Virtuoso announced it annual Best of the Best on 8 January 2020. The comprehensive directory contains listings for a record 1,400-plus of the globe’s top luxury hotels in over 100 countries as well as the most intriguing worldwide experiences for the year ahead. Property descriptions include complimentary advantages for guests who book through a Virtuoso travel advisor worth over US$500 per stay, as well as tips for making the most of their visit. All properties have been carefully vetted by the esteemed global luxury travel network and its professional travel advisors before being admitted into Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts Program.
Virtuoso’s vast portfolio of hotels, resorts, lodges, tents, camps, private islands, villas and apartments provides options for a wide variety of traveler preferences. Properties range from four to 4,004 rooms, with 49 percent under 100 rooms, and 48 percent unaffiliated with a brand or collection. Most importantly, 46 percent are exclusive to the network, extending valuable enhanced benefits only to clients who book their stay through a Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisor.
The Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts program is constantly evolving to respond to client preferences and has added 90 properties to 2020’s Best of the Best to meet these expectations. These newcomers exemplify the latest luxury hotel trends for the year ahead:
Do Good: As travelers increasingly prioritize sustainability as a greater factor in their travel decisions, hotels are implementing initiatives that are true to their values, which align with Virtuoso’s core tenets of sustainable travel: protecting the planet, supporting local economies and celebrating culture.
- Banyan Tree Ringha in China creates jobs and educational opportunities for locals, plants trees, organizes environmental clean-ups and conserves resources.
- Heckfield Place is rooted in the English landscape, with a biodynamic farm and facility for powering water and heating along with processing recyclable waste.
- Time + Tide Miavana brings eco luxury to Madagascar, conserving the biodiversity in its island setting, educating guests about local wildlife, and boosting the area’s economy.
Storied Pasts: Hotels are breathing new life into old treasures with fascinating past lives and transforming these historic buildings into properties offering authentic, meaningful experiences.
- Domes Miramare Corfu, built as a modernist retreat for the Onassis family and their jet-setting guests in the 1960s, has been reborn as an adults-only beachfront resort.
- Orania Berlin occupies a 1913 building that housed a legendary café frequented by cultural icons of the day, and now continues that cosmopolitan legacy.
- The Jaffa Tel Aviv was built in 1879 as a hostel for pilgrims visiting the Holy Land, then served as a hospital for all in need, and today is a modern hotel embodying minimalist chic.
Little Gems: Travelers craving intimacy and privacy are seeking small luxury properties around the globe nestled in stunning surroundings that embody a sense of place.
- Caldera House provides a cozy getaway for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts at the base of Jackson Hole in Wyoming, with just eight spacious contemporary suites.
- The casually elegant Paradise Beach Nevis features just 12 houses and villas ranging from two to four bedrooms, all with their own private pool and kitchen.
- Matetsi Victoria Falls is an award-winning safari lodge and luxury villa with 22 rooms on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, featuring an unspoiled private game reserve.
Nomad’s Wanderlist: Virtuoso travelers are world explorers at heart who thrive on discovering new destinations, especially those far off the beaten path.
- Cape Weligama is a Sri Lankan beach resort perched atop a cliff overlooking the Indian Ocean, featuring 39 private retreats and an infinity pool that seems to float above the sea.
- One&Only Nyungwe House, part of a working tea plantation, is set on the edge of a Rwandan forest, where rooms frame nature with exceptional views from private decks.
- Pacuare Lodge is an eco-hotel with only 20 rooms, set on Costa Rica’s Pacuare River, with simple yet sophisticated décor inspired by indigenous and natural influences.
Hot and Hip: Travelers want to stay at unique hotels that cater to their lifestyle with eye-catching designs that reflect their preferences, passions and personality.
- The NoMad Hotel Los Angeles serves as a lively gathering space downtown, balancing the character of the Neoclassical landmark building with a modern California vibe.
- Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay provides a fashionable escape, offering cocktails mixed by an on-call waiter, intimate restaurants, a Six Senses Spa and bars throughout the beach resort.
- SO/ Auckland is the most vibrant “see and be seen” hangout for the artistic and musical set, with its avant-garde style and rooftop bar overlooking Waitemata Harbour.
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. www.virtuoso.com