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Conde Nast Traveler Names Top Hotels and Resorts Around the World
that Manage to Exceed our Expectations

Conde Nast Traveler Announces Winners of Annual Readers' Choice Awards 
Top Cities in the World to Visit Include: San Francisco (U.S.); Bangkok, Thailand (Asia); Cape Town (Africa/Middle East); Buenos Aires (The Americas); Florence, Italy (Europe); and Sydney (Australia/Pacific) 
Top Airlines: Singapore Airlines (International Routes), Virgin America (U.S. Domestic Routes) 
Top Cruise Lines: Crystal (Large Ships); Seabourn (Small Ships) 

NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2008 - Conde Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 2008 Readers' Choice Awards, ranking the best cities, cruise lines, airlines, hotels and resorts worldwide. The awards appear in the November issue (on newsstands October 21) and are derived from the Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Survey, the largest independent poll of consumers' preferences in the U.S. This year, 32,633 readers voted.

"These awards celebrate the destinations, lodgings, and modes of transportation that manage to exceed our expectations," said Conde Nast Traveler Editor in Chief Klara Glowczewska. "The Readers' Choice Awards, with over 32,000 readers voting, are a credit to the worldly expertise of our readers -- passionate travelers for whom no island is too remote, no city too challenging, and no hotel too untested."

The 2008 Readers' Choice Awards reveal surprising moves in this year's results:

  • Charleston, South Carolina bumped New York City out of the #2 spot for best U.S. city to visit.  San Francisco remained #1 and New York City  slid to #3.
  • San Francisco takes the Best U.S. cities category for a whopping 16th year in a row, a feat never before accomplished by any destination or property.  One reason: its worldwide high restaurant score.
  • Newcomer Virgin America was named the best U.S. domestic airline, with JetBlue Airways at #2.
  • Singapore Airlines is again the #1 International Route Airline, and has led this category for 20 of the past 21 years (Only Swissair, in 1994, has taken the top spot from Singapore Airlines).
  • The growing number of resorts in the Middle East merit their own category for the first time, led by Dubai's Burj Al Arab.
  • In Europe, Prague makes a splash, reappearing on the top 10 European cities list after a four-year absence.
  • Two cruise lines each earn ratings above 90: Crystal Cruises (93.1) and Regent Seven Seas (90.2).
  • High ratings for hotels not only went to classics such as the Peninsula Hong Kong and the Ritz Paris, but also to Shanghai's Hyatt on the Bund, which is just one year old.
  • This year, more than 500 hotels reached scores above 72, including enough in Central America to generate its own category for the first time, led by Casa Santo Domingo in Antigua, Guatemala.
  • With so many superb properties in Europe, Conde Nast Traveler divided the list into two categories:  Southern Europe Hotels led by Italy's Il Pellicano, and Northern Europe, with a list of 50 led by Budapest's Four Seasons Gresham Palace.
  • Damascus, Syria remains near the top of the list of best cities in Africa/Middle East after a surprising move up the charts last year.

Below are results for the top three winners in each category.

Top Hotels

  Top Hotels- Southern Europe:
  1. Il Pellicano, Tuscany, Italy
  2. Four Season George V, Paris, France
  3. Il San Pietro di Positano, Positano, Italy

  Top Hotels- United States:
  1. The Peninsula, Chicago, Illinois
  2. Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, Amelia Island, Florida
  3. Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon

  Top Hotels- Canada:
  1. Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria
  2. Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City
  3. Sooke Harbour House, Sooke, Vancouver Island

  Top Hotels- Asia:
  1. Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan
  2. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra
  3. The Peninsula, Hong Kong

  Top Hotels- Africa:
  1. Cape Grace, Cape Town
  2. Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town
  3. Table Bay Hotel, Cape Town

  Top Hotels- Caribbean/Atlantic:
  1. Hotel Saint-Barth Isle de France, St. Barts
  2. Tie:  Eden Rock, St. Barts and Le Toiny, St. Barts
  3. The Caves, Jamaica

  Top Hotels- Middle East:
  1. David Citadel Hotel, Jerusalem
  2. Four Seasons, Doha
  3. Four Seasons, Amman

  Top Hotels- Northern Europe:
  1. Four Seasons Gresham Palace, Budapest
  2. Ritz-Carlton, Berlin
  3. Brenner's Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden

  Top Hotels- Mexico:
  1. Casa Natalia, San Jose del Cabo
  2. Hotel at Esperanza, Cabo San Lucas
  3. Las Mananitas, Cuernavaca

  Top Hotels- British Isles:
  1. Milestone Hotel, London
  2. Lower Slaughter Manor, Cotswolds
  3. Chewton Glen, Hampshire

  Top Hotels- Australia/Pacific:
  1. Henry Jones Art Hotel, Hobart
  2. Park Hyatt, Sydney
  3. The Westin, Melbourne

  Top Hotels- South America:
  1. Hotel Monasterio, Cuzco
  2. Four Seasons, Buenos Aires
  3. Alvear Palace Hotel, Buenos Aires

  Top Hotels- Central America
  1. Casa Santo Domingo, Antigua
  2. Lapa Rios Ecolodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
  3. Porta Hotel Antigua, Guatemala

Top Resorts

 Top Resorts- Asia:
  1. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai
  2. Oberoi Vanyavilas, Rajasthan
  3. Four Seasons Bali at Sayan

  Top Resorts- Mexico:
  1. Tie: One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos and The Tides, Riviera Maya
  2. JW Marriott Resort & Spa, Cancun
  3. Maroma Resort & Spa, Riviera Maya

