NEW YORK, July 12 /PRNewswire/ — Leading luxury travel network, Virtuoso®, is pleased to announce nominations for the fourth annual Virtuoso “Best of the Best” hotel awards. VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine’s Editorial Director, Elaine Srnka, and Virtuoso’s Vice President of Hotels, Destinations & Tours, Albert Herrera, announced the nominees, which represent the highest standards in their given category and are considered some of the world’s finest properties.

Virtuoso’s Hotels & Resorts Program boasts a portfolio of more than 800 world-class properties. Editors of VIRTUOSO LIFE magazine, Virtuoso network’s exclusive award-winning publication, collaborated with the organization’s elite travel advisors to select hotel nominees that demonstrate the pinnacle of service, design, room product and social responsibility. A total of 10 categories, ranging from best architecture and design to top hotel and hotelier of the year, will establish which hotels continue to excel.

“The Best of the Best nominations and awards continue to set a standard for excellence,” said Albert Herrera, Virtuoso Vice President of Hotels, Destinations & Tours. “The nomination process gets more competitive each year, and it becomes very difficult to determine the winners from such an extraordinary list of nominees.”

Winners will be revealed during Virtuoso’s 22nd annual Travel Mart Conference at the Hotels & Resorts Dinner on August 18, 2010. Taking place at the Bellagio in Las Vegas from August 15-20, Travel Mart brings together thousands of Virtuoso’s member travel advisors – considered the top producers in the industry – and the world’s best travel providers to participate in the industry’s preeminent networking event.

Of winning the coveted Hotel of the Year award in 2009, Christophe Sadones, general manager of the Park Hyatt Shanghai, said: “Receiving Virtuoso’s Hotel of the Year award has had a very strong impact for us – not only for the hotel, but in promoting Shanghai as a first-class destination as well. This award encouraged us to exceed guest expectation, to raise the bar and push the hotel to its limit.”

Award categories and nominees follow:

Best Achievement in Design Recognizes the significance of outstanding architecture and design of a hotel or component therein. Nominees: Capella, Singapore; Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas; Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona; Armani Hotel Dubai; and Taj Falaknuma Palace, Hyderabad.

Best Culinary Experience – Recognizes the hotel restaurant that offers exemplary food, service, ambience, wine list and even views. Nominees: Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, Dorchester Hotel, London; Yoshi, Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo; Cafe Gray, The Upper House, Hong Kong; The Mark by Jean Georges, The Mark, New York; and Pierre Gagnaire pour Les Airelles, Hotel de Charme Les Airelles, Courchevel.

Best Bar – Recognizes the hotel bar that offers a lively, convivial and entertaining social meeting spot. Nominees: Xiu, Park Hyatt Beijing; Sir Elly’s, The Peninsula Shanghai; The Cigar Bar, Alvear Palace Hotel; Mandarin Bar, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas; and Principe Bar, Principe di Savoia.

Best Family Program – Recognizing the family friendly environment, this award acknowledges special programs, educational endeavors, adventures and creative activities for children of all ages. Nominees: Awasi, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile; Presidente InterContinental Cozumel; Bristol Buenaventura, Panama; The Ritz-Carlton, Naples; and Rocco Forte Verdura Golf & Spa Resort, Sicily.

Best Spa – Recognizes the hotel spa that offers the most alluring environment for rest and rejuvenation, creative and therapeutic treatments and highly skilled and knowledgeable therapists. Nominees: Le Spa Metropole, Sofitel Legend Metropole, Hanoi; The Spa at Grand Velas All-Suites & SPA Resort, Riviera Maya; The Spa at La Reserve Ramatuelle, France; The Anantara Spa at Kempinski Ishtar Dead Sea, Jordan; and To B. Wellbeing & Spa, Grand Hotel Quellenhoff & Spa Suites, Bad Ragaz, Switzerland.

Most Innovative Guest Experience – Recognizes a hotel that continually raises the bar by featuring clever and meaningful guest experiences that move the industry forward. Nominees: Hoshinoya Kyoto; Amanfayun, Hangzhou, China; The St. Regis Deer Crest Resort, Park City; Evason Ma’in Hot Springs & Six Senses Spa, Ma’in, Jordan; and Hotel das Cataratas, An Orient-Express Hotel, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil.

Most Socially Responsible – Recognizes a hotel dedicated to making a difference through innovative local or global programs, whether through community education or a green initiative. Nominees: Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Lithgow, Australia; Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo; Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, South Africa; Inkaterra Machu Picchu; and Fairmont Scottsdale.

One to Watch – A forward-looking nod to those individuals shaping the future of the hotel world. Nominees: Liam Lambert, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts; Alan Fuerstman, Montage Hotels & Resorts; Brian Williams, Swire Hotels; Omer Acar, Ritz Paris; and Andrea Filippi, Orient-Express Hotels.

Hotelier of the Year – Honors an experienced hotel manager with an unrelenting passion for the industry, an astute appreciation for detail and a keen sense of how to lead a dynamic team of professionals. Nominees: Nigel Pace, Cape Grace; Michel Jauslin, Park Hyatt Paris – Vendome; Offer Nissenbaum, The Peninsula Beverly Hills; Torsten van Dullemen, The Oberoi Udaivilas; and Claudio Ceccherelli, Park Hyatt Milano.

Hotel of the Year – Recognizes a hotel that continually epitomizes excellence in the categories of design, ambience, service, food and beverage, spa, family programs, innovation and social responsibility. Nominees: The Goring, London; The Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Scotland; Amangiri, Canyon Point, Utah; Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas; and Rocco Forte The Augustine, Prague.