Small Luxury Hotels of the World™ (SLH) has announced Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda in Italy as Hotel of the Year at the SLH Awards 2020. Selected for the accolade by SLH’s Executive Panel, this pioneer of sustainable hospitality manages to create a haven for body, mind, soul and conscience on the shores of Lake Garda, and is one of 18 hotels to have been honoured in this year’s awards. With over 400 SLH hotels around the world now open again these winners, along with 46 Highly Commended hotels, embody the inspirational spirit of all SLH hotels in demonstrating that the show goes on despite the many challenges faced this year.
In contrast to previous years, this year several of the awards were also voted for by a panel of experts from the worlds of luxury, travel, wellbeing and cuisine – Simon Leadsford (Publisher, Conde Nast Traveller), Katy Simpson (CEO, Noble Isle), Dominique Crenn (3 Michelin-starred chef, Atelier Crenn in San Francisco), Gary Allen (Managing Director, Luxury Travel Media) and Carol Duval-Leroy (Owner, Champagne Duval-Leroy). These winners include Castello di Reschio in Umbria, Italy (Most Inspirational Interior Design), Cap Rocat in Mallorca, Spain (Most Intimate Bedroom for The Sentinels), Castle Hot Springs in Arizona, USA (Most Mindful Wellness Retreat), The George in Christchurch, New Zealand (Most Intense Bespoke Experience) and The Seminyak Resort & Spa in Bali, Indonesia (Best Gourmet Experience).
Two specific members of staff have been honoured with awards. Chef Marc Collins from Wentworth Mansion in South Carolina, USA, was named Local Food Champion in recognition of his work as a proactive advocate of the state’s culinary traditions and produce. Meanwhile, Michael Ferreira, Guest Experience Manager at Le Barthélemy Resort & Spa in St Barths, won the Hotel Hero award for consistently demonstrating incredible thoughtfulness and an absolutely-can-do attitude to guests.
In line with SLH’s commitment to helping its member hotels operate with integrity and a commitment to nurturing and protecting our planet, two awards heralded those who lead by example. The Sustainable Innovator of the Year award was won by Arima Hotel in San Sebastián, Spain, for creating a ‘soulstainable’ escape in constant contact with nature. The Stay Small, Stay Considerate Award was won by Lefay Resorts, in recognition of their two Italian hotels in Lake Garda and The Dolomites being carbon neutral as part of a philosophy that ‘personal wellness should never overlook environmental wellness’.
The heritage awards saw hotels recognized by hotel type and by key members of our community. The Norman Tel Aviv (Tel Aviv, Israel) was voted City Centre Hotel of the Year, Hotel Villa Franca (Positano, Italy) was named Resort Hotel of the Year and Château la Chenevière (Normandy, France) was awarded Country House Hotel of the Year. Members of SLH’s INVITED loyalty programme chose The Tokyo Station Hotel (Tokyo, Japan) as their INVITED Hotel of the Year while the Travel Agent Hotel of the Year was Hotel Relais Christine in Paris (France). Finally, the Mystery Inspectors’ Award saw SLH’s elusive group of over 100 inspectors have their say based on their first-hand experiences staying at each and every one of SLH hotels over the last twelve months, withHemingways Nairobi in Kenya coming out top.
Member hotels were also invited to submit entries to applaud innovation in their use of digital platforms:
- The Frederick and The Iroquois, as part of Triumph Hotels (New York City, USA), were recognized for the experiences focus of their website with theDigital Excellence Award.
- Halcyon House (Australia) was awarded Most ‘Liked’ Hotel for its curated portrayal of life on Cabarita Beach in New South Wales.
Richard Hyde, Managing Director of Small Luxury Hotels of the World said: “Great hotels are still great hotels despite the many curve balls that COVID-19 continues to throw at them. With the SLH Awards 2020 we are recognizing some really exceptional hotels at a time when they need recognition more than ever. As the winner of Hotel of the Year and our Stay Small, Stay Considerate Award, Lefay Resorts is a shining example to all of how luxury and social responsibility can complement each other. This sense of responsibility is now also about sustaining our hospitality industry and the communities that hotels in turn support. The best way to show your support is to book a stay and discover exactly why independent hotels are so very special.”
The full list of winners and highly commended hotels is as follows:
- Hotel of the Year – Lefay Resort & SPA Lago di Garda (Italy)
- City Centre Hotel of the Year – The Norman Tel Aviv (Israel)
- Country House Hotel of the Year – Château la Chenevière (France)
- Resort Hotel of the Year – Hotel Villa Franca (Italy)
- Mystery Inspectors’ Award – Hemingways Nairobi (Kenya)
- Most Inspirational Interior Design – Castello di Reschio (Italy)
- Most Intimate Bedroom – Cap Rocat (Spain)
- Most Mindful Wellness Retreat – Castle Hot Springs (USA)
- Most Intense Bespoke Experience – The George (New Zealand)
- Best Gourmet Experience – The Seminyak Beach Resort & Spa (Indonesia)
- Local Food Champion – Chef Marc Collins, Wentworth Mansion (USA)
- Hotel Hero Award – Michael Ferreira, Le Barthélemy Resort & Spa (St Barths)
- Sustainable Innovator of the Year – Arima Hotel (Spain)
- Stay Small, Stay Considerate Award – Lefay Resorts (Italy)
- INVITED Hotel of the Year – The Tokyo Station Hotel (Japan)
- Travel Agents’ Hotel of the Year – Hotel Relais Christine (France)
- Most ‘Liked’ Hotel – Halcyon House (Australia)
- Digital Excellence Award – Triumph Hotels (USA)