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Luxury hotel brand Capella comes to Sydney - opening March 2023

Luxury hotel brand Capella comes to Sydney - opening March 2023

Luxury hotel group Capella Hotels and Resorts will open Capella Sydney (pictured) in March 2023.

The luxury hotel will be located at the heart of Sydney’s newest retail and hospitality precinct, Quay Quarter - a short walk to Circular Quay ferries, Sydney Opera House, the historic Rocks precinct and a wide range of dining options.

The historic Department of Education building is being transformed into a space like no other. Inspired by the stories of the sandstone building’s past, the restored hotel is a balance between old and new.

Capella Sydney celebrates its magnificent surroundings and respects the traditions of the building, mingled with contemporary design flair. Paying homage to Sydney’s local culture, guests can find touches of the Harbour City throughout the hotel – from the signature restaurant, Brasserie 1930’s modern art décor, McRae Bar, a reinterpretation of Australia in the 1920s, to a 20-metre swimming pool positioned under a large heritage lantern skylight. and an award-winning Auriga Spa

Being a low-rise building, views of the Opera House and Harbour aren't available, but the 192 spacious rooms and suites are gorgeous and will suit anyone with an eye for design.

Capella participates in the GHA Discovery loyalty program. Learn more about how to best use GHA Discovery.

Each year Travel + Leisure magazine taps into its readership and invites thousands to complete a survey that rates airlines, spas, hotels, islands and more on many factors. The detailed survey evaluation results in its readers' rankings of the best hospitality has to offer from around the world.

Participants in the survey collected data from late October 2021 through to the end of February 2022. They rated (with a maximum score of 100) hotels, airlines, cruise lines, tour operators, etc on numerous characteristics, with the option of rating excellent, above average, average, below average and poor. A minimum number of responses was necessary for a candidate to be eligible for Travel + Leisure‘s World’s Best Awards.

This year’s results spanned a whopping 120 categories among hotels, resorts and hospitality brands in cities, countries and regions globally; to spas, favourite global cities, and best islands, cruise lines, tour operators, safari outfitters, airlines, car rental companies and National Parks.

Some key observations:

The overall winner was the super-luxury Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino. Rosewood also had 2 other properties in the top 100. 

Auberge and Shangri-La also both had 3 properties in the top 100.

The groups with the most properties in the top 100 both have Indian roots - Oberoi and Taj both had 6 properties in the list of top 100 hotels. 

While Preferred Hotels owns no hotels of its own, it markets (and offers a loyalty program) for 5 of the top 100 hotels (Pendry Chicago #25, Riggs Washington D.C. #31, Finca Cortesín Hotel Golf & Spa, Málaga #44, Grand Hotel Tremezzo – Lake Como, #53 and Rancho Santana – Tola, Nicaragua, #56). 

Multi-brand Marriott had 4 properties, while Capella, Hilton, Six Senses (IHG), Rocco Forte and Mandarin Oriental each had 2 properties rated in the top 100.

In terms of the Best 25 Hotel Brands in the World, the Accor stable rated very well, with 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Raffles #4, Sofitel Legend #6 and Banyan Tree #11). Global Hotels Alliance (GHA) also had 3 of its brands rated in the top 25 (Viceroy #10, Anantara #14 and Capella #17).  

Of the major, multi-brand chains, IHG (Six Senses #19), Hilton (St Regis #24) and Marriott (Luxury Collection #25) each had 1 brand in the top 25.

If you'd like to know more about any of the hotels or brands, our associated Travel Agency is a specialist advisor for Rosewood, Waldorf Astoria, Raffles, Preferred Hotels, Four Seasons, Hyatt, IHG, Conrad and St Regis - able to offer free perks like room upgrades and property credits when you book.

Our congratulations to Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco and all category winners. Far too many to list here entirely, so we list below a selection of the results:

100 Best Hotels in the World

Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco (99.25),
Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection (99.22),
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi (99.11),
Pickering House Inn, Wolfeboro (98.95) and
One&Only Reethi Rah (98.93).

25 Best Hotel Brands of the World

Oberoi Hotels & Resorts (97.50),
One&Only Resorts (96.20),
Oetker Collection (96.15),
Raffles Hotels & Resorts (95.5) and
Red Carnation Hotel Collection (95.32).

5 Best Resorts - South Pacific

Namale Resort & Spa, Savusavu, Fiji,
Conrad Bora Bora Nui,
St. Regis Bora Bora Resort,
Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora,
InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa.

