Virtuoso® Unveils The Coveted Best Of The Best Awards Honoring The World’s 10 Finest Properties And Hoteliers

Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® revealed the winners of the celebrated 2019 Best of the Best awards last night, before more than 1,800 industry leaders at the 31st annual Virtuoso Travel Week. The ceremony at the 13th annual Hotels & Resorts Dinner recognized the year’s top 10 hotels and hoteliers in categories ranging from best wellness program to best dining experience. Four Seasons Hotel George V triumphed with the most prestigious prize: Hotel of the Year.

Virtuoso® is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 20,000 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.

Drawing upon its preferred relationships with over 1,800 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. More than (U.S.) $26.4 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry.

With a wide-ranging portfolio of more than 1,400 hotels, resorts, villas, tented camps and private island retreats in over 100 countries, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts is the industry’s most renowned program. Started in 1992 with 20 hotels, today it includes more five-star properties than any other group.

Virtuoso’s 20,000 professional travel advisors from 50 countries served as Best of the Best award voters. Editors of Virtuoso Life, the network’s multi-award-winning magazine, lent insights to narrow the field of nominees for which the advisors voted. Winners will be showcased in the September/October issue of the magazine, reaching 200,000 affluent households.

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 honor their accomplishments while expressing gratitude for the inspiration they provide to us all.

The 2019 Virtuoso Best of the Best winners are:

Hotel of the Year: An iconic hotel that epitomizes excellence in luxury hospitality and encourages positive change in its community.
Winner: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France
The property delights guests with impeccable service, fine art and antiques and stunning floral displays. A 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. The hotel offers three restaurants: the three-Michelin-starred Le Cinq as well as Le George and L’Orangerie, which each boast a star of their own.

Best Achievement in Design: Outstanding architecture and design of a hotel or component (room or suite, restaurant, spa, public space, etc.), whether a new property, renovation, or restoration.
Winner: Rosewood Hong Kong, China
Soaring 65 stories above Victoria Dockside, a new art and design district on the Kowloon waterfront, Rosewood’s 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.

Best Dining Experience: Excellence in hotel dining encompassing outstanding food, wine list, service, ambiance, or even a stunning view.
Winner: La Reserve Paris Hotel and Spa – Restaurant Le Gabriel, Paris, France
The gilded dining room of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant in a 19th-century mansion-turned-hotel makes an unforgettable impression. And that’s before chef Jérôme Banctel brings his notable pedigree, Breton upbringing, and influences from his travels to the table with modern takes on French classics such as coriander-spiced artichoke heart and pigeon with cacao and buckwheat.

Best Bar: A hotel bar that offers a social meeting spot where innovative drinks, lively mixologists and servers, and an enticing atmosphere create a “see and be seen” buzz.
Winner: Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club – Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar, Surfside, Florida, U.S.
Amalfi Coast bars perfected the art of aperitivo, and that spirit is exemplified in this stylish import from Positano’s Le Sirenuse hotel. The lounge in the historic hotel’s original ballroom serves the largest selection of Champagne in the Miami area, plus grappas, liqueurs, and bubbly-infused cocktails, in handblown Venetian glasses.

Sustainable Tourism Leadership: A property that exhibits a commitment to the pillars of sustainable tourism including environmentally friendly practices, protection of cultural and natural heritage, and social and economic benefits for local people.
Winner: Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Wolgan Valley, Australia
This 7,000-acre success story shows how degraded ranchland can be restored to its natural grandeur. Kangaroos, wombats, and other wildlife roam the resort grounds, which was the world’s first to achieve internationally accredited carbon-neutral certification. Guest experiences focus on the outdoors, such as guided glowworm walks, stargazing, nocturnal animal viewing and tree planting.

