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Zagat Survey 2005 - Top U.S. Hotel and Restaurant
Ratings; Peninsula Chicago and Peninsula
Beverly Hills Ranked #1 and #2
Fitness Centers the Most Important Hotel Amenity, 
Italian is Americans' Preferred Cuisine


NEW YORK, Nov. 1, 2004 - Zagat Survey(R), the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content, today released both its 2005 America's Top Restaurant Guide and its 2005 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas Guide.  This marks the 26th year that Zagat Survey has reported on the shared experiences of diners and the 19th year the company has covered hotels, resorts and spas. 

According to the two new Surveys, the national average meal cost is up 3.1% to $31.51 versus $30.57 a year ago. The average hotel room rate is up a modest 1.48%. After a tough period following 9/11, one-third of travelers report that their personal travel spending has increased in the past year, but emphasize that while their domestic travel is up, they are traveling less to foreign destinations. In another sign of the improving environment, diners are more generous when it comes to tipping, with the average tip increasing from 18.4% to 18.6% since last year.

"The healthy increases in consumer spending on dining and travel are signs of returned consumer confidence," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "The personal leisure category, especially the domestic segment, is benefiting the most from this trend with people dining out for pleasure with greater frequency and planning more vacations than in the last few years. Also, as time goes by, more and more people are returning to the airways for their vacations."

Zagat Survey's America's Top Restaurants covers 1,383 of the best restaurants in 41 major U.S. markets. The ratings and reviews are based on the collective opinions of roughly 110,000 restaurant-goers throughout the country who used Zagat Survey's signature 30-point scale to rate Food, Decor and Service.

Zagat Survey's Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts and Spas covers 1,021 hotels, resorts and spas as well as major chains in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S.  Virgin Islands.  This year's 16,413 frequent traveler participants included over 900 members of the American Society of Travel Agents.

In addition to rating and reviewing the nation's best restaurants and travel destinations, the two new Surveys measured consumer sentiment regarding other topical issues:

  • Sunny Skies - The most frequent diners in the country also happen to live in the cities with the warmest climates: Los Angeles (3.8 restaurant visits per week), Miami (3.6) and Las Vegas (3.6).  Meanwhile, diners in the East report eating out the least: Boston (3.0 times per week), Washington, DC (2.8) and Philadelphia (2.6). The weekly national average is 3.2.
  • Buono Apetito - In every market surveyed, Italian is Americans' preferred cuisine with 31% citing it as their favorite fare. While Asian cuisines continue to surge in popularity with 25% of diners reporting these foods as their favorites, French continues to lose ground with only 14% of the vote, down from 16% last year.
  • Go 76ers - Philadelphians are the most generous in the nation, leaving an average tip of 19.2% while Atlanta diners are a close second at 19.1%.  Westerners are more tight-fisted -- San Francisco (18.2%), Los Angeles (18.2%) and Seattle (18.0%).
  • Where There's Smoke There's Ire - Four out of five surveyors think smoking should be banned in restaurants. Allaying industry concerns about the effect of smoking bans on business, 26% of customers say they'd eat out more often if a ban were put into effect and a mere 3% say less.  In cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles where smoking has already been banned, the support is even stronger with more than 70% of diners saying they would eat out less if the bans were repealed.
  • Service Please! - In both the Restaurant and Hotel surveys, participants overwhelmingly cite poor service as their greatest irritant. Whereas 72% of diners complain about service, only 5% gripe about bad food or prices.  Meanwhile, 59% of travelers say poor service irritates them most.  Dirty rooms (17%) and noisy guests (12%) take distant second and third places.
  • Web Bookings -Online travel planning has taken off with 69% of travelers reporting that they usually book their travel on the Web, an astonishing increase of 20% versus two years ago. Use of travel agents has declined by 12% in just two years with only 13% of surveyors citing agencies as their preferred planning method.
  • Take a Bite out of the Big Apple - When asked, "What is the best U.S. city to visit?" 38% of surveyors say New York. San Francisco is a strong second choice with 22% of the vote. Las Vegas (6%), Chicago (6%) and New Orleans (4%) round out the top five.
  • Let's Get Physical - Travelers rate fitness centers as the most important amenity when traveling for business followed by daily newspaper delivery, frequent guest programs, wireless Internet connections and Club Level floors.
  • Bargain USA - Both Surveys indicate U.S. travel is a big bargain when compared to major international cities. For example, meal costs in Tokyo, Paris and London are respectively $72.68, $64.75 and $64.67 in contrast to the U.S. average of $31.51. Hotel rates show similar discrepancies.
America Votes and the Winners Are ...
2005 Top Rated Restaurants for Food by Market:
( ) = Zagat Survey Food Rating

