The Experientialist Awards by OutThere was born during the time of COVID-19, seeking to recognise and champion creativity, innovation, resilience and stewardship in the luxury travel industry.

The Experientialist is our response to everything that is happening right now, our ‘pop-up platform’ to bring feel-good factor, optimism and news to our readers, followers and the luxury travel industry at large under the banner of #KeepYourMindTravelling. We also aim to aid positive mental health – through inspiring and feeding wanderlusts – during the quarantine and highlight the amazing and selfless travel brands that are putting the needs of their staff, customers and the public ahead of their own.

Thank you! We raised £5,000 from entry donations to go to the winner of the Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability

The awards

Our mission is simple: to recognise and champion creativity, innovation, resilience and stewardship in the luxury travel industry, linked closely to our brand pillars of diversity, discovery and discernment. For our inaugural awards, we look to applaud the luxury brands and people from across our beautiful world, that have delivered truly OutThere initiatives – that are feel-good, positive and uplifting – through ingenious activities, original and dynamic campaigns, unparalleled leadership and community-first approaches in their part of the industry.

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The Experientialist Awards Shortlist

A huge congratulations to all the entrants that made it to our Experientialist Awards shortlist. There were hundreds of fabulous and worthy entries this year, which made it very hard to decide (and debate) who would be honoured as finalists. The quality of entries was extremely high, alas only six brands can be shortlisted in each category. Our panel of esteemed judges worked extremely hard to take the following OutThere brands through to the finals…

The following four categories award the luxury and experiential travel brands that have demonstrated unparalleled excellence during the COVID pandemic.

Most OutThere travel brand

The six most revolutionary, mindful and forward-looking travel brands that have demonstrated unrivalled innovation, creativity and excellence across all aspects of their operations over the months that COVID temporarily paused travel.



Cookson Adventures

Out Adventures

Quinta do Lago

Six Senses

Most OutThere campaign

These six stunning campaigns were developed by truly inspirational brands over the COVID months, brimmed with optimism and have kept the enduring spirit of experiential travel alive.

Reignite your love for travel – ACCOR

At home with Six Senses – Six Senses

Beyond the clouds, there is always light – JNTO

#InThePink – The Langham Hotels & Resorts

NIZUC at home – NIZUC Resort & Spa

Reconnect with the world – Tahiti Tourisme

Most OutThere champion

These six selfless individuals and heroes have shown amazing leadership and driven fantastic initiatives in these unprecedented times – both internal and external – to ensure that their brands not just weather the COVID storm, but also do good for their teams and the communities they operate in.

Calum Franklin & Nokx Majozi – Rosewood London

Georgie Davidson – Boschendal

John Roberts – Anantara

Malik Fernando – Resplendent Ceylon

Robert Sharp – Out Adventures

Roque Sevilla – Metropolitan Touring

Most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability

It has been heartwarming to see so many brands continue to champion and garner support for their projects in community, conservation and sustainability, despite having to pause their operations and not receive funding from guest revenue, but these six are particularly deserving for the hard work they have done over the time travel came to a pause.

*The winner of this category will receive the £5,000 collected from entry donations to help fund their project.

Abercrombie & Kent Philanthropy

ACCOR – All Heartist Fund

Bill Bensley x Shinta Mani Foundation

Ride 4 Rangers

Six Senses – Give Rice

Sol y Luna Foundation

The following six categories for the Experientialist Awards shortlist are unrelated to COVID, but celebrate the luxury travel brands, that like us, are rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment at any time and linked to the six OutThere traveller profiles.

The Adventurer award

The six most adventurous brands from a long list of worthy entries, these travel providers have a real sense of discovery, one that gets their customers out into the great outdoors and pushes their boundaries.


Another World Adventures

Cookson Adventures


Bensley Collection – Shinta Mani Wild

Uncruise Adventures

The Culturalist award

These six shortlisted brands have and celebrate “culture” at their very heart, not just limited to the Arts, but also the local community and destination that they’re in.

Fotografiska New York

Kristiania Lech

Out Adventures

Schloss Elmau

The Siam x Smiling Albino

Uncruise Adventures

The Escapist award

These six escapist journeys celebrate ‘getting away from it all’, wellbeing and peace of mind, all worthy finalists from an absolutely mammoth list of entries each vying to make the Experientialist Awards shortlist.

57 Nord

Chablé Hotels

COMO Hotels


São Lourenço do Barrocal

SHA Wellness

The Hedonist award

We loved judging this “just because” category, and have shortlisted six of the most simply indulgent, mindblowing properties and experiences rooted in fun and celebration.

Badrutt’s Palace

Eden Rock St Barths

Iconic Luxury Hotels

The Nautilus Maldives

SO/ Hua Hin

Tel Aviv

The Insider award

These six brands are all centred around ‘being in the know’ – they’re otherwise hard to access journeys, but made available because of the brand’s innovation, creativity and connections.

