From Cannes To Cape Town, Virtuoso® Names Nominees For The 2018 World’s Best Hotels Awards

Global luxury travel network Virtuoso® revealed the hotels and hoteliers nominated for its coveted Best of the Best awards this year. All nominees are part of the industry-defining Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts program, which boasts over 1,300 hand-selected properties worldwide and more five-star hotels than any other program. Guests who book their stay through a Virtuoso advisor enjoy exclusive benefits valued at more than $500 per stay at these properties, which span more than 100 countries. Travelers can now take advantage of booking their stay at more than 1,100 select properties online at www.Virtuoso.com and receive access to Virtuoso’s exclusive perks.Virtco_new_old

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 17,500 elite travel advisors in more than 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa 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.

This year’s contenders across nine categories were chosen by the network and the editors of Virtuoso Life magazine, and represent the height of achievement in their given category. The 10th category focuses on sustainable travel and recognizes the hotels that most embody the commitment to the three pillars of sustainable tourism: preserving the environment, supporting local economies and celebrating cultures.

Best Achievement in Design

  • Palácio Tangará, Oetker Collection, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Sagamore Pendry Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
  • The Beekman, A Thompson Hotel, New York, New York, U.S.
  • The Fontenay Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • The Silo Hotel, Cape Town, South Africa

Best Dining Experience

  • Aman Tokyo – Arva, Tokyo, Japan
  • Capri Palace – Il Riccio, Capri, Italy
  • Hotel Belles Rives – La Passagere, Antibes, France
  • Meadowood Napa Valley – The Restaurant, St. Helena, California, U.S.
  • The London EDITION – Berners Tavern, London, U.K.

Best Bar

  • Brown’s Hotel, A Rocco Forte Hotel – The Donovan Bar, London, U.K.
  • Hotel Hassler – Hassler Bar, Rome, Italy
  • Mandarin Oriental, New York – The Office NYC, New York, New York, U.S.
  • Park Hyatt Vienna – The Bank Brassiere & Bar, Vienna, Austria
  • The Shelbourne – The Horseshoe Bar, Dublin, Ireland

Best Family Program

  • Hotel Barrière Le Majestic, Cannes, France
  • Kokomo Private Island Fiji, Yaukuve Levu Island, Fiji
  • Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Soneva Fushi, Baa Atoll, Maldives
  • The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Montana

Best Wellness Program

  • Ananda in the Himalayas, Tehri-Garhwal, India
  • BodyHoliday Saint Lucia, Castries, St. Lucia
  • Chablè Resort & Spa, Chocholá, Mexico
  • The Ranch Malibu, Malibu, California, U.S.
  • Waldhotel Health & Medical Excellence, Büergenstock, Switzerland

Sustainable Tourism Leadership

  • Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley, Wolgan Valley, Australia
  • Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Landaa Giraavaru, Maldives
  • Mashpi Lodge, Quito, Ecuador
  • Singita Grumeti – Sabora Tented Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania
  • Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal

Best Virtuoso Newcomer

  • Anantara Vilamoura Algarve Resort, Vilamoura, Portugal
  • Hôtel de Crillon, A Rosewood Hotel, Paris, France
  • Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Grand Cayman, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman Islands
  • The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Dhaalu Atoll, Maldives
  • Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills, Beverly Hills, California, U.S.

Best Virtuoso Hotel Ambassador

  • Andrea Filippi, Belmond
  • James Baker, The Set Hotels
  • JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, L.L.C.
  • Laurence Tafanel, Esprit Saint Germain
  • Ling Riley, The Palms and The Shore Club Turks and Caicos

Continue reading

Advertisements

Las Vegas Celebrates Adult Freedom By Debuting ‘Only Vegas Moments’ Campaign

New Television Spots and Short Films Encourage Visitors to Create a Judgment-Free Vegas Experience

Las Vegas introduced ‘Only Vegas Moments,’ a series of four digital short films and broadcast spots. The campaign’s cultural storylines reinforce the iconic brand’s identity as the paramount purveyor of adult freedom and encourage visitors to embrace unique only-in-Vegas moments of self-truth.

