World’s Most Prestigious Hotels and Hospitality Professionals Honored at Virtuoso’s 22nd Annual Travel Mart

Virtuoso, along with its award-winning magazine VIRTUOSO LIFE, announced this year’s winners of the prestigious “Best of the Best” hotel awards recently at Virtuoso’s 2010 Travel Mart conference.

Virtuoso CEO Matthew D. Upchurch, VIRTUOSO LIFE publisher Terrie Hansen, and Virtuoso vice president of hotels, destinations & tours Albert Herrera revealed the award winners during the Hotels & Resorts dinner at Travel Mart, taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from August 15–20, 2010.

“Those named ‘Best of the Best’ deserve this honor in every respect,” said Herrera. “Characterized by the service and standards they set, these recipients are emblematic of the exceptional properties and individuals within our network. They were chosen by our travel advisors, the most knowledgeable travel professionals in the industry who also possess the most exacting standards for their clientele.  These hoteliers and world-renowned properties continually deliver in their respective categories, raising the bar and guest expectations year after year. It gives us great pleasure to recognize them.”

Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE collaborated with the organization’s elite travel advisors to select hotel nominees in ten categories that ranged from best architectural design to top hotel and hotelier of the year. Winners represent the best in their category, demonstrating innovation, dedication, social conscience and even courage.

Award categories and recipients follow:

Best Achievement in Design: Armani Hotel Dubai

Best Hotel Dining: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Dorchester Hotel, London

Best Bar: Sir Elly’s, The Peninsula Shanghai

Best Family Program: Rocco Forte Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

Best Spa: The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & SPA Resort, Riviera Maya

Most Innovative Guest Experience: Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

Most Socially Responsible: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

One to Watch: Alan Fuerstman, Montage Hotels & Resorts

Hotelier of the Year: Claudio Ceccherelli, General Manager Park Hyatt Milano

Hotel of the Year: The Goring, London

The best way to book a hotel is through a Virtuoso Travel Advisor. Click here to find how a Virtuoso Travel Advisor can turn travel into a special event.

 

VIRTUOSO® & VIRTUOSO LIFE MAGAZINE REVEAL RECIPIENTS OF THE

2010 “BEST OF THE BEST” HOTEL AWARDS

World’s Most Prestigious Hotels and Hospitality Professionals Honored at Virtuoso’s 22nd Annual Travel Mart

LAS VEGAS (August 19, 2010) Leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso®, along with its award-winning magazine VIRTUOSO LIFE, announced this year’s winners of the prestigious “Best of the Best” hotel awards last night at Virtuoso’s 2010 Travel Mart conference. This marks the fourth year Virtuoso has reviewed its collection of more than 800 world-class properties and recognized hotels that set new standards in luxury travel and hospitality professionals who elevate the industry through their efforts. Virtuoso CEO, Matthew D. Upchurch, VIRTUOSO LIFE publisher, Terrie Hansen, and Virtuoso vice president of hotels, destinations & tours, Albert Herrera, revealed the award winners during the Hotels & Resorts dinner at Travel Mart, taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from August 15–20, 2010.

“Those named ‘Best of the Best’ deserve this honor in every respect,” said Herrera. “Characterized by the service and standards they set, these recipients are emblematic of the exceptional properties and individuals within our network. They were chosen by our travel advisors, the most knowledgeable travel professionals in the industry who also possess the most exacting standards for their clientele.  These hoteliers and world-renowned properties continually deliver in their respective categories, raising the bar and guest expectations year after year. It gives us great pleasure to recognize them.”

Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine, the Virtuoso network’s award-winning publication, collaborated with the organization’s elite travel advisors to select hotel nominees in ten categories that ranged from best architectural design to top hotel and hotelier of the year. Winners represent the best in their category, demonstrating innovation, dedication, social conscience and even courage.

“Each year we review an exceptional list of properties and hoteliers; the most difficult task is choosing which of these wonderful hotels and individuals to nominate,” said Elaine Srnka, editorial director of VIRTUOSO LIFE. “We honor the stand-out properties that leave lasting memories with their guests, whether it’s an overall experience or a component of the hotel, and the individuals who make an impression within the travel and tourism industry.”

Travel Mart brings together more than 1,500 of Virtuoso’s member travel advisors – considered the top producers in the industry – and over 1,600 of the world’s best travel providers to participate in the industry’s preeminent networking event. The “Best of the Best” award winners will be featured in the September / October 2010 issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine (www.virtuosolife.com), reaching 250,000 upscale, world travelers.

