27 January 2014

Virtuoso's 2014 Best of the Best directory suggests exceptional experiences

If you're looking to organise a luxury-themed event with unique experiences to offer, or sourcing for a venue for a senior management meeting, Virtuoso's new 2014 Best of the Best hotel directory may offer some ideas.

The global network of luxury travel agencies has compiled information about the world's best hotels in 100 countries and showcased unique experiences for selected geographical regions. The directory spans and features 980 hotels, resorts, spas, lodges and camps, villas, and private islands, 334 of which are completely exclusive to the Virtuoso network.  

The annual accolades include several for Asia, including the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong which has been named Hotel of the Year. According to the directory, "modern luxury combined with ancient Eastern influences has made this iconic hotel exceptional for more than 50 years."

Voted 'One to Watch' was the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi, called 'the perfect base' from which to explore the Gulf city. Finally, the most innovative guest experience for 2014 comes from India. Banjaar Tola, in Kanhaar National Park, "is as close as anyone can be to India's greatest tiger reserve" and the "best place to experience India's wilderness", said the travel experts.

This year, Virtuoso has added 32 unique experiences throughout the world to pair with the hotels in various destinations. According to the directory, exceptional experiences in Australia include a backstage visit to the Sydney Opera House, exploring rock art in Cairns, and getting an introduction to food in Melbourne with a celebrity chef. 

Archery, black-necked cranes and mask dances in Bhutan were also higlighted, while unique experiences in Dubai include four-wheel drives in the desert, insider access to the women's community, and exploring its fascinating history. Other exceptional experiences in Asia Pacific can also be arranged for Fiji,  India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and New Zealand.

Virtuoso's Hotels & Resorts Program, the cornerstone for the Best of the Best directory, offers amenities which are only available when reserved through a Virtuoso-affiliated travel advisor.  

"Inclusion into the Hotels & Resorts Program is by invitation only, and we maintain our impeccably high standards by evaluating each property on an annual basis.  

"Our advisors expect this level of diligence from us, and it allows them to book each Virtuoso property with confidence.  It also ensures every hotel has truly earned its 'Best of the Best' designation," said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso's Senior Vice President of global product partnerships. 

To view the directory online, click here. The section on the Middle East and Africa runs from pages 18 to 57 while the Asia Pacific section is from pages 58 to 139.