Three legendary Asian hotels topped the sixth annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards as reported in the magazine's October issue.
The Peninsula in Hong Kong moved ahead of the Oriental in Bangkok (last year's winner) and the Regent in Hong Kong (No. 2 in 1992) by a fraction of a point. The three hotels' overall approval ratings were higher than those in all other categories -- airlines, cruise lines, destinations, resorts, spas and (for the first time in the ratings) airports and rental car companies.
Rounding out the top five foreign hotels were the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo and the Oriental in Singapore.
The top five U.S. hotels were, in order, Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, Windsor Court in New Orleans, Four Seasons in Chicago, Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and Ritz-Carlton in Chicago.
The top destinations this year were San Francisco; Vienna; Sydney; Florence, Italy; and Paris. The five top U.S. destinations were San Francisco, Santa Fe, New Orleans, Seattle and Boston. Sydney was rated as the friendliest city -- one of five factors used to determine the overall score in this category -- followed by Dublin and Auckland. Last in the world on friendliness was Miami, preceded by Los Angeles and New York.
Singapore Airlines was rated the top airline for the sixth straight year, followed by Swissair, SAS, Qantas and Japan Air Lines. The top U.S airlines were Alaska (which, at ninth, was the only U.S. airline to finish in the world top 10), Midwest Express, Delta, Southwest and American. Chicago-based United was sixth.
The top foreign airports were Singapore Changi, Zurich, Amsterdam Schiphol, Copenhagen and Frankfurt. The top U.S. airports were Tampa International, Orlando International, Phoenix Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh International and Nashville International. The worst airport was judged to be New Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport, followed by New York's JFK and La Guardia.
The top cruise lines were Seabourn, Crystal, Windstar, Cunard Sea Goddess and Royal Viking.
The top five tropical resorts (and 26 of the top 50 listed) were all from Hawaii -- Four Seasons Wailea on Maui, Mauna Lani Bay on the Big Island, Halekulani on Oahu, the Grand Hyatt Wailea on Maui and the Ritz-Carlton Mauna on the Big Island.
The top foreign resorts were Amanpuri in Phuket, Thailand; the ++ Carlton in St. Moritz, Switzerland; Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Italy; Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland; and Grand Hotel Quisisana in Capri, Italy.
The top mainland resorts were Inn and Links at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, Calif., followed by three Ritz-Carltons -- in Naples, Fla.; Laguna Niguel, Calif.; and Rancho Mirage, Calif. -- and Stein-Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah.