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Global Traveler Announces the Winners of the 2024 Leisure Lifestyle Awards

by Kimberly Inlander

May 13, 2024

PHOTO: © NOPPAKUN | DREAMSTIME.COM

May 2024

With hearty congratulations we are delighted to bring you the 12th Leisure Lifestyle Awards winners! Our annual survey honors the best in the world of leisure and lifestyle travel, awarding goods, services, destinations, hotels, airlines, airports, cruises and more. Read on to find out who dominates in the leisure travel industry, and see if your favorites made the cut. We also offer a hearty thank you to our readers, the most seasoned travelers we know, for voting in this year’s survey.

PHOTO: © PIXELPODLLC | DREAMSTIME.COM

We get started with our destination winners, some of the best cities, islands and towns around the world for leisure travel, the ones that beckon us with photographs and stay with us forever. These exceptional, award-winning spots are the places to kick back, starting with Greece, Best Historical Attractions, International, for the third consecutive year, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Best Historical Attractions, Domestic. If it’s adventure you seek, Thailand, Best Adventure Destination, International, two years in a row, and Alaska, Best Adventure Destination, Domestic, prove the spots to visit.

Aruba appears in the top spot for Best Beaches. The Dominican Republic wins Best Caribbean Island/ Destination for the fourth consecutive year (one more year until Quint Status!), while Santoríni holds on to its Best Island in Europe title for the 11th consecutive year. The Islands of Tahiti again earn Best Island Pacific Rim, second consecutive year. Amelia Island, Florida, becomes Best Island in the United States.

Skiers and snowboarders applaud the best locations here and abroad: Telluride, Colorado, earned Best North American Ski Destination for the sixth year in a row. Whistler, British Columbia, takes the title as Best International Ski Destination for the third year in a row. For golfers, Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is the top spot to hit the links.

PHOTO: © PHOTOPERSPECTIVE | DREAMSTIME.COM

What other destinations can now be called award-winning? Nashville, Tennessee, is Best Leisure Destination in the United States, two years in a row, alongside Zambia, Best Leisure Destination in Africa; İstanbul, Türkiye, Best Leisure Destination in Europe for the third consecutive year; Panamá City, Panamá, three years running as Best Leisure Destination in Latin/South America; Tulum, Best Leisure Destination in Mexico; Taipei, Taiwan, Best Leisure Destination in Asia; and Dubrovnik, Croatia, Best Leisure Destination for Groups, two straight years.

Savannah, Georgia, and Dublin, Ireland, round out our destination winners as Best Weekend Destination in North America, five years running, and Best Weekend Destination in the World, third consecutive year, respectively. With its fifth straight win in the category, Savannah earns Quint Status.

It’s smooth sailing with our winning cruise lines, start- ing with Royal Caribbean, Best Family Cruise Line, two years running, and Seabourn Cruise Line, Best Luxury Cruise Line, also for the second year. Regent Seven Seas Cruises makes its mark on this survey as Best Cruise Line Suites for its Regent Suite.

PHOTO: © WINDSTAR CRUISES

PONANT wins Best Adventure Cruise Line and Best Expedition Cruises. Cunard Line returns as Best Large-Ship Cruise Line winner while also winning Best Cruise Line to Alaska and Best World Cruise, both for the second consecutive year. Windstar Cruises upsets a long-time winner to sail away with Best Small-Ship Cruise Line. Princess Cruises appears for its sixth Best Cruise Line Entertainment nod. Joining Princess is Virgin Voyages, winning Best Cruise Line Spas. Crystal Cruises takes the title of Best Cruise Ship Excursions.

Rounding out our cruise line winners, we have AmaWaterways, Best River Cruise Line for the second consecutive year; Azamara, Best Cruise Line Dining, two years running; Oceania Cruises, Best Cruise Line Rewards Program for its Oceania Club, another two-time honoree; and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, Best Cruise Line Caribbean Sailings. PortMiami earns its second Best Cruise Port award, while American Cruise Lines becomes the inaugural Best American River Cruise winner.

