Opulence… I haz it.
(If you haven’t seen that Direct TV commercial, YouTube it.)
Whenever I attend Virtuoso events, like the one I’m at right now, I’m reminded of what a class-act this network is. Michael, Ramona, Francis, and I are at the Ritz Carlton Buckhead for the Southeast Regional Conference and let me tell you, the cheesy title of this post is an understatement.
I arrived with little under an hour to get ready for the Abercrombie & Kent Destination Showcase, our first of three cocktail parties. The event highlighted India, Morocco, and Europe – it was fascinating. When it comes to tour operators, A&K is top notch. They’re the type of company that will greet passengers at the airport terminal and whisk them through customs and into their Mercedes S Class chauffeur, who will arrange for a private stay in the deserts of Morocco, and who will provide a trip full of long-lasting memories and stress-free travel arrangements. It’s all about connections and expertise, and those are trademark qualities of A&K.
After this informative meeting, we head over to the Ritz Road Show, an elaborate cocktail party that, quality-wise, is on par with Travel Mart. Key representatives from Ritz Carlton properties from all over the world have set up a mixer that includes an Estée Lauder make-up salon, Neiman Marcus fashion show, and exhibits from their top chefs. Now, some of the female agents were really into the first couple of items on that list, but I was all over the food.
My family gives me a hard time about my odd taste buds. I’ll try anything once and usually wind up liking unique pairings. Tonight, I tasted crab and apple salad, lobster topped with avocado sorbet, beef brisket tacos with sautéed greens, and pan-seared sea scallops over tomato grits…. and it was all delicioso! I finished my taste test with a ton of different dessert samplers, but the best of the night was a molten chipotle chocolate cake. I definitely didn’t need dinner after a cocktail party that elaborate.
Finally, after none of us won any of the free Ritz giveaways (we never do!), we swung by the Virtuoso-hosted reception, an intimate event nestled in a dimly lit wood-paneled room. It was the perfect end to the night – we found a little table, rested our feet, chatted about the day and about the business, and called it a night.