Leaders of the European luxury hotel community gathered at Çırağan Kempinski Palace Istanbul Thursday to celebrate the 2022 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners. More than 70 industry tastemakers from more than 10 countries in the region congregated along the famous East Garden Strait under towering palm trees.
“Having the opportunity to bring together so many of our great hotel and industry partners while celebrating Istanbul and the iconic Çırağan Palace has been a great honor,” said Hermann Elger, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “The spirit of our industry community – which included hoteliers, travel buyers, luxury brands and tourist boards – was felt throughout the evening, punctuated by a spectacular full moon rising on the Bosphorus as if to highlight the spectacular collection of FTG-rated hotels.”
Participants included Jonathan Crook, general manager of the future The Peninsula Istanbul; Anne Golden, Managing Director of Pan Pacific London; Sal Gowili, Managing Director of The Ritz of London; Adrian Messerli, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Hotel Four Seasons Madrid; Tarek Mourad, CEO of Four Seasons Istanbul Hotel Sultanahmet and Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul on the Bosphorus; and Andrew Steele, Managing Director of Raffle Istanbul.
“As we were awarded five stars in 2022 by Forbes Travel Guide, we are extremely happy to host a very special reception tonight at our legendary hotel located on the shores of the Bosphorus,” said Ralph Radtke, General Manager of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul. and regional manager of Kempinski Residences in Türkiye. “Since launching its star rating system in Türkiye with several prestigious properties earning a place on the Istanbul list, Forbes Travel Guide has proudly welcomed Çırağan Palace as the first local hotel in its organized partnership program, a group of star-rated properties with access to exclusive benefits designed to further strengthen the hotel community. We are proud to organize this exclusive event and bring together many important hospitality industry professionals from the European region. With its heritage dating back to the 17th century, Çırağan Palace continues to be one of the most important ambassadors of Turkish hospitality in the world and we are extremely happy to present our beautiful city through an incredible setting at Çırağan Palace .
During the event, Chris Fradin, FTG’s Senior Vice President, Partner Services – EMEA and Asia Pacific, shared with the crowd that the company plans to expand its ratings in Europe for its 2023 Star Awards. Forbes Travel Guide will announce the rankings in Athens, Bodrum, Brussels, Capri, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm on February 15, 2023.
Then Amanda Frasier, FTG new President of Ratingsraised a champagne toast, thanking the hotel staff and mentioning the importance of Les Clefs d’Or, the international association of professional hotel concierges, who had two principals in attendance.
Subsequently, Elger drew lots for an organized trip to Logis Cognaca private, all-inclusive 16th-century chateau amid vineyards in Cognac, France, home to FTG’s Center of Excellence company retreat. The winner was Diego Roggero, general manager of the soon-to-open Ferragamo family’s Portrait Milano. All attendees enjoyed a luxury gift bag from FTG brand managers Frette, La Bottega, Hyperice, Nespresso, Gharieni and personalized chocolates from Çırağan Palace.
The evening continued with guests enjoying the atmosphere of Istanbul on the banks of the Bosphorus. Some took private boats to Five-Star Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul‘s Novikov Restaurant hosted by Elger, Frette CEO Filippo Arnaboldi, Comte de Montaigne Global Marketing Director Riccardo Maria Ferrari and Hotel General Manager Harun Dursun.
The Istanbul celebration gave many attendees their first chance to reconnect in person since the pandemic. “Great event, always great to put on faces and meet great people, united by Forbes and passion for the industry,” said José Manuel Molina, CEO of BLESS Hotel Ibiza, which won its first five-star award this year. According to Molina, highlights of the festivities included “getting to know some great people and being able to share our passion and have a spectacular evening.” He added, “[It’s] always nice to share stories and meet GMs and partners with the utmost desire for excellence.