Capella Singapore is named ‘Ultratravel Collection Hotel of the Year’, Thailand scoops best country for a holiday, Emirates Airline wins two gongs at star-studded event, staged at new luxury city hotel, Pan Pacific London
(Posted 04th November 2022)
The favourite hotels, destination, airline and cruise line of the GHA DISCOVERY programme with 22 million global travellers were revealed at the 14th edition of luxury travel awards ceremony, the ULTRAs, on Monday 31st October 2022.
Celebrating the world’s leading travel companies and destinations, the ULTRAs is a must-attend yearly event for the luxury travel elite, organised by Nick Perry, Chairman of multi-media brand Ultratravel, with whom Global Hotel Alliance, the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands and operator of award-winning loyalty programme GHA DISCOVERY has a successful joint venture – the Ultratravel Collection. Staged at the elegant Pan Pacific London, a new landmark address in the city, the ULTRAs acknowledged the success of leading travel entities across 15 categories, with winners of each voted for by GHA DISCOVERY’s membership.
Seven categories celebrated the achievements of properties operated by GHA’s hotel brands, with Capella Singapore crowned ‘Ultratravel Collection Hotel of the Year’ and The David Kempinski, Tel Aviv, named ‘Best New Hotel’. The ‘Best Resort Hotel’ accolade was scooped by Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort, St Lucia, while the Corinthia London was recognised as ‘Best City Hotel’. With sustainability a hot topic at the Ultratravel Forum, which took place prior to the awards, the hotly contested ‘Sustainable Hotel of the Year’ gong was collected by PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay, Singapore, a property pioneering responsible hospitality and the country’s first ‘Garden-in-a-Hotel’.
GHA DISCOVERY members also voted for their favourite airlines, airport and cruise line, with Dubai carrier Emirates winning two awards with the airline’s president, Sir Tim Clark, who spoke at the forum, receiving the ‘Best Airline in the World’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. Its hub, Dubai International, was a hot contender for ‘Best Airport in the World’, but the award was scooped by Changi Singapore.
When it comes to holidays at sea, GHA DISCOVERY members voted for Regent Seven Seas Cruises as ‘The Best Luxury Cruise Line’, while on land, their sought-after destinations included Italy, the Maldives, the United Arab Emirates and the US, all runners up in the ‘Favourite Country for a Holiday’ category. The winner, however, was Thailand, the home of many popular GHA hotel brands.
The awards, which were presented by a raft of UK TV presenters and personalities including Kirsty Gallacher, Gethin Jones, Dr Ranj Singh and Sky News anchor Sarah-Jane Mee, also shined the spotlight on Hope and Homes for Children, one of the charitable organisations the ULTRAs supports. The anti-orphanage charity took the opportunity to raise industry awareness of its ‘End Orphanage Tourism’ campaign, explaining how visiting orphanages on holiday harms children.
Responsible tourism was a hot topic of debate at the Ultratravel Forum, with panelists entering an honest discussion about the challenges of reaching net zero including the CEOs of GHA shareholder Minor Hotels, luxury cruise operator and event sponsor Explora Journeys, private jet firm Fly Victor and luxury industry sustainability solution provider, Positive Luxury.
The audience of 300-plus travel professionals also heard from The Economist’s Daniel Franklin, who stressed that despite ongoing pandemic-related challenges and growing geopolitical and economic turmoil, there was a “luxury now or never” mentality, which could benefit the luxury travel segment. Emirates’ Sir Tim Clark painted a rosier picture, highlighting much of the airline’s entire network was very well booked up until February. The carrier’s new Premium Economy product had been an instant success since its August 2022 launch, he revealed.
Echoing this positive sentiment, GHA CEO Chris Hartley told the ULTRAs audience that travel’s rebound was in full swing, as evidenced by the recently reported stellar nine-month performance of GHA hotel brands, with total revenue generated by GHA DISCOVERY members reaching US$900 million, up 68% on 2021 and reaching 84% of pre-pandemic (2019) levels on a like for like basis.
“We are confident this upswing will continue into 2023 as the industry returns to, or even exceeds, pre-pandemic performance, and as our ULTRAs and Ultratravel Forum have demonstrated, the appetite for travel continues to accelerate with GHA DISCOVERY members appreciating more than ever the aspirational luxury travel experiences our best-in-class winners and runners-up present.” He congratulated the audience for their commitment to excellence and the contribution to travel’s comeback.
For a full list of the ULTRAs 2022 winners and runners up, see this link.