On land, these award-winning resorts and hotels are calling your name … with a beach lounger and a frozen cocktail. Meliá Hotels International returns as Best Luxury Leisure Hotel Group in the World for the second year in a row. For Best Hotel Chain Resorts, the winner is InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. Best Hotel Chain in the Caribbean goes to JW Marriott. Check out these other top-tier options: Marriott Hotels, Best Family Resort Chain in the World, three years running; Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas, Best Hotel Chain in Thailand; Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Best Eco-Friendly Hotel Chain; Sonesta, Best Pet-Friendly Hotel; and Hyatt Ziva, Best All-Inclusive Resort.

Here’s a look at the rest of this year’s honorees, starting with airports and airlines. We applaud the following winners: iGA Istanbul Airport as Best Airport for Layovers, third consecutive year, and Orlando International Airport, Best Airport for Recreation, also two years running.

PHOTO: © AIR CANADA

TAP Air Portugal secures its sixth win for Best Stopover Program, while Air Canada joins it with six consecutive wins for Best Airline for Onboard Entertainment and Best Premium Economy Class. Korean Air wins Best Airline Onboard Menu for its first-class cabin. United Airlines earns its third title as Best Eco-Friendly Airline. Last, but certainly not least, Air Tahiti Nui is Best Leisure Airline for the second year in a row.

The best credit cards for leisure travelers help them rack up the points for their dream vacay. Winners are Chase Aeroplan Card, Best Leisure Credit Card, two years running; United Quest Card from Chase, Best Airline Affinity Credit Card for Leisure, second consecutive year; IHG One Rewards Premier Card, Best Hotel Affinity Credit Card; and Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Credit Card from Bank of America, Best Cruise Line Credit Card.

The dazzling list of winners continues with Abercrombie & Kent, Best Tour Operator, three years running; Mercedes-Benz, Best Luxury Vehicle; TAG Heuer, Favorite Luxury Watch Brand; Hertz, seven-time Best Leisure Car Rental; Dune Jewelry, Best Destination Jewelry Brand; and Bacardi, Favorite Liquor Brand.

Congratulations to the 2024 Leisure Lifestyle Awards winners!

THE PROCESS
Global Traveler conducted a survey of its readers July 15, 2023–March 8, 2024, with open-ended questions for the best in many categories of leisure, luxury and lifestyle travel. This survey ran in the magazine, as an insert to subscriber copies, as a direct mail questionnaire, online at global travelerusa.com/leisureballot and emailed during the survey period. Only those questionnaires with more than 50 percent of the questions answered were counted. Those with fewer than 50 percent of the questions answered were discarded. Employees of the magazine or individuals associated with the travel industry were not allowed to participate.

WINNERS’ CIRCLE

Best Beaches
1. Aruba
2. Cayman Islands
3. Mykonos, Greece
4. Turks & Caicos
5. The Big Island, Hawai‘i

Best Historical Attractions, Domestic
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2. New Orleans, Louisiana
3. Williamsburg, Virginia
4. Savannah, Georgia
5. Washington, D.C.

Best Historical Attractions, International
1. Greece
2. Türkiye
3. Spain
4. Egypt
5. Italy

Best Adventure Destination, Domestic
1. Alaska
2. Asheville, North Carolina
3. Albuquerque, New Mexico
4. Nashville, Tennessee
5. Hilton Head, South Carolina

Best Adventure Destination, International
1. Thailand
2. Australia
3. India
4. The Galápagos Islands
5. New Zealand

Best Leisure Destination in the United States
1. Nashville, Tennessee
2. Savannah, Georgia
3. Charleston, South Carolina
4. Asheville, North Carolina
5. Napa Valley, California

Best Leisure Destination in Africa
1. Zambia
2. South Africa
2. Seychelles
4. Morocco
5. Kenya

Best Leisure Destination in Asia
1. Taipei, Taiwan
2. Seoul, South Korea
3. Phuket, Thailand
4. Tokyo, Japan
5. Singapore, Republic of Singapore

Best Leisure Destination in Europe
1. İstanbul, Türkiye
2. Lisbon, Portugal
3. Porto, Portugal
4. Prague, Czech Republic
5. Seville, Spain

