As a judge of the International Hotel Awards, I know how difficult it is to win the International Five Star Hotel Standard. The judging criteria is tough, every aspect of the hotel and the service they offer is examined by a team of judges, well versed in every aspect of running a luxury hotel.
The main sponsors of the awards were Rolls Royce Motor Cars, not a dealer but the real deal from the factory at Goodwood. In the ballroom at the London Hilton were two magnificent examples of the Rolls Royce Ghost – how they managed to get the cars into the room, when each car has more room than a one bedroom apartment in Knightsbridge, we shall never know. We were fascinated with the hundreds of tiny night skylights in the ceiling of the car on display. The Bespoke Sales Manager for Rolls Royce, Nicolas Osy de Zegwart told the audience that they would do anything a client wants to create a bespoke Rolls Royce. Nicolas shared with us the lengths the company had gone to, with a client building a new and very luxurious hotel in Macau, who had ordered 30 Rolls Royces to transport his VIP guests. The cars were tailored to his every need, they were painted his hotel’s exact shade – a colour that Rolls Royce had to create from scratch, and bespoke black and white woven leather was incorporated into the seats. Nicolas believes that bespoke is the way to go. ‘People want something that is individual and made for them and we intend to provide it for them when they choose one of our cars’.The audience was better dressed than the Oscars and obviously took pride in their appearance as well as the hotels they signified. It was a real tour around the world with most countries represented in the room.
Best Small Hotel – the O:live Hotel in Puerto Rico (oliveboutiquehotel.com) is an interior designers dream and the food looks incredible. To see the game, visit Pondoro Game Lodge (www.Pondoro.co.za). Your bedroom has a private patio overlooking the river and they offer the option for an overnight Treehouse Hide Experience; the Water Suite is named after a waterfall that cascades silently downs the headboard of your bed.
The Rhino Resort and Spa in Senegal (www.therhinoresort.com) was justifiably awarded Best Spa Africa. The ME hotel in Covent Garden (www.melia.com) was London’s Award winner; the roof bar has fantastic views of the London skyline. For old world luxury, the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace (www.fairmont.com/montreux) was a worthy winner for elegance and Lucile Falguieres was definitely the best dress winner.
We could go on and on but a full list of the winners can be found on http://ihotelawards.com/winners/