We have a general scepticism about awards in general, but the small best-of-the-best list definitely includes The Ultras.
Last night saw the 13th annual Ultras. For the seventh year running, Burj Al Arab, Dubai, was voted by top-tier DISCOVERY members, plus readers of Ultratravel, best hotel in the world (DISCOVERY is the 16-million loyalty programme of Global Hotel Alliance GHA). Burj Al Arab is now 20 years old, and has had no major renovations – which shows that tried-and-tested can win over new-kid-on-the-block. That main award was picked up by Burj Al Arab MD, Tony Costa, supported by Jumeirah CEO José Silva and a couple of colleagues.
The evening, hosted last night, Monday 27 January, 2020, by Emerald Palace Kempinski Dubai, was introduced jointly by GHA CEO Chris Hartley and Nick Perry, Chairman of UltraTravel. Bose was a co-sponsor. Chris Hartley explained that during 2019, new GHA members were Campbell Gray Hotels, Capella, Divani, Fauchon, Nikki Beach and Sukhothai. This takes membership to 35 brands, and there is a new partnership with A Small World.
The stage, outside on the Emerald Palace Kempinski lawn, was then handed over to UK television sports presenters Kirsty Gallagher and Gethin Jones. They announced winners, who were handed awards by Boyzone star Ronan Keating. Best Business Class was Singapore Airlines, and best First Class was Emirates, with ANA winning most innovative airline and Singapore’s Changi voted best airport.
Best golf resort went to Gleneagles in Scotland. Best Europe hotel was Claridge’s, London; best Indian Ocean resort was One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives; best Asia hotel was, despite only re-opening September 2019, Raffles, Singapore. Best hotel group was Six Senses, best wellness company was Aman. Among other awards, Viceroy’s L’Ermitage Beverly Hills won a celebrity-special for its video featuring Brazil-born Hollywood star Morena Baccacin.