Departure Lounge Founder Keith Waldon is now hosting a YouTube series called the Departure Lounge VIP Travel Report. Each episode features a conversation between Keith and either a luxury travel industry executive or a Departure Lounge travel advisor, along with two quick accommodation video tours led by Departure Lounge advisors and an ending segment on great current offers available to Departure Lounge clients. In this report, Keith interviews Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso. Watch Here!
Picture yourself on the deck of your own private riverboat, taking in the serenity of the French countryside as you sip from a Grand Cru vintage. Then imagine sharing this incredible journey with – and only with – the friends or family that make travel special.
Barge cruising is perhaps one of the most intimate and luxurious ways to experience a country: to float along its rivers and canals with their behind-the-scenes views, and to do it aboard a luxury hotel barge that accepts anywhere from four to 12 guests. It’s perfect for a private charter. The barges are spacious, inviting and the level of service and culinary skill of the ship’s chef and crew will surprise you.
Boats, by Belmond | Afloat in France
These shallow bottomed barges – outfitted with generous room sizes (some even boast four-poster beds) - will moor just about anywhere. And with such a small group on board, voyages can be tailor-made to suit you all. You’ll be immersed in the countryside: Perhaps a stop to go horse riding along the many trails of Languedoc? Or dining with vintners in Burgundy after a tour of their exclusive cellars? Maybe sampling vintages from a family-run Champagne vineyard is on your bucket list?
Canal Du Midi
These historic barges once plied European waterways delivering cargo; by the 19th century, the canal network of Europe had links to the English Channel, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Mediterranean Sea. When water transport declined, some ships were scrapped, but the best were kept and restored or retrofitted into five-star floating hotels.
Drifting peacefully through the Loire Valley, or Provence, or Burgundy, or along the Canal du Midi, a UNESCO heritage site, may be what your group needs to reconnect and celebrate the better things in life.
Intimate cruising with the people you love to travel with, what’s not to love?
There’s a reason why Canada is known for its winters – they are gloriously crisp and icily beautiful. Pack your parka and merino wool layers to rediscover British Columbia, where sharp snow-capped Rocky Mountain peaks will always take your breath away.
Ice Cave Dining | Headline Mountain Holidays
Whistler may be famous for its unparalleled resort skiing and backcountry trails, but have you found its ice cave yet? Head into the backcountry – via helicopter, snowmachine, or snowcoach – to step into an otherworldly room of ethereal blue ice.
And how about a little fine dining in this pristine cave of rock and ice and snow? Headline Mountain Holidays customizes each ice-cap experience. Or do you like your ice used to chill Moet & Chandon instead? Spend après in the spa at Nita Lake Lodge, where its Champagne Nail Bar lets you chill out with a bottle of bubbly during your treatments.
Don your cutest pompom tuque and head to the outdoor hot tub: Soaking while surrounded by snow and ice is an experience like no other. Outdoor mineral hot springs are found throughout the Kootenay Rockies, and Canada’s largest is the famous, steamy Fairmont Hot Springs.
On Vancouver Island, drive up to Tofino, which is well known for its winter storm watching. Lean into the wind on Chesterman Beach and watch out for the spray from crashing and smashing 20-foot swells. Or keep an eye on things from the five-star shelter at the Wickaninnish Inn, uniquely placed with a front-row seat to the weather.
Luxury Cabins with Unparalleled Views
But if you want to escape into a true winter wonderland, book a five-star log cabin in the Chilcotin backcountry, where snow conditions are fantastically reliable from mid-December to mid-March. Snowshoe, Nordic ski, dog sled rides, heli, and cat skiing – guests get to choose their own adventure in the Cariboo mountains.
If surviving a pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that we don’t want to wait to see the world. But lots of travelers have had this revelation! Here’s our advice:
2 Years Out: Destinations for time-specific events such as Japan for its spring cherry blossoms or Rio de Janeiro for Carnival. More time is also needed for limited-capacity destinations, such as hiking Machu Picchu in Peru or gorilla tracking in Uganda.
1 Year Out: In the post-Covid travel landscape, a full year is ideal for safaris and cruises to ensure you get the safari camps and sailing itineraries you love, especially if you plan to travel during the high season or holidays. Booking a year in advance means you’ll also likely get the weeks you want at top heli-ski outfitters.
6-Months Out: Most beach and ski destinations don’t require as much time to lock down the best accommodations. But if your visit includes a must-see museum exhibit or show, book as soon as you can.