Las Vegas - Blue Logo

Las Vegas – Blue Logo

The introduction of ‘Only Vegas Moments’ celebrates the long-standing promise of adult freedom in Las Vegas by embracing contemporary storylines that are relatable to a wide range of potential visitors,” said Cathy Tull, chief marketing officer for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA). “Through authentic and empowering experiences, the new stories highlight Las Vegas as a destination where being whomever you want is not just allowed, but encouraged.”

Las Vegas’ release of ‘Only Vegas Moments’ is a cutting-edge approach to create culturally relevant global tourism,” said John Tanzella, president and CEO of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). “Now & Then is a perfect example of the inclusive environment that awaits all travelers in the destination.”

The ‘Only Vegas Moments’ storylines are as follows:

Now & Then: For a young LGBTQ couple in love, a trip that starts as just a getaway to where they first met turns into a life-defining experience.

Party of One: A woman whose travel plans change suddenly finds herself in Las Vegas with the rare opportunity to do something just for her. With no one to look after and nothing on her schedule, it’s an opportunity for a working mom to practice self-care.

The Meetup: A traveler in Las Vegas on business decides to make his trip more interesting by transforming himself into a mysterious smooth operator – and people can’t help but take notice.

The Anniversary: A couple in a relationship on the rocks decides to embrace the freedom of Vegas in hopes of remembering why they fell in love in the first place.

All filmed in Las Vegas, the spots will air on major national and network channels as well as live on the brand’s website and YouTube channel. For more information about Las Vegas, visit www.VisitLasVegas.com. To view the new short films and spots click here,

National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World adds it newest member, Australia’s Thala Beach Nature Reserve

As one of only five memberships granted to an Australian eco-retreat, Thala Beach Nature Reserve announced that it has been invited to join the exclusive ranks of membership to the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.

As a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, Thala Beach Nature Reserve belongs to an exclusive collection of membership lodges that invite guests to discover some of the world’s most treasured environments, while helping to protect those places for generations to come.

Thala Beach Nature Reserve's Lobby

Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s Lobby: The open plan tropical design of Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s buildings allow it to blend with the local environment.

The membership granted to Thala Beach Nature Reserve by National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is a timely and natural union. For more than 10 years, Thala has achieved Advanced Eco-certification and Green Travel Leader status (Ecotourism Australia) through responsible and sustainable practices and environmental sensitivity.

Thala was handpicked for membership after successfully undergoing a rigorous vetting process. The standards for inclusion to National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World are based on the four pillars of sustainable tourism: protection of natural heritage, protection of cultural heritage, support for local communities, and environmentally friendly practices.

83 Bungalows are spread throughout the forest across Thala Beach Nature Reserve allowing guests to be up close with nature.

83 Bungalows are spread throughout the forest across Thala Beach Nature Reserve allowing guests to be up close with nature.

National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World is more than a selection of world-class hotels, resorts, and retreats; it is a rich and varied collection of rare experiences in the world’s most beautiful environments. Arguably nature lovers’ most exclusive club, member lodges offer their guests encounters with uniquely stunning regions of the world – and the chance to intimately discover them.

According to Thala Beach Nature Reserve’s owner, Rob Prettejohn, the family-owned beachfront eco retreat has long offered a peaceful sanctuary for nature-loving travelers. “Our busy lifestyles drive us relentlessly. To take some time off to reconnect with nature is a magical and enriching experience.”

Thala's Private Headland

Thala’s Private Headland: Thala Beach Nature Reserve is a headland with an area of 145 acres with 2km’s of private access beach frontage between Port Douglas and Cairns, Australia.

At Thala Beach Nature Reserve, our guests enjoy comfort within a beautiful, natural environment that is home to many unique Australian plants and animals,” explains Prettejohn. “Add good local food and friendly Tropical Queensland hospitality and interactive experiences, including visits to The Great Barrier Reef and guided walks in our ancient Gondwanan rainforests, guests have a combination of experiences available nowhere else in the world.

Guests Stargazing

Guests Stargazing: Thala’s guests stargazing at the on-site observatory.

