Readers' Choice Winners for Best in Winter Travel
Votes have been cast for Best Ski Hotel, Best International Ski Destination, Best Caribbean Cruise Line, Best City Hotel and Best Luxury Family Winter Destination. The Luxist Readers' Choice Award Winners are all leaders in their respective fields.
Best Ski Hotel
Aurelio Lech, Austria's most luxurious ski and spa lodge, nestled in the exclusive resort of Lech am Arlberg, is the winner of the Readers' Choice Award for Best Ski Hotel. Aurelio Lech, which opened in December 2008, provides all the sophistication and comforts of a world-class hotel combined with the ambiance and elegance of a private residence. Each of its nineteen bedrooms and suites were individually designed and offer cozy, chic and extremely luxurious amenities. The resort's 14 deluxe double rooms and five suites and junior suites all offer views of the snowy slopes. The resort offers two spas, including the Spa at Aurelio Lech which is a holistic day spa with exclusive treatments, a modern fitness center complete with the latest equipment and a personal coach, several indoor pools including an activity pool, an extensive thermal suite and a tranquil meditation center where guests relax in front of an open fire. The Ski Spa has a herbal sauna, aroma vapor bath, cooling-off pool, blossom bath, adventure showers, Jacuzzi, Techno-Gym equipment and treatment rooms. At 23 meters in length, one of the resort's two swimming pools is the largest and deepest swimming pool in Lech.
Best International Ski Destination
Lech and Zürs in Austria is the winner of the Readers' Choice Award for Best International Ski Destination. One of Europe's finest skiing locations, Lech and Zürs offers the glamour and glitz of Milan or Paris in the setting of a quaint mountain town. Packed with top-notch restaurants, stellar scenery and copious entertainment opportunities, it is made up of the neighboring hamlets Lech am Arlberg and Zürs. Lech and Zürs dates back to the fourteenth century. Like many ski resorts in Austria – as opposed to ones in France and Switzerland – Lech and Zürs offers a slightly younger, more laid-back atmosphere. It is established as one of the world's greatest ski resorts and a snowy playground for Europe's rich and famous. Renowned for its five month guaranteed snow season, glamour and quality skiing, attractions include outdoor performances like "Viva Verdi: The Magic of Arias in the Alpine Landscape," a riveting performance of light, fire and passion enacted on a unique outdoor stage setting consisting of several hundred cubic meters of snow and ice with an impressive natural backdrop.
Best Luxury Family Winter Vacation
If escaping to warmer weather isn't your optimal idea of a vacation, head west to the Rockies for a family ski trip. There, the air is clear, the powder is fresh, and the amenities are plenty. For the best of all three, try Beaver Creek and Vail – the winners of the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Award in the Best Luxury Family Winter Vacation category.
Perhaps the most famous of America's ski resort towns, Vail has its reputation for good reason. Vail Mountain, at 5,289 skiable acres, is the largest single mountain ski resort in the U.S.; the town of Vail is a luxury ski bum's dream. The area, which is reminiscent of renowned resorts such as Switzerland's St. Moritz, Italy's Cortina and Spain's Val d'Aran, it is a year-round destination for families with plenty of activities geared for all ages. Its legendary ski slopes make Vail the ultimate place to enjoy world-class skiing and snowboarding in addition to Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and ice skating. Kids ages four and under ski free; children's lift tickets start at age five and go to age 12. Nightlife includes world-class theater productions and some of the best dining in Colorado.
A few miles away, tucked away in the mountains, is neighbor Beaver Creek Village. This tony enclave offers a village-to-village ski experience with Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead and turns into a miniature cosmopolitan center every night, playing host to live jazz concerts, Broadway-level theater, visiting symphonies, films and other attractions. Bars and taverns line the warmly lit streets. For kids, there's a four-lane tubing hill and an ice skating rink, in addition to one of the best ski schools in the country, if not the world. A great place to stay in Beaver Creek is the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. This 190-room chateau-style resort offers a full-service spa, private balconies in most rooms and an outdoor firepit complete with a daily dose of s'mores.
Best Caribbean Cruise Line
Arguably the grandest, most magnificent ocean liner ever built, Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 is the winner of the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Award for Best Caribbean Cruise. Queen Mary 2 is the flagship of Cunard, whose history dates back to 1839 when Her Majesty Queen Victoria awarded Sir Samuel Cunard of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the first ever license to deliver mail across the Atlantic Ocean.
While she is described as "timeless elegance", Queen Mary 2, which debuted in 2004, offers the latest luxury amenities, from the pampering services of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea to a pool with a retractable roof, allowing it to be enjoyed in inclement weather. Queen Mary 2 also offers an award-winning intellectual and entertainment enrichment program led by prestigious experts in a variety of fields, including literature, the arts, politics, the sciences, culture, maritime history and academia.
The ship, which cost an estimated $800 million to build, is 1,132 feet long--113 feet longer than her predecessor Queen Mary, with space for 2,592 guests in lower berths and 3,056 total guest capacity, when including third and fourth berths. Her crew numbers 1,253.
Best City Hotel
Only a few short steps away from the Champs-Elysées, is the world-renowned Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. This world-renowned hotel in the heart of Paris is the Luxist Awards' Readers' Choice Winner for Best City Hotel.
The opulent hotel's gracious lobby is beautifully decorated with an impressive collection of objets d'art; the 17th-century tapestries adorning its walls are breathtaking. The hotel has a spirit that lives on in thoroughly reborn, highly advanced spaces. The Four Seasons George V Paris redefines luxury and impeccable service in the City of Light.
Rising eight stories above the city, the hotel was built in 1928. It offers 245 guest rooms with nearly one-quarter being suites. All feature unique architectural details and many feature private terraces overlooking Paris. The guest rooms are among the most spacious of all Paris hotels.The hotel is ideally situated in what is referred to as the "Golden Triangle of Paris". The River Seine is nearby as is the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower, while some of the world's best shopping is a delightful 10 minute walk away.
February: Best in Sweets
The Luxist Readers' Choice Awards for Best in Sweets will be awarded based on your nominations and voting. We're currently seeking nominations for the best-of-breed in the following categories: Best Chocolate Bar, Best Chocolate Candy, Best Cupcake, Best Cake, and Best Cookie. One nomination per category, please. Submissions can be filed until February 15, 2010. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2010.