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Conde Nast Traveler Reveals Results of its 25th Annual Readers Choice Awards;
Worlds Top
100 Hotels & Resorts

The Number One Hotel in the World is Qualia on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Top U.S. Property is The Waldