What has 4 legs and is a hotel, cruise ship or a country?
Answer: a horse running in the exclusive Virtuoso Derby!
Virtuoso, Specialists in the Art of Travel, is an understatement! Tuesday set a new record for Virtuoso creating extraordinary life experiences!
After a morning of breakout sessions for members and suppliers, we were taken to the Palermo Hippodrome, a racetrack in Buenos Aires for The Virtuoso Derby, a series of 3 races for the exclusive benefit of attendees at the 2013 Virtuoso International Symposium. The races were run strictly for our enjoyment and we were treated like royalty the entire time.
As we entered the Hippodrome, we were directed down a few steps to the grassy area that borders the perimeter of the race track. We were greeted by hostesses, dressed in vintage gowns and stylish hats, who handed each of us a program, a paper fan and paper umbrella. While we strolled around the area enjoying a variety of tasty passed hors d’oeuvres, we shaded ourselves with our umbrellas and watched the famous Argentine mounted police demonstrate their horsemanship skills.
Then the “serious” betting began. Race #1, The Sponsors Cup I, featured horses who had names such as A Walk in the Park Hyatt and Betting on Inprotur. We didn’t use dollars or pesos to bet, we bet via business cards. After scientific research such as liking the horse’s name, the way the horse looked, or the jockey’s colors, we chose what we hoped would be the winning horse by dropping a business card in a box whose number corresponded to the horse’s number. My scientific approach was to choose a venue I enjoyed, the Faena Hotel Buenos Aires, and I boldly placed my bet on The Fabulous Faena. My friend, Sam, actually picked the winner, “Mai10 Queen” so she was entered into the prize drawing for the first race.
After the first race, we transitioned from trackside to a sit-down luncheon in a glass-walled dining room overlooking the race track. As we dined we watched the horses parade by us for Race #2, The Sponsors Cup II. This was a hard call because I liked several of the horses. Should I pick Azamara's Advocate, HAL Double Dutch Treat, or Makin’ Great Travel Impressions? Decisions, decisions. Finally, something in the air caused me to lean towards Lovestruck by LATAM (I am not above cheap double entendres!). Alas, I lost again because the winner was Party Like an RCI Rock Star. Of course, we had a fabulous luncheon of rib-eye steak, so we all won in the dining category!
Race #3 was the final race, The Destination Derby. One of my table mates picked Pretty in Paris; another chose Something About Sydney; and I went with my heart, picking The Belle of Buenos Aires. Sadly, I was 0 for 3 because the winning horse was Bite of the Big Apple.
By the way, the prizes were excellent and I really wanted to win one: 7 iconic itineraries combining the Southern Cone Virtuoso properties (20 hotels plus Australis Cruise)and services of the Virtuoso On-Sites; a print from Bruggens Art Gallery; air tickets on Etihad Airways, on Virgin Atlantic Airways and on Delta Airlines. Lucky winners included Amanda Klimak of Largay Travel, Lynda Johnson of Cruises Etc. Travel LLC, Leslie Shaw of Travel Resource, Kevin Loveless of Global Travel, David Lowy of Renshaw Travel & Cruise Concepts, and Linda Munson of Rsoyal International Travel Service Inc, to name a few. Finally, it dawned on me. We all won because we had an unforgettable afternoon and are here in Buenos Aires, members and our vendor partners together, participating in yet another stellar Virtuoso event. I know I’d bet on Very Virtuoso, wouldn’t you?