Several hundred travel industry representatives gathered at Dubai’s Burj Al Arab hotel last night for the inaugural Middle East ULTRAs (Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards).
Readers of Ultratravel, The National's luxury travel magazine, voted online across 20 categories to select the best airlines, airports, hotels, cruise operators and holiday destinations.
The Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah’s flagship property which opened in December 1999 and is still one of the world’s most iconic places to stay, won three awards, including best hotel in the world and best hotel in the Middle East. The hotel, which is set on its own artificial island and gives its guests gold iPads on arrival, is currently undergoing a large-scale upgrade, including a new bar on the 27th floor and restaurant enhancements.
Emirates Palace hotel was voted best hotel in Abu Dhabi, and Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, won an award for having the best first class cabin of any airline in the world. Emirates won the award for best business class. Dubai International Airport, which this year overtook London Heathrow as the world’s biggest in terms of passenger numbers, won best airport.
Elsewhere in the field of hotels, the Canadian management company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts performed well, picking up two awards, for best hotel group and best hotel in Europe for the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. The Shangri-La Sydney won best hotel in Asia/Australasia and the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives won best hotel in Africa/Indian Ocean.
Abercrombie & Kent, which opened a travel boutique in Abu Dhabi in January last year, won the award for best tour operator. Los Angeles-based Crystal Cruises won best luxury cruise line and Thailand was voted best country for a holiday.
For a full list of award winners, see today's Ultratravel magazine or visit thenational.ae/arts-life