I often say when you work with Nine Muses Travel, you gain a whole travel squad. Behind me are professional relationships and connections I've spent many years building and nurturing, and my affiliations with Gifted Travel Network and Virtuoso add a wealth of benefits for my clients. One of my favorite set of perks and amenities for you is when you book a Belmond property, train, or luxury French canal barge because I have access to their premium Bellini Club which offers VIP treatment, flexible resort credits, a-la-carte breakfasts, complimentary upgrade at check-in based on availability, complimentary Wi-Fi, gift vouchers of $500, and other special treats that you cannot arrange on your own.
Belmond's uniquely elegant properties, trains, and French canal barges are all destinations themselves. When I saw this article last week, I just had to share it with you. It's FULL of cultural events, special access, and divine travel ideas to inspire you all Summer and Fall through Europe. I was privileged to be an invited guest four years ago aboard the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express from Venice to France, connecting to their British Pullman train all the way into London Victoria station. What an unforgettable train journey! How many of these experiences below will you find yourself drooling over, like me? Let's book as many as you like - with Bellini Club perks!
Excerpt below from 5/27/2021 Insider Travel Report article by Greg Shillinglaw.
This summer and fall Belmond is launching a series of new experiences across Europe with exclusive access to cultural institutions in places like Venice and countryside train rides with five-course meals curated by Michelin-starred chefs. The luxury travel company, which is currently reopening its European properties, said the newly announced offers span land, rail, and river with Belmond-only access at select sites, private tours of wineries, and expert-led weekend retreats.
From the mountaintops of Ravello and the islands of Venice to the canals of France, the experiences are spread across the company's network of seventeen hotels, trains, and river cruises on the continent. They start this summer in June and continue well into fall. Here's a preview....
JUNE & JULY OFFERINGS
Guests at the recently renovated 14-room Splendido Mare in Portofino have the opportunity to take to the seas with former Olympic and America's Cup sailor Mauro Pelaschier. The two-day offer (June 18-20) includes a three-hour sailing experience with Pelaschier exploring local marine parks and learning about sustainable sailing practices. Back on land, travelers return to the hotel for a bespoke cookery class at the new restaurant, DaV Mare.
On June 21, Belmond's historic train, the 1920s Art Deco Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, begins its 2021 season with one-night journeys to Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Rome and Florence. The sleeper train will introduce three additional Grand Suites, each featuring private bathrooms with showers, double beds, and a living area with underfloor heating. Other amenities include a personal steward, in-suite dining, private transfers to and from the train and plenty of champagne.
On June 24-27, Belmond will host Nicolás Almagro, former Spanish tennis star and winner of 13 singles titles, during a small-group retreat at La Residencia in Mallorca. The experience includes one-on-one lessons as well as a tennis clinic. Travelers also receive tickets to an exhibition game with Almagro and the opportunity to dine with him at a celebration dinner on the final night.
At Villa San Michele, a small luxury hotel near Florence, travelers are encouraged to take tours in a vintage Fiat 1100 Musone for behind-the-scenes access to the local ateliers and artisans shaping Florence’s New Renaissance. From jewelry and shoes to crystalware and perfumery, each artisan will share how they preserve and fuse traditional craftsmanship with contemporary styles and materials. The experience wraps up with “The Art of Packing” workshop at Louis Vuitton.
Back on the rails, Belmond is hosting five-course dinner experiences curated by Michelin-starred chefs onboard its British Pullman train. The cooking gets started July 16 with one of the U.K.’s most talked about chefs, Ollie Dabbous. Riders will head from London Victoria Station through the English countryside during a day trip replete with a tasting menu and selected pairings from the Mayfair wine emporium, Hedonism Wines. Rates start at $715 per person.
August & September Experiences
Belmond likes to call its fleet of seven barges in France floating villages. And this summer, guests can privately charter the company’s barges, which offer custom itineraries along the canals with stops for bicycle rides, wine tastings, and hot air balloon excursions. Starting Aug. 28, a new vintage champagne tour will also be available for six-night itineraries. Travelers can experience the best of the bubbly with exclusive access to the region’s leading vineyards, Maison Ruinart, Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, and Krug.
In September, the third annual “Art of Flavors” gastronomy festival is happening at Reid’s Palace on the island of Madeira. There will be a series of dining experiences (Sept. 9-12) with seven fellow Michelin-star chefs, as well as a gala dinner. Chef Luis Pestana of the hotel’s Michelin-starred William Restaurant is also leading guests to Fajã dos Padres by cable car to share island secrets on cultivating sweet fruits and vegetables. That will be followed by an alfresco lunch with freshly caught fish.
Back in Italy at Belmond’s Villa Sant’Andrea, travelers also have the option of hopping aboard the historic Circumetnea steam train to Mount Etna for private vineyard tours to taste rare vintages and local delicacies. Lunch is prepared by Le Mamme del Borgo members, a group of local women honoring traditional Sicilian recipes passed down through generations. For those seeking a more intensive retreat, wine consultant and master Tom Harrow will lead a three-day experience starting Sept. 30.
October & November Vacations
Belmond’s Caruso on the Amalfi Coast is partnering with a local master jeweler for a goldsmith workshop where travelers learn about the ancient Roman and Greek techniques, such as granulation and lost-wax casting. Guests then try their hand at crafting their own works of art. This three-night retreat is happening Oct. 14-17 and will also feature exclusive access to the Oplontis archeological site with a private viewing of the collection of gold jewelry. Belmond says that throughout the season, guests of the hotel will enjoy exclusive access to Oplontis as well as the new excavation sites at UNESCO World Heritage Pompeii and the 2,000-year-old theater at Herculaneum.
There’s also a three-day retreat planned for Oct. 28-31 at Splendido in Portofino, which will explore the destination’s storied history with jeans, dating back to the 15th century in the shipyards of Genoa. Following a tour of Museu Diocesano with the museum curator to see what is considered to be the ancestor of modern day jeans, designers-in-training will join a series of workshops back at the hotel to create their own custom collection.
Partnering with Marchesi Antinori, one of Italy’s most renowned wineries dating back to 1385, Castello di Casole in Tuscany is also hosting a three-day escape in the countryside led by wine expert Harrow. That means special-access tours of Tenuta Tignanello estate and Tenuta Guado al Tasso, where travelers will taste some of the most sought-after wines.
Finally in November, Belmond’s Cipriani in Venice is celebrating 1,600 years of Venetian history. The hotel will introduce a three-day course (Nov. 11-14) exploring the ancient disciplines that traveled along the Silk Road. This includes a masterclass on Kintsugi, the delicate art of fixing ceramics with gold, and traditional silk print workshops. Guests of the hotel will also have access to behind-the-scenes tours of the city’s libraries and archives throughout the season. During tours of the Fondazione Cini Library and the 13th century Library San Francesco della Vigna, rare books and preserved manuscripts will be on display exclusively for Belmond guests.
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