Best Family Program: A property offering children’s programs, from creative activities to educational endeavors and active adventures.
Winner: Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Families bond over horseback riding, boogie boarding, snorkeling and more, then relax at the pool or spa (with a kids’ treatment menu). The Kids’ Club offers 4- through 12-year-olds storytelling, movies, and games, while teens enjoy karaoke, pool tables, and dancing. Family accommodations lie near the pool and beach, and a “baby concierge” stocks everything from strollers to bottles – and arranges sitters too.

Best Wellness Program: A hotel focusing on mind/body balance through excellence in nutrition or diet programs, fitness and wellness classes, spa experiences, and inspiring location.
Winner: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
Miraval helped pioneer the modern spa resort, and its flagship property 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. Healthy gourmet meals fuel guests’ paths to wellness, as do rituals including massages and acupuncture at the Life in Balance Spa.

Best Virtuoso Newcomer: The most noteworthy network addition from April 2018 onward.
Winner: Montage Los Cabos, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
This contemporary retreat offers an abundance of memorable experiences. Guests sip mezcal and dine at the 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 Virtuoso Hotel Ambassador: An executive (other than general manager or managing director) who embodies Virtuoso’s power of human connection and strives for the mutual benefit of network advisors and their brand, property, or properties.
Winner: Carlos Quereda, Querido Representation Co.
During his decade-long tenure at the Marbella Club on Spain’s Costa del Sol, Quereda was inspired by cofounder 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 travelers’ quests for unique properties that embody local traditions and soul.

Hotelier of the Year:An experienced manager who demonstrates leadership and vision, a passion for the industry, a commitment to Virtuoso advisors, and an appreciation for detail.
Winner: Amanda Hyndman, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, U.K.
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 was completed – and two days before a fire shuttered the hotel. Hyndman transitioned staff to help with rebuilding, weathering the nine-month closure with no layoffs. The hotel reopened last spring with Hyndman and her kindness and commitment at the helm.

For more on Virtuoso and its properties in over 100 countries, including booking a stay online at the global portfolio of luxury hotels, visit www.virtuoso.com.

Publishing Giant Condé Nast Announces New Global Leadership Structure

U.S./New York-based Condé Nast and London-based Condé Nast International Are Integrated as One Global Team. New Consumer Marketing Function to Bring Focus on Direct-to-Consumer Efforts With Unified Commercial Team to Better Serve Global Clients’ Holistic Needs

New Leadership Structure is Expected to Help Further Turn the Financial Ship Around As Company Moves Beyond Closing and Selling Off Magazine Titles, Layoffs and Consolidation of Workforce Across All Titles

Long expected, Condé Nast yesterday appointed a new global leadership team designed to accelerate the company’s evolution into a 21st-century media company. The new organizational structure, which combines Condé Nast and Condé Nast International into a unified global team, was created with several guiding principles in mind, including the preservation of local editorial voice and authority, an enhanced focus on the consumer, unification of the company’s ad and commercial sales functions to reflect clients’ local and global needs and the development of new ways to share capabilities and best practices across the company.

Condé Nast is a global media company, home to iconic brands including Vogue, The New Yorker, GQ, Glamour, AD, Vanity Fair, and Wired, among many others. The company’s award-winning content reaches 84 million consumers in print, 367 million in digital and 379 million across social platforms, and generates more than 1 billion video views each month. The company is headquartered in London and New York and operates in 32 markets worldwide including China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico & Latin America, Russia, Spain, Taiwan, the U.K., and the U.S., with local license partners across the globe. Launched in 2011, Condé Nast Entertainment is an award-winning production and distribution studio that creates programming across film, television, social and digital video and virtual reality.

One of my top priorities has been to define our organizational structure so that we can take full advantage of our unique growth opportunities and exceptional content around the world,” said the recently-appointed CEO of Condé Nast, RogerLynchI’m confident that our new global structure will better enable us to collaborate across teams and markets and, ultimately, deliver unparalleled experiences for our consumers and clients.

