Travel guide Forbes popped magnums of MoÃ«t Hennessy last night at the famous Roux at The Landau restaurant in Langham, London to toast an intimate crowd of 2021 European Star Award winners from England, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Monaco and Spain.
The evening lasted almost two years. When FTG hosted its Luxury Summit, an annual celebration of its Star Award winners, in Las Vegas in February 2020, the pandemic was starting to spread widely overseas, forcing many hoteliers winning European properties to cancel their attendance. . Plans were quickly made to host a smaller-scale event in London to honor those who couldn’t make it, and FTG felt the time had come to host it. The timing also gave FTG a chance to recognize the tireless efforts of the hospitality industry during the pandemic.
âWhile we know there is much more to do with the recovery, we’re here now to enlighten you,â Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, told hoteliers at the champagne reception. âYour tenacity. Your resourcefulness. Your compassion. Your creativity. We are truly inspired by the extraordinary efforts you have made to overcome the challenges you have facedâ¦ We recognize and celebrate tonight, not only your past service efforts, but also your ability to come through these most difficult times. Lead your teams, communicate with guests, strategize, pivot and continue to show the world the resilience of our industry and the truly amazing people who are a part of it.
London was a suitable place to host the small gathering. The city has the most five-star hotels in the world with 19 hotels, followed by Paris and Macau, which tied for second place with 13 hotels, and New York for third with 10 top properties.
For hoteliers, the event was a welcome opportunity to reconnect with colleagues. “It was a gift to see longtime friends for the first time in years,” said Richard Cooke, general manager of Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel, which this year won the distinction of being the first establishment five stars from Scotland.
âThe Forbes Winners Event was like walking into a room full of friends, even though I was meeting some of these wonderful people for the first time, but not the last,â said Anne Golden, General Manager of the new Pan Pacific London . âThe energy was so hot, and everyone [was] so glad to see each other, it really felt more like a reunion than an event.
Also in attendance were travel industry insiders, journalists and FTG brand managers – companies that represent some of the best products and services in the luxury hotel industry, including Frette, INTELITY, Jalin Design, La Bottega , Lutron, Nespresso, Signature Napkins and Torn. Ranch.
During the event, Boyen revealed that FTG would resume plans put on hold at the start of COVID for the global expansion of its star rating. The highest concentration of new destinations for 2023 will be in Europe, including Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden, and there will be deeper diving in Greece, Italy, Spain and many other destinations around the world. This means that FTG inspectors will travel to these areas in 2022 to make their incognito visits of at least two nights where they will assess each property based on 900 objective criteria.
âCustomers now, more than at any time in history, want to feel safe,â Boyen said. âAfter the last 18 months, they want to leave the anxiety and stress behind. They want to connect and they want to feel truly taken care of – things that are already hallmarks of Forbes Travel Guide award-winning properties. Unprecedented commitments to health and well-being are now a sign of our times. You will see that these lofty lifestyle choices and those related to sustainability are now closely tied to our standards. “
The London celebration ushered in a return to in-person events for FTG. After a hiatus in 2021, the company will bring the entire Luxury Summit back from May 10 to 11, 2022, to the new Resorts World Las Vegas.
For the full list of Star Award 2021 winners, click here.