Best Islands of the World

Ischia, Italy (94.61),
Maldives (94.44),
Bali (92.51),
Milos, Greece (92.50) and
Fiji Islands (92.38).

5 Best International Spas

Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico (95.76),
Sha Wellness Clinic, El Abir, Spain (95.20),
Therme di Saturnia (94.15),
Mountain Trek Fitness Retreat & Health Spa (93.26),
Chable Maroma, Punta Maroma, Mexico (89.90).

25 Best Cities in the World

Oaxaca, Mexico (92.96),
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (91.77),
Ubud, Indonesia (91.73),
Florence (91.06) and
Istanbul (90.97).

Best City Hotels - Europe

Hôtel Madame Rêve, Paris (98.73),
Rosewood Villa Magna, Madrid (98.67),
Portrait Firenze, Florence (98.25),
Raffles Istanbul (98.25) and
Shangri-La at the Shard, London (97.86).

Best City Hotels - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

The Langham, Melbourne (92.53),
Park Hyatt Sydney (90.40),
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (88.30),
InterContinental Sydney (87.76) and
Shangri-La Sydney (86.40).

Best Islands - Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific

Fiji Islands (92.38),
Moorea, French Polynesia (90.24),
Bora Bora, French Polynesia (87.70),
Great Barrier Reef Islands (86.90) and
Tahiti, French Polynesia (83.33).

NH Hotels officially joins GHA

NH Hotels officially joins GHA

Pictured is the NH Collection Plaza Santiago.

On June 20th, NH Hotels officially joined Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. 

NH Hotel Group is one of the largest hotel companies in the world and brings to the alliance more than 350 properties in 30 countries under three brands – NH Hotels, NH Collection and nhow.

NH Hotel Group is majority-owned by Minor Hotels, a Bangkok-based operator of more than 160 hotels and a GHA shareholder. Minor Hotels’ global family of brands include Anantara, Avani, Elewana Collection, Oaks and Tivoli which were already member brands of the alliance and participate in GHA DISCOVERY.

The move sees the transformation of NH Rewards into the GHA DISCOVERY loyalty programme, becoming NH DISCOVERY and creating a 21-million-strong global membership. Existing NH Rewards members will retain the value of their points and their other benefits, including Member Rates with up to 10% discount and additional rewards for booking on the NH or GHA websites.

For more details on GHA Discovery, see our Guide to GHA Discovery

A unique feature of the NH Discovery version is that NH Hotels shareholders can upgrade their tier status for attractive benefits.  

Under T&C 4.9 Members of the NH DISCOVERY Programme who are also NH’s Shareholders may upgrade their Tier as follows:

*  To the Gold Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value which is lower than 2,000 Euros; or

*  To the Platinum Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 2,000 Euros but lower than 3,000 Euros.

*  To the Titanium Tier if they hold a block of shares to a value equal to or greater than 3,000 Euros. 

The value of a block of shares will be determined considering the number of shares multiplied by their market value. In order to enable the upgrading of a Tier, Members must prove their status as a Shareholder by sending their securities account certificate by email to 

If you are a shareholder of NH Hotels, these upgrades last for as long a you own the requisite value of shares, providing a way of holding tier status without the requirement of stays or spending.

GHA has a promotion for June 2022 - Unlock the Unforgettable - where you can save up to 40% at some destinations within its range of over 30 brands, which include ones we love, such as Anantara, Capella, Corinthia, Kempinski, Niccolo and Viceroy.

Unlock the Unforgettable offers deals right around the globe.  

For example, escape to Australia and NZ with up to 30% off for stays with Oaks booked prior to 31 August and completed prior to 30 September 2022.  Destinations include Brisbane, Port Stevens, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.  Even Auckland and Queenstown !

GHA Discovery is free to join.  Learn more about the program from our Guide to GHA Discovery.

T&C's apply for these offers, so ensure you...

S&P Global's Sustainability Yearbook 2022 considered over 7,500 companies across 61 industries around the world and selected 716 companies for this year’s edition based on their S&P Global ESG Scores using this Yearbook Methodology. Prize winners in the 2022 edition included:

Gold:  ANA     Silver:  China Airlines, EVA     Bronze:  LATAM Airlines      Honourable Mention:  Air France-KLM, JAL, American Airlines

Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines
Gold:  Hilton Wordwide      Silver:  Melia Hotels    Bronze:  NH Hotels

Interestingly, both Melia Hotels and NH Hotels are Spanish companies.  Of the total 716 companies selected this year, 26 ( 3.6%) are Spanish companies - a strong showing.