Award categories and recipients follow:

Best Achievement in Design: Armani Hotel Dubai

Known for his classic style, Armani had his hand on everything from the A-shaped swimming pool to the zebrawood paneling. The 160-room hotel goes minimalist inside Dubai’s cloud-piercing Burj Khalifa, with curved walls, metallic finishes and limestone floors – the bronzed A-shaped arches in the triple-height lobby are one of Armani’s favorite details.

Best Hotel Dining: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Dorchester Hotel, London

Awarded three Michelin stars, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester offers contemporary French cuisine in a random and elegant décor along with professional and friendly service. Guests can book tables overlooking beautiful Hyde Park; or parties of six can book Table Lumière, a table surrounded by a shimmering curtain of 4,500 fiber-optic lights.

Best Bar: Sir Elly’s, The Peninsula Shanghai

Crowning the upper two floors of the new hotel, Sir Elly’s has an edge when it comes to gigantic views – a circular bar area and three raised sofas facing huge windows ensure everyone gets a great look at The Bund, the Huangpu River and the Pudong skyline. Named for Peninsula’s founder Sir Ellis Kadoorie, this glam space seals its staying power by offering inspired cocktails and cuisine from a five-star French chef.

Best Family Program: Rocco Forte Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily

With its exclusive beach, acres of wide-open countryside, two championship golf courses and idyllic climate, Vendura makes the perfect destination for a family holiday. There are kid-size bicycles, a shallow children’s swimming pool and free organized activities. Little ones enjoy mime classes, treasure hunts and biscuit making, while the Teenagers Club offers rugby, beach volleyball and golf.

Best Spa: The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & SPA Resort, Riviera Maya

At 89,000 square feet, The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & Spa Resort is the largest spa in the Yucatan. Built amid the lush jungle that hugs the resort, the Spa boasts an organic style reflective of its Mexican surroundings. A cavernous lower level takes its inspiration from the region’s underground water pools, or cenotes. A hand-hewn rock wall emerges from a winding chlorine-free pool that’s outfitted with water-bubble beds, cascades and a gurgling volcanic geyser.

Most Innovative Guest Experience: Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China

Hidden in a picturesque valley, Amanfayun enjoys a serene setting surrounded by tea fields, natural forest, quaint villages and a pilgrimage circuit of five significant Buddhist temples. Designed in the spirit of a traditional Chinese village, the property comprises 47 dwellings, several of which date back more than 100 years. Bonds forged with local monks at the fourth-century Temple of Goodness make it possible for guests to hike up the mountainside to join them for prayers before sunrise and afterward share a traditional vegetarian breakfast.

Most Socially Responsible: Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Since 2001, the Four Seasons’ owners have been the backbone of the Growing Together program, which benefits rural communities on the Papagayo Peninsula through customized volunteer experiences that support local schools and conservation efforts. Now 12 staff ambassadors match guests who want to volunteer with communities that have the greatest need.

One to Watch: Alan Fuerstman, Montage Hotels & Resorts

As a young college graduate, Alan Fuerstman was hired as a bell captain at Rancho Las Palmas where, it is said, even J.W. Marriott himself was impressed by the young man. Fuerstman moved on and up, running good resorts and making them better. He left the Bellagio in Las Vegas to start Montage. With Utah’s Montage Deer Valley Resort set to open in December, all eyes are on the 53-year-old as he expands Montage beyond the West Coast.

Hotelier of the Year: Claudio Ceccherelli, General Manager Park Hyatt Milano

When Claudio Ceccherelli was a 25-year-old reception manager, he taught at the Aurelio Saffi hotel school in Florence. Now, at 53 years of age and the general manager of the Park Hyatt Milan, Ceccherelli is a gracious old-world gentleman who’s not too buttoned-down to come to work wearing an Inter Milan team jersey the day after a big win or don chef’s whites and cook lunch for the staff. He’s an exceptional mentor for a hotelier on his way up.

Hotel of the Year: The Goring, London

For almost a century, four generations of the Goring family have run the exceptional property. Opened in 1910, The Goring was the first hotel to introduce private bathrooms and central heating for every room. Today, the hotel is a bastion of quality and absolute individuality. Well-known British designers Nina Campbell, David Linley and Tim Gosling have all had a part of the design concept; and later this year, the hotel will debut six new Russell Sage-designed rooms done up with historic fabrics – and sheep.

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About Virtuoso

As the industry’s leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso® comprises over 300 agencies with more than 6,000 elite travel advisors in 22 countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, as well as the world’s best travel providers and premier destinations.  The network’s member agencies generate over $5.1 billion annually in travel sales, making it the most powerful group in luxury travel.  Virtuoso is also the exclusive network of travel services and benefits provided by MasterCard® for participating World Elite MasterCard® programs.  For more information, visit www.virtuoso.com.

2 comments

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