Four Seasons Hotel George V, Rosewood Hong Kong and Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley were among the winners of 2019 Best of the Best awards from global luxury travel network Virtuoso®.
The 10 award-winning properties and hoteliers were revealed at the 13th annual Hotels & Resorts Dinner, held during Virtuoso Travel Week. They are:
HOTEL OF THE YEAR – Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France: The George V delights guests with impeccable service, fine art and antiques, and beautiful floral arrangements. Its new spa features an indoor pool and dozens of treatments and fitness programs, including a staff-led jog past landmarks including the Louvre and Eiffel Tower. It also has three Michelin-starred restaurants: Le Cinq (three stars) and Le George and L’Orangerie, which each boast a star.
BEST ACHIEVEMENT in DESIGN – Rosewood Hong Kong, China: Located in the new art and design district on the Kowloon waterfront, Rosewood’s 65-storey glass tower enhances Hong Kong’s skyline. Inside, Western and Asian aesthetics blend seamlessly, from the octagonal Chinese bagua symbol on carpets and walls to copper-mesh-lined French pendant lights, Damien Hirst artwork, and Indian artist Bharti Kher’s life-size elephant sculpture.
SUSTAINABLE TOURISM LEADERSHIP – Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Wolgan Valley, Australia: This 7,000-acre property shows how degraded ranchland can be restored to its natural glory. Kangaroos, wombats and other wildlife roam the resort grounds, which was the world’s first to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification. Guests experiences include guided glowworm walks, stargazing, tree planting and nocturnal animal viewing.
BEST VIRTUOSO NEWCOMER (The most noteworthy addition to the network from April 2018 onward.) – Montage Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico: This contemporary retreat offers guests the opportunity to sip mezcal and dine at two restaurants, play the 18-hole golf course, enjoy Baja-inspired spa treatments, and snorkel and paddleboard in Santa Maria Bay, a marine sanctuary and one of the area’s few swimmable beaches.
BEST DINING EXPERIENCE – Restaurant Le Gabriel, La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa, Paris, France: The two Michelin-star restaurant is housed in the gilded dining room of a 19th-century mansion-turned-hotel. Chef Jérôme Banctel brings his notable experience, Breton upbringing and influences from his travels to a menu showcasing modern takes on French classics such as coriander-spiced artichoke heart and pigeon with cacao and buckwheat.
BEST BAR – Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar, Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club, Surfside, Florida: A stylish import from Positano’s Le Sirenuse hotel, this lounge is located in the historic hotel’s original ballroom. It serves the largest selection of champagne in the Miami area, as well as grappas, liqueurs, and bubbly-infused cocktails, in handblown Venetian glasses.
BEST WELLNESS PROGRAM – Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, Tucson, Arizona, USA: Miraval helped pioneer the modern spa resort, and its flagship property in Tucson continues to lead the way. Guests choose from more than 100 workshops, classes and activities that include cooking, private and group workouts, beekeeping, and even equine therapy. Guests’ wellness is fueled with healthy meals as well as treatments and rituals—massages, acupuncture, and more—at the Life in Balance Spa.
BEST FAMILY PROGRAM – Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico: The property’s roster of family-friendly features includes a kids’ treatment menu at its spa; The Kids’ Club, which offers four- through 12-year-olds storytelling, movies and games; and karaoke, pool tables and dancing for teens. Family accommodations lie near the pool and beach, and a “baby concierge” stocks everything from strollers to bottles, and arranges sitters.
HOTELIER OF THE YEAR – Amanda Hyndman, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, UK: Hyndman’s career spans more than 30 years and some of the world’s most prestigious hotels, including Mandarin’s Bangkok flagship, where she was the first female general manager. She arrived at the Hyde Park property in June 2018, one week after a two-year renovation completed and two days before a fire shuttered the hotel. Hyndman transitioned staff to help rebuilding, weathering the nine-month closure with no layoffs. The hotel reopened last spring with Hyndman at the helm.
BEST VIRTUOSO HOTEL AMBASSADOR (given to an executive other than a general manager or managing director) – Carlos Quereda, Querido Representation Company: During his decade-long tenureat the Marbella Club on Spain’s Costa del Sol, Quereda was inspired by co-founder Count Rudolf von Schönburg’s ritual of greeting guests and staff, converting them into lifelong friends of the hotel. Quereda brings this hospitality to life to satisfy travellers’ quests for unique properties that embody local traditions and soul.
“The exceptional contributions of these Best of the Best winners are emblematic of the caliber of creativity, service and guest experiences that are the hallmark of the Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts program,” said Albert Herrera, senior vice-president of Global Product Partnerships for Virtuoso. “Every year our winners raise the bar even higher for global luxury hospitality, and we are proud to honour their accomplishments will expressing gratitude for the inspiration they provide to us all.”