NEW YORK, Jan. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading luxury network Virtuoso® reveals its much anticipated Best of the Best: 2012 Guide to the World's Best Hotel Experiences, making it exclusively available to clients of Virtuoso member agencies. Travelers who appreciate the unparalleled quality and service that are hallmarks of Virtuoso preferred properties, each of which is thoroughly vetted by the network's elite travel advisors as well as reviewed on an annual basis, will find an extensive collection in this year's directory. Best of the Best, which features hotels, resorts, spas, lodges, villas and private islands and retreats in every corner of the world, welcomes 80 new properties to its already impressive roster. Additionally, clients will find amenities for each property valued at up to $450 per stay as well as insider tips from Virtuoso's expert advisors.
Not only does 2012 mark the largest guide in the program's history, it is also a milestone as the network celebrates the 20th anniversary of its renowned Hotels & Resorts Program. Boasting more five-star properties as well as exclusive relationships with more than 489 hotels, Virtuoso's program ranks as the most prestigious and longest running in the industry. Having experienced exceptional growth since the program's inception in 1992 when it consisted of only 21 well-respected hotels, 20 years later Virtuoso reveals an amazing portfolio of 924 hotels that further cements its reputation as being an industry powerhouse.
In 1992, Virtuoso named just four Four Seasons properties to its program. Since that time, the relationship has steadily grown. Says Don Jones, Vice President of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts' Corporate and Travel Industry Sales for the Americas, "With over 50 member properties, Four Seasons considers Virtuoso one of our most strategic partners." Jones continues, "With close to 30% year over year sales growth, we regard the Virtuoso member agencies as key to our success in 2011. Their expertise and deep understanding of luxury travel ensures that every trip is a memorable experience."
Virtuoso has expanded its program throughout the years, adding new elements and enhancements during the past 20 years. The network's Preview program, which welcomes a select group of hotels during their pre-opening phase, offers Virtuoso's membership an exclusive year-long agreement with some of the industry's most highly anticipated properties.
Says Philippe LeBoeuf, General Manager of the Mandarin Oriental, Paris, a Virtuoso Preview hotel, "I have been a big fan of Virtuoso over the years and it has become a great friend of mine throughout several hotel brands. It is more than just business -- it is about the relationships I have with all the members. The impact the network makes is truly remarkable. Virtuoso was instrumental in helping us successfully position and launch Mandarin Oriental, Paris. In a strong city like Paris, we had to arm ourselves with key partners, hence the partnership with Virtuoso. I believe that with the network's assistance, we have had a great impact and grand opening."
Within its first pages, the guide offers an explanation of the unique benefits and amenities that only come from reserving a stay through a knowledgeable Virtuoso travel advisor. Room upgrades, breakfast for two daily, early check-in and late check-out, preferred rates and availability, and other enhanced amenities are exclusive advantages available to Virtuoso guests.
"As the leading network in luxury travel, we strive to create the ultimate experiences for guests," said Albert Herrera, vice president of Virtuoso's Hotels, Destinations & Tours. "The properties within our Hotels & Resorts Program are an integral component of the overall experience. Each of the properties featured in our 2012 Best of the Best guide is selected based on the reviews and recommendations made by our members and the final vetting conducted by our member-based Hotels & Resorts Committee. This program was created under the guidance of our membership for the exclusive benefit of our travel advisors. The annual review process ensures that our guide represents the high caliber and integrity that travelers expect of Virtuoso and our member travel advisors, year in and year out."