Virtuoso reveals the World’s Best Hotels for 2009

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Leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso(R), and its award-winning magazine, VIRTUOSO LIFE, are pleased to announce the winners of the prestigious Best of the Best Awards. This is the third year Virtuoso has reviewed its collection of more than 800 world-class properties and recognized the hotels, hospitality professionals and hotel chains that are setting new standards in luxury travel. VIRTUOSO LIFE Publisher, Terrie Hansen, and Virtuoso Hotels, Destinations & Tours Vice President, Albert Herrera, revealed the award winners during the August 19th Hotels & Resorts dinner at Virtuoso’s annual Travel Mart conference — the largest event dedicated to luxury travel — held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, NV, August 16-21, 2009.

“The hotels, hotel company and individuals named as Best of the Best this year have earned this honor in every respect,” says Albert Herrera, Vice President of Hotels, Destinations & Tours for Virtuoso. “They consistently set new standards in what we, and our clients, expect. Today, luxury is no longer defined by physical attributes, but rather the ability to transform travel into an experience that reshapes lives and brings people closer together. This increased ‘Return on Life(TM),’ as we termed the philosophy at Virtuoso, comes in many forms and we’ve selected the hotels and individuals that exemplify this concept with every guest and within their own communities.”

Virtuoso‘s elite agency members, who are renowned for providing their upscale clientele with expertly crafted travels, helped determine those who took top honors this year. Herrera added, “Our travel agency members are well traveled and very particular; they have to be when servicing the world’s most exclusive travelers. If they deem these hotels as the best, you can be assured they are.”

“With the Best of the Best awards, we honor these stand-out hotels and individuals that rise above their peers in this prominent group,” said Elaine Srnka, Editorial Director of VIRUTOSO LIFE. “From the most socially responsible Fairmont Hotels & Resorts to the Park Hyatt Shanghai as hotel of the year, these properties not only touch the lives of their clients, but they also make a difference in the world – beyond the travel industry.”

VIRTUOSO LIFE editors, in collaboration with Virtuoso’s member travel advisors, selected nominees representing the pinnacle of service, design and luxury in the industry. The 10 award categories ranged from “architecture and design” to “most innovative guest experience.” Winners were selected above other nominees as they were regarded as the very best in their category demonstrating innovation, dedication, social conscience and even courage. Best of the Best award winners will be featured in the September/October 2009 issue of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine, reaching 250,000 upscale, world travelers.

The 2009 Best of Best winners are as follows:

Best Achievement in Design: SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.

Best Culinary Experience: Rossellinis, Palazzo Sasso, Ravello, Italy

Best Bar: MO Bar, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

Best Family Program: Half Moon, Montego Bay, Jamaica

Best Spa: Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, Tahiti, French Polynesia

Most Innovative Guest Experience: Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, Musandam Peninsula, Oman

Most Socially Responsible: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

One to Watch: John Reed of Amankora, Bhutan

Hotelier of the Year: Karambir Singh Kang, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, Mumbai, India

Hotel of the Year: Park Hyatt Shanghai, Shanghai, China



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