Rydges Wellington has won the Best Leading Hotel award for the New Zealand region at the 2015 World Travel Awards (WTA), held at a gala dinner in Hong Kong. More than 5,000 travel organisations are nominated annually in the awards that started 22 years ago to celebrate the best in the international travel industry.

Historically the ceremony, known for recognising excellence, has been broadcast live by CNN and called “the Oscar’s of the travel industry” by the Wall Street Journal.

New Zealand properties have been competing in the WTA’s since 2004. Rydges Wellington was one of eight nominees for the award this year, which was decided by public vote online.

“The award puts a gold stamp of quality on Rydges. Our guests will know that they’re ensured consistent top service,” Rydges general manager Simon White said.

He attributes success to the training and development of “extraordinary people with the X-factor.” It’s a fit with the Rydges culture he believes, which gives them the edge.

“Typically our people haven’t come from a traditional hotel background. Our Restaurant Manager came from a high-end clothing store. Our executive assistant manager was a builder. Yet collectively their broad skill set and life experience make all the difference relating with our guests,” White said.

Over the last four years since opening Rydges Wellington has won eight Hospitality New Zealand awards including Excellence in Marketing, Best Accommodation, Best Restaurant and Supreme Award.

Other finalists in the Best Leading hotel category were The Hilton Auckland, Hilton Queenstown, Intercontinental Wellington, Pullman Auckland, SKYCITY Grand Hotel, Solitaire Lodge, The Langham Auckland and The Spire in Queenstown.

Last year the award was won by Queenstown’s Hilton Hotel & Resort.