International luxury travel network Virtuoso® announced the winners of its coveted 2015 Best of the Best hotel awards this past Thursday night at the 27th annual Virtuoso Travel Week conference. The 11 winners, all participants in the renowned Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts Program, include Ashford Castle in Ireland as Hotel of the Year.
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Virtuoso® is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 370 agency members with more than 9,800 elite travel advisors in 30 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access
With a diverse portfolio of nearly 1,100 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in more than 100 countries, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts is revered as the industry’s most prestigious hotel program. Founded in 1992, the program is also the luxury travel industry’s longest-running, with more five-star properties than any other.
The Best of the Best winners were revealed during the Hotels & Resorts Dinner before more than 1,500 of luxury travel’s brightest stars.
The categories and winners are:
Hotel of the Year: Ashford Castle, County Mayo, Galway, Ireland
Hotelier of the Year: Antonio Sersale, Le Sirenuse, Positano, Italy
Best Achievement in Design: The Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, Japan
Best Culinary Experience: Epicure, Le Bristol Paris, France
Best Family Program: Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida, USA
Most Innovative Guest Experience (tie): Corcovado Experience, Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Red Carpet Ready, The Peninsula Beverly Hills, California, USA
Sustainable Tourism Leadership – Hotels: The Brando, French Polynesia
One to Watch: Rosewood Beijing, China
Virtuoso surveyed its 370 agencies and their more than 9,800 elite travel advisors to decide the Best of the Best winners in ten categories, ranging from the most innovative guest experience to top hotel and hotelier of the year. Virtuoso’s expert advisors also initially nominated exceptional hotels for the awards. Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the network’s multi-award-winning magazine, then researched the advisor suggestions and selected final nominees in each category.
“When your competitive set includes the greatest hotels in the world, being named the best within your given category is truly a feat, and we are honored to recognize these 11 winners as both exceptional standouts as well as incredible partners to the Virtuoso network,” says Albert Herrera, senior vice president of Global Product Partnerships for Virtuoso. “Virtuoso travel advisors have exacting standards for their clients and to declare these hotels as the Best of the Best means each epitomizes the highest level of luxury hospitality. Their achievements showcase the very hallmark of this network-creating lifelong memories and enriching human connections through travel.“