Virtuoso's agents are people who regularly advise millionaires, billionaires and celebrities on their hotel choices - and receive their feedback on their experiences. That means the "Best of the Best" winners pass quite a bit of scrutiny.
Our gallery takes you on a tour of the properties that won a "Best of the Best" award in categories such as best spa, best design and most innovative customer experience, as well as the two top awards - best hotelier of the year and best hotel.
Highlights from the list of 10 award winners:
Four countries accounted for eight of the 10 winners - The USA, France, Italy and Mexico.
Three of the 10 winners belong to larger-sized, well-known luxury hotel chains - Mandarin Oriental, Park Hyatt and Four Seasons. (Of the 50 nominees, Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons tied with three nominations apiece, followed by St. Regis with two.)
The top honor went to the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel, which is turning 100 this year.
Big event for the luxury hotel world
Many of the luxury hotel world's top brand executives, general managers and sales directors attended the big awards dinner held Aug. 15 at the Bellagio. The event was part of Virtuoso's annual convention, now called Virtuoso Travel Week.
The audience this year hit a record of almost 1,500 people, another sign of enthusiasm by those in the luxury hotel business.
CAPTIONBy Barbara DeLolls, USA TODAY
Who picked the winners?
Of the 975 luxury properties around the world that Virtuoso works with in an invite-only partnership, Virtuoso editors chose five finalists in each of the 10 categories and then the agents voted on the winners. Virtuoso consists of about 340 agencies with more than 7,200 travel specialists in 20 countries who generate over $9.6 billion annually in travel sales.
The hotels you'll see in the photo gallery:
Best Achievement in Design: Park Hyatt Sydney
Best Culinary Experience: Sur Mesure at Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Best Bar: £10 at Montage Beverly Hills, Calif.
Best Family Program: Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico
Best Spa: Spa My Blend by Clarins, Le Royal Monceau - Raffles Paris
Most Innovative Guest Experience: Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Most Socially Responsible: Lefay Resort and SPA Lago di Garda, Gargnano, Italy
One to Watch: Amanruya , Bodrum, Turkey
Hotelier of the Year: Danilo Zucchetti, Villa d'Este, Cernobbio, Italy
Hotel of the Year: The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Dorchester Collection, Beverly Hills, Calif.