Perfectly positioned on a private headland, Thala Beach Nature Reserve is surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage sites of The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics, providing easy access for guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding natural grandeur and the abundance of nature-based activities on offer.

Thala’s unique accommodation is made up of 83 eco-designed, tree house-style bungalows that are set on 58 hectares of native rainforest, with 2 kilometers of private-access beach. Thala Beach Nature Reserve is located 45 minutes from Cairns and 15 minutes from Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. 

Protection of the local environment, while welcoming travelers, is something Prettejohn holds close to his heart. “When visitors stay with us they contribute to preserving this wonderful and rare place. We are thrilled to now be a member of National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World and to be a part of a culture that embraces the very same values that we at Thala treasure.

Related Links

Thala Beach Nature Reserve /http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfQQ-TQXcdU / National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World / Thala Beach Nature Reserve – digital brochure.pdf

Design-Driven AC Hotels by Marriott® Brand Debuts in New York City

Midtown Manhattan’s Hottest New Property Features Elegant Year-Round Rooftop Lounge with Views of the Empire State Building, Creating an Oasis of Calm in the Heart of the City

Times Square remains the beating heart of Manhattan, and now travelers can be at the center of the action while still having space to reflect with the opening of the new AC Hotel New York Times Square. This new AC Hotel is perfectly positioned near the Garment District and only a half-block from the Times Square public transportation hub. The hotel is the first of two planned for the European-inspired AC Hotels by Marriott brand in Manhattan this year, with a second property expected to open in the Financial District later in 2018.

AC Hotels by Marriott Logo

AC Hotels by Marriott logo

The Midtown hotel melds an urban vibe with classic elements that hark back to the brand’s Spanish roots. The entrance lobby is 23 feet high with a large, open staircase to the lower level illuminated by a skylight shed roof. Its 290 guest rooms will offer an oasis in the midst of the bustle of NYC with a sleek and classic modern style. With options like floor-to-ceiling windows and private balconies, guests can enjoy unparalleled city views.

AC Hotel New York Times Square features two food and beverage experiences. The beloved NYC restaurant Boqueria will bring its lively Spanish tapas and signature convivial spirit to 260 West 40th Street, adjacent to the new AC Hotel lobby. The restaurant features a location-specific breakfast menu, a large rotisserie, and time-honored favorites like Pan Con Tomate, Pulpo a la Plancha, and Paella de Mariscos from Catalan chef Marc Vidal. Castell, a year-round rooftop lounge will be open to guests and locals alike when it debuts in May 2018, serving up views of NYC’s iconic skyline along with shareable plates, Happy Hour rituals, and cocktails, including the brand’s signature Gin & Tonic.

We are delighted to introduce New York City to the AC brand’s ‘New Way to Hotel,'” says Corry Oakes, President/CEO of OTO Development, the Johnson Management company that developed and operates the new hotel. “In addition to intriguing architectural details, local artwork in common spaces, and dynamic culinary options at Boqueria and Castell Lounge, what guests will truly appreciate is having space to breathe in this city that never sleeps.

AC Hotel New York Times Square brings travelers the best of contemporary European architecture infused with the design-forward spirit of the NYC Fashion District, as interpreted by Helpern Architects. Visitors are drawn into the elegant, double-height lobby via a granite-paved plaza; as they enter through the pleated glass façade, they become immediately aware of the signature materials such as Venetian terrazzo, quarter-sawn dark walnut millwork, and the dark patina of statuary bronze that makes the whole area glow. The modern-day grand stair that wraps top to bottom of the lobby and the large, open well-lit space make for the perfect backdrop for the property’s impressive art installations.

With the Spanish heritage of the AC Hotels by Marriott brand, our design-driven hotel brings new inspiration to the city,” says Benjamin Britton, General Manager of AC Hotel New York Times Square. “We provide everything essential you need – and nothing you don’t – creating a seamless, tranquil and frictionless experience for our guests, whether they’re traveling for business or leisure.

The AC Hotel in Times Square has developed signature programming, with attention to detail at every step – each one crafted to encourage guests to slow down in this hectic city. With elements such as lavender sachets at turndown (freshly made each day) to help promote better sleep, guests will feel taken care of but not fussed over. Other amenities include a 24-hour fitness center, 3,365 square feet of event space, and an AC Market featuring locally sourced items such as Hell’s Kitchen Hot Sauces.

