NEW YORK, June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Virtuoso®, the industry's leading luxury travel network, has once again reviewed its extensive roster of world's best hotels and resorts to determine nominees for its fifth annual Virtuoso "Best of the Best" Hotel Awards. With more than 900 choices, the competition is steep and only fifty properties are under consideration for the awards that range from "Best Family Program" to "Best Bar Experience" and the ultimate "Hotel of the Year." Elaine Srnka, VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine's editorial director, and Albert Herrera, Virtuoso's vice president of hotels, destinations & tours, named the properties that serve as stand-outs within the organization and demonstrate the highest standards in their given category.
All nominees are part of the organization's esteemed Hotels & Resorts Program, and Virtuoso thoroughly vets each property to ensure the quality and standards meet the exacting demands of Virtuoso's upscale clientele. Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine, the network's award-winning publication, reviewed numerous submissions and researched hundreds of properties to select the award nominees. Now it is up to the network's elite travel advisors to determine which hotels exemplify the 10 categories.
Virtuoso says that nominees not only represent their given categories, but also the preferences of today's travelers. In the 2011 Luxe Report, Virtuoso's annual survey of top trends, Italy, France, Australia, Mexico, England and Costa Rica all appeared on the list of "Top 10 International Destinations." Best of the Best award candidates in Venice, Paris, London and Tasmania, among others, reflect these survey results. Virtuoso also honors family travel programs with a separate category, and highlights a mix of domestic destinations as well as international locales like Thailand to keep with this growing trend. The "One to Watch" category is a nod to interesting, new properties as well as emerging destinations such as Tibet and Montenegro.
"The Best of the Best award nominees set the standard for excellence amongst hotels around the world," said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso vice president of hotels, destinations & tours. "In 2011, the nominations highlight some exciting new hotels in more exotic destinations that are redefining luxury as well as long-time favorites that continue to surprise and delight their guests. We are proud to present such an extraordinary list of nominees."
Winners will be revealed on August 17, 2011, at the Hotels & Resorts dinner during Virtuoso's 23rd annual Travel Mart Conference. Taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from August 14-19, Travel Mart 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 networking event. VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine will feature the Best of the Best winners in its September/October 2011 issue. For more information, visit www.virtuosolife.com.
Award categories and nominees follow:
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. Nominees: The Hay-Adams, Washington, DC, U.S.; Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, France; Hotel Cipriani & Palazzo Vendramin, an Orient-Express Hotel, Venice, Italy; Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand; 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. Nominees: The St. Regis Lhasa Resort, Tibet; Il Salviatino, Florence, Italy; Mandarin Oriental, Paris, France; The Oberoi, Gurgaon, New Delhi Capital Region, India; Aman Sveti Stefan, Montenegro.
Best Achievement in Design – Recognizes the significance of outstanding architecture and design of a hotel or component therein, whether in new construction, renovation or historic restoration. Nominees: The Chatwal New York, New York, NY, U.S.; The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong, China; Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco; Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania, Australia; Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, England.
Best Culinary Experience – Recognizes the hotel restaurant that offers exemplary food, service, ambience, wine list and even views. Nominees: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, England; Schilo at Finca Cortesin, Malaga, Spain; Le 114 Fauborg at Hotel Le Bristol, Paris, France; Fasano Restaurante at Hotel Fasano Punta del Este, Uruguay; The Dining Room at Blantyre, Lenox, MA, U.S.
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. Nominees: Lantern at The Fullerton Bay Hotel, Singapore; Le Bar Long at Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris, France; American Bar, The Savoy, London, England; Atmosphere at Shangri-La China World Summit Wing, Beijing, China; Crazybox at The Waikiki EDITION, Honolulu, HI, U.S.
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. Nominees: Coworth Park, Dorchester Collection, London, England; The Grand Del Mar, San Diego, CA, U.S.; Four Seasons Resort Nevis, Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies; Soneva Kiri by Six Senses, Koh Kood, Thailand; Montage Deer Valley, Park City, UT, U.S.
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. Nominees: Four Seasons Resort Vail, CO, U.S.; Gran Hotel Bahia del Duque Resort, Canary Islands, Spain; Chiva-Som International Health Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand; Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa, Miami Beach, FL, U.S.; Tambo del Inka, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, Urubamba, Peru.
Most Innovative Guest Experience – Recognizes a hotel that continually raises the bar by featuring clever and meaningful guest experiences that move the industry forward. Nominees: Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT, U.S.; Singita Pamushana Lodge, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe; The Romanos, A Luxury Collection Resort, Costa Navarino, Greece; Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Krabi, Thailand; Hacienda de San Antonio, Comala, Mexico.
Most Socially Responsible – Recognizes a hotel dedicated to making a difference through innovative local or global environmental programs that make the world a better place, whether a green initiative or a community education program. Nominees: Hotel de la Paix, Siem Reap, Cambodia; Fregate Island Private, Seychelles; Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico; El Silencio Lodge & Spa, Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica; InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, Natadola, Fiji.
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. Nominees: Laurence Tafanel, Esprit Saint Germain, Paris, France; Klaus Kabelitz, The Berkeley, London, England; Patrick Elsmie, The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland; Stefano Gegnacorsi, Rocco Forte Hotel de Russie, Rome, Italy; Offer Nissembaum, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, CA, U.S.