Antonio Sersale, owner and GM of Le Sirenuse, Positano, was deemed hotelier of the year at the Virtuoso Best of the Best awards, Wednesday August 12th, 2015. Touchingly, Antonio Sersale – one of the luxury hotel world’s best promoters – thanked not only his wife Carla but also his late father, Marchese Franco Sersale, who, says the gal, was equally passionate about people, and quality (he sent young Antonio to be educated in England, at Millfield, and he, in turn, now has his own sons being educated in England, at The Dragon).
There were other equally commendable and justly-given awards. Hotel of the year is Ashford Castle in Co Mayo, Ireland, which bodes well for future seasons (the director of Belmond‘s trains, Gary Franklin, says he cannot believe how much US interest there is in the company’s forthcoming luxury Irish train). Ashford Castle is now owned and managed by the Tollman family and its Red Carnation brand, and GM Niall Rochford went up on the stage with colleagues who included two other legends, Terry Holmes and Paula Carroll.
Then there was the design award, to Ritz-Carlton Kyoto, GM movie buff Yuji Tanaka, designers Peter Remedios and SPIN. Culinary went to Oetker Collection‘s Le Bristol Paris, for its Michelin three-star Epicure, GM Didier LeCalvez, chef Eric Fréchon (now also overseeing the latest Oetker Collection property, The Lanesborough, London). London‘s The Connaught, currently without a GM, won best bar. Four Seasons Orlando, under GM Thomas Steinhauer, has the best family programme, for kids. The Dolder Resort, above Zurich (GM Mark Jacob) has the best spa, a 21-room facility with such brands as Kerstin Florian, Ivo Pitanguy and La Prairie and add on live violin music as you are treated. Experience of the year? Head to Belmond Copacabana Palace, Rio de Janeiro (GM Andrea Natal) for its pre-dawn private tour up Corcovado Mountain. Sustainability winner is The Brando, CEO Richard Bailey, on Arue, an island in the Polynesian Tetiaroa cluster. And, lastly, ‘one to watch’ is Rosewood Beijing, GM Marc Brugger, where the club lounge has a resident mixologist.
All the awards were announced, by Virtuoso‘s Matthew Upchurch and Albert Herrera, during the 1,600-strong ‘hotels’ dinner during the totally memorable annual Virtuoso Travel Week, the must-attend August gathering, in Las Vegas, of the world’s top luxury hoteliers and the best travel advisors (agents), total head-count 4,842. Tomorrow, find out more…