The worldwide hotel and resort sector has faced a number of challenges since last year’s World Travel Awards, but it has come out fighting and delivered profit, investment and innovation. This year’s awards acknowledge and celebrate these achievements.With such a large number of hotels opening their doors across the globe each year it is hard for travel professionals to keep track of truly world—beating hotels and resorts. One award addresses this need with the “World’s Leading New Hotel” trophy. For 2005 this award was given to the Baglioni in London, this hotel has made a very big hit with a hip crowd—with the British capital reaping the benefits.
Other new faces for 2005 include Conrad, this year’s “World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Brand”, piping last year’s winner Fairmont and others to the award. A series of innovations and new acquisitions from the Hilton luxury brand clearly impressed the voters. Further celebrations for the company came with regional wins in Indonesia, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Belgium and Australia.
Elsewhere the Genting Highland Resort in Malaysia claimed the 2005 “World’s Leading Casino Resort,” marking a significant departure from a previously Las Vegas-dominated category.
To be rewarded for dedication, impeccable attention to detail and world-beating hospitality combined with a wonderful property is the dream of every five-star hotel and resort. At this year’s World Travel Awards the winners have all shown these qualities in abundance. To maintain that position year-on-year requires something more and a number of this year’s world leading hotels and resorts have managed to stay ahead of their challengers.
South Africa’s Saxon Hotel has maintained its place as the “World’s Leading Boutique Hotel,” managing to outgun some high-class competition. The Forte Village in Sardinia claimed “World’s Leading Resort” for the seventh consecutive year while Le Meridien Limassol cannot be topped as the “World’s Leading Spa.”
In a year when the British Open returned to the home of golf it is appropriate that the Old Course Hotel St. Andrews retained the award for “World’s Leading Golf Resort.” While Sandals Antigua Resort & Spa, has been voted “World’s Most Romantic Resort” for the last two years.
Reflecting its position at the forefront of tourism innovation Dubai was well represented again in this years top awards taking “World’s Leading All-Suite Hotel” for the Burj Al Arab and “World’s Leading Business Hotel” for the Emirates Tower, Dubai. The Madinat Jumeirah also took the newly created “World’s Leading Conference Resort” award.
And for the global hotel chains, despite some fierce competition, this year saw InterContinental Hotels maintain its position as the “World’s Leading Hotel Brand.” They have produced impressive operating profits whilst maintaining standards and winning the constant admiration of the industry. One of the most prestigious rewards—the “World’s Leading Hotel,” was given to the Burj al Arab knocking off the 2004 winner, New York’s Plaza. Dubai’s Burj al Arab is truly in a class of its own in terms of the property, hospitality and what it has to offer the traveller.
“The turnover of winners in the hotel categories is higher than for other sectors, that is because it is hard to stay at the top of this market, innovate, stay in fashion, appeal to guests with the best hospitality and create a buzz about the property,” says Graham Cooke, president of the World Travel Awards.
“This year’s hotel category winners are at true benchmarks for the industry.”