Travel + Leisure USA’s much-awaited World’s Best Awards list is out. And India’s hotels have performed exceptionally this year.
An India-only brand with just 10 properties – The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts – has beaten the top hospitality groups in the world. Again. Just as it did last year, it has ranked highest on the list of the Top 25 Hotel Brands in the World.
The announcement on the T+ L USA website reads: The World’s Best Awards by Travel + Leisure survey, asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated hotel brands on their locations, rooms/facilities, food, service, and overall value. This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions.
On The Leela’s win last year, the T + L USA team had explained that the accolade is recognition of the brand’s consistency in pursuing excellence and an affirmation of its commitment towards curating authentic luxury experiences with the graciousness of Indian hospitality. At the time, Anuraag Bhatnagar, Chief Operating Officer, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, had said, “We are thrilled to receive this coveted accolade from readers of Travel + Leisure, USA. This is a commendable achievement and a tribute to the commitment of our teams and associates who dedicate themselves to delivering a world-class luxury experience and strive to make every guest stay a memorable one.”
According to T&L, maintaining its pole position in the Top 25 Hotel Brands in the World for the second year in a row, the Leela group has proved that it’s not always a globe-spanning footprint that makes the difference for travellers. The website mentions, “Though India has been hard hit by COVID in the past year, the country remains a bucket-list destination for travellers eager to experience its one-of-a-kind draws, including the jewels and handicrafts of Jaipur, the beaches of Goa, and the historic sights of Delhi. In each of those destinations, The Leela’s hotels provide top-tier accommodations with ‘excellent staff and beautiful rooms and suites’, one reader wrote. In fact, ‘excellent’ was the most common adjective used by T+L readers to describe the brand, which scored 98.40.”
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts meanwhile came in at number five with a score of 96.46, while Taj Hotels Palaces, Resorts & Safaris are at number eight with a 95.20 score. The Indian brands beat international stalwarts of luxury such as Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La, Aman, Banyan Tree, Rosewood and more.
And while top honours in The Top 100 Hotels in the World went to Mahali Mzuri in Masai Mara, Kenya, the T & L USA team have appreciated Indian hospitality, which they said, ‘made the strongest showing of any single country, with a total of 12 properties’. Indian hotels and resorts in the Top 100 include the Oberoi Udaivilas at number eight; the Oberoi, New Delhi at number 10; Hyatt Regency Amritsar at number 31; and Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, at number 88.
Rajasthan is clearly a favourite with the voters, as Udaipur placed second on The 25 Best Cities in the World list with 91.63, only slightly behind San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, which scored 93.54. And Jaipur came in at number 17, with 88.68.