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A distinguished panel of judges names the best-designed hotels, restaurants, and more in this year's design awards.

“I love to walk in
the rain, but I am not the umbrella type,” confessed Norma Kamali, as she made
her case for a unique piece of rainwear: a white backpack with an attached
hood, part of Puma’s Urban Mobility collection.

Kamali was one of the
seven refreshingly opinionated jurors in the 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards, which each year recognize the best design in everything from
transportation to travel gadgets.

Hotels and
restaurants are, of course, important categories in this contest, and two
forward-thinking cities—Abu Dhabi and Shanghai—had no shortage of entrants.
While the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi had serious competition in the Best Hotel,
Over-100-Rooms category, Asymptote Architecture’s surreal spectacle won out.
The jury liked not only the hotel’s razzle-dazzle architecture, but also the
appropriateness to its site—spanning a marina and a Formula 1 racetrack in the
oil-rich Emirate, which is intent on using avant-garde architecture to
establish itself as a player on the global stage.

And jurors found
plenty to recognize right here in the U.S.A. They smiled on the collaboration
between boutique hotelier Ian Schrager and mega hotelier Marriott
International, which produced The Waikiki edition,
the first in a series of resorts and hotels from the freshly minted hybrid
brand. And when it came to the best-designed resort, the jury found a winner in
Utah: the Amangiri. The resort is an ostensibly indigenous exercise in
perfectly pitched Zen-like restraint and organic architecture—34 minimalist
rooms that essentially cleanse the aesthetic palate by banishing the garish
banalities of the kind of ho-hum luxury that this year struck no one as
luxurious.

The jury also
applauded, with considerable vigor, such civic-minded projects as the Barceló
Temporary Market in Madrid, and the socially refreshing 100-square-foot Studio
staterooms on NCL’s Norwegian Epic, custom-designed for the solo
traveler on a budget.

And cars? After an
initial infatuation with a $201,000 British roadster, complete with bespoke
leather luggage perfectly fitted into the boot, the jury rolled up its
collective sleeves and got down to business, ultimately giving the Best Car
award to the Nissan Leaf.

While there were some
surprises in this year’s design awards, the winner in travel technology was not
one of them (hint: it’s an Apple product). Read on to see all the winners in
the 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards.

T+L Design Awards 2011

A distinguished panel of judges names the best-designed hotels, restaurants, and more in this year's design awards.

“I love to walk in
the rain, but I am not the umbrella type,” confessed Norma Kamali, as she made
her case for a unique piece of rainwear: a white backpack with an attached
hood, part of Puma’s Urban Mobility collection.

Kamali was one of the
seven refreshingly opinionated jurors in the 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards, which each year recognize the best design in everything from
transportation to travel gadgets.

Hotels and
restaurants are, of course, important categories in this contest, and two
forward-thinking cities—Abu Dhabi and Shanghai—had no shortage of entrants.
While the Yas Hotel in Abu Dhabi had serious competition in the Best Hotel,
Over-100-Rooms category, Asymptote Architecture’s surreal spectacle won out.
The jury liked not only the hotel’s razzle-dazzle architecture, but also the
appropriateness to its site—spanning a marina and a Formula 1 racetrack in the
oil-rich Emirate, which is intent on using avant-garde architecture to
establish itself as a player on the global stage.

And jurors found
plenty to recognize right here in the U.S.A. They smiled on the collaboration
between boutique hotelier Ian Schrager and mega hotelier Marriott
International, which produced The Waikiki edition,
the first in a series of resorts and hotels from the freshly minted hybrid
brand. And when it came to the best-designed resort, the jury found a winner in
Utah: the Amangiri. The resort is an ostensibly indigenous exercise in
perfectly pitched Zen-like restraint and organic architecture—34 minimalist
rooms that essentially cleanse the aesthetic palate by banishing the garish
banalities of the kind of ho-hum luxury that this year struck no one as
luxurious.

The jury also
applauded, with considerable vigor, such civic-minded projects as the Barceló
Temporary Market in Madrid, and the socially refreshing 100-square-foot Studio
staterooms on NCL’s Norwegian Epic, custom-designed for the solo
traveler on a budget.

And cars? After an
initial infatuation with a $201,000 British roadster, complete with bespoke
leather luggage perfectly fitted into the boot, the jury rolled up its
collective sleeves and got down to business, ultimately giving the Best Car
award to the Nissan Leaf.

While there were some
surprises in this year’s design awards, the winner in travel technology was not
one of them (hint: it’s an Apple product). Read on to see all the winners in
the 2011 Travel + Leisure Design Awards.

Gerry O'Leary/Courtesy of Asymptote Architecture

T+L Design Awards 2011

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