Another year is coming to an end, and for us at LLM – Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, this means another season of awards is complete.
2020 marks our third year of aiming to highlight the very best in the travel industry, from the finest hotels across the world to premium airlines, cruise lines, destinations and tour operators, and this year has certainly been a tricky one for the industry. With so much uncertainty around, we almost cancelled the LLM Readers’ Travel Awards this year, but with the simple aim to showcase the best around and provide a little publicity for these businesses, it seemed, perhaps, this year was more important than ever.
Yes, many of these hotels are temporarily closed, travel is currently deemed for essential use only, but there will be a time again that we can dust off our biggest suitcases and head off on those trips only dreams are made of. Our readers, after all, like to dream, and travel, and they’ve been voting in their thousands – 21,876 to be exact – to have their say from the carefully curated shortlist of options.
So, the results are in – and this year, like the previous, our readers’ travel awards have been sponsored by leading travel brand, Blue Bay Travel – and we can safely say that the winners of each category are well deserved. You can find the full list of winners here, but we have summarised some of the standout winners below, and as our editor-in-chief, Nick Gibbens, comments, he “truly cannot wait to start travelling far and wide once again and making the best of these premium picks from our discerning and dedicated readers.
“We are so thrilled, humbled and grateful to all who made it their mission to throw their support behind each and every one of our shortlisted hotels, destinations, cruise lines, airlines, airports, tour operators and travel websites. The travel industry is large and employs so very many people who work tirelessly to promote destinations and aim to offer the very best service and experiences for those who like to travel, explore and relax in a variety of exquisite settings.
“The aim of LLM is to encourage all to seek out new adventures, providing them with inspiration to explore destinations and hotels that they’ve never previously visited, while the LLM Readers’ Travel Awards is to highlight the crème de la crème of the industry and to give readers a chance to give a shout out to those they visited or used and truly adored”, added Gibbens.
So, who were the standout winners? Well, in Australia, there was no question that The Langham in Sydney was a popular choice for our readers, claiming the top spot by quite a stretch. Bannisters by the Sea in NSW and COMO The Treasury in Perth came in at second and third, respectively. We know that the Maldives is a popular choice – we’ve all seen those paradisiacal images even if we haven’t all personally visited yet – but it certainly impressed us that Amilla Fushi in Baa Atoll managed to claim almost double the amount than second place in the Best Hotel in Asia category. Second place went to Akyra manor in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while third highest was Aleenta Hua Hin-Pranburi Resort & Spa in Pranburi, Thailand.
The Amalfi Coast in Italy scored the top spot in the Best Honeymoon category, trailed by the Maldives and Santorini, while the stand out cruise lines were Royal Caribbean in the Best Ocean Cruise Line category and Viking in the Best River Cruise Line section. Best Hotel in Europe (outside UK) went to Anantara Villamoura Algarve Resort in Portugal, while AJWA Hotel Sultanahmet in Istanbul, Turkey came in second place.
Back in the UK, DUKES London came out on top in the Best Boutique Hotel category and claimed second spot in the Best Hotel For Business, which was won by COMO The Halkin in London. Best Beach/Coastal Hotel was won by Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate in Cornwall, closely followed by The Headland; it seems Cornwall holds all the coastal charm for our voters. London made it to the top of the Best UK City category, but it was very closely followed by Edinburgh and Bath, while Barcelona made it to the top of the Best City list (outside the UK) and was trailed by Amsterdam and New York City.
Best Airline was a close call between Emirates and British Airways with the former pipping all others to the post, while the Best Airport by a mile is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Changi Airport in Singapore. Off the Map Travel excelled in both the Best Specialist Tour Operator and Best Tour Operator for Adventure categories, scoring a fair chunk of the votes.
Gibbens added: “Hopefully you will agree that this has been another great year for the awards and we look forward to continuing to inspire all of our readers to seek out the best in luxury travel when the borders are all open.
“Covid has made this year such a tough one for so many in the travel industry and beyond. Hopefully, we can give back, albeit in a small way, to those in the industry and throw our support out there too. Thank you to those who took the time to enter, for those who voted, for our sponsors and prize-givers, and we wish the very best to all in the industry – hopefully 2021 will allow us to bounce back with gusto.”