I recently had the opportunity to return home to my native country ‘Scotland’ to spend my first Christmas in 15 years with my family, and I took my American boyfriend who had never been to Europe. On this journey I was able to stop off at one of my favorite cities, and a place I used to call home as well–Amsterdam. It was an honor to get to stay at one of the Virtuoso Properties ‘The Grand Amsterdam’ for 3 nights and it did not disappoint… far from it.
This boutique hotel in the heart of Amsterdam was warm, friendly and very elegant. The service I received was exceptional yet not intrusive. I was surprised to see how much the city had changed in my absence–and for the better I may add. It’s a very bustling city with lots going on but the standards of hotels, fine restaurants and entertainment available is on a higher level. The Dutch have accepted more western traditions and cater more for tourists today.
The other 2 Virtuoso Properties ‘The Pulitzer’ and ‘Hotel D’Europe’ where I experienced dinner and lunch with the management was divine and I could not fault them. They are different and unique in their own way but with outstanding service. I was truly impressed by the hospitality I experienced and saw on a whole and cannot wait to recommend this exciting destination to future clients.
It was also a walk down memory lane and reunion with friends I hadn’t seen in almost 12 years. Yet with us, it was like it was yesterday. I learned that real friendship never dies and travelling keeps us young.
After leaving Holland we made our way back to my home Glasgow. Glasgow is the biggest city in Scotland and was rebranded as ‘Scotland with Style’; and is a bustling, vibrant city. There is a wide variety of cinemas, clubs, bars and restaurants to choose from and more than thirty-five museums and galleries to visit.
During this stay I was invited to St Andrews to have lunch at the ‘Old Course Hotel and Spa’ overlooking the Old course where very cold golfers were trying their luck at a game of golf. The table we had would be perfect for that honeymoon couple wanting a romantic dinner with amazing views of the course and the ocean. In addition for those whisky lovers, the bar offers over 260 different types of Scotch to try; they also host many tastings as well.
The lodgings are tastefully decorated with something to suit everyone and the spa is the only Kohler Spa outside the USA. My boyfriend was intrigued by the small towns and villages in Scotland and loved hearing us talk even if it meant just nodding at us from time to time pretending to understand.
Christmas in Scotland is very festive and it’s the one time where families come together and put aside their differences to be thankful for each other. I felt blessed to be able to spend that time at home and although we may not all be perfect, we love each other and valued every moment we had during that time. It’s never long enough and I already needed a vacation from a vacation upon returning home.
In closing…. Europe continues to impress me and I never get bored of the diversity and uniqueness of each country and the most wonderful thing about travelling with a first timer is….. It’s like I get see it all again for the first time too so it never gets old no matter how many times I return. Plenty of good info for my clients!
Nikki Smith works in a Boise based brick and mortar agency, Global Travel, a Virtuoso Agency. Nikki got her start in her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland when she started in the industry as a flight attendant. She has also worked as a guide for ski and snow vacations worldwide.