Best Leisure Destination in Latin/South America
1. Panamá City, Panamá
2. Bogotá, Colombia
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
4. Montevideo, Uruguay
5. Mendoza, Argentina

Best Leisure Destination in Mexico
1. Tulum, Mexico
2. Cancún, Mexico
3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
4. San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
5. Cozumel, Mexico

Best Leisure Destination for Groups
1. Dubrovnik, Croatia
2. Italy
3. Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
4. Costa Rica
5. Napa Valley, California

Best Weekend Destination in North America
1. Savannah, Georgia
2. Nashville, Tennessee
3. Asheville, North Carolina
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
5. New Orleans, Louisiana

Best Weekend Destination in the World
1. Dublin, Ireland
2. Rome, Italy
3. Paris, France
4. Bermuda
5. Lisbon, Portugal

Best North American Ski Destination
1. Telluride, Colorado
2. Whistler, British Columbia
3. Aspen Snowmass, Colorado
4. Vail, Colorado
5. Alta, Utah

Best International Ski Destination
1. Whistler, British Columbia
2. Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
3. St. Moritz, Switzerland
4. Niseko, Japan
5. Gstaad, Switzerland

Best Golf Destination
1. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort
2. Streamsong Resort
3. Kiawah Island Golf Resort
4. Pebble Beach
5. Pinehurst Resort

Best Caribbean Island/ Destination
1. Dominican Republic
2. Bahamas
3. Grand Cayman 4. U.S. Virgin Islands
5. Curaçao

Best Island in Europe
1. Santoríni
2. Sicily, Italy
3. Mykonos, Greece
4. Ireland
5. Capri, Italy

Best Island in the Pacific Rim
1. The Islands of Tahiti
2. Fiji
3. Lāna‘i, Hawai‘i
4. Cook Islands
5. Okinawa, Japan

Best Island in the United States
1. Amelia Island, Florida
2. St. Simons & Little St. Simons, Georgia
3. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
4. Marco Island, Florida
5. Maui, Hawai‘i

Best Family Cruise Line
1. Royal Caribbean
2. Celebrity Cruises
3. Disney Cruise Line
4. Princess Cruises
5. Holland America Line

Best Luxury Cruise Line
1. Seabourn Cruise Line
2. Silversea Cruises
3. Cunard Line
4. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
5. Crystal Cruises

Best Cruise Line Suites
1. Regent Suite, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
2. Queens Grill Suites, Cunard Line
3. Mega Rockstar Quarters, Virgin Voyages
4. Princess Grill Suites, Cunard Line
5. Owner’s Suite, Oceania Cruises

Best Adventure Cruise Line
1. PONANT
2. HX
3. National Geographic Expeditions
4. Viking Expeditions
5. American Safari

Best Small-Ship Cruise Line
1. Windstar Cruises
2. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
3. Paul Gauguin Cruises
4. Silversea Cruises
5. Scenic

Best Large-Ship Cruise Line
1. Cunard Line
2. Celebrity Cruises
3. Viking Ocean Cruises
4. Crystal Cruises
5. Princess Cruises

Best River Cruise Line
1. AmaWaterways
2. Emerald Cruise Line
3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
4. Riverview Cruises
5. American Cruise Lines

Best American River Cruise Line
1. American Cruise Lines
2. Viking River Cruises
3. UnCruise Adventures

Best Cruise Line Entertainment
1. Princess Cruises
2. Crystal Cruises
3. Holland America Line
4. Cunard Line
5. Disney Cruise Line

Best Cruise Line Dining
1. Azamara
2. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
3. Cunard Line
4. Seabourn Cruise Line
5. Silversea Cruises

Best Cruise Line Spas
1. Virgin Voyages
2. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
3. Seabourn Cruise Line
4. Celebrity Cruises
5. Viking Ocean Cruises

Best Cruise Ship Excursions
1. Crystal Cruises
2. Princess Cruises
3. Celebrity Cruises
4. Cunard Line
5. Virgin Voyages

