Nice to see some Canadian content in the inuagural Mr. and Mrs. Smith Hotel Awards!
Newfoundland's Fogo Island Inn, a high-end property that works with artists in a pretty remote part of the province, was this week named "Best Newcomer" in an awards ceremony held in London.
Nearly 50,000 people from around the world voted for their favourite boutique properties in the Mr. and Mrs. Smith Awards, after which a shortlist of 10 hotels in each of the categories was put to a panel of 36 specialist judges. The judges cast their votes and 12 winning hotels were announced by Mr. and Mrs. Smith, a hotel website, booking service and travel club that specializes in "finding the world's most inspiring boutique hotels."
Judges said the Fogo Island Inn is a "heartfelt, home-from-home set against a sublime, crashing-ocean backdrop. Although the bold, Scandinavian-style architecture is as modern as it gets, the inn is inspired by long-standing community tradition. Every detail - from the eco-conscious practices right down to the hand-loomed rugs - connects back to the island and its end-of-the-Earth remoteness only adds to the allure."
Serge Dive of Beyond Luxury described the inn as "a harmonious juxtaposition of contemporary design against wilderness. Not only an exception example of a unique travel experience, but at the forefront of a new generation in luxury travel."
Nice. I haven't had the pleasure, but I adore Newfoundland and Labrador and I hear great things about the property.
The sumptuous Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California (see photo below right) was named top hotel in the world at the Smith Awards. The property sits on a clifftop on the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles and has cottages and cabins near the water and among the trees.
"The setting alone would put this hotel on most travellers' wish lists," officials said. "But combined with the luxury of a fireside massage, three infinity pools, clifftop hot tubs and a one-of-a-kind restaurant, it offers, quite simply, one of the world's very best places to stay."
Here are the other winners:
Hottest hotel bar: Ace Hotel New York (I couldnt' agree more; a fabulous place)
Best-dressed hotel: Alila Villas Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia (described as a cool, contemporary cliffhanger)
Sexiest bedroom in the world: Blakes Hotel, London (fluffy pillows and opulent fabrics)
Best hotel restaurant: La Bastide de Moustiers, Provence, France (an Alain Ducasse resto without unnecessary extras)
Best spa hotel: Como Shambhala Estate, Bali, Indonesia ("totally tropical, thatched-pavilion, wall-to-wall waterfall luxury")
The Eco Award: Sextantio Albergo Diffuso, Abruzzo, Italy (reinvigorating existing structures with new life and locally sourced craftwork)
Best for families: Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood, Thailand (a tropical hideaway geared to kids)
Best budget hotel: Brody House, Budapest, Hungary ("embeds guests in eastern Bohemia")
The greatest outdoors: Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado ("takes you straight back into the big-sky wilderness of the Old West")
Above and beyond (service award): The Upper House, Hong Kong ("everything is made incredibly easy - from the iPad check-in to warm cookie delivery just before you realize you'd like a snack").
So there you have them. Something to dream about on a cool, cloudy day in Toronto. Or wherever you are.
For more information, visit www. smithhotelawards.com.
THIS AND THAT
Air Canada's stock jumped up to around $6 on Friday, and officials are talking about expanding service to Europe and to Asia, most notably to Tokyo's Haneda airport ... I mentioned this the other day, but why is it so hard to get creme for your coffee in England? Didn't they invent strawberries and creme?? I don't get it ... August saw a six per cent hike in visitor bookings for lovely Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (see photo at left)
LEST WE FORGET
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of World War I and also the 70th anniversary of D-Day. To mark the occasion of Canada's participation in the Normandy invasion, an Ontario company is offering a couple of toours.