Each year travel agent members of the exclusive Virtuoso group, a consortia that brings qualified travel sellers together with the world’s luxury travel products, vote in their hot list of recommended hotels. This year, the group’s Best of the Best awards come as no surprise for the categories they serve.
The following is an at-a-glance list of what’s hot and worth the distance, hand-picked from a gleaming fish bowl of 975 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in 95 countries.
Hotel of the Year – Nominees: The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester Collection, Beverly Hills, California; Kauri Cliffs, Northland, New Zealand; One&Only Ocean Club, Bahamas, Paradise Island, Bahamas; Hotel Sacher Wien, Vienna, Austria; Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
One to Watch – Nominees: The Alpina Gstaad, Switzerland; Amanruya, Bodrum, Turkey; Conservatorium Hotel Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Leela Palace New Delhi, India; St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Bal Harbour, Florida.
Best Achievement in Design – Nominees: Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Morocco; Hotel Bel-Air, The Dorchester Collection, Los Angeles, California; InterContinental Porto-Palacio das Cardosas, Oporto, Portugal; Park Hyatt Sydney, Australia; The St. Regis, Bangkok, Thailand.
Best Culinary Experience – Nominees: The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia; Hinokizaka, The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Japan; Sur Mesur, Mandarin Oriental, Paris, France; Tereze, Hotel Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Labeille, Shangri-La Hotel, Paris, France.
Best Bar – Nominees: Le Bar, Beau Rivage Palace, Lausanne, Switzerland; Hyde, The Bellagio, Las Vegas, Nevada; Lobby Bar, Grand Hotel Europe, an Orient-Express Hotel, St. Petersburg, Russia; 10 pounds Sterling at Montage Beverly Hills, California; Flair, The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, China.
Best Family Program – Nominees: Borgo Egnazia Hotel Ville Spa Golf, Savelletri di Fasano, Italy; Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico; Marbella Club Hotel – Golf Resort & Spa, Marbella, Spain; The Ritz-Carlton Palm Beach, Florida; Trump Chicago, Illinois.
Best Spa – Nominees: Akasha Wellbeing Center, Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem, Israel; Miraval Resort & Spa, Tucson, Arizona; Oberoi Spa, The Oberoi Gurgaon, New Delhi Capital Region, India; Atarmia Spa, Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.; Spa My Blend by Clarins, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, France.
Most Innovative Guest Experience – Nominees: Tartan Butler, Rocco Forte The Balmoral, Edinburgh, Scotland; Treehouse Suites, Chewton Glen, Hampshire, England; Vespa tours with picnics, La Residencia, An Orient-Express Hotel, Mallorca, Spain; Kickboxing school, The Siam, Bangkok, Thailand; “Challenge the Chef” Competition, Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Most Socially Responsible – Nominees: Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine; Lefay Resort and SPA Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy; Round Hill Hotel & Villas, Montego Bay, Jamaica; Singita Game Reserves, Kruger National Park, South Africa; The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai, India.
Hotelier of the Year – Nominees: Rebecca Selley, Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Argentina; Thomas Voss, The Grand Del Mar, San Diego, California; Jean Claude Messant, Hotel Metropole Monte Carlo, Monaco; Malcolm Thompson, The Peninsula Tokyo, Japan; Danilo Zucchetti, Villa d’Este, Cernobbio, Italy.