Best Cruise Line Rewards Program
1. Oceania Club, Oceania Cruises
2. Seven Seas Society, Regent Seven Seas Cruises
3. Club World, Cunard Line
4. Captain’s Club, Celebrity Cruises
5. Latitudes Rewards, Norwegian Cruise Line

Best Cruise Line to Alaska
1. Cunard Line
2. Princess Cruises
3. Holland America Line
4. Celebrity Cruises
5. Royal Caribbean

Best Expedition Cruises
1. PONANT
2. Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic
3. Viking Expeditions
4. Quark Expeditions
5. Atlas Ocean Voyages

Best Cruise Line Caribbean Sailings
1. The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection
2. Windstar Cruises
3. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
4. Princess Cruises
5. Carnival Cruise Line

Best World Cruise
1. Cunard Line
2. Regent Seven Seas Cruises
3. Holland America Line
4. Princess Cruises
5. Oceania Cruises

Best Cruise Port
1. PortMiami
2. Port Everglades, Florida
3. Port Canaveral, Florida
4. Port of San Diego
5. Cozumel, Mexico

Best Luxury Leisure Hotel Group in the World
1. Meliá Hotels International
2. Westin Hotels & Resorts
3. The Ritz-Carlton
4. The Peninsula Hotels
5. Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces

Best Hotel Chain Resorts
1. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
2. Marriott Hotels
3. Meliá Hotels International
4. St. Regis
5. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts

Best Pet-Friendly Hotel
1. Sonesta
2. Loews
3. Kimpton Hotels + Restaurants
4. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
5. Westin Hotels & Resorts

Best Family Resort Chain in the World
1. Marriott Hotels
2. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts
3. Westin Hotels & Resorts
4. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
5. Disney Hotels

Best Hotel Chain Caribbean
1. JW Marriott
2. Club Med
3. Meliá Hotels International
4. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
5. SuperClubs

Best Hotel Chain Thailand
1. Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
2. Six Senses
3. JW Marriott
4. St. Regis
5. Four Seasons

Best Eco-Friendly Hotel Chain
1. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
2. Kimpton Hotels + Restaurants
3. Six Senses
4. Ace Hotel
5. Banyan Tree

Best All-Inclusive Resort
1. Hyatt Ziva
2. Paradisus Resorts
3. Hyatt Zilara
4. Sandals Resorts
5. Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Best Tour Operator
1. Abercrombie & Kent
2. The Inspiring Travel Company
3. The Turquoise Holiday Company
4. Red Savannah
5. Kuoni

Best Airport for Layovers
1. iGA Istanbul Airport
2. Dubai International Airport
3. Hamad International Airport
4. Singapore Changi Airport
5. Taipei Taoyuan International Airport

Best Airport for Recreation
1. Orlando International Airport
2. iGA Istanbul Airport
3. Miami International Airport
4. Denver International Airport
5. Incheon International Airport

Best Stopover Program
1. TAP Air Portugal
2. Turkish Airlines
3. Brussels Airlines
4. Air Canada
5. Finnair

Best Leisure Airline
1. Air Tahiti Nui
2. Aeromexico
3. United Airlines
4. Alaska Airlines
5. American Airlines

Best Eco-Friendly Airline
1. United Airlines
2. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
3. Alaska Airlines
4. Cathay Pacific Airways
5. Air France

Best Airline for Onboard Entertainment
1. Air Canada
2. Emirates
3. United Airlines
4. American Airlines
5. Korean Air

Best Airline Onboard Menu
1. Korean Air First Class
2. Air France La Première
3. Air Canada Business Class
4. United Polaris
5. Air France Business Class

Best Premium Economy Class
1. Air Canada
2. Delta Air Lines
3. United Airlines
4. Air Premia
5. American Airlines

Best Luxury Vehicle
1. Mercedes-Benz
2. BMW
3. Audi
4. Volvo
5. Maserati

Best Leisure Car Rental
1. Hertz
2. Sixt
3. National Car Rental
4. Avis
5. Enterprise

Best Leisure Credit Card
1. Chase Aeroplan Card
2. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
3. Delta SkyMiles Reserve American Express Card
4. United Quest Card from Chase
5. United Explorer Card from Chase