The new structure is as follows:

Global Content Functions:: Anna Wintour, U.S. Artistic Director, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue U.S. and (newly-appointed) Global Content Advisor, will continue in her role as U.S. Artistic Director and Editor-in-Chief of Vogue U.S., and will add Global Content Advisor and oversight of Vogue International to her responsibilities. In her expanded role, Wintour will advise the executive leadership team on global content opportunities and act as a resource to editors-in-chief and editorial talent worldwide.

Oren Katzeff, President of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNE), will expand the company’s digital video, film and television operations to create best-in-class video content experiences for audiences worldwide. The company has been increasing its focus on video content and currently generates 1.1 billion video views per month. Under Oren’s leadership, CNE will now be the core of our global network of video teams, supporting the growth of our video businesses in all markets.

David Remnick, Editor-in-Chief of The New Yorker, will also continue to report directly to Lynch.

Global Operations Organization: Wolfgang Blau, President, International & Chief Operating Officer will oversee all non-U.S. markets, as well as selected global strategic functions, including Product & Technology, Data, Licensing, Global Editorial Operations, Business Development, and Delivery & Business Transformation. This organization will ensure day-to-day operational excellence and capability sharing across the business.

Global Commercial Organization: Pamela Drucker Mann, Global Chief Revenue Officer & President, U.S. Revenue, will lead a new global revenue organization that brings together the company’s U.S. and international ad sales, creative and agency, B2B marketing and client service capabilities. Jamie Jouning, promoted to Chief Client Officer, will report to Drucker Mann and oversee key global accounts, multi-market deals, and central digital ad operations. Drucker Mann will define ad sales and ad product strategies globally, and work closely with Jamie and the central team and commercial leads in the company’s worldwide markets to drive overall ad, agency, and B2B revenue and share best practices.

Consumer Marketing Organization: Condé Nast is creating a new consumer marketing organization that will be led by a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and will bring added focus to the company’s direct-to-consumer efforts. As the company expands its consumer offerings, this team will be charged with developing best-in-class capabilities and consistency across consumer experiences on every platform. The team will also be responsible for consumer revenue, with a core focus on subscriptions and memberships. In addition, the team will have responsibility for global brand management, consumer research, and insights and global audience development, ensuring a data-driven approach to the company’s efforts. The search for a CMO to lead this new organization will begin immediately.

Corporate Functions: The company is also globalizing its three corporate functions to leverage skills, expertise and standardize processes and best practices: People, Finance and Communications. The company will begin an immediate search and selection process for these and other open roles. Until new leaders are identified, teams will maintain their existing reporting lines and responsibilities.

We’re bringing added focus to our direct-to-consumer efforts and will build a new consumer marketing function that will be charged with developing best-in-class subscription and membership capabilities, and maintaining the authenticity of our iconic global brands,” Lynch continued. “And by transforming our sales organization into a unified global team, Condé Nast will be better positioned to serve the holistic needs of our clients around the world and make it easier for them to do business with us.

The new structure and appointments take effect immediately.

Just In Time For Mother’s Day, New Pairings And Floral Stripe Cake Give Moms New Ways To Celebrate

Baskin-Robbins Raises a Glass to Summer with its First-Ever Wine and Ice Cream Pairings

Baskin-Robbins, the world’s largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, is introducing its first-ever wine and ice cream pairings to give moms nationwide a fun way to celebrate Mother’s Day with two of their favorite things – wine and ice cream. Guests can pick-up Baskin-Robbins ice cream in-store to enjoy at home with these pairings as a cool way to kick off the summer season.

In collaboration with Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate Wines, members of the Baskin-Robbins Culinary Team created unique wine and ice cream pairings featuring popular types of wine with delicious Baskin-Robbins ice cream flavors, including seasonal favorites for summer.

