Virtuoso 2017 ‘Best of the Best’ awards

The 11th annual ceremony celebrated this year’s top 11 hotels and hoteliers before 1,600 of luxury travel’s crème de la crème attending the Hotels & Resorts Dinner. Of particular note, Palazzo Seneca in Italy received the sought-after “Hotel of the Year” honour.

Virtuoso received input from its 800-plus travel agency partners and more than 16,000 professional travel advisors to name the winners in each category, from best dining experience to best wellness program.

Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE, the network’s multi-award-winning magazine, offered their expert insight and hotel savvy to select the nominees on which the advisors voted. This year’s Best of the Best award recipients will be highlighted in the publication’s September/October.

With a broad-ranging portfolio of more than 1,200 hotels, resorts, villas and private island retreats in over 100 countries, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts is revered as the industry’s most prestigious hotel program. Founded in 1992 with just 20 hotels, Virtuoso Hotels & Resorts is marking its 25th anniversary in 2017, celebrating the remarkable growth, quality and diversity that have become trademarks of the program over the past quarter-century.

2017 Virtuoso Best of the Best categories and winners:

Hotel of the Year: Palazzo Seneca, Norcia, Italy
“The Bianconi family doesn’t just own a lovely hotel. They are beautiful people indeed, who care for others less fortunate, love the land where they were born, and take good care of this land.” – Julia Kostina, Renshaw Travel, a Virtuoso Agency

Palazzo Seneca Norcia, Italy

Best Achievement in Design: Six Senses Douro Valley, Lamego, Portugal
“What sets this resort apart is that it retains the charm and beauty of a large country manor set among rolling hills and vineyards. There’s a prevailing sense of quiet, calm and relaxation as soon as you enter.” – Linda Zelisko, Travel Experts, a Virtuoso Agency

Six Senses Douro Valley, Portugal

Best Dining Experience: La Terrazza – Hotel Eden Rome, Rome, Italy
“Have you ever eaten pasta surrounded by vapored dry ice? It is simply the most innovative dish I have ever seen.” – Jonathan Phillips, Camelback Odyssey Travel, a Virtuoso Agency

La Terrazza – Hotel Eden Rome, Rome, Italy

Best Family Programme: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Naples, Florida, USA
“They have great options for families to visit local museums, bird sanctuaries, and a special program with a local artisan who leads their glass blowing classes. They really go out of their way to make the experiences as engaging as possible for the kids.” – Nick Cutrone, Vista Travel Consultants, a Virtuoso Agency

Ritz-Carlton Naples

Best Wellness Programme: Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona, USA
“The combination of four areas – physical, emotional, spiritual, and medical – is very unique in the wellness community. Most spas will cover a couple of the areas. Canyon Ranch can do it all. It has a wider range of options for the consumer than any other spa and the quality is outstanding!” – Peggy Purtell, Travel Experts, a Virtuoso Agency

Best Virtuoso Experience: Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
“From the moment you arrive in the Sanctuary Lounge and make a wish by throwing a little stone in the cenote, you know you are in a special place. Everything in the hotel is an experience so that makes it unique.” – Areli Guzman, Viajes Terranova, a Virtuoso Agency

Best Virtuoso Newcomer: Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, New York, New York, USA
“The large wrought iron front doors give a luxurious first impression. But the standout feature is the beautiful spiral staircase and long hanging cascading sculpture on the ground level.” – Sylvia Betesh Lebovitch, Ovation Vacations, a Virtuoso Agency

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, New York