Best Airline Affinity Credit Card for Leisure
1. United Quest Card from Chase
2. United Explorer Card from Chase
3. Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card from Bank of America
4. Chase Aeroplan Card
5. Delta SkyMiles American Express Card

Best Hotel Affinity Credit Card for Leisure
1. IHG One Rewards Premier Card
2. Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Card from Chase
3. Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
4. World of Hyatt Credit Card from Chase
5. Hotels.com Visa Card from Wells Fargo

Best Cruise Line Credit Card
1. Royal Caribbean Visa Signature Credit Card from Bank of America
2. Norwegian Cruise Line Mastercard from Bank of America
3. Celebrity Cruises Visa Signature Card from Bank of America
4. Princess Cruises Visa Signature Card from Barclays
5. Carnival World Mastercard from Barclays

Favorite Luxury Watch Brand
1. TAG Heuer
2. Ulysse Nardin
3. Cartier
4. Panerai
5. Patek Philippe

Best Destination Jewelry Brand
1. Dune Jewelry
2. Na Hoku
3. Maui Divers Jewelry Hawai‘i
4. Destination Jewelry Brands
5. Caribbean Gems

Favorite Liquor Brand
1. Bacardi
2. Maker’s Mark
3. Woodford Reserve
4. Patrón
5. Johnnie Walker Blue

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
Each year, in addition to our Leisure Lifestyle Awards, Global Traveler acknowledges those travel companies going above and beyond. Our Special Achievement Awards recognize leaders in innovation, environmental initiatives and community outreach. Congratulations to this year’s honorees!

PONANT is a cruise line doing all it can to preserve the destinations it visits. While cruise ships can unload tourists into a destination with no rhyme or reason, PONANT makes thoughtful choices, planning all its itineraries in collaboration with local communities to avoid overwhelming indigenous communities. For this and many other reasons, PONANT earns this year’s Outstanding Social Responsibility honor.

Another cruise line comes out on top, this time for Outstanding Customized Services. That cruise line is Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Its Executive Collection means cruise-goers can visit ports of call with the aid of a driver and/or an English-speaking guide in destinations like Japan, Denmark, Spain and more. Travelers may also tailor their excursions to fit their needs and interests. In fact, the whole experience is customizable — making Regent Seven Seas Cruises an obvious choice for this accolade.

Air Canada takes a two-fold approach to environmental responsibility. Leave Less equals less carbon in the atmosphere, less waste on land and in the water, and less noise. Do More is the motto for addressing environmental issues, achieved through collaboration, participation and involvement. It’s no wonder the airline received this year’s Outstanding Environmental Initiatives award.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts takes the Outstanding Innovations Special Achievement Award. There are many reasons Hilton is tops for innovation, among them its new Hilton for Business program, launching this year; its various digital programs that enhance the travel experience; and its AI technologies, including Connie, its AI-powered robot that can respond to guest questions.

SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS
Outstanding Social Responsibility
PONANT

Outstanding Customized Services
Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Outstanding Environmental Initiatives
Air Canada

Outstanding Innovations
Hilton Hotels & Resorts

CRUISE LINE OF THE YEAR
Global Traveler is pleased to name its Cruise Line of the Year. Congratulations to Windstar Cruises!

Nominees for this honor were compiled by Global Traveler, with the final winner selected by our Globility Board, a vetted group of well-traveled magazine subscribers.

This year’s Cruise Line of the Year earns the superlative for a number of reasons. Windstar Cruises offers exceptional value without sacrificing on a high-end, luxury cruise experience on its award-winning small-ship cruises. Its yachts accommodate 148–342 guests, affording intimacy, time, space and freedom for cruisers, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the destinations visited. Windstar takes you close enough to truly experience the world.

Windstar has sailed Tahiti for more than 35 years, longer than any other operator in the region, and its new Star Breeze, an all-suite yacht, hosts just 312 guests to deliver a Tahitian experience like no other. Windstar visits other worldwide destinations, including Canada and New England, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean, Costa Rica and the Panama Canal, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Latin America, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Northern Europe, South America, the South Pacific, and more.

Cruise Line of the Year 2024
Windstar Cruises

 

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