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(PRNewsfoto/Baskin-Robbins)

Each ice cream flavor featured in the wine and ice cream pairings can also be enjoyed as the featured flavor in Baskin-Robbins’ new Floral Stripe Cake, which was designed specifically for Mother’s Day this year. Featuring stripes of different shades of pink or orange and an elegant rosette design, the Floral Stripe Cake is available in a 6″ round, 9″ round and Mini Tiered Cake option. The Floral Stripe Cake is available for pre-order both in-store and online at www.baskinrobbins.com/onlineordering. Continue reading

FOOD & WINE Magazine Announces Its 2018 Restaurants Of The Year List

America’s 10 Most Exciting Openings Selected by FOOD & WINE Editors in Fourth Annual List

FOOD & WINE announces that Lasa in Los Angeles, Grand Café in Minneapolis, and Superior Motors in Braddock, Pennsylvania are among the 10 new restaurants across the country named to the fourth annual FOOD & WINE Restaurants of the Year list. Restaurants of the Year are FOOD & WINE‘s definitive list of the 10 most exciting new places to eat in America now. This year’s winners not only create something delicious but also transcend the dinner plate and reflect the communities of which they are a part.

Food-and-Wine-May18-Cover

FOOD & WINE Magazine’s May 2018 Cover Announcing the 2018 Restaurants Of The Year Awards

FOOD & WINE Restaurants of the Year 2018:

  • Maydan, Washington D.C. – Chef Gerald Addison, Co-Chef Chris Morgan and Restaurateur Rose Previte
  • Better Luck Tomorrow, Houston TX – Chef Justin Yu and Proprietor Bobby Heugel
  • Fairfax, NYC – Restaurateur Gabriel Stulman and Chef Jack Harris
  • Reem’s, Oakland CA – Proprietor Reem Assil
  • Superior Motors, Braddock PA – Chef Kevin Sousa and General Manager Chris Clark
  • Grand Café, Minneapolis, Minnesota – Chef Jamie Malone
  • Voyager, Ferndale, Michigan – Chef Jennifer Jackson, Co-Chef Justin Tootla and Restaurateur Eli Boyer
  • JuneBaby, Seattle, Washington – Chef Edouardo Jordan
  • Lasa, Los Angeles, California – Chef Chad Valencia and General Manager Chase Valencia
  • Kemuri Tatsu-ya, Austin TX – Chef Tatsu Aikawa and Co-Chef Takuya Matsumoto

FOOD & WINE Editor in Chief Hunter Lewis said: “Restaurant editor Jordana Rothman traveled 37,000 miles over six months to research and deliver FOOD & WINE’s 2018 Restaurants of the Year. The winners offered more than unforgettable food. They are the first places we seek out when we step off the plane, and they showcase the important role that restaurants play in their communities. From the end of a cobblestone alley in Washington, D.C. to the first restaurant in decades to open in Braddock, Pa., we applaud how they are pioneering a new emerging culture of more community-minded restaurants.

The complete Restaurants of the Year 2018 report, with insights on why all 10 restaurants made the list, is featured now at www.foodandwine.com/restaurants-of-the-year and will also be in the May issue of FOOD & WINE, on newsstands April 13. All of the restaurants opened within the past 14 months.

Ben & Jerry’s Annual Free Cone Day Celebration Is Back

Spoons at the ready, Free Cone Day is back! On April 10th, Ben & Jerry’s 40th Free Cone Day arrives and as always, YOU are invited to celebrate.

Imagine waking up to a day of endless ice cream … plus unlimited chunks and swirls. It must be Free Cone Day 2018. Free scoops of Ben & Jerry’s euphoric ice cream, packed with chunks and swirls, will be offered at Scoop Shops around the country.

Ben and Jerrys Cherry Garcia

Ben and Jerrys Cherry Garcia: Ben & Jerry’s annual Free Cone Day is April 10, 2018.

Ice cream lovers will be able to choose a longtime favorite like Cookie Dough or dig their spoons into something completely new. Your appetite is the only limit to the number of times you can get back in line. Dreamy right?

