Last night Nick Perry, on left above, once again hosted the Ultras, the awards chosen by top-tier loyalty travellers associated with the growing number of brands that are part of Global Hotel Alliance GHA (the Ultras are managed by Ultratravel, chaired by Perry and an integral partner of GHA).
Best hotel in Europe, according to these top-tier travellers, is CIRAGAN PALACE KEMPINSKI, ISTANBUL. That speaks highly for the inherent determination of the hotel’s larger-than-life boss, Ralph Radtke, who protects and nourishes the Bosphorus-set hotel as though it is his own baby. Best hotel in Americas is SUGAR BEACH, VICEROY (St Lucia); in Middle East/Africa/India it is LEELA PALACE, UDAIPUR; in Asia Pacific it’s CAPELLA BANGKOK. Best new hotel is PORTRAIT SUITES MILANO.
Among the many accolades there were awards for up in the air (Turkish Airlines, in Europe), on the ground (Dubai International Airport) and on water (REGENT SEVEN SEAS). Presenters ranged from a scrum of South African rugby stars to a highly admired English television host, Kate Garraway. Those who also flew in from London included man around the world Farhad Heydari, who edits Ultratravel’s magazine. Chris Hartley, CEO of Global Hotel Alliance, is based in Dubai but senior members of some of GHA member groups flew in specially: The Lore Group, latest member, met up with such longer-serving members as The Doyle Collection, and Kempinski.
There were, in all, well over Nick Perry’s anticipated 300 participants at the 2023 Ultras – at Nikki Beach Club Dubai, somewhere in town but 90 minutes’ drive from parts of The Palm. Service was remarkably good, with plenty of alcoholic and non-alc drinks and big-bite edibles. At least during Girlahead’s stay, miraculously no-one fell in the pool.