Awards are unfair. Is the world famous “Noma” restaurant in Copenhagen really better than any other restaurant on this planet? Does Steven Spielberg really provide us with a more creative movie language, as the recent Academy Awards tried to make us believe, compared with other masters like Quentin Tarantino or Michael Haneke? The answer to these questions, let’s be honest, is probably “no”. How could you find a ranking for equally outstanding or equally creative achievements?
However, we do love awards. They help us to find reference points and to define trends. They make decisions easier. They provide journalists with something to write about, and they support the particular industry. Awards are good, and they always give a reason to party.
Recently Asia’s crème de la crème chefs and restaurant managers shook their arms and legs in Singapore. They celebrated the first revealing of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list, a new ranking that was created by 900 “international leaders in the restaurant industry “, and which was organized by William Reed Business Media (more about the voting rules can be found here).
It ranks The Landmark Mandarin Oriental
‘s Amber restaurant in Hong Kong on the fourth place, making it the allegedly best dining place in China. The most often named location on the list is Singapore (10), followed by Hong Kong (9), Tokyo (7), and Shanghai and Bangkok (each with 5). Remarkably, also a restaurant from Hangzhou made it onto that exclusive sheet. It’s a Hyatt Regency hotel restaurant called 28 HuBin Road, serving traditional local cuisine. Too bad I did not go there, when I was in Hangzhou the last time (click here
for the JSB Hangzhou posts). After all, more-than-ever-booming Macau is mentioned once, too. The full list can be studied here
Next to these highly new accolades, the Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards have been an integral part in the award business since the 1950’s (then called the Mobile Travel Guide Awards). It’s an annually list of what is thought to be the world’s best hotels, restaurants, and spas. They are more or less divided into two categories – “Five Star” & “Four Star” – and within these categories they are equally listed, which is a nice way to avoid annoying discussions. This year’s winner in the China section is Hong Kong with seven “Five Star Rating Award” hotels, followed by Macau (5), Shanghai (2), and for the first time also Beijing (with Shangri-La’s China World Summit Wing). Looking at the list I think that all of these hotels deserve their awards. However, it seems that the judges completely left out the so-called secondary cities in China. Why is the Four Seasons Hotel at West Lake in Hangzhou not on the list, to name only one property that immediately comes into my mind?
Some hotels celebrated an across-the-board success after conquering the judges’ hearts in both award-giving institutions. One of the main winners is the Four Seasons Hong Kong, rated “Five Star” for both its hotel and its spa by Forbes Travel Guide, and furthermore twice ranked in “Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants” list for its Caprice (12th, French cuisine) and its Lung King Heen (13th, Cantonese cuisine).
These awards show that Hong Kong is setting the benchmarks for luxury tourism China, with Shanghai and Macau in the rear mirror.