BEST ECO-CONSCIOUS OR SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS HOTEL
BEST LOBBY BUDGET/FOCUSED SERVICE
BEST LOBBY MIDSCALE
BEST LOBBY UPSCALE
BEST LOBBY LUXURY
BEST GUEST ROOM BUDGET/FOCUSED SERVICE
BEST GUEST ROOM MIDSCALE
BEST GUEST ROOM UPSCALE
BEST GUEST ROOM LUXURY
BEST SUITE

BEST NIGHTCLUB/LOUNGE
BEST EMERGING HOTEL BRAND OR SOFT BRAND
BEST RESORT
BEST RESTAURANT CASUAL DINING
BEST RESTAURANT FINE DINING
BEST SPECIALTY DESIGN
JUDGES’ SO COOL
BEST HOTEL BUDGET/FOCUSED SERVICE
BEST HOTEL MIDSCALE
BEST HOTEL UPSCALE
BEST HOTEL LUXURY

What is a category description for
budget/focused service, midscale, upscale and luxury?

Budget/Focused Service. One- to-two-star hotels. These are inexpensive hotels that provide no-frills, basic services.  At the lowest price point, there may be a limited range of facilities and meals may be fairly simple. Lunch, for example, may not be served, although some do have grab-n-go or other marketplace F&B offers. Although most of our entries do have en suite bathrooms, projects are still eligible if they do not have en suite bath/shower rooms. Design, maintenance, cleanliness and comfort should, however, always be of an acceptable standard. Higher end budget hotels will typically be small- to medium-sized and offer more extensive facilities. Some business hotels come under the two-star classification. Guests can expect comfortable, well equipped, overnight accommodation, usually with an en suite bath/shower room. Reception and other staff will aim for a more professional presentation than at the one star level, and offer a wider range of straightforward services, including food and drink.

Midscale. Three-star hotels. At this level, hotels are usually of a size to support higher staffing levels, and a significantly greater quality and range of facilities than at the lower star classifications. Reception and the other public rooms will be more spacious and the restaurant, coffee bar (or marketplace) will normally also cater to non-residents as well as guests. All  guest rooms will have fully en suite bath and shower rooms and offer a good standard of comfort and equipment, such as a hair dryer, direct dial telephone, toiletries in the bathroom. Some room service can be expected, and some provision for business travelers.

Upscale. Four-star hotels. Expectations at this level include a degree of luxury as well as quality in the furnishings, decor and equipment, in every area of the hotel. Bedrooms will also usually offer more space than at the lower star levels, and well designed, coordinated furnishings and decor. The en suite bathrooms will have both bath and fixed shower. There will be a high enough ratio of staff to guests to provide services like porterage, 24-hour room service, laundry and dry-cleaning. The restaurant will demonstrate a serious approach to its cuisine.

Luxury. Fivestar hotels. Guests can expect to find spacious and luxurious accommodation throughout the hotel, matching the best international standards. Interior design should impress with its quality and attention to detail, comfort and elegance. Furnishings should be immaculate. Services should be formal, well supervised and flawless in attention to guests’ needs, without being intrusive. The restaurant will demonstrate a high level of technical skill, producing dishes to the highest international standards. Staff will be knowledgeable, helpful, well versed in all aspects of customer care, combining efficiency with courtesy.

What are the requirements for entries in the Best New Hotel or Soft Brand Concept category?

Submissions should include a description of the design intent of the brand, including the basic design pillars of the program,  an explanation of the brand’s mission statement and a description of its target market. The submitting firm should detail what it brought to the process of developing a look for the brand and describe the collaboration between the firm and the brands’ operations and design and construction teams. Submissions should be supported with collateral such as graphics, logos and any other visual components of the brand identity. To be eligible, the entry must include interior shots of a property that is open. Concepts that only have renderings will not be considered.

What qualifies for Best Specialty Design?

This category recognizes contributions by specialty firms involved in the design process, such as but not limited to architecture; lighting design; landscape architecture and design; art, both traditional media and digital media; technology-led design; and graphic/signage design. Submissions must describe the scope of the firm’s involvement with the project, how their work functions as part of the overall design, as well as what makes it a significant independent contribution to the overall buzz of the property.

What qualifies for Judges’ So Cool?

This category recognizes concepts that make heads turn as well as hospitality projects that lie outside the Gold Key categories—from event spaces to river cruise ships. The “so cool” factor can be a single space or a single element in that space; an entire project or a revolutionary change in the scope of design (previous honorees ranged from a permanent demonstration hotel in a design center to Marriott Intl.’s complete rewrite of its design platform to a glass sculpture suspended from the ceiling throughout a massive hotel lobby).

What distinguishes between Best Restaurant Casual Dining and Best Restaurant Fine Dining categories?

Casual dining applies to an F&B outlet that is the equivalent of a 3- or 4-star hotel. Fine dining would equate to a 5-star experience in terms of the level of investment, the pricing, the staffing ratio; quality of the menu, level of service, etc. So casual dining would mean a more affordable menu, a more gregarious approach, a variety of service concepts—from grab and go to self service to some waitstaff.