11.27.2020

complimentary breakfasts at luxury hotels

Breakfast prices can sometimes seem frightening when staying at luxury hotels. Pictured above is a page from the room service menu at one of my very favorite hotels, the Beverly Hills Hotel. Many guests would want to order the American breakfast — for instance, two eggs with sausage, toast and a pastry, a fruit plate, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and a Cappuccino. The price is $55 plus $3.75 pp for room service delivery, and 20% service. With sales tax, that's $75 per person. $150 for breakfast for two? That's too much!

Here's how to enjoy the same breakfast for free! Don't use the hotel's website, but reserve your stay through a Virtuoso travel advisor. He or she will book the Virtuoso rate (typically the same as the best available "regular" rate on the hotel's website). These are typical Virtuoso amenities at nearly 1500 luxury hotels and resorts around the world:

  • daily complimentary breakfast for two
  • an additional $100 hotel credit (usually for food & beverage or Spa services)
  • one category room upgrade at check-in if available

Virtuoso amenities are available at nearly 1,500 luxury hotels and resorts around the world. And even better than Virtuoso amenities are the preferred partner amenities a well-connected travel advisor can score for you at luxury chains. For instance, at the Beverly Hills Hotel (whose room service menu is pictured), my Diamond Club amenities will get you a confirmed upgrade at booking (up to the Jr. Suite category), a full breakfast in any venue including gratuities, and your $100 credit can come off the room rate room rate, if you wish.

You can check out Virtuoso amenities and book many Virtuoso hotels on virtuoso.com. Your Virtuoso travel advisor will be informed of your booking and will follow up by VIP'ing your stay with their contacts.

Click here to sign up for the Ourisman Travel Newsletter.


copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

11.24.2020

the perfect gift for a world traveler...

 


... who has everything!


A Medjet membership is a gift few people would think of. Imagine a traveler who has to be hospitalized while on safari in Africa ... or who suffers a life-threatening illness halfway around the world in Asia or Europe. A Medjet membership provides them with air medical transport all the way back to their hospital of choice in their home country — it's included with the membership. Here's how Medjet describes the benefit:

Regardless of medical necessity, if a member is hospitalized 150 miles or more from home, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of their choice within their home country with no pre-existing condition exclusions (under age 75), health questions, deductibles or claim forms. There are no monetary limits to the program's benefits and no restrictions on the amount or type of travel taken annually.

Put Medjet on your shopping list for Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday Sale — $50 off an Annual Individual Membership, $75 off an Annual Family Membership.

When can you take advantage? Only on Monday, 30NOV. The sale begins at 12:01 a.m. and extends until 11:59 p.m., Central Standard Time.

Limitations — The sale applies to NEW memberships only, is available online only, and excludes Diamond memberships (age 75-84).

To give Medjet as a gift, you'll need to know the full names and birthdays of the recipients, their home residence address, and the date you'd like the policy to take effect. Medjet can mail the Membership Cards to you so you can present them as gifts.

(P.S. — You can also take advantage of the sale for yourself and your family)

The Medjet website will ask, "How did you hear about Medjet?" Please write that you heard about it here, from David Ourisman of Brownell Travel.

Click here to sign up for the Ourisman Travel Newsletter.


copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.


11.12.2020

24 hours in New Zealand | amazing time lapse video

This video needs no words. It poignantly makes the point I've often stated — New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places in the world, especially the Queenstown area of the South Island. Just sit back and enjoy!

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copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

11.06.2020

Mauna Lani reopening tomorrow

Travel to Hawaii is back, and I'm happy to announce that the Mauna Lani will be reopening to guests tomorrow, Saturday, November 7th, after an extensive renovation of the entire property. I've seen photographs, and the new room product is light, bright, and wonderful. The Big Island is an incredible place to golf, explore varied landscapes ranging from volcanoes to rain forests, walk on a sandy beaches, or lounge by a resort pool with a cool drink in your hand.

Mauna Lani is offering an incredible promotion, the Virtuoso Mauna Lani Journey. With a minimum five night stay, the resort is offering guests a $1000 resort credit ($200 per night ... so 7 nights = $1400 credit, etc.). This is on top of the Virtuoso amenities which add these money-saving perks to your stay:

  • daily breakfast for two ($80 value)
  • $100 resort credit
  • one category upgrade if available

What about Covid pre-testing? Mauna Lani is collaborating with Vault Health to provide you with a safe, fast, and easy testing experience in the privacy of your own home.

Team Ourisman is here to help you plan your next trip to Hawaii. Click here to email us!


Click here to sign up for the Ourisman Travel Newsletter.


copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

11.01.2020

planning a cross-country road trip

 


I reported the news in my last post that we are moving from Berkeley, CA to Asheville, NC. Claire and I will be driving cross-country, visiting some places both old and new to us along the way. Here's our tentative itinerary. I'd love to hear your suggestions about places to visit or site inspections to make during our journey — message me on Facebook.

Beverly Hills, California — We begin with a drive down the coast to Los Angeles where we'll spend a couple of days with my daughter who lives there — Virtuoso hotels in LA and Beverly Hills.