Congratulations and thanks to all whose efforts made the grade for this year’s yearbook !

For more information...

Not yet experienced the luxury and service of a Corinthia Hotel?

Even if you have, you can (re)discover the pleasures of its boutique luxury properties for a limited time with up to 20% off the usual rate with breakfast included !

Tempted ?

Urgent! Anantara Limited Time Offer Of Luxury Stays with 40% off + breakfast included

Urgent! Anantara Limited Time Offer Of Luxury Stays with 40% off + breakfast included

Anantara Hotels & Resorts (advertiser) has a limited time promotion where you can book a stay with up to 40% off the usual rate with breakfast included.

You must stay by 21 December (lots of time) but must book within the next 2 days !

Take a look at Anantara's loyalty program GHA Discovery, to see what other benefits you may be able to gain.

T&C's apply

World Ski Awards - Best of 2021

World Ski Awards - Best of 2021

World Ski Awards - the sister organisation of World Travel Awards  - has unveiled the winners of its ninth annual programme. The results follow a year-long search for the world’s leading ski travel, tourism and hospitality brands.

A brief selection of the prize-winners (and their loyalty programs where relevant) is shown below.

  • World’s Best Ski Resort – Verbier, Switzerland
  • World’s Best Ski Hotel -  W Verbier, Switzerland (Marriott Bonvoy)
  • World’s Best Green Ski Hotel -  rocksresort, Switzerland
  • World’s Best Ski Chalet -  Chalet Zermatt Peak, Switzerland
  • World’s Best New Ski Chalet -  Chalet Face a Face, France
  • World’s Best Ski Tour Operator -  TUI
  • Australia’s Best Ski Resort - Thredbo
  • Australia’s Best Ski Hotel -  Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa Hotel (Accor ALL)
  • Canada’s Best Ski Resort – The Lake Louise Ski Resort
  • Canada’s Best Ski Hotel – Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside   (GHA Discovery)
  • France’s Best Ski Resort -  Val Thorens
  • Japan’s Best Ski Hotel – The Kiroro, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel, Hokkaido (Marriott Bonvoy)
  • New Zealand’s Best Ski Resort – Mount Hutt
  • New Zealand’s Best Ski Hotel -  The Rees Hotel , Queenstown
  • Norway’s Best Ski Hotel – Radisson Blu Resort, Trysil (Radisson Rewards)
  • Poland’s Best Ski Hotel  – Radisson Blu Hotel & Residences, Zakopane (Radisson Rewards)
  • Russia’s Best Ski Hotel –  Rixos Krasnaya Polyana Sochi (non-participating in Accor ALL)
  • Slovakia’s Best Ski Hotel – Grand Hotel Kempinski, High Tatras   (GHA Discovery)
  • Slovenia’s Best Ski Hotel – Ramada Resort by Wyndham  (Wyndham Rewards)
  • Spain’s Best Boutique Ski Hotel – Melia Royal Tanau Boutique Hotel  (MeliaRewards)

Congratulations to all of the World Ski Awards 2021 prize-winners  !

Avani Sale for Luxury Stays | includes Avani+ in Phuket with 40% off

Avani Sale for Luxury Stays | includes Avani+ in Phuket with 40% off

Avani Hotels & Resorts (advertiser) is having a promotion where you can book a stay with up to 30% off the usual rate.

For the luxurious Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas (pictured)  it gets even better !  Enjoy upto 40% off at Avani+ Mai Khao Phuket Suites & Villas, Thailand.

Some locations include complimentary breakfast & other benefits, which vary. T&C's apply. 

Anantara luxury villas on Banana Island, Doha | 20% off !

Anantara luxury villas on Banana Island, Doha | 20% off !

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has a promotion running - Villa Exclusive: 20% off at Banana Island Resort Doha, Qatar.

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara is a crescent of golden beach and over water villas just off the coast of downtown Doha. This private, luxury destination has:

  • 141 sea view rooms, suites, beach and over water pool villas
  • 800 m of golden shoreline
  • Surf pool, dive centre, VIP cinema, bowling alley, putting green
  • Anantara Spa and Balance Wellness Centre.
The offer is valid for stays booked and completed through 31 October 2022.

Like more details? 

Global Hotels Alliance (GHA) has now launched its revamped Discovery program, releasing more details of the now GHA Discovery program.

The changes transform it from a guest recognition program (where guest loyalty was rewarded with  "experiences" tailored to each destination) to more of a rewards program (points earned can be redeemed for benefits, including experiences).

