Niall Keating of Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, was the sole UK recipient among nine awards presented at the Relais & Châteaux Congress in London, yesterday.
He received the Rising Chef trophy, after winning a second Michelin star for the hotel last month.
Some 750 delegates representing 350 Relais & Châteaux properties are attending the three-day Congress, which is being held at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London, with a gala party held last night at member hotel Cliveden House in Taplow, Berkshire.
There are a total of 33 Relais & Châteaux hotels in the UK, including newest members, Stock Exchange in Manchester and 11 Cadogan Gardens, London.
One of the themes of the Congress – sustainability – was highlighted by Matthew Upchurch, chairman and chief executive of Virtuoso, the global network of travel agencies, who told delegates that they needed to adopt a serious sustainability agenda in response to the demand of guests.
In a survey carried out by Virtuoso, 41% of respondents said that they were willing to pay more for businesses that adopted environmentally friendly philosophies and practices, a figure that is increasing by three percentage points year on year.
"Social responsibility is particularly important for millennials, with 55% of them supporting the preservation of a natural and cultural heritage, compared to 41% of baby boomers."
Upchurch also urged delegates to take on board the two major growth markets for luxury hotels - young Chinese travellers and baby boomers. He said that the target audiences represented huge potential for the owners and operators of the 580 Relais & Châteaux properties located in more than 60 countries worldwide.
"There are currently 400 million millennial Chinese, while baby boomers are the first generation where 80% of those that reach 60 (by 2024) will be expected to have a healthy life for some time." he said.
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