Sedona, Arizona — Famous for its red rocks, I think I may previously been near Sedona, but I've never spent any time there. I see this as a great opportunity for some landscape photography — Virtuoso hotels in Sedona.

Santa Fe, New Mexico — I actually spent a month here during the summer of 1991. A very interesting small town with wonderful Native American art and culture and great Mexican cuisine — Virtuoso hotels in Santa Fe.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — It will be a long slog across the Texas panhandle into Oklahoma, a state I've never before visited. I'm thinking of staying at the 21c Museum Hotel en route.

Little Rock, Arkansas — Another state I've never visited, we're interesting in seeing the Clinton Library. The Capital, the Virtuoso hotel in Little Rock, is apparently closed for renovations, so we'll stay at the DoubleTree.

Nashville, Tennessee — I've never been to Nashville, the home of the Grand Ole Opry. We may stay at one of the Virtuoso hotels in Nashville or possibly The Joseph, a Luxury Collection property.

Asheville, North Carolina — Our new home in this beautiful city surrounded by mountains, Asheville has been called the Berkeley of the East. 

Click here to sign up for the Ourisman Travel Newsletter.


copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

10.23.2020

from the Berkeley Hills to the Blue Ridge Parkway

view from the Blue Ridge Parkway (c) 2020 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

Both an exciting and a sad announcement, I've lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 28 years. I moved here in 1992 to pursue a Ph.D. at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, earning my doctorate in 1997. After devoting more than a decade to academia, I decided to pursue another one of my passions. In 2006, literally on my 55th birthday, I began a new adventure, a travel business. Here in Berkeley I built my business, and Team Ourisman has expanded over the years to (currently) a team of four, each of us working remotely from our own home offices in Maryland, Arkansas, and California.

And now Claire and I are moving to North Carolina. The Bay Area has grown more crowded in the decades that I've lived here. Traffic is getting worse. And the climate ... well, it's become perceptibly warmer and drier. I used to wear sweatshirts all year round; I've worn short sleeves every day this summer. It used to rain a LOT in the winter, packing the Sierras with snow, but we're living with droughts. Climate change is most assuredly real, and California has been impacted severely by firestorms. Starting earlier and lasting longer, they have burned more acres each and every year. Our air during firestorms becomes so unhealthy that we can't go for our daily walks in our beloved Tilden Park. So we've decided to move ... and it will happen sometime around the end of November.

Asheville, NC will become our new home and the new home office of Ourisman Travel. Absolutely nothing will change for our clients ... the same email and phone numbers will work as before. Because we have been working remotely with a virtual Team Office for a decade now, it's second nature for us to work as a team while socially distanced. So besides the fact that I'll be packing, moving, and unpacking, it will still be business as usual. My Team will cover for me when I need the help!

What will change are the views. Instead of the Berkeley Hills and their beautiful vistas of San Francisco Bay, we will now delight in beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The forests surrounding the Parkway are administered by the National Park Service, and they literally begin in our new back yard. It will be just a half mile hike up the hill to the parkway itself, and I'm looking forward to some sunrise photography once I learn the best spots.

It's so very sad to leave so many wonderful friends behind, especially Epworth United Methodist Church that has been my family and spiritual community for 28 years. But we'll all be able to stay connected through Travel Horizons and Facebook. Send me a friend request to follow along in all our new adventures.

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copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.

10.15.2020

stunning new private residences in Costa Rica

 


Imagine the sunsets you'll watch from your own private residence overlooking Prieta Bay at Four Seasons Costa Rica. Ranging from 3 to 5 bedrooms, each residence affords panoramic views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The spacious villas range in size from 5626-8687 square feet with expansive glass walls to let the outside in. Each comes with a private infinity pool and hot tub and is equipped with a gourmet European kitchen. Four Seasons can provide a chef to prepare special family meals in the privacy of your own home.

US citizens are welcome back to Costa Rica on November 1st, 2020, and Four Seasons will reopen on November 12th. An ecological treasure with incredibly diverse fauna and flora, Costa Rica is one of my favorite destinations in the world. My personal highlight was hiking the rainforests on raised wooden trails with Hector (pictured below) pointing out the many marvels right in front of me that I would never have spotted on my own.

Hector, our unforgettable guide in Costa Rica (c) 2020 by David Ourisman, all rights reserved

As a Four Seasons Preferred Partner guest, you'll enjoy generous value-added amenities, bringing you hundreds of dollars in savings through complimentary breakfasts and other hotel credits. We are restricted from posting publicly the precise amenity list, but just drop us an email. Any member of Team Ourisman can tell you about the special savings you'll receive at Four Seasons Costa Rica ... or any Four Seasons in the world — and, by the way, this is all at the same price you'd pay booking yourself online.

Click here to sign up for the Ourisman Travel Newsletter.


copyright (c) 2020 by Ourisman Travel LLC.  All rights reserved. We provide Virtuoso and other Preferred Partner amenities as an affiliate of Brownell, a Virtuoso® Member.