“At AC Hotels, everything is done with intention while creating harmony – we believe if we have time to make it, we have time to make it beautiful,” said Benoit Racle, Global Brand Leader, AC Hotels by Marriott. “We are so pleased to welcome AC Hotel New York Times Square to the AC Hotels family as our first New York City property, and to be able to offer visitors and locals in Manhattan a tranquil space in the heart of the city to relax, reflect and reset.

The purposeful design of AC Hotel New York Times Square also features a collection of artwork by a mix of local and well-known artists. Ranging from sculptures to abstract painting, these expressive pieces are visible in shared spaces to inspire guests during their stay – one could almost call it a private art gallery. Guest room walls feature photography of New York City’s unique and iconic architecture such as Fulton Street Station and the Oculus.

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 Peninsula Hong Kong Celebrates The Holiday Spirit Of Giving With The Trees Of Hope Campaign And Special Events To Bring Seasonal Cheer For All Families

Timeless traditions, festive dining, and a special charitable initiative create unforgettable memories for guests at The Peninsula Hong Kong

The Peninsula Hong Kong will shares the festive spirit with guests and local residents during the holiday season with memorable Yuletide events that celebrate the joy of giving and raise funds for Make-A-Wish® Hong Kong. The Peninsula Hotels’ annual Trees of Hope fundraising campaign is now in its 14th year across all hotels and has raised more than US$ 1.5 million since its launch in Hong Kong in 2003.

the-peninsula-hong-kong-logo

The Peninsula Hong Kong logo

Trees Of Hope

For the 14th consecutive year, The Peninsula Hong Kong will participate in The Peninsula Hotels’ worldwide charity program, Trees of Hope. Guests who stay in or visit the hotel will have the chance to purchase a SnowPage custom-crafted glass tree ornament, priced at HK$ 150 each, and a SnowPage plush toy, priced at HK$ 200, with the proceeds going directly to Make-A-Wish® Hong Kong’s program, which makes dreams come true for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Timeless traditions, festive dining and a special charitable initiative create unforgettable memories for guests at The Peninsula Hong Kong

Timeless traditions, festive dining and a special charitable initiative create unforgettable memories for guests at The Peninsula Hong Kong

Guests will also receive a SnowPage gingerbread cookie with every ornament purchased and will have the option of hanging the ornament on the hotel’s Christmas trees as a symbol of hope or taking it home as a souvenir. For every classic SnowPage plush toy and ornament sold, HK$ 100 will be donated to Make-A-Wish® Hong Kong.

The festive season is a time for good cheer and generosity, and both are in abundant supply this year at The Peninsula Hong Kong. To celebrate the spirit of giving this Christmas, the city’s timeless Grande Dame presents a series of programs and special offers throughout the hotel that are sure to put guests in the holiday mood while helping create a brighter future for those who are less fortunate.

The Trees of Hope fundraising campaign will also extend to The Peninsula’s restaurants, which will offer special promotions that include donations to the charitable enterprise.

In the hotel’s legendary Lobby, the much-loved tradition of Afternoon Tea will be given a festive makeover as the “Teas of Hope” Classic Afternoon Tea. Available from 1 to 21 December and 27 to 30 December 2017, the set is priced at HK$ 368* per person and HK$ 658 for two and includes an ornament. For each tea set sold, 20% will be donated to Make-A-Wish®.

