There’s no doubt 2020 has been an unprecedented year for the travel industry. As borders begin to reopen and destinations, hotels and airlines around the world prepare to welcome travelers once again, we’re celebrating travel and looking to the future as we congratulate the winners of our eighth annual Leisure Lifestyle Awards. This annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines and cruises.
Join us as we celebrate travel, the world’s greatest unifier, and consider the following winners as you prepare to come back to the world of leisure travel.
We begin our global celebration with our destination winners, some of the best cities, islands and towns around the world offering the ultimate in leisure travel. Kick back in any of these exceptional, award-winning spots, starting with Spain, Best Historical Attractions, International, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Best Historical Attractions, Domestic (and the hometown city of Global Traveler!).
If it’s more rest and relaxation you seek, Costa Rica takes the top spot for Best Beaches for the third year running. The U.S. Virgin Islands are Best Caribbean Island, while Santoríni retains its Best Island in Europe title for the seventh consecutive year. Cook Islands, another fan favorite, wins Best Island Pacific Rim for the fifth year in a row, also earning it Quint Status, a recognition won when a company or destination receives the same award for five consecutive years.
Maybe you prefer powdery white snow to soft white sand? Telluride, Colorado, is Best North American Ski Destination for the second year in a row, while Lech, Austria, reigns as Best International Ski Destination.
Consider these other award-winning respites for your next jaunt: Charleston, South Carolina, Best Leisure Destination in the United States; South Africa, Best Leisure Destination in Africa; Seville, Spain, Best Leisure Destination in Europe; Taipei, Taiwan, three-time Best Leisure Destination in Asia; Panama City, Panama, Best Leisure Destination in Latin/SouthAmerica;Puerto Vallarta, Best Leisure Destination in Mexico; and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Best Leisure Destination for Groups. South Africa appears on the survey twice, also winning Best Adventure Destination, International. Its domestic counterpart is Albuquerque, New Mexico, as Best Adventure Destination, Domestic. For a quicker leisure trip, Savannah, Georgia, wins Best Weekend Destination in North America, and Bermuda is Best Weekend Destination in the World.
Set sail with us as we celebrate our cruise line winners, starting with Celebrity Cruises, Best Family Cruise Line for the second consecutive year. Silversea Cruises takes its third win as Best Cruise Line Suites for its Owner’s Suite. Regent Seven Seas is Best Luxury Cruise Line, while Royal Caribbean International is the inaugural winner of Best Value Cruise Line.
Find adventure on the high seas with Hurtigruten, Best Adventure Cruise Line. Or take to a smaller body of water with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Best River Cruise Line for the third consecutive year.
Our readers recommend Paul Gauguin Cruises, the five-time winner of Best Small-Ship Cruise Line. Its fifth win earns it a place among Quint Status winners, as does Cunard’s fifth win for Best Large-Ship Cruise Line. Princess Cruises joins them with its fifth win for Best Cruise Ship Excursions. The line also nabs Best Cruise Line Entertainment for the second year in a row.
Seabourn Cruise Line takes its second nod as Best Cruise Line Spas. For dining, the accolades go to Azamara Club Cruises, Best Cruise Line Dining. Oceania Club by Oceania Cruises earns Best Cruise Line Rewards Program. Rounding out the cruise category, Port of Miami and Port Everglades tie for Best Cruise Port.
The party continues with our hotel winners. Meliá Hotels International is a six-time winner for Best Luxury Leisure Hotel Group in the World. For the first time, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts snags the Best Pet-Friendly Hotel award. Best Hotel Chain Resorts goes to The Ritz-Carlton for the second time in a row, and Westin Hotels & Resorts grabs its fourth Best Family Resort Chain in the World. And last but certainly not least, Sandals Resorts International earns its third win for Best All-Inclusive Resorts.
Keep the fete up at these airports and with these winning airlines. Miami International Airport welcomes travelers to one of the premier U.S. leisure destinations as Best Airport for Layovers. Another spot welcoming plenty of leisure-seekers, Colorado’s Denver International Airport is Best Airport for Recreation.
Three airlines earn their second consecutive nods: TAP Air Portugal, Best Stopover Program; Air Tahiti Nui, Best Leisure Airline; and Air Canada, Best Airline for Onboard Entertainment and Best Premium-Economy Class. Air Canada’s business class also wins Best Airline Onboard Menu. Alaska Airlines is Best Pet-Friendly Airline.
Before we turn the lights up and end the party, we recognize Abercrombie & Kent, Best Tour Operator for the second consecutive year; Volvo, Best Luxury Vehicle, second year in a row; Patek Philippe, Favorite Luxury Watch Brand, two years running; Hertz, Best Leisure Car Rental for the third year; Na Hoku, inaugural winner for Best Destination Jewelry Brand; and Johnnie Walker Blue, Favorite Liquor Brand for the third consecutive year.
Congratulations to the 2020 Leisure Lifestyle Awards winners! We can’t wait to celebrate travel together, around the world, once again.
Cruise Line of the Year 2020
Best Historical Attractions, Domestic
Best Historical Attractions, International
Best Adventure Destination, Domestic
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Best Adventure Destination, International
Best Leisure Destination in the United States
Charleston, South Carolina
Best Leisure Destination in Africa
Best Leisure Destination in Europe
Best Leisure Destination in Asia
Best Leisure Destination in Latin/South America
Panama City, Panama
Best Leisure Destination in Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Best Leisure Destination for Groups (four or more)
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Best Weekend Destination in North America
Best Weekend Destination in the World
Best North American Ski Destination
Best International Ski Destination
Best Caribbean Island
U.S. Virgin Islands
Best Island in Europe
Best Island in the Pacific Rim
Best Family Cruise Line
Best Luxury Cruise Line
Regent Seven Seas
Best Value Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Best Cruise Line Suites
Owner’s Suite, Silversea Cruises
Best Adventure Cruise Line
Best Small-Ship Cruise Line
Paul Gauguin Cruises
Best Large-Ship Cruise Line
Best River Cruise Line
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Best Cruise Line Entertainment
Best Cruise Line Dining
Azamara Club Cruises
Best Cruise Line Spas
Seabourn Cruise Line
Best Cruise Ship Excursions
Best Cruise Line Rewards Program
Oceania Club, Oceania Cruises
Best Cruise Port (tie)
Port of Miami, Florida Port Everglades, Florida
Best Luxury Leisure Hotel Group in the World
Meliá Hotels International
Best Hotel Chain Resorts
Best Pet-Friendly Hotel
InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
Best Family Resort Chain in the World
Westin Hotels & Resorts
Best All-Inclusive Resorts
Sandals Resorts International
Best Tour Operator
Abercrombie & Kent
Best Airport for Layovers
Miami International Airport
Best Airport for Recreation
Denver International Airport
Best Stopover Program
TAP Air Portugal
Best Leisure Airline
Air Tahiti Nui
Best Airline for Onboard Entertainment
Best Airline Onboard Menu
Air Canada Business Class
Best Premium-Economy Class
Best Pet-Friendly Airline
Best Luxury Vehicle
Favorite Luxury Watch Brand
Best Leisure Car Rental
Best Destination Jewelry Brand
Favorite Liquor Brand
Johnnie Walker Blue
SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Outstanding Social Responsibility
Outstanding Customized Services
Outstanding Environmental Initiatives
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.