The leaders of Europe’s luxury hospitality community gathered at Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul Thursday to celebrate Forbes Travel Guide’s 2022 Star Award winners. More than 70 industry tastemakers from over 10 countries across the region congregated along the famed strait in the East Garden under towering palm trees.
“To have the opportunity to bring together so many of our great hotel and industry partners while celebrating Istanbul and the iconic Çırağan Palace was a great honor,” said Hermann Elger, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “The spirit of our industry community — which included hoteliers, travel buyers, luxury brands and tourism boards — was felt throughout the evening, punctuated with a spectacular full moon rising over the Bosphorus as if to spotlight the spectacular collection of FTG-rated hotels.”
Attendees included Jonathan Crook managing director of the forthcoming The Peninsula Istanbul; Anne Golden, general manager of Pan Pacific London; Sal Gowili, general manager of The Ritz London; Adrian Messerli, regional vice president and general manager of Four Seasons Hotel Madrid; Tarek Mourad, senior general manager at Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet and Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus; and Andrew Steele, general manager of Raffles Istanbul.
“As we were awarded Five Stars in 2022 by Forbes Travel Guide, we are extremely happy to host a very special reception this evening in our legendary hotel located on the shores of the Bosphorus,” said Ralph Radtke, general manager of Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul and regional director of Kempinski Residences in Türkiye. “Since launching its Star Rating system in Türkiye with several prestigious properties earning a place on the list for Istanbul, Forbes Travel Guide proudly welcomed Çırağan Palace as the first local hotel into its curated Partnership program, a group of Star-Rated properties with access to exclusive benefits designed to further strengthen the hospitality community. We are proud to have this exclusive event and reunite with many important hospitality industry professionals from the European region. With its heritage dating back to 17th century, Çırağan Palace continues to be one of the most important ambassadors of Turkish hospitality around the world and we are extremely happy to showcase our beautiful city through an amazing setting at Çırağan Palace.”
During the event, Chris Fradin, FTG’s senior vice president, Partner Services – EMEA & Asia Pacific, shared with the crowd that the company plans to expand its ratings in Europe for its 2023 Star Awards. Forbes Travel Guide will announce ratings in Athens, Bodrum, Brussels, Capri, Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm on February 15, 2023.
Then Amanda Frasier, FTG’s newly appointed president of Ratings, led a champagne cocktail toast, thanking the hotel staff and mentioning the importance of Les Clefs d’Or, the international association of professional hotel concierges, which had two principals in the audience.
Afterward, Elger raffled off a curated stay at Le Logis Cognac, an all-inclusive 16th-century private chateau amid vineyards in Cognac, France, that’s home to FTG’s Center for Excellence corporate retreat. The winner was Diego Roggero, general manager of the soon-to-open Portrait Milano from the Ferragamo family. All attendees enjoyed a luxury gift bag from FTG Brand Officials Frette, La Bottega, Hyperice, Nespresso, Gharieni and custom chocolates from Çırağan Palace.
The evening continued with guests enjoying the Istanbul atmosphere on the banks of the Bosphorus. Some took private boats to Five-Star Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul’s Novikov restaurant hosted by Elger, Frette CEO Filippo Arnaboldi, Comte de Montaigne worldwide marketing director Riccardo Maria Ferrari and hotel general manager Harun Dursun.
The Istanbul celebration gave many attendees their first chance to reconnect in person since the pandemic. “Great event, always nice to put faces and to meet great people, united by Forbes and the passion for the industry,” said José Manuel Molina, general manager of BLESS Hotel Ibiza, which earned its first Five-Star award this year. According to Molina, festivity highlights included “getting to know great people and being able to share our passion and spend a spectacular evening.” He added, “[It’s] always nice to share stories and meet GMs and partners with the highest thrive for excellence.”
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