According to new research by Virtuoso, a leading global travel agency network that specialises in luxury and experiential travel, it looks like a lot of journeys, with a survey of Virtuoso’s travel advisors revealing that 70% of their Australian clients plan to take between 2-3 trips next year.
“Nothing motivates humans more than having something taken away that they took for granted,” says Virtuoso Chairman and CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, adding this year taught us that when the travel door does re-open, nothing bursts a good travel bubble faster than missing out on securing our favourite travel experiences in the first place.
With that in mind, Virtuoso’s survey showed that 44% were hoping to travel somewhere this year and 61% for next.
Virtuoso advisors noticed that the one currency that is unanimously valued now more than most is flexibility, with the desire to book holidays with low financial risk at the top of the list.
To combat this, Virtuoso’s experienced Australian advisors and the company’s SVP of Global Operations, MICHAEL LONDREGEN, have put together a guide of 10 risk-free, fabulously flexible luxury holiday experiences for 2022.
James Wilkinson checks in to Raffles Singapore in Episode 21 of Series 02 of Wayfarer
A trip down memory lane for some, perhaps, but now is a great time to book the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore. Two reasons: the green lane from Australia to Singapore is on the cards as the first to open, and secondly, there will be no seats left at the bar when the rest of the world finds out just how beautiful the stunning and newly reimagined Raffles Singapore is. The cancellation fees won’t kick in till 72 hours before you arrive, when payment is due, which totally takes the sting out of the booking tail. Plus, you’ll receive exclusive benefits including a room upgrade on arrival (subject to availability), complimentary a-la-carte breakfast for two, and a US$100 hotel credit to experience the Michelin award-winning cuisine of Alain Ducasse. Oh, and a free Singapore Sling in the Long Bar. Enjoy.
Oh Hawaii, how we have missed you. The stunning Halekulani set on the shores of Waikiki is reopening after an extensive transformation on October 1st, just in time to embark on its second century of delivering new holiday memories to an audience of devotees. This is a favourite hotel of many luxury travellers from Australia, and it will be challenging to get a room. Booking now so you don’t miss out, and with a very flexible cancellation policy up to 24-hours before check-in, you’ve covered all your bases. Other nice perks only available from Virtuoso include a room upgrade, breakfast, $100USD resort credit, early check-in and complimentary WiFi.
Under Silversea’s very generous Covid safe policy, double-vaccinated luxury cruise loving Australians could be jetting off to Rome sooner than we think. Subject to Australia’s borders reopening as anticipated later this year, you could spend 11 days sailing from Rome on April 14th, 2022, on the beautiful all-inclusive Silver Spirit, from AU$9440 pp twin share including return air from Australia. If Silversea cancels your cruise for any reason, you’ll be entitled to a full refund or cruise credit and if you are prevented from travelling to the ship because of a continued lockdown or border closure here or there, then you will also be entitled to a full refund or optional Future Cruise Credit. Your call. When you book through Virtuoso, you’ll also be entitled to special Silversea perks, but hurry, as cruise cabins are filling fast.
Departing later in the year on September 3, 2022, another excellent small-ship luxury option for the Australian cruise aficionado is Seabourn’s 14-day Baltic Gems and the Low Countries. With three days in St Petersburg and two days in Amsterdam, this gorgeous cruise, sailing on Seabourn Ovation, is fully refundable prior to May 5th, 2022. Standard penalties apply after this time. That’s plenty of time to decide if this is the cruise for you but knowing how popular Seabourn Cruises we strongly recommend you book now. Australian’s will receive a $1,000 per suite exclusive shipboard credit and a 10 percent early payment discount if fully paid by September 30th.
More talk of travel bubbles has us salivating at the thought of getting back to beautiful Fiji. And with a culture of kindness and a gentle breeze, there’s no better place to rest, rejuvenate, and reinvest in our relationships. Kokomo Island is the place to go. In the know, Virtuoso advisors are offering no deposit bookings for Kokomo if they’re made at any time before the announcement of borders reopening between Australia and Fiji. Then, a 20 percent deposit is due on your holiday once borders reopen, and full prepayment is due just 30 days before you arrive. What’s more, if you can’t travel, then unlimited amendments to your travel dates are possible, and any cancellations will be held as a resort credit until you can travel.
If you’ve been dreaming about beautiful Tuscany whilst in lockdown, then you wouldn’t be alone. With a risk-free booking at dreamy Como Castello del Nero, an easy drive from Florence or Siena, it’s time to turn those dreams into reality. Set in wide-open spaces, this 12th-century castle is layered with Renaissance frescoes yet offers a contemporary design, Michelin dining experiences and wellness therapies from the renowned COMO Shambhala retreat. Cancellation policies at this fabulous hotel don’t kick in until 4 days before check-in.
Imagine sailing one of the most picturesque rivers of Europe with just 120 guests in your own private travel bubble for 16-days next September from Budapest to Amsterdam. A chance to indulge your passion for art, architecture, music, and history aboard your very own floating boutique hotel. Turn this dream into a reality today with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Book all-inclusive luxury for September 2022, with no cancellation penalties until May 2022. Your Virtuoso advisor will help you choose the right cruise for you plus organise an exclusive AU$260 per person onboard ship credit.
Taste the good life with Captains Choice on this incredible 10-day private jet journey of New Zealand in April 2022. Visit some of the world’s most beautiful luxury lodges in landscapes befitting their locations, with unrivalled amenities and experiences. Stopover at historic Norfolk Island on the way back to Australia. And do it all, knowing that should Captains Choice not operate the tour due to government restrictions, then a full refund will be provided. The final payment is due just 90 days before departure.
Something closer to home if you’re not quite ready to take the plunge offshore. Pack your bags in preparation to be wowed at Lizard Island Lodge, Australia’s most northern resort right on the Great Barrier Reef. Just an hour’s flight from Cairns, this fabulous luxury lodge has you covered if they, or you, find yourself in yet another government- imposed hotspot. When you book through a Virtuoso travel advisor, you’ll be covered for rebooking without penalty, or a refund, if you prefer.
And finally, for those that just need to ease back into travel, why not book the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney and indulge yourself in the ultimate Sydney experience? With the best harbour views in Sydney, the hotel’s location is close to iconic Sydney experiences such as the historic Rocks Area, local markets at the weekend, lazy strolls through the Botanical Gardens, or a private sail on the harbour. Book two nights, and Virtuoso will organise the third night free of charge, also upping the ante with daily breakfast, a US$100 per room credit, an upgrade and comp WiFi. The best part? Cancellation policies don’t kick in until 6.00pm the night before check-in.