In June of this year, the Cayuga Collection’s Kurà was accepted as a Preferred Partner into Virtuoso. We are very proud of this. Virtuoso connects the world’s premier travel consultants and some of the best hotels, resorts, and lodges of the world. They hold their annual event with an attendance of over 6,000 industry professionals in Las Vegas. Yes, Las Vegas.
We did 260 appointments in four days. Tough, but worth it. We were able to introduce our concept of merging sustainability with luxury to a curious and knowledgeable audience.
We were hoping that we would never have to visit “Sin City”, but our hand was forced – we had no choice but to fly in to participate in our first Travel Week event. Coming from Costa Rica and representing the Cayuga Collection, Las Vegas sets our souls on fire in all the wrong ways. We would be staying in one of the most “unsustainable” places on earth, and be trapped in excessive air conditioning, wasteful food events, constant noise and visual pollution, and stuffy smoky hotels. All of this without ever breathing fresh air or seeing the sky (it was 106 degrees Fahrenheit outside).
After Day Three, we were “shot”. Our bodies craved to get out into nature. So that’s exactly what we did. At 16:30, right after the last appointment, we ran to our rooms, changed into hiking clothes and drove out beyond the city limits of Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon Park. The temperature had dropped into the 80s. We hiked for a couple of hours and sat on a rock to watch the sun go down and the moon and stars come up. We looked hard but to our disappointment didn’t see a roadrunner bird. We did though see a young coyote, and hear… absolutely nothing. Just quiet.
We felt renewed when driving back into Las Vegas but it didn’t last long. Confronted again with our “reality” of mega-hotels and smoke-filled casinos, we were struck by all the artificialness, the noise and the expressions on the faces of most people walking by us. This environment cannot be healthy.
The meetings the following morning were fascinating. We felt full of energy and ready to take on Day Four. More than once we got asked by agents during the appointments why we were looking so happy and energized. When we showed them the pictures from our hike to Red Rock, they were envious and wanted to ‘sign up’ for next year. Nature heals. Nature makes you feel good. Our bodies and minds need to connect with nature.
The Cayuga Collection Sales Team taking a break in Red Rock Canyon Park. From left to right: Hans Pfister, Kirsten Gardener, Clark Kotula.
Will we be attending the Virtuoso event next year? Yes, of course, we’ll be there. It is a great event. But we will definitely go out to the mountains again after day three. The group might be bigger and maybe someday, there will be a way to hold some of the Virtuoso events in nature. A special thanks to Clark Kotula who made this outing possible, Kirsten for bringing beers and snacks and to Karl for buying us all Tacos after the hike. See you next year.
Note: We found that both Virtuoso, as well as MGM Resorts, are engaged in efforts to become more sustainable. We applaud those first small steps and hope that bigger and bolder moves will follow.
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