There was a time not long ago when I traveled as a regular tourist. By that I mean I would decide on a destination, buy a travel guide book and start to research hotels, tours and activities within my price range.
Those days are gone. Today, I travel with VIP status.
Take my last trip to Ireland. Instead of picking up a travel guide and calling around for hotel reservations, I sent a single e-mail to Ireland’s tourist board.
I told them about my “A-List Priority Pass” (you can learn about it here) and voila…they took care of my trip for me.
All I had to do was tell them the parts of Ireland I wanted to visit, the type of accommodation I preferred and how long I wanted to stay for. Within a couple of weeks they sent me back an itinerary complete with hotel reservations, private tour arrangements and even dinner reservations.
All free of charge.
One of my planned stop-offs was Belfast. Reservations were made at the landmark Malmaison—a sexy, stylish, boutique city center hotel in what was formerly an old seed warehouse. The hotel proved to be a beautiful blend of the old and the new—just like Belfast City.
When I arrived at check-in, the desk clerk had a welcome pack waiting for me. It included a welcome message from the hotel manager who offered to escort me on a tour of the property after I settled into my room—an exquisite superior king complete with a complimentary bottle of wine.
Dinner reservations for the evening were at Ginger Bistro—an award winning, quirky restaurant with a bohemian flare. But I wouldn’t be dining alone—because the tourist board had booked everything for two so that I could bring along my boyfriend.
While visiting the sights of Belfast, we toured with a private guide in his very cool black taxicab— so no crowded bus tours filled with tourists.
In the gorgeous seaside town of Dingle, our reservations were at the Dingle Skellig Hotel—considered one of the finest hotels in the West of Ireland—perched on the most westerly peninsula in Europe. Again, there was a bottle of wine waiting in our room. That evening, the hotel manager took us out on the town to hear the local music and to down a few pints.
In the capital, Dublin, our accommodations were at the Central Hotel—smack bang in the heart of the city. Our room came with a marble tub almost as large as my New York City apartment.
One of our day trips in the city was to the famous Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery. When the guide chose six participants to be whiskey tasters for the group, we were called to the front of the queue.
This is how it works when you’ve got an “A-List Priority Pass.”
Your room will always be the hotel’s best. Your meals will be at the most popular restaurants. Your tour guide will always go that extra mile…and little extras like bottles of wine appear everywhere.
Next month I will be visiting Norway. It was recently named the “happiest country in the world” by Forbes magazine. I’m quite sure I’ll be happy while I’m in town…especially when everything I want will arrive without a bill.
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