The gold standard: Macao sets the stage for Condé Nast Traveler China’s 2023 Gold List Awards and gathering of top travel experts
The premier luxury and lifestyle travel title from China marked its 10th anniversary by honouring the crème de la crème of the hospitality industry, and the unveiling of the Gold List Awards in Macao for the very first time.
Celebrating a decade of discerning travel journalism, Condé Nast Traveler China marked its 10th anniversary on 3 November with a grand European-themed getaway and gala in Macao, uniting some of the world’s most astute travel connoisseurs and experienced adventurers at The Londoner Macao.
This international event paid homage to the legacy of Condé Nast Traveler (CNT), a publication that has set the standard in global hospitality since its debut in 1987. Over 36 years, CNT has expanded its reach, launching seven key international editions – UK, US, Spain, Italy, India, the Middle East, and China – each reinforcing the brand’s reputation as the authority on luxury travel.
This year, as the Chinese edition of CNT crossed its ten-year milestone, a celebration as grand as the stories told within its pages was only fitting. CNT and Sands Lifestyle, the lifestyle brand of Sands China Ltd., extended an invitation to the chief editors and representatives of all seven global editions, along with luminaries from the travel industry, celebrities and social media mavens to join them at The Londoner Macao, a paragon of luxury hospitality. This marked the first time in CNT’s history that delegates from all its global editions convened under one roof, bestowing a uniquely exceptional atmosphere upon the occasion.
Their collective mission? To herald travel and hospitality’s finest, engage in informed dialogue, shed light on new trends, and present the coveted Gold List Awards in Macao.
Globally acknowledged as the benchmark of service and hospitality, the awards were presented in Macao for the first time ever, further enhancing Sands’ and the city’s standing as a hotspot for exclusive, high-profile events.
Travel masterminds converge at The Londoner
The editors-in-chief and representatives from CNT’s seven global editions were warmly welcomed by The Londoner Macao to be their guests for the occasion. From the comfort of their five-star residence-style accommodations, they were treated to quintessentially British experiences, complete with the added luxury of having their newspapers ironed by attentive butlers.
Meanwhile at The Residence, The Londoner Hotel’s exclusive club, CNT’s experts convened for a sharing session, delving into the keynote topic, “What Makes a Great Hotel?” Travel masterminds from different countries shared their perspectives on the diverse attributes that define outstanding hotels, covering criteria from culinary culture and service excellence to design and location.
Shawn Ong, Content Director, CNT China, emphasised that the essence of a superior hotel lies in the quality of feeling it evokes. “In my mind, a good hotel is not necessarily ‘expensive’ or ‘big’ in scale but rather a hotel that shines with a unique personality, has its own personality that cannot be replicated, and the first impression must be eye-catching,” he stated. He further defined a Gold List hotel as “an iconic place with a lot of love and a great sense of hospitality. A place where we want to go back, with our family, with our friends, with anyone we love, again and again.”
Lasting memories were at the core of Clare Dight, Features Director, CNT Middle East. “It’s a place that embeds itself in your memories, and then becomes one of the benchmarks for every other hotel that you stay in,” she shared. “All the other elements perfectly align, a stunning location, whether on a secluded beach, in the middle of a busy city, or in the depths of a national park, human-centric design and technology, great food, and service that’s intuitive and unobtrusive.”
A night to remember: The Golden Gala
As dusk fell, the 2023 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List Ceremony and Gala Dinner got underway, bringing with it a cascade of glitz and glamour to The Londoner Arena.
Since their inception in 2014, the Gold List Awards have set the standard for excellence in the travel industry, honouring establishments that go above and beyond for luxury travellers who trust CNT’s exacting criteria.
To set the stage for such an illustrious affair, The Londoner Arena, one of Sands’ newest and most sophisticated venues, was converted into a resplendent banquet hall. The space was adorned with chic long tables, graced with exquisite place settings and fresh flowers, anchored by a grand stage.
As elegantly dressed guests in black tie arrived, their refinement underscored the adaptable nature of The Londoner Arena, which seamlessly transformed to suit such a distinguished assembly.
Settling in for the evening, guests were treated to a tasting menu prepared by master chefs from five of Sands’ premier restaurants: The Huaiyang Garden, The Mews, Chiado, Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, and Churchill’s Table. Collaboratively, the culinary maestros crafted a menu that married the savoury tastes of China’s Huaiyang province, Thailand, Portugal and Britain, showcasing Macao’s unique status as a UNESCO-recognised “Creative City of Gastronomy.”
Before the night concluded with a set by Chinese singer Momo Wu, the evening brought a delightful turn when The Londoner Hotel received the accolade for the ‘China Top 10 Hotels’– the only hotel in Macao to win the honour. Grant Chum, COO and Executive Director of Sands China, accepted the award, remarking on its importance for the young brand.
“We are delighted that The Londoner Hotel has been recognised as one of the China Top 10 Hotels by the 2023 Condé Nast Traveler Gold List in only its second year of operation,” Chum said. “Winning the most coveted title on the prestigious Gold List is a true testament to the hard work, dedication and passion of our team members, they are the creators bringing you The Londoner’s hospitality magic.”
As a parting farewell, CNT China’s Ong touched on the awards’ significance, underscoring the importance of the right setting for such an occasion. “Great hotels are now helping us gain a better understanding of our cities and experience urban lifestyles,” he said.
“My gratitude goes to my friends at Sands China, as The Londoner Macao has made the hotel itself a fascinating space where one feels at home. I also want to thank Macao, a cultural melting pot, for continuously bringing us nice surprises like never before and allowing us to discover the greatness of travel.”
A golden dawn of luxury travel?
While the Gold List winners rightly bask in their applause and recognition, the spotlight shines brightly on its hosts. Celebrations like the CNT 10th anniversary and Gold List awards bring Macao into the limelight, highlighting Sands and its integrated resorts as premier destinations for luxury events.
The event’s triumph underlines Sands’ commitment to elevating hospitality to new heights, both locally and globally. As the evening concluded and guests departed The Londoner, they were left with a lasting impression – Macao and Sands aren’t just welcoming world figures, they’re leading the way towards a future filled with luxurious travel opportunities.