The winners of the 2020 TTG Luxury Travel Awards have been revealed at a glittering ceremony at Rosewood London.
Now in their third year, the awards recognised individuals and businesses across 14 categories, including the recipient of the prestigious Contribution to Luxury Travel award, Bill Bensley, founder of the eponymous landscape and interior design studio in Bangkok and Bali.
Bensley, who is responsible for more than 200 hotels and projects worldwide, flew in especially from Bangkok to attend the event.
There were also five categories dedicated to agents, including a new agent category, Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year, which was awarded to Holidaysplease, which now has more than 100 homeworkers across the UK.
The award for Luxury Travel Retail Business of the Year went to Oasis Portfolio, an appointment-only service now in three locations in Northern Ireland, while Luxury Travel Agency of the Year (sole store) was won by Swords Travel, a new shop in London’s Wimbledon.
The Best New Luxury Travel Designer of the Year was scooped up by Jessica Read, who had taken on a completely new role as Private Client Manager at Carrier Travel Boutique in Alderley Edge.
Also Highly Commended in this category was Kathy Boate of Cartology Travel, a total newcomer to travel.
The final agent category of the day, Luxury Travel Designer of the Year, was given to a very popular choice in the room, Clare Levy, founder of Different Planet Travel.
“All agents had to submit a rigorous entry application, and were judged by a panel of industry experts, making their wins even more hard fought-for and deserved,” said April Hutchinson, editor of TTG Luxury. “These awards have really come to stand for something significant for agents – and suppliers too – and can make a big difference to their business, as well as seeing them recognised in front of a room full of supportive peers in luxury travel.”
Eight supplier categories in aviation, cruise, hotels and tour operating were also handed out during the Friday afternoon event.
The winner of the Best New Luxury Hotel of 2019 was The Fife Arms in the village of Braemar in Scotland.
Designed by Russell Sage Studio and owned by art collectors Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the 46-room hotel showcases Picasso and Lucian Freud paintings, but also makes sure locals are remembered, with specially commissioned portraits of them hanging in its Flying Stag bar.
That winner was decided by a panel of leading luxury journalists and editors, while the remaining seven supplier categories were decided via the ratings of a community of top luxury agents.
In line with TTG Media’s Smarter, Better, Fairer philosophy, winners were given trophies made from recycled acrylic and carbon, while tickets and table programmes were also made from recycled materials.
Funds were raised for homeless charity Crisis on the day, thanks to a raffle with prizes contributed by venue partner Rosewood London and headline sponsor ANA, All Nippon Airways.
On the day, guests enjoyed a champagne and canapes drinks reception, two-course lunch, followed by dessert canapes and drinks afterwards to toast the winners.
Entertainment came from contemporary violinist Scarlett, while roaming band JJ &The Beatniks set an upbeat tone for the ceremony, playing live in the ballroom.
The full list of winners are:
Luxury Travel Retail Business of the Year
Winner: Oasis Portfolio
Luxury Homeworking Business of the Year
Luxury Travel Agency of the Year (sole store)
Winner: Swords Travel, London
Best New Luxury Travel Designer of the Year (individual)
Winner: Jessica Read, Carrier Travel Boutique
Highly Commended: Kathy Boate, Cartology Travel
Luxury Travel Designer of the Year (individual)
Winner: Clare Levy, Different Planet Travel
Premium Air Experience of the Year
Winner: Singapore Airlines
Premium Cruise Line of the Year
Winner: Oceania Cruises
Ultra-luxury Cruise Line of the Year
Winner: Crystal Cruises
Specialist Luxury Operator of the Year
Winner: Kirker Holidays
Luxury Operator of the Year
Luxury Hotel Company of the Year – small group (less than 25)
Winner: Oetker Collection
Luxury Hotel Company of the Year – large group (more than 25)
Best New Luxury Hotel of 2019
Winner: The Fife Arms, Scotland