  Top Resorts- Africa:
  1. Mombo and Little Mombo Camps, Moremi
  2. Grande Roche, Paarl
  3. Jao Camp, Okavango Delta

  Top Resorts- Europe:
  1. Penha Longa Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Sintra
  2. Ashford Castle, Co. Mayo
  3. Tie:  Convento do Espinheiro Hotel & Spa, Evora and The Grand Hotel Zermatterhof, Zermatt

  Top Resorts- Hawaii:
  1. Four Season Maui at Wailea
  2. Four Season Hualalai, Big Island
  3. Four Seasons Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele

  Top Resorts- Atlantic Ocean:
  1. One & Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
  2. Pink Sands, Bahamas
  3. The Reefs, Bermuda

  Top Resorts- Middle East:
  1. Burj Al Arab, Dubai
  2. One & Only Royal Mirage, Dubai
  3. Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

  Top Resorts- Australia/Pacific:
  1. Hotel Bora Bora
  2. Huka Lodge, Taupo, New Zealand
  3. Le Meridien Bora Bora

  Top Resorts- Mainland U.S.:
  1. Kenwood Inn & Spa, Sonoma
  2. Inn at Thorn Hill & Spa, Jackson, NH
  3. Sanctuary at Kiawah Island

  Top Resorts- Canada:
  1. King Pacific Lodge, Princess Royal Island
  2. Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Vancouver Island
  3. Long Beach Lodge Resort, Tofino, Vancouver Island

  Top Resorts- Caribbean:
  1. Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
  2. Curtain Bluff, Antigua
  3. Petit St. Vincent Resort, Grenadines

  Top Resorts- Central/South America:
  1. Hotel Punta Islita, Guanacaste
  2. Hotel Salto Chico, Patagonia
  3. Four Seasons Resort Carmelo, Uruguay

Top Cities

   Top Cities- United States:
  1. San Francisco
  2. Charleston, SC
  3. New York City

  Top Cities- Europe:
  1. Florence, Italy
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Tie:  Salzburg, Austria and Venice, Italy

  Top Cities- Asia:
  1. Bangkok, Thailand
  2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
  3. Hong Kong

  Top Cities- Africa/Middle East:
  1. Cape Town, South Africa
  2. Jerusalem, Israel
  3. Damascus, Syria

  Top Cities- The Americas
  1. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  2. Vancouver, British Columbia
  3. Tie:  Victoria, British Columbia and Quebec City, Quebec

  Top Cities- Australia/Pacific:
  1. Sydney, Australia
  2. Melbourne, Australia
  3. Queenstown, New Zealand

Top Islands

  Top Islands- Caribbean/Atlantic:
  1. Bermuda
  2. St. John
  3. St. Barts

  Top Islands- Pacific:
  1. Maui
  2. Kauai
  3. Bora Bora

  Top Islands- Asia/Indian Ocean:
  1. Maldives
  2. Bali
  3. Phuket

   Top Islands- North America:
  1. Vancouver Island
  2. Kiawah, SC
  3. Nantucket, MA

  Top Islands- Europe:
  1. Mykonos and the Cyclades
  2. Capri
  3. Sicily

Top Cruise Lines, Airlines & Car Rental Agencies

  Top Cruise Lines- Large Ships:
  1. Crystal
  2. Regent Seven Seas
  3. Disney

  Top Cruise Lines- Small Ships:
  1. Seabourn
  2. Regent Seven Seas
  3. SeaDream Yacht Club

  Top Airlines- International Routes:
  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Emirates
  3. Virgin Atlantic

   Top Airlines- Domestic Routes:
  1. Virgin America
  2. JetBlue Airways
  3. Midwest Airlines

  Top Airlines- Foreign-Only Routes:
  1. SilkAir
  2. Jet Airways
  3. Air Iceland

  Top Car Rental Agencies:
  1. Hertz
  2. Enterprise
  3. Avis 

The Readers Choice Awards gala took place on Wednesday, October 15th in New York City at the New York Public Library. 

Every year since 1988, a select sample of Conde Nast Traveler readers have taken the Readers' Choice Survey. In 2008, the questionnaire was available to all readers through a secure Web site. The final tabulations of 32,633 responses were done by Mediamark Research, Inc., of New York City. Poll categories (Cities, Hotels, etc.), and the criteria for each appear at the bottom of the first page in every category. Questionnaires contained lists of candidates (individual cities, hotels, etc.), and write-ins were allowed. Only candidates that received a required minimum number of responses were deemed eligible for an award. Each candidate was rated, criterion by criterion, on a five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, poor. Criterion scores, which represent the percentage of respondents rating a candidate excellent or very good, were averaged to determine the final score -- e.g., in the category of Islands, Maui's 89.5 is the average of its scores for Activities, Atmosphere/Ambience, Beaches, Friendliness, Lodging, Restaurants, and Scenery.

About Conde Nast Traveler
Truth in Travel: Many travel publications accept free travel and accommodations. Conde Nast Traveler does not, and its correspondents, as far as possible, travel anonymously. They experience travel the way consumers do, both the good and the bad, and report on it fairly and honestly. In 2008, Conde Nast Traveler was named one of the top 10 magazines in the U.S. by both Adweek and Advertising Age, one of only three magazines in the U.S. to be named to both lists. Conde Nast Traveler has an audience of 3.1 million and is published by Conde Nast Publications, Inc. The magazine's Website is 


Conde Nast
Ty Trippet, +1-212-286-7833 

Also See: Conde Nast Names Top Hotels Around the World; Top Hotel Mainland US -Ritz - Carlton Chicago; Top Resort Mainland US - Lodge on Little St. Simons Island / October 2007

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