The Ultras are honestly now the most global luxury hotel awards. The 13 million Discovery members of Global Hotel Alliance GHA can vote, plus readers of Ultratravel, published in UK by The Daily Telegraph, and in UAE by Al Ittihad and The National. This year, for the first time, The Ultras were presented in Dubai.
For the 12th year running, the global winner was Dubai’s iconic Burj Al Arab (the award was collected by Jumeirah CEO Jose Silva). Other best regional hotel accolades went to New York’s Mandarin Oriental, for The Americas; Antibes’ Hôtel du Cap Eden Roc was winner, Europe; Cape Town’s One&Only won Africa; Maldives’ St Regis Vommuli got Indian Ocean; Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental picked up Asia, and Sydney’s Park Hyatt, Australasia. Gleneagles was best golf resort; Wilderness Safaris was editors’ choice, group; Ubud’s Capella, was editors’ choice, new hotel, and, finally, Bangkok’s Siam Kempinski was Ultratravel Collection hotel of the year – see the image above, of Kempinski COO Amanda Elder receiving the award from Mike Tindall and Zara Phillips.
The awards, on November 21st, 2018, were the first-ever event held on the wind-free west lawn of Burj Al Arab. Hotel MD/RVP Tony Costa had, with organisers, masterminded an evening that included superb drinks, service and stand-up canapés complemented by serving stations promoting all five hotel restaurants – gourmet chef Nathan Outlaw manned the seafood barbeque.
There were plenty of personalities, including awards presenters, ex-Formula 1 champion Damon Hill, and rugby football legend Mike Tindall, plus his long-legged wife, equestrian Olympian and grand-daughter of The Queen, Zara Phillips, who showed pizzazz by stylishly turning up in stilettos and the shortest of black shorts as her luggage had not arrived.