Visit your dream destination when you want to see it.
If you’ve used a travel advisor before, then you know all about how we surprise and delight our clients throughout their vacations. There’s that unexpected room upgrade, an impossible reservation at the most incredible restaurant… the list goes on. It’s what we do, and we do it well. Everyday.
But life happens. Hiccups happen. Delays and cancellations happen, and these road bumps can slow down even the most meticulously planned getaway. It sucks, but to be honest, that’s when our deep knowledge, years of experience, and travel industry connections really shine. If unforeseen events mean you need to tweak your itinerary on the fly – and fast - the travel advisor who booked your vacation is going to save your vacation, too. Using a travel advisor means they are there for you 24/7 – before, during, and after your trip.
Explore the world knowing that your travel advisor has got your back.
Conrad Punta De Mita Riviera Nayarit, Mexico • Stay 7 nights with discounted rate
• Roundtrip transportation
• $200usd food and beverages credit
Farmhouse Inn Sonoma, California • Exclusive California resident rate • $50 dining credit to FARMSTAND
Hotel Jerome Aspen, Colorado • Receive a $100 nightly resort credit when you book an Executive Suite or One Bedroom Suite to enjoy your choice of iconic dining, relaxing spa treatments, or signature cocktails.
La Cantera Resort & Spa San Antonio, Texas • Resort Accommodations
• One Round of Golf at the Palmer or Resort Course per Registered Adult per Night
• Signature La Cantera Golf Cap (1 per adult) Provided at Golf Check-In • Daily breakfast for two (up to $30 value per adult)
Madeline Hotel & Residences Telluride, Colorado • 4th night free
• For stays beginning May 26, 2021
• Blackout dates may apply and are subject to change
Nizuc Resort & Spa Cancun, Mexico • Includes a daily breakfast at our restaurant for up to two people per room
• Valid only during breakfast hours 7am-12pm
• Travel through December 19, 2021. Some restrictions may apply.
One&Only Cape Town Cape Town, South Africa • Exclusive accommodation rates
• 25% off food and beverage
• 10% off laundry services
• Complimentary 60min massage per person at the One&Only Spa every week
• Round airport transfers
One&Only Mandarina Riviera Nayarit, Mexico • Book 3 nights in one of our eco-designer Treehouses, Cliff Villas, and Villa Banderas, and stay the 4th night on us, with delicious daily breakfasts.
• For stays in the Ridge Treehouse, Ocean Treehouse, Cliff Villa, Ocean Cliff Villa, or Villa Banderas the offer includes:
• One complimentary night with our Stay 4, Pay 3 offer
• Complimentary Full American Breakfast, daily for two
• Minimum 4 nights
One&Only Palmilla Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Stay 21 nights
• Exclusive accommodation rates
• $500 weekly resort credit to be enjoyed at any of our F&B, Spa and Retail outlets
Royal Palms Resort & Spa Phoenix, Arizona • Stay 3 or more nights and save 15% off.
The Lodge at Blue Sky Park City, Utah • Receive a $100 per night resort credit to apply to an adventure, wellness or culinary experience
• Minimum 4-night stay
• May 1 - October 31, 2021
The Palms, Turks and Caicos Turks and Caicos Islands • Up to 40% off • This offer applies to all suite and penthouse categories. • Book now for stays until December 19, 2021. • Certain Restrictions apply.
The Shore Club at Turks & Caicos Turks and Caicos Islands • Save 25% on 4-, 5- and 6-bedroom oceanfront villas through December 21, 2021. • by June 30, 2021.
Vermejo, a Ted Turner Reserve Raton, New Mexico • Vermejo's 4 Peaks in 5 Days Tour
• July 10, 2021 - July 16, 2021
Waldorf Astoria Los Cabos Pedregal Cabo San Lucas, Mexico • Stay 3 nights and enjoy a complimentary fourth night • Full breakfast for two each morning in our signature restaurant Don Manuel's, two breakfasts per bedroom • Round trip airport transfers to and from San Jose del Cabo Airport (SJD), including a personal greeting by our airport host and escort to your private car (1 Luxury Vehicle for up to 5 people)
Hotel Esencia Tulum, Mexico
• 4 Nights length of stay: 15% off room rates
• 5 Nights length of stay: 20% off room rates
• 7 Nights length of stay: 22% off room rates
• 9 Nights length of stay: 25% off room rates
Contact your Departure Lounge Travel Advisor now to explore the best offers.