    Atlanta - Bacchanalia (29)
    Atlantic City - White House (25)
    Baltimore/Annapolis - Charleston (28)
    Boston - Oishii (29)
    Charlotte - Barrington's (27)
    Chicago - Ritz-Carlton Dining Room (29)
    Cincinnati - Jean-Robert at Pigall's (29)
    Cleveland - Johnny's Bar (28)
    Conn. - Restaurant du Village, Chester (27)
    Dallas - French Room (28)
    Denver - Mizuna (28)
    Detroit - Rugby Grille (28)
    Ft. Lauderdale - Eduardo de San Angel (27)
    Ft. Worth - Lonesome Dove (28)
    Honolulu - Alan Wong's (28)
    Houston - Mark's (28)
    Kansas City - Bluestem (27)
    Las Vegas - Nobu (28)
    Long Island - Mill River Inn, Oyster Bay (28)
    Los Angeles - Sushi Nozawa, Studio City (28)
    Miami - Chef Allen's (28)
    Milwaukee - Sanford (29)
    Minneapolis/St. Paul - Bayport Cookery (28)
    New Jersey - Ryland Inn, Whitehouse (28)
    New Orleans - Peristyle (27)
    New York City - Le Bernardin (28)
    Orange County - Picayo, Laguna Beach (28)
    Orlando - Le Coq au Vin (27)
    Palm Beach - 11 Maple Street (28)
    Philadelphia - Fountain (28)
    Phoenix/Scottsdale - T. Cooks (27)
    Portland, OR - Genoa (27)
    Salt Lake City - Tree Room (27)
    San Diego - Pampelmousse Grille (27)
    San Francisco - Gary Danko (29)
    Seattle - Mistral (29)
    St. Louis - Tony's (27)
    Tampa/Sarasota - Beach Bistro (28)
    Tucson - The Dish (28)
    Washington, DC - Makoto (28)
    Westchester/Hudson Valley - Xaviar's at Piermont (29)

2005 Top Rated U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas:
( ) = Zagat Survey Overall Rating

Top Hotel Chains/Marketing Groups (10+ domestic properties):
     1. Four Seasons (28)
     2. Ritz-Carlton (27)
     3. Luxury Collection (27)
     4. Relais & Chateaux (27)
     5. Small Luxury Hotels (26)
     6. Leading Hotels/World (26)
     7. Fairmont (24)
     8. Preferred Hotels (24)
     9. Kimpton Group (24)
    10. InterContinental (24)

Top Hotels (100+ rooms):
     1. Peninsula, Chicago (28)
     2. Peninsula Beverly Hills, Los Angeles (28)
     3. Four Seasons, Chicago (27)
     4. Mandarin Oriental, Miami (27)
     5. Four Seasons, New York City (27)
     6. Windsor Court, New Orleans (27)
     7. Ritz-Carlton (Four Seasons), Chicago (27)
     8. Four Seasons, Philadelphia (27)
     9. Four Seasons, Las Vegas (27)
    10. Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas (27)

Top Resorts (100+ rooms):
     1. Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, HI (29)
     2. Four Seasons at Wailea, Maui, HI (28)
     3. Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL (27)
     4. Four Seasons Aviara, Carlsbad, CA (27)
     5. Ritz-Carlton, Orlando (27)
     6. Lodge at Koele, Lanai, HI (27)
     7. Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, CA (27)
     8. Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, UT (27)
     9. Greenbrier, White Sulpher Springs, WV (27)
    10. Royal Palms, Phoenix (27)

Top Small Hotels, Resorts & Inns (<100 rooms):
     1. Lodge at Sea Island, Sea Island, GA (29)
     2. Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN (28)
     3. Canoe Bay, Chetek, WI (28)
     4. Twin Farms, Barnard, VT (28)
     5. Woodlands Resort, Summerville, SC (28)
     6. Chateau du Sureau, Oakhurst, CA (28)
     7. Fearrington House Country Inn, Pittsboro, NC (27)
     8. The Point, Saranac Lake, NY (27)
     9. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA (27)
    10. Bernsley Garden, Adairsville, GA (27)

Top Destination Spas:
     1. Golden Door, Escondido, CA (27)
     2. Miraval, Life in Balance, Catalina, AZ (26)
     3. Canyon Ranch, Tucson, AZ (26)
     4. Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Lenox, MA (25)
     5. Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, TX (25)

Top Rated Newcomers:
     1. Mandarin Oriental, Miami (27)
     2. Ritz-Carlton, Orlando (27)
     3. Mandarin Oriental, New York City (27)
     4. Four Seasons, Miami (26)
     5. Princeville Resort, Kauai, HI (26)

It is worth noting that Four Seasons is not only the best chain, but also won five of the ten Top Hotel spots and three of the five Top Resort spots.  When it comes to small hotels, resorts and inns, the Relais & Chateaux is the clear winner with six of the top ten places.

The Zagat Survey 2005 America's Top Restaurants guide was edited by Daniel Simmons and Caren Weiner Campbell. The Zagat Survey 2005 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas guide was edited by Randi Gollin and Donna Marino. The books are available for $14.95 at bookstores nationwide or at

About Zagat Survey, LLC
Zagat Survey is the world's leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 250,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories.  Zagat content is available in print, on the Web, on the Palm and Pocket PC operating systems, on mobile phones, and on TV and radio.  For more information, visit
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Also See: Zagat Survey 2005 NYC Restaurants; Average Check Now at $37.45, Only Four Restaurants Left Requiring Jackets and Ties; Gramercy Tavern Rated Most Popular Restaurant in NYC / October 2004
Zagat's Consumer Survey Rates Amanresorts and Four Seasons Best Hotel Chains in the World; Surveyors Found Hospitality in Hotels, Resorts Outside the United States Better than Those Within the U.S. / April 2004
Brooklyn's 30 seat Restaurant, 'The Grocery', Voted New York City's Best American Restaurant / October 2003
Eight A-list Restaurants and Bars Opening Almost at Once in New York's Time Warner Center; Reinforces New York as Capital of Gastronomy / January 2004
Four Seasons a Runaway Favorite - Wins seven of the eleven top hotel rankings in 2001 Zagat Survey / Nov 2000

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