*subject to 10% service charge

Six special cocktails created for the festive season will be available throughout December in the hotel’s various restaurants and bars. These “Cocktails of Hope” are the ideal pick-me-up for winter evenings, and include:

  • Warming Glühwein (HK$ 150*), red wine, port, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, orange, and lemon
  • Iced Glühwein (HK$ 120*), grape juice, cranberry juice, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, orange, and lemon
  • Egg Nog (HK$ 150*), brandy, dark rum, milk, coffee cream, egg, and nutmeg
  • Winter’s Ginger (HK$ 150*), Hedonist liqueur, gin, peach puree, white peach syrup and ginger
  • Tropic Cider (HK$ 150*), aged rum, pineapple juice, cherry blossom syrup, fresh lime juice and orange
  • Lemongrass Elixir (HK$ 120*), lemongrass, agave nectar, grapefruit juice and butter

Available in all The Peninsula’s outlets (except the American Bar at Felix), 100% of each cocktail sold will be donated to Make-A-Wish®. Continue reading

Deck The Palms! Four Seasons Resort Orlando At Walt Disney World Resort Celebrates The Festive Season

This holiday season, trade in ski slopes and snow boots for palm trees and infinity pools at the lakeside Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, Central Florida’s only AAA Five Diamond Award rated property. Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year and enjoy elegant holiday décor throughout Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Dive-In holiday movies at the family pool, decadent holiday dinners, and much more.ORL_663_aspect16x9

Deck The Palms

From the royal palm-lined pathway lined with twinkling lights to the holiday-inspired floral arrangements and decadent gingerbread display in the lobby, Four Seasons glows with festive spirit that is sure to delight anyone who walks through the door. The lobby will be ornamented with elegant colours of plum and gold, complete with a grand 12-foot-tall (3.7 metre) Christmas tree, wreaths and columns wrapped with garland, and more. Executive Pastry Chef Rabii Saber’s gingerbread creation will be a fun conversation starter, and Resort guests will enjoy complimentary hot cocoa and cider daily. The holiday décor will be in place from December 1, 2017 through January 3, 2018. Plus, a separate gingerbread creation by Chef Saber will be on display at the Festival of Trees event at The Orlando Museum of Art from November 11 to 19, 2017.The Four Seasons Orlando

Suite Celebration

Multi-generational travel is becoming more and more popular, and Four Seasons Resort Orlando is perfectly situated to welcome families of all ages. With a variety of connecting rooms and suite options, families are able to celebrate in style and enjoy the space and comfort associated with suites and connecting rooms. Each of the Resort’s guest rooms includes a spacious furnished terrace, and Park View rooms offer views of the nightly fireworks. A stay in the Resort’s top suites, including the Royal, Presidential and Grand suites, makes celebrating the holidays even more special.ORL_541_aspect16x9

  • Royal Suite: The 3,300 square-foot (300 square metre) suite includes a vaulted great room, a master bedroom, a media room, a private office and a pantry kitchen, perfect for entertaining. Connecting up to as many as nine bedrooms, and with a wrap-around terrace featuring views of the nightly Magic Kingdom Park fireworks, it is the perfect suite for families to celebrate the festive season in the grandest way possible.
  • Presidential Suite: Designed to evoke a Mediterranean villa, the spacious 2,750 square-foot (255 square metre) Presidential Suite includes a great room, master bedroom, master bathroom, private office and pantry kitchen.  Two additional coordinating bedroom units and one guest room suite enable the Presidential Suite to expand to a four bedroom residence, ideal for family and friends to celebrate the holiday season.
  • Grand Suite: A Grand Suite is a beautiful suite to celebrate the holidays, with a spacious living room and sectional sofa and wet bar area perfect for entertaining, plus a dining area to seat eight. Available to connect up to two or more bedrooms, the Grand Suite also features a large terrace and views of the nightly fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park.

For guests of the Royal and Presidential suites, eight hours of butler service per day is included on the day of arrival and the day of departure. Additional hours, including round-the-clock service, are available for an added fee. Guests can take advantage of the butler’s assistance to gift wrap presents, dazzle the suite with holiday decor, create a memorable in-suite holiday dinner party, arrange for a holiday movie with cookies and cocoa, and much more.The Four Seasons Orlando

Holiday Treats

From peppermint s’mores at PB&G to holiday gelato flavours of chocolate cinnamon, gingerbread, and crushed candy cane at Lickety Split, the holidays are the perfect time to indulge. Lickety Split will also offer an array of holiday treats, such as pistachio and cranberry bark, pecan toffee, mini mint chocolate cookies and more to satisfy a sweet tooth. The whole family will enjoy complimentary cookie decorating with Chef Saber, offered to Resort guests on select dates.