Ben and Jerrys Cup Or Cone

Cup or cone, It’s your choice on Free Cone Day, April 10.

Okay, so this celebration is hardly a surprise … the company’s first Free Cone Day was way back in 1979. Back then, it was highly unusual for a company to share, rather than sell, its product, but Ben and Jerry wanted to thank their dedicated, ice cream loving community for helping them get through their first year. These days Ben & Jerry’s hands out more than one million free scoops of ice cream across the world each April.

Ben and Jerrys Over The Counter

Ben and Jerrys Over The Counter: Choose your favorite flavor or try something completely new. It’s your choice on Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, April 10, 2018

We believe in having fun, and in thanking our fans with free ice cream as each year goes by,” said Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim. “To us, it’s a chance to have a bit of a party, to build connections with our fans, and show them how much we appreciate them!

To be part of the euphoria and to find a participating Scoop Shop in your area, visit www.BenJerry.com.

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 List Announced in Macao

The 2018 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced at an awards ceremony at Wynn Palace, Macau. Now in its sixth year, the 2018 edition includes eight new entries.50BestASIA_2015_logo

The list is created from the votes of the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants Academy, an influential group of over 300 leaders in the restaurant industry across Asia. For the 2018 edition, Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants is once again working with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent adjudication partner. To see more details on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants voting process, visit http://www.theworlds50best.com/asia/en/our-manifesto.html

Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list is published by William Reed Business Media, which also publishes The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, launched in 2002, and Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, launched in September 2013. William Reed Business Media is entirely responsible for the organization of the awards, the voting system, and the list.

Photo.G. Production www.Lcygary.com

The winning chefs and restaurateurs celebrate at sixth annual Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants awards ceremony, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, at Wynn Palace, Macau.

Gaggan in Bangkok claims the No.1 spot for a fourth year, retaining the dual titles of The Best Restaurant in Asia, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, and The Best Restaurant in Thailand.

The 2018 edition of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list includes Bangkok newcomer Paste (No.31), headed by Bongkoch ‘Bee’ Satongun, who is also named elit® Vodka Asia’s Best Female Chef 2018.

Japan

Den (No.2) earns the title of The Best Restaurant in Japan while La Cime in Osaka debuts at No.17, earning the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles. Acclaimed Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is this year’s recipient of the peer-voted Chefs’ Choice Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm.

L’Effervescence (No.20) in Tokyo won the inaugural Sustainable Restaurant Award in Asia, presented to the restaurant with the highest environmental rating, as determined by audit partner the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Singapore

Singapore claims seven entries on the 2018 list with Odette (No.5) named The Best Restaurant in Singapore. Continue reading

The 2018 James Beard Foundation Award Finalists is Announced

The James Beard Foundation has announced the finalists for its annual chef, restaurant, and media awards. Here is the full list. Winners will be announced at the annual gala on May 7 in Chicago.

Best New Restaurant
The Charter Oak, St. Helena, CA
Empellón Midtown, NYC
Felix Trattoria, Venice, CA
JuneBaby, Seattle
Kismet, Los Angeles

Outstanding Baker
Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels, NYC
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, Brooklyn, NY
Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge, MA
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie, San Francisco
Alison Pray, Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME
Greg Wade, Publican Quality Bread, Chicago

Outstanding Bar Program
Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Clyde Common, Portland, OR
Cure, New Orleans
Kimball House, Decatur, GA
Trick Dog, San Francisco

Outstanding Chef
Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh, NC
Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, NYC
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, CA
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, CA
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New OrleansJBF_LOGO_PMS_SILVER

Outstanding Pastry Chef
Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans
Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago
Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL
Diane Yang, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurant
Balthazar, NYC
Canlis, Seattle
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, AL
Quince, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurateur
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group, Chicago (BokaGT Fish & OysterGirl & the Goat, and others)
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline, New Orleans
Continue reading