It has added a 4th status tier (and a further by-invitation tier) with an increasing range of benefits at each level, based on either nights stayed, spending or number of new brands experienced.

GHA lost the Omni and Rydges brands earlier this year, but NH Hotels is joining soon. So there should be 946 hotels associated with GHA Discovery by early 2022.

This places it in size (by number of hotels) roughly mid-way between Preferred Hotels and IHG.

Like to know more about the new GHA Discovery ?

Rydges leaves GHA's Discovery | retains Priority Guest Rewards

Rydges leaves GHA's Discovery | retains Priority Guest Rewards

The EVENT family of hotels, which includes  53 Rydges, 10 QT, 11 Independent Collection & 5 Atura properties around Australia and NZ (including Thredbo and Queenstown) is departing from the GHA Discovery loyalty program. Rydges will continue to tun its own Priority Guest loyalty program

Stays booked after 1 December 2021 will no longer have benefits honoured. Sad news for skiiers downunder...although there remain 2 Oaks (a separate GHA brand) properties in Queenstown

This follows the departure of Omni Hotels, effective 30 June this year. It too noted it was going to focus on its own Select Guest loyalty program.

However, NH Hotels will be joining GHA early 2022 & merging its NH Rewards program into GHA Discovery.

Could these moves be related to the revamping of GHA's loyalty program? Possibly, although it's unlikely to be quite that simple.

Perhaps GHA will requiire members to make bookings through a GHA portal to receive their benefits, rather than being able to book direct.  

Time will tell.

GHA makes new Discovery

GHA makes new Discovery

GHA flagged the revamp of its loyalty program Discovery in September. With its December launch under the new branding of GHA Discovery now imminent, details are starting to emerge.

The main changes are:
1)  the move towards a points earning system.
2)  the Discovery experiences will now be able to accessed at all status tier levels. 
3)  you won't have to book flights or nights to enjoy your membership. The new DISCOVERY will offer exclusive benefits both with or without a stay.

Previously, key differentiators from other hotel loyalty programs were the absence of points and tier level based on stays being rewarded for upper tier members by tailored travel experiences, rather than discounted or award stays. So this is a major change in philosophy by the group.

Points earning will be in the form of "Discovery Dollars" or D$. 

From their very first stay, members will earn D$ at 4% to 7% (depending on tier status) of their total bill and D$1 = 1 USD, so the value is clear. D$ will be able to be spent flexibly across the hotel, toward spending on a room, dining, spa or golf. Members simply apply their D$ as a form of payment at check-out.

So the revised Discovery program has some similarities with Accor's ALL - a fixed redemption rate (value of USD 1  or EUR 1 respectively) and a fixed earning rate that increases with tier status (4% to 7% depending on tier status).

Tier qualification requirements will also change.
An additional tier level is being introduced (from Gold, Platinum & Black to Silver, Gold, Platinum & Titanium). Qualification will be based on either Nights/Stays, spending or number of brands stayed at. The latter looks to be the easiest route to top tier status:

  • Gold – Stay 2 times or spend $1,000
  • Platinum – Stay 10 nights, spend $5,000 or stay at 2 brands
  • Titanium – Stay 30 nights, spend $15,000 or stay at 3 brands.
Previously, the 2 top-tier members received complimentary Local Experiences with their stays (different Local Experiences depending on tier level.  Now, all members will have the option to choose to redeem D$ for them (D$100 for what was a Platinum-level experience or D$200 for a Black-level experience), or apply their D$ on other items. In Australia, the GHA brands include Atura, Avani, Oaks, Pan Pacific, ParkRoyal, QT and Rydges, with the more leisure-based Oaks being the most plentiful. In total there are 117 hotels to choose from.

Travellers to Asia will fare best, as there are 142 hotels under the brands of Anantara, Araiya, Avani, Capella, Kempinski, Leela, Marco Polo, NUO, Niccolo, Pan Pacific & ParkRoyal.

Options in the US with 14 locations are more limited, under the brands of Meritage, Outrigger, Pan Pacific, Viceroy & Doyle Collection.

UK travellers may find it even more limited, as the brands there are currently limited to Corinthia, Pan Pacific, Doyle Collectiion & Campbell Gray in a total of 7 locations.

This map of GHA hotel locations shows this more explicitly.

GHA Discovery has not yet communicated what benefits loyalty program members at each tier will receive. Further details will be released soon, particularly in regard to benefits usable without a stay.  

Whether or not status-matching from other programs will be possible is yet to be revealed.

Stay tuned!