Photo credit VIRTUOSO LIFE
Virtuoso® is the industry’s leading luxury travel network. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 340 agencies with more than 8,900 elite travel specialists in 20 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as over 1,700 of the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations. The network’s member agencies generate over $12.5 billion annually in travel sales, making the group the most powerful in the luxury travel segment. Their relationships with the finest travel companies provide the network’s affluent clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access.
An award-winning upscale travel and lifestyle magazine, VIRTUOSO LIFE is the face of Virtuoso. Distributed to the top clients of Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisors, it reinforces their relationship through cutting-edge personalization and one-on-one messaging. VIRTUOSO LIFE artfully depicts highly customized luxury travel experiences enhanced by Virtuoso-exclusive products, access and amenities.
Virtuoso®, the leading international luxury travel agency network, has announced the nominees for its prestigious Best of the Best Awards, recognizing the industry’s top properties as well as the hoteliers who elevate them to greatness. The network’s famed Hotels & Resorts Program consists of more than 1,025 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in 100 countries, cementing its reputation as an industry powerhouse and trusted source. Every year, the awards recognize the hotels that best exemplify Virtuoso’s commitment to delivering exceptional experiences in travel.
The nominees represent the highest standards in their given category and only 50 properties are under consideration for the awards. The status and strength of the collection only enhances the level of competition, reinforcing the outstanding achievements of the 2014 nominees (see below for a full list).
“For more than 20 years, Virtuoso has carefully curated a portfolio of the most desired properties worldwide to serve both the advisors and travelers who look to us for guidance on hotel excellence,” says Albert Herrera, senior vice president of Global Product Partnerships. “Every year we strive to identify the most exceptional examples in each category, highlighting these magnificent properties as well as some of the most respected hoteliers in the industry as the best of the best.”
Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine, the network’s exclusive award-winning publication, reviewed numerous submissions and researched hundreds of properties to select the nominees. Winners will be revealed at the Hotels & Resorts dinner August 13, held during the 26th annual Virtuoso Travel Week conference. Taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, August 10-15, Virtuoso Travel Week brings together thousands of Virtuoso’s member travel advisors – considered the leaders in creating luxury experiences – and the world’s best travel providers to participate in the industry’s preeminent event. Virtuoso’s travel advisors lend their experience and often firsthand accounts to the voting process, as they determine the winners for each category. VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine will feature the Best of the Best winners in its September/October 2014 issue. For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.
Hotel of the Year
Recognizes a hotel that continually epitomizes excellence in the categories of design, ambience, service, food and beverage, spa, family programs, innovation and social responsibility.
- The Dolder Grand – Zurich, Switzerland
- The Kahala Hotel & Resort – Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
- Rosewood London – London, England
- Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris – Paris, France
- Taj Falaknuma Palace – Hyderabad, India
One to Watch – Recognizes an exciting new property that elevates the hospitality experience, either in an emerging destination or an established tourism market.
- Baccarat New York – New York, New York, United States
- Belmond Governor’s Residence – Yangon, Myanmar
- The Lanesborough, A St. Regis Hotel – London, England
- Park Hyatt New York – New York, New York, United States
- Peninsula Hotel Paris – Paris, France
Most Innovative Guest Experience – Recognizes a hotel that continually raises the bar by featuring clever and meaningful guest experiences that move the industry forward.
- Royal Yachting Association Courses, Carlisle Bay – St. Mary’s, Antigua
- Underwater Sculpture Garden and Coral Reef Snorkeling, Emirates Palace – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Island Culture, Heritage and History Experiences, Fogo Island Inn – Newfoundland, Canada
- Four Season Extraordinary Experiences, Four Seasons Hotel Georges V – Paris, France
- Desert Experiences, Qasr al Sarab Desert Resort – Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates
Best Achievement in Design – Recognizes the significance of outstanding architecture and design for a hotel or component therein, whether in new construction, renovation or historic restoration.
- Aman Canal Grande – Venice, Italy
- Andaz Maui at Wailea – Maui, Hawaii, United States
- Hotel d’Angleterre – Copenhagen, Denmark
- Four Seasons Hotel Lion Palace – St. Petersburg, Russia
- Portrait Firenze – Florence, Italy
Best Culinary Experience – Recognizes the hotel restaurant that offers exemplary food, service, ambience, wine list and even views.
- Fasano, Fasano Hotel Sao Paulo – Sao Paulo, Brazil
- L’Abeille, Shangri-La Paris – Paris, France
- Le Marocain, La Mamounia – Marrakech, Morocco
- Restaurant Marques de Riscal, Hotel Marques de Riscal, A Luxury Collection Hotel – Elciego, Spain
- Moment, Mandarin Oriental Barcelona – Barcelona, Spain
Best Bar – Recognizes the hotel bar that offers a lively, convivial and entertaining social meeting spot where innovative drinks and an enticing atmosphere create a “must see and be seen” buzz.
- Lobby Lounge, Shangri-La Hotel Toronto – Toronto, Canada
- King Cole Bar, The St. Regis New York – New York, New York, United States
- Lantern Bar, The Fullerton Bay Hotel – Singapore
- New York Bar, Park Hyatt Tokyo – Tokyo, Japan
- Water Bar, BLUE Sydney, A Taj Hotel – Sydney, Australia
Best Family Program – Recognizing the family friendly environment, this award acknowledges special programs and activities for children of all ages, from creative activities to educational endeavors and active adventures.
- “The Kid’s Club,” Marbella Club Hotel – Golf, Resort & Spa – Marbella, Spain
- The Peninsula Academy’s “Princess-for-a-Day,” Peninsula Hotel Chicago – Chicago, Illinois, United States
- “The Pinocchio Experience,” Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy – Florence, Italy
- “Princesses and Princes” Trianon Mini Club, Trianon Palace – A Waldorf Astoria Hotel – Versailles, France
- “Young Entrepreneurs SoHo,” Trump SoHo – New York, New York, United States
Best Spa – Recognizes the hotel spa that offers the most alluring environment for rest and rejuvenation, creative and therapeutic treatments, and highly skilled and knowledgeable therapists.
- The Bulgari Spa, Bulgari Hotel & Residences – London, England
- The Datai Spa, The Datai Langkawi – Langkawi, Malaysia
- The Mayflower Spa, The Mayflower Grace – Washington, Connecticut, United States
- Vair Spa, Borgo Egnazia – Savalletri di Fasano, Italy
- The Wellhouse, Blackberry Farm – Walland, Tennessee, United States
Hotelier of the Year – Honors an experienced hotel manager with an unrelenting passion for the industry, an astute appreciation for detail and a keen sense of how to lead and manage a dynamic team of professionals.
- Rainy Chan, Peninsula Hong Kong – Hong Kong, China
- Jean Claude Messant, Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo – Monte Carlo, Monaco
- Philippe Leboeuf, Mandarin Oriental Paris – Paris, France
- Tom Roelens, Four Seasons Resort Lana’i at Manele Bay – Lanai City, Hawaii, United States
- Valentina de Santis, Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como, Italy