luxury travel

New York City - Being a Part of it....Family Style

I don’t like taking my kids out of school. Actually, I should clarify. I don’t mind taking my kids out of school. I mind the make-up work. Ugh. I think make-up work is the literal interpretation of the phrase “this hurts me more than it hurts you.” It is brutal. So, if I am going to take my kids out of school, they are going to learn gosh darn it! This was the approach I took when planning our first trip to NYC as a family. My kids are 5, 8 and 10.  And I don’t know who was more excited about this trip, my kids or me. What I can tell you is that we all had an absolute blast!

Manhattan has so many fabulous hotels that are perfect for families. We chose to stay in midtown for its convenient location.  Our hotel was one of my Virtuoso partners, so we were welcomed to our rooms with a bottle of wine and macaroons.  Free breakfast and a $100 hotel credit were additional Virtuoso perks.

For four days we hit it hard: “Aladdin” and “School of Rock,” the Statue of Liberty, a PBS taping of “Science Goes to the Movies” where my kids got a private audience with astronaut Mike Massimino (an out of this world experience – pun intended), MoMA, the M&M store (rite of passage), a Tenement tour (cannot recommend enough) and through one of my partners, private tours of the 9/11 Memorial and the Natural History Museum.  In addition to the fabulous restaurants and playing in the snow in Central Park, I also got to hug the neck of one of my oldest and dearest friends, and my kids met their second cousins for the first time.

This trip was one for our family books. We will all remember it forever.  And the greatest thing about can never see it all. By using the right travel advisor (hint hint), you can enhance your trip in more ways than you can imagine.  You can see museums and monuments in a more exclusive, more educational and more time efficient manner. You can get reservations at the right restaurants without having to do tons of research on your own. You can have an itinerary prepared for you - one where you won’t be criss-crossing Manhattan in an inefficient manner or being too early or too late for your next adventure. You can have expert guidance as to the best Broadway shows, the coolest tours (I am talking to you Greenwich food tour) and the best places to stay….and get extra perks to sweeten the pot.

But, the best part of using a travel advisor is the convenience. In the theme of Aladdin (a show that you must see if you are taking a family trip to NYC),  your travel advisor is like your genie. The only difference is that your “wishes” are limitless.

Why my Virtuoso affiliation is "kind of a big deal".

Virtuoso, Virtuoso, Virtuoso (best said it in the manner of the Brady Brunch refrain “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”). If you are not familiar with Virtuoso, you are probably wondering why I keep mentioning it…over and over and over and over. Well, Virtuoso is only an exclusive network of the best travel professionals from around the world. Virtuoso represents the best of the best in travel, with a portfolio of nearly 2,000 preferred partners - top hotels, cruise lines, tour operators, and more.  

It is a total humble brag to say that, through my affiliation with Brownell Travel, I am a Virtuoso advisor. “That all sounds lovely, Amanda. But what does it mean for me, the client?” you ask. Great question. By using a Virtuoso advisor, you instantly become a VIP and are treated to a superior travel experience. Let's say you are staying at the Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley - and you totally should. Because of my relationship with Virtuoso, you can receive: a $100 resort credit which you can use at their award winning spa or Michelin-star restaurant; a Mudslide spa treatment; a bottle of house Napa Cabernet wine; and a departure gift. Not too shabby, eh?

Virtuoso advisors are able to provide you with everything from enhanced hotel stays, with valuable added services, access to highly sought after special events, "after hours" viewings at private museums, to a tour tailored to fit your personal desires. This means that YOU can have a personally customized and totally unique travel experience. 

You can find my Virtuoso Profile here. Contact Amanda Watkins Travel to start planning your exclusive “Virtuoso” travel arrangements today.