Abercrombie & Kent

Another World Adventures

Ayu in the Wild



Tuscany Now & More

The Sophisticate award

The most hotly contested category of these whole awards, the judges pondered, debated and reconsidered many times over as to which of the luxurious, taste-making, out-of-this-world properties, journeys and experiences they would shortlist. These are their final six.

Abercrombie & Kent Ultra-Lux Collection



Oetker Collection

Post Ranch Inn

The Siam

Meet our Experientialist judges

Our judging panel is made up of a diverse cross-section of some of the best editors and travel writers in experiential travel. A special thank you to all our Experientialist judges for taking the time to deliberate over what has been a hundred and fifty plus entries.

Alex Temblador
Alex is an award-winning author and a freelance travel writer best known for her coverage of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her work has appeared in outlets like Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, TravelPulse, Outside, Vice, Architectural Digest, Culture Trip, TimeOut, The Daily Beast, Lonely Planet, among many others.

Andrew Headspeath
Andrew is the former APAC Editor at Culture Trip, working with local writers and renowned hospitality brands to boost tourism in Southeast Asia. With proud Filipino heritage, he is passionate about elevating queer and BIPOC voices in travel. Andrew has written for publications including CNN and Attitude, and was shortlisted for Young Travel Writer of the Year 2019 at the AITO Awards.

Caoilfhionn Macguire
Caoilfhionn is a travel writer and photographer contributing to Arcadia, Elle, Gay Times & The Culture Trip, among others. Caoilfhionn owns Crusoe Collective, a content creation agency for sustainable travel & lifestyle brands. From hotels and fashion houses, to tourist boards and global beer brands, Caoilfhionn uses the power of photography & video to create emotive, consumer-led stories. 

Francisca Kellett
Francisca has 20 years’ experience as a travel editor, writer and columnist for some of the world’s leading publications, including Tatler, The Daily Telegraph, House & Garden, National Geographic, The Times and The FT. She co-founded Mundi & Co in 2018, a creative agency that provides exceptional content for exceptional brands, and is regarded as an industry expert on luxury and sustainable travel.

Hollie-Rae Brader
Hollie-Rae is editor of luxury travel trade magazine Aspire. Since taking the helm at Aspire in 2016 she has increased the magazine’s frequency and grown its distribution. To ensure the magazine is the leading title for luxury travel sellers she also introduced a string of networking and thought-leadership events and offers consumer marketing tools for her readers. Prior to joining Aspire, Hollie was deputy news editor and cruise reporter at sister title Travel Weekly.

Jenny Southan
Jenny is Editor and Founder of Globetrender, an online magazine and trend forecasting agency dedicated to the future of travel. She specialises in forward-looking, consumer-facing editorial as well as trend reports, research and consulting services for the travel industry. She is also a freelance travel writer and contributor on titles like Mr Porter, Conde Nast Traveller and City AM.

Jonathan Thompson
JT is a multi award-winning travel writer and the US travel correspondent for The Sunday Times. As a freelancer, he contributes to a wide range of publications on both sides of the Atlantic, from Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler to Tatler, National Geographic Traveller, Mr. Porter, GQ and Esquire. 

LoAnn Halden
LoAnn Halden has spent the past 20 years exploring the world and supporting LGBTQ+ travel as a writer, editor and currently as VP-Communications for the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association (IGLTA).

Lottie Gross
Lottie is a freelance travel writer and editor. She has reported for the UK’s Daily Telegraph, BBC Radio 4 and World Service and has acted as a digital editor for multiple high-profile publishers and magazines.

Martin Perry
Martin is co-Founder and Creative Director of OutThere and heads up OutThere/Studio, the first-of-its-kind brand engagement agency that specialises in diverse and inclusive content for destinations and travel brands.

Uwern Jong
Uwern is co-Founder and Experientialist-in-Chief at OutThere, celebrating a decade of publishing as an award-winning luxury and experiential travel journal rooted in diversity, discovery and discernment.

The Experientialist Awards winners

The four Experientialist Awards winners will be shortlisted and selected by a panel of handpicked judges.

For the six OutThere awards, the shortlist will be decided on by a judging panel and the final winner voted for by OutThere readers.

All winners will be showcased in OutThere’s Spring 2021 issue and online. We hope to be able to host an awards presentation event and celebrate the winners (to coincide with OutThere’s 10th birthday party!), but in this current climate, we will have to wait and see if that is possible.

The prize for each category winner will be a £15,000 / US$18,000 advertising package*, and in addition, the winner of the ‘most OutThere initiative in community, conservation and sustainability’ will receive proceeds of the donations made by entrants.