Luxury Hotels


When an award is won, what next? Girlahead can get into the story.  At the Ultras in London on Monday night, the Pacific Ballroom underneath PAN PACIFIC LONDON was not exactly filled with (ungracious term) but dotted with at least 400 greats from the worlds of travel, tourism and hospitality.  Best airport in the world, according to those of the 21 million Discovery loyalty programmes of the 40 brands that form Global Hotel Alliance GHA was, to no little surprise. The award was picked up by an enthusiastic little man who was not used to this notoriety. There was absolutely no surprise, however, that best airline is Emirates.  A clue was given by the fact that Emirates’ decades-in Chairman, Sir Tim Clark, had earlier been final keynote speaker at the Ultras educational Forum that afternoon.  And when the Airline Of The Year award was announced, it was Sir Tim personally who rushed up the four hastily-placed steps to the stage, and to rapturous applause.

So far Singapore 0, Dubai 1.  The point Is that it is essential to have a top person at such events just in case an acceptance performance is required. Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of parent Minor Group, was fortunately on hand to pick up the best hotel Middle East/Africa glass sculpture for the ROYAL LIVINGSTONE BY ANANTARA at Victoria Falls. And well done to Thomas Kochs, there in person, as GM, to accept the accolade of best city hotel Europe for THE CORINTHIA LONDON.

Other hotel and resort winners had to rely on sales people or London representatives, which was not nearly as impressive. Guy Klaiman, GM of the world’s best new hotel, DAVID KEMPINSKI TEL AVIV, had a more than plausible excuse. This week he is in New York wooing the top US travel trade with colleagues including Kempinski’s CEO Bernold Schroder and CCO Amanda Elder. The timing is to celebrate Kempinski’s 125 years in the hospitality business, and no wonder Klaiman wanted to be there too.

What happened to his award?  It was accepted by Timur Sentürk, Kempinski’s COO Europe, Middle East and Africa. And, by an amazing luck of timing, Girlahead was able to offer to hand-carry it to Tel Aviv, her next destination. As long as she does not leave it in the 787’s overhead bin, or it is not impounded by Israeli customs as a prohibited work of art, it should therefore be in its final home within 24 hours of the fabulous Ultras. PS. It arrived safely. Philipp Poegl, Manager of David Kempinski Tel Aviv, now has the award. Why did the hotel win? Well, says Poegl, it’s a city hotel but right on a gorgeous beach, the hardware is outstanding but basically it’s the people, the service. And, adds this former F&B professional, the food’s not bad either – see, above, an artwork of items from the wow-wow all-encompassing breakfast buffet – sit inside or out, even in November.)

Now hear Bernold Schroder, here: