Luxury Hotels

VIRTUOSO 3

It could be said that Virtuoso Travel Week VTW is all about eating and drinking. It starts at breakfast. Sardelle’s in BELLAGIO is the top person’s place to start the day (see Kempinski’s Amanda Elder, above). Sardelle’s is run by Mario Carbone’s Major Food Group, whose many other concessions is the brilliant Contessa on the rooftop of THE NEWBURY in Boston.  Well, says food guru Elizabeth Blau, hoteliers cannot run restaurants as they want consistency and, to use her words, restaurants are ‘chaos’. That having been said, there are exceptions, and here in Las Vegas WYNN’s year-old Delilah is positively Girlahead’s favourite restaurant in town.  It’s 1930s Burlesque in style, slinky models in full-length bias-cut crepe shimmer on plinths. Justin Bieber and Mick Jagger also love it. And, guess what, Elizabeth Blau has a hand in the food….

Feeding 4,000 simultaneously is no easy, and RESORTS WORLD accepted the challenge. All VTW-ers were bussed over in a military procession of charabancs. The party was inside, in a gigantic auditorium which presumably is shared between the complex’s hotels, CONRAD, CROCKFORDS, and WALDORF ASTORIA. Part of the party was outside, around a kidney-shaped pool which at one point apparently had some synchronised swimming, but sorry, could not always see over the crowds. Easiest drinks to get from the overworked bar staff were beer and G&T, and easiest food to eat were the mini burgers. But, and a big but, some of the later entertainment was memorable.  SEE THE VIDEO BELOW.

Easiest slip-down food was the yummy made-on-the-spot dim sum and buns at Din Tai Fung, a branch of the Taipei original, here in ARIA. Like every place with edibles in the entire MGM trio of resorts here, without reservations there are such long lines that waiting for, say, a croissant and decaf could take you away for at least an hour. Fortunately host Marcel Thoma of MANDARIN ORIENTAL MARRAKESH had a reservation so that we all, his guests, from Abercrombie & Kent and ASmallWorld were able to maximise eating and talking and having fun time.

Travel with White Desert to a bespoke Antarctic camp means every item of food is flown in, with wines and guests, from South Africa, though bread is freshly baked, there down-under. White Desert MDPatrick Woodhead also explained that his team had recently come across a pair of 40-year old whiskies buried in ice ‘forever’. What a fascinating guy this is, by the way. After being part of the youngest and fastest team to reach the South Pole in 2002, he led the first East to West traverse of Antarctica, covering 1,850 km in 75 days.

Oh the people you meet at Virtuoso. Take Alex Glassscock, CEO and co-founder, with his wife, of The Ranch, best described as bootcamp retreats. THE RANCH MALIBU sprung to even more fame after Virtuoso Chairman/CEO Matthew Upchurch wet through a ‘session’.  Go for a set number of nights, and your days are filled with hikes and workouts and you feel so much better for it all. The Ranch already has a European outpost, offering seven night programmes at PALAZZO FIUGGI, and it opens another dedicated facility, THE RANCH HUDSON VALLEY in 2023. Three or four nights, fitness-philes.  Go for it.