The world’s best hotel group? Almost 90,000 readers had their say in the 2017 Telegraph Travel Awards, and the results are in.
Top of the pile was Oberoi, which saw off the challenge of Belmond Hotels and Taj Hotels to take the top spot. Last year’s winner, Six Senses, slipped to ninth overall.
Your 20 favourite hotel operators
- Oberoi Hotels & Resorts (+3)
- Belmond (+5)
- Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces (+2)
- Shangri-La (-2)
- RIU (-2)
- Relais & Châteaux (+2)
- Aman (+3)
- Mandarin Oriental (-3)
- Six Senses (-8)
- Anantara Hotels (+3)
- Lime Wood Groups (+4)
- One&Only Resorts (-3)
- Jumeirah Group (+12)
- LUX* Resorts and Hotels (-9)
- Peninsula (+12)
- Wilderness Collection (-4)
- Sandals (N/A)
- Four Seasons (+1)
- Soho House & Co (-3)
- Firmdale Hotels (-3)
What makes Oberoi so special?
The best hotels are often family affairs, run by people who care passionately about every little detail and who treat guests like esteemed friends even if they rarely visit. Nowhere is this more true than at the 31 properties owned by Oberoi Hotels & Resorts which has been voted the World’s Best Hotel Group 2017 by Telegraph readers.
It is a richly deserved award. I remember my own first stay in an Oberoi property, the Grand Hotel in Kolkata. At the end of a long, tiring tour of northern India, I arrived dusty and dishevelled to be swept up by the caring and warmth of the staff. It wasn’t the building that made my stay special, it was the people working in it.
Staff are trained to note down a guest’s likes and dislikes for future reference and to anticipate their needs in a discreet way. Best of all, there’s none of that annoying hovering and fawning found in so many of India’s five-star hotels. So it’s no surprise that visitors to India – especially first-timers – seeking a consistent level of excellence in all areas design their tour around Oberoi properties.
The group’s founder Mohan Singh Oberoi began as a desk clerk at the colonial Cecil Hotel in Shimla and set up Oberoi Hotels in 1934. His son PRS Oberoi, now in his eighties, remains an active chairman and two of his grandsons, Vikram and Arjun Oberoi, are joint managing directors.
While most Oberoi hotels are found in India, there are also properties in Dubai, Indonesia and Mauritius. Early next year, the group’s first hotel opens in Morocco: a luxury spa resort outside Marrakesh built to Oberoi’s own exacting design using top craftsmen to create a modern palace fit for a king. Set in a 25-acre citrus orchard, the villas will have private heated pools and views over the snow-capped Atlas Mountains. Its much-loved Oberoi New Delhi also reopens on January 1 after a major facelift that includes the latest clean-air technology to cope with Delhi’s infamous smogs.
Runner up is Belmond Hotels, which runs 35 of the world’s great classic hotels, from the Cipriani in Venice to Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu. In third place is another well-loved India-focused brand, Taj Hotels, which took third position. Its eagerly awaited Taj Exotica Spa and Resort in the Andaman Islands opens in January.