we are magic…”) and then chatted briefly with the Virtuoso CEO.
The Bellagio, staff and buildings, continue to provide top-notch service. My favorite part of the physical plant is the Chihuly glass flowers illuminated on the ceiling of the lobby.
The largest part of the week was the meetings between advisors and operators. We filled two large ballrooms and a handful of smaller rooms.
As we approached the end of the last meeting, noise level in the room rose noticeably. When the time ran out, instead of the usual “please move to appointment number XXX” we heard the final strain from Roy Orbison’s hit “It’s Over” and everyone cheered!
Boundaries divide. Travel unites.
21 August 2014