We’ve been known to splurge on a hotel now and then. And when we do, we want to be sure it’s worth the money. The travel experts at Virtuoso recently unveiled their picks for the best hotels of 2016 from a sterling crop of nominees.
The Best of the Best awards were announced at the 28th annual Virtuoso Travel Week conference. Celebrating its 10th year, the prestigious competition recognises the industry’s top properties and hoteliers. Fifty contenders battled to be crowned in their categories in 2016. Each exceptional hotel represents the highest standard in its given group and illustrates the industry’s most influential trends.
Virtuoso took several factors into consideration when choosing the winners:
- History: Legendary hotels continue to endure amongst luxury travellers. Rooms are upgraded and amenities are modernised, but it’s impossible to put a price tag on the timeless essence left by guests who once walked through the doors.
- Culture: With seven continents, 195 independent countries, and nearly 7,000 different languages in the world, discerning travellers want to see, hear, taste, and feel the authentic attributes of a destination. Properties that establish a deep level of cultural immersion resonate most with upscale hotel enthusiasts.
- Experience: Luxury travellers increasingly desire careful curation as part of the hotel experience. From high style and haute cuisine, to groundbreaking designs that transform a property, guests are seeking out hotels that deliver a certain “feel” that represents their own lifestyle (and looks great on social media).
- Conscience: Can a hotel change the way you see the world? Luxury travellers are looking to broaden their “Journey to Global Citizenship,” using travel as a means of educating themselves and their children while simultaneously giving back to a local community in a meaningful, engaging way.
The best hotels of 2016 embody these trends and promise guests experiences worth splashing out on. View the big winners in the gallery above.
[Quotes via Forbes]
Best Achievement In Design: Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Florida, USA
“The design of the hotel is a feast for your eyes! From the moment a guest enters, they are transported to a visual fantasy land, which has sophistication and style that is unparalleled. …Not to mention the world class art collection!” – Judy Stein, Ovation Vacations, a Virtuoso agency
Most Innovative Guest Experience: Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
“Take advantage of the exclusive opportunity to visit the falls early in the morning before the Iguassu National Park opens and again in the evening after it closes.” – Alex Korey, KK Travels Worldwide, a Virtuoso agency
Best Culinary Experience: The Farmhouse Restaurant – Farmhouse Inn, California, USA
“Don’t skip breakfast here! It is a real culinary awakening – hearty, seasonal, and farm-fresh.” – Ken Neibaur, Cardoza Bungey Travel, a Virtuoso agency
Sustainable Tourism Leadership: andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
“andBeyond Phinda has been a conservation leader since breaking ground in the early 1990s. Today, Phinda remains one of the world’s most successful ecotourism projects. Ongoing conservation successes include being home to the fourth largest cheetah population in South Africa and helping relocate 14 rhinos to other safe havens.” – Costas Christ, Virtuoso Director of Sustainability
Best Bar: Gold Bar – The New York EDITION, New York, USA
“Craft cocktails are a must.” – Rachelle Matheson, Jigsaw Travel, a Virtuoso agency. “Don’t miss the Espresso Martini.” – Reece Farmilo, Out and About Travel, a Virtuoso agency
Best Family Program: Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
“The hotel has an amazing family program that introduces children to the culture of the city before they go out and explore it in person.” – Robert Merlin, SmartFlyer, a Virtuoso agency. “The painting lessons are awesome and a fun way to incorporate culture.” – Kimberly Wilson Wetty, Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., a Virtuoso agency
Best Spa: Grand Hotel Tremezzo, Lake Como, Italy
“The spa has a gorgeous setting with breathtaking views of Lake Como, and wonderful treatments that incorporate natural herbs. Lake Como is magical and the new Grand Hotel Tremezzo Spa is where the magic happens for all their guests.” – Isabel Bernardo, Ovation Vacations, a Virtuoso agency
One To Watch: Hotel Eden Rome, Dorchester Collection, Rome, Italy
“I instantly fell in love with the location and the historic charm of the building. I can’t wait to see the Hotel Eden; I know it will again be my go-to hotel in Rome.” – Jessica Ourisman, Brownell, a Virtuoso agency
Hotelier Of The Year: José Silva – Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, Paris, France
“He is all about the guest experience and exceeding expectations.” – Phoebe Weinberg, Greatways Travel, a Virtuoso agency
Hotel Of The Year: Borgo Egnazia, Savelletri Di Fasano, Italy
“Borgo Egnazia and the area of Puglia is one of the exciting new destinations in Italy that one could ever encounter. The hotel has an amazing ambiance, warm and friendly people, incredible food and a spiritual spa.” – Annette Sordoni, Protravel International, a Virtuoso agency