Happy Thursday Hidden Gem Travel community! Were you moved by the Patriot Day/September 11th tributes, images, and stories last weekend? It was very meaningful to me as I consider myself a New Yorker, having lived in NYC for a long time before I moved to the suburbs. It also made me think about how much I love iconic cities like NYC that are brimming with energy, culture, and hidden gem experiences. Do you love exploring cities too?
When I think about iconic cities, Europe immediately pops into my mind. Having visited many of Europe’s iconic cities as well as having lived in Copenhagen for a while, part of my heart belongs in Europe. If you follow the travel news, you know that each European country has different protocols for international travel right now. I use an industry portal to keep on top of the changes and details for my clients (very handy) and have contacts in each country to give me the on-the-ground, local updates.
If you have Europe on your mind for 2022, the ideas below will inspire you. If you’re like-minded to me, you’re thinking your next trip to Europe should be epic. After all, we’ve been unable to visit easily for far too long! Read on for the scoop about extra-special European vacations taken from my discussions with my local partners during Virtuoso Travel Week…
When the Queen is in Scotland…
…Christopher Sleigh is on call! In fact, his family has been looking after the Queen’s activity needs when staying at Balmoral since 1974. From that illustrious recommendation, they expanded the family business into the tourism industry in Scotland and most of the UK. The Sleigh’s specialize in hidden gem experiences and work with Virtuoso travel advisors like me to design curated itineraries (Queen’s budget not required).
For one family whose son loved both Harry Potter and music, they arranged an orienteering experience to the Jacobite steam train (of Harry Potter fame) and brought in a bagpiper to enhance the experience. Rave reviews all around!
💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Outlander fan alert – Christopher will be seen in Season Six as an extra after meeting stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish at a whisky distillery.
Your ticket to Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland
Exploring Northern Europe your own way (on your own itinerary, with a small group, or by boat) is the expertise of my partner who is based in Denmark. Fun fact – I love Denmark and have spent considerable time there.
On many a bucket list is the Northern Lights, and there are many ways to see this awe-inspiring natural wonder. For the ultimate experience, I recommend staying in an extra-special accommodation like the IceHotel in Sweden’s Lapland or a glass igloo in Finland. With my locally-based travel partner, I’ll make sure you find the best of the lot to ensure that WOW experience.
You can ‘put on the Ritz’ in Paris!
Stunning and OMG are two terms that spring into mind when you learn about the Ritz Paris. It’s a family-owned property centrally located on Place Vendome in the City of Lights. Guests are true VIPs – You will have a meet & greet at the airport and round-trip transfers in a limo included in your stay; your room is guaranteed to be ready when you arrive – literally any time you arrive. With Hidden Gem Travel, your Virtuoso benefits include a guaranteed upgrade at booking and breakfast daily for two.
If you love to cook, Ecole Ritz Escoffier is the ultimate experience. The school is unique in the world, a place where French know-how is taught to aspiring professionals and culinary enthusiasts, be they novices, experienced chefs, or budding young cooks. All classes are conducted in French and simultaneously translated into English.
Treat yourself to this incredible hotel experience!
Switzerland Isn’t to be Missed
I’ve written numerous times about why Switzerland should be on everyone’s travel bucket list. My partner in Switzerland (in business since 1865) can handle any and all requests. Did you know you don’t have to bring your luggage along when you take a scenic train vacation in Switzerland? Their traveling bellhop will deliver it to your hotels so you can simply enjoy the views and avoid the schlep. Having done a train trip across Switzerland, I can attest to the value of the service!
Well-known as a clean, safe, and highly efficient country, Switzerland is ideal for your first European vacation since the pandemic began. Personal anecdote – my son left his ATM card in the machine at the train station and 45 minutes later when he ran back to retrieve it, it had been turned into the security office!
Hidden gems are found all over the country – hotels, experiences, you name it. Switzerland truly isn’t to be missed!
Fairy Tale French Alps
Are you familiar with Megeve in France’s Alps? It’s a fairy tale village with a deep history. The Four Seasons Hotel Megeve, a Virtuoso network hotel, was recently updated and perfect for summer or winter vacations. Only an hour from the airport in Geneva, you can combine a stay at Four Seasons Megeve and Four Seasons Geneva – and receive VIP perks at both hotels.
Set directly on the slopes of Mont d’Arbois with ski in ski out access and overlooking the 17th hole of the Mont d’Arbois Golf course during summer, this modern chalet welcomes guests with warm alpine hospitality.
Enjoy a delicious cocktail on Bar Edmond’s terrace or a tasting in the 14,000-bottle wine cellar. Then head to La Dame de Pic – Le 1920 restaurant headed by Michelin starred Cheffe, Anne-Sophie Pic. Kaito, the resort’s first Japanese restaurant, offers Asian culinary classics blended with the flavors of local alpine produce. With the region’s largest spa and innovative kids’ programs, the 55-room hotel is ideal for families.
💎 Hidden Gem Tip: Four Seasons Hotel Megeve offers a golf safari – if this concept piques your interest, reply to this email to get the scoop!
Inspired? If you’re intrigued about extra-special European vacations and wanting to brainstorm, schedule a chat with me www.hiddengemtravelconsulting.com/contact
Wishing you and your family continued good health,