The best airlines, hotels and holiday experiences of 2019 announced at World Travel Awards

The best and most luxurious travel experiences have been announced.
The best and most luxurious travel experiences have been announced. Photo credit: Getty Images/Newshub.

The most comprehensive international travel industry awards event took place in Oman overnight, honouring many of the most luxurious travel brands around.

The 2019 World Travel Awards handed out dozens of awards for categories ranging from the best luxury boutique hotel to the best business car rental company.

Throughout the year, the organisation holds regional awards events, culminating in a global grand final ceremony every December.

The major award winners are listed below. 

Best Airline: Etihad Airways

Etihad flys to Australia, but not New Zealand.
Etihad flys to Australia, but not New Zealand. Photo credit: Etihad

Despite being one of the big Middle Eastern airlines, Etihad is yet to launch any services to New Zealand, so it may not be a name known to many Kiwis like its rivals Emirates and Qatar Airways. Etihad is known for its particularly luxurious first class suites and business class products. The airline even offers a personal cabin the size of a small apartment, called 'The Residence', which comes with its own butler.

Air New Zealand was also nominated in this category, alongside Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Best Business Class: Aeroflot

Aeroflot won best business class product.
Aeroflot won best business class product. Photo credit: Aeroflot

Another airline that is yet to fly to Aotearoa, this one has a sketchy past but has modernised its brand and its fleet.

Its new A350 business class product is one of the most slick offerings in the market. Air New Zealand, American Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific were also among the finalists.

Best Airport: Singapore Changi Airport

The water vortex at The Jewel, Changi Airport
The water vortex at The Jewel, Changi Airport Photo credit: Newshub.

Changi again has been proven to be the world's leader when it comes to airports. The opening of the new Jewel at Changi earlier this year likely helped secure its place as the industry leader.

Both Auckland and Wellington airports were nominated for this category, alongside some much larger rivals such as New York's John F Kennedy Airport and Dubai International Airport. Van Don International Airport in Vietnam won the title of Best New Airport.

Best Cabin Crew: Emirates 

Emirates aims to have numerous different languages represented by cabin crew on-board.
Emirates aims to have numerous different languages represented by cabin crew on-board. Photo credit: Emirates

Adel Al Redha, Emirates' Chief Operating Officer, spoke of the diverse nationalities among the company's employees at the World Travel Awards.

"We are immensely proud of our cabin crew who have joined us from over 160 nations. Every day, on over 530 flights across six continents, they deliver Emirates' high quality product and services with passion, dedication and professionalism."

Best Budget Airline: Air Asia

Air Asia carries more than 50 million people every year.
Air Asia carries more than 50 million people every year. Photo credit: Air Asia

It's the fourth biggest budget airline in the world, carrying more than 50 million people every year, and Air Asia continues to grow. Despite this, it's twice attempted to enter the New Zealand market only to pull out months later.

Best Hotel: Armani Hotel, Dubai

The Armani Hotel is located in the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.
The Armani Hotel is located in the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Photo credit: Getty Images

Located in the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the cost of one night in this hotel ranges from NZ$850 to more than $2300. The ten-storey, 160 room hotel is the first by fashion designer Giorgio Armani. 

Best Green Hotel: ParkRoyal on Pickering, Singapore

ParkRoyal leading the way in sustainable building development.
ParkRoyal leading the way in sustainable building development. Photo credit: ParkRoyal

A green hotel is one that focuses as much on sustainability and the environment as it does on customer experience.

In 2016, Singapore became the first country to introduce compulsory green building requirements into its building and construction legislation, so it's no surprise the winner of this category comes from the modern Southeast Asian city.

Best Luxury Hotel: The Peninsula Paris

The Peninsula, Paris
The Peninsula, Paris Photo credit: The Peninsula Paris

The Peninsula looks like what most people imagine when the think of top tier, five-star accommodation. It opened under a different name in 1908 and since then has housed government business and was even a hospital during World War I. A night here isn't cheap, with even the smaller rooms costing around NZ$2000 a night.

Other winners

  • Best Premium Economy: Vietnam Airlines
  • Best Airport Hotel: Hilton, London Heathrow Airport
  • Best Shopping Mall: The Dubai Mall
  • Best Wedding Destination: The Bahamas
  • Best Wellness Resort: Mriya Resort & Spa, Crimea

While New Zealand was represented several times on the list of nominations, no Kiwi brands came home winners.

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