Condé Nast Traveller Awards
In the world of tourism industry awards, the polls produced for the top-end Condé Nast Traveller Awards are avidly followed, as they set benchmarks in luxury and trend. Two sets of international awards for hotels that deserve special attention are the Condé Nast Traveller Gold List and the related Hot List, compiled by the UK edition.
The Hot List is enticingly described as ‘the 65 most stylish, most innovative, most luxurious hotels, whose settings range from desert islands to capital cities...' Happily occupying places on the 2008 selection are two South African properties.
In 26th place is Hout Bay Manor in Cape Town, a 19th century home that successfully mixes seemingly mismatching squashy pink sofas, brass chandeliers, ‘hip African imagery' and 4-poster beds. At spot 35 is La Residence in the Cape's gourmet capital, Franschhoek. Set among vineyards and oak trees, it sports a 'palatial' entrance hall in which a 4m-long chandelier dominates. Persian rugs and opulent bathrooms are features of the 11 individually-designed suites. This gem also boasts tourism industry awards from Tatler UK and the US-based Robb Report.
The Condé Nast Traveller Gold List is a round-up of hotels that have the best pedigrees in rooms, service, food, location, ambience and leisure facilities - the ultimate guide to the world's greatest hotels. On the 2009 list, South Africa enjoys a number of mentions.
On the ‘Best for Ambience/Design' selection are Sabi Earth Lodge and Singita Sabi Sand, both superb game lodges on the border of the Kruger National Park. In the same neighbourhood, the Londolozi Game Lodge finds a place on the ‘Best for Facilities' poll. Cape Town's Ellerman House, one-time home of a shipping magnate, is found on the ‘Best for Rooms' selection, while the Cape Grace with its excellent Waterfront location in the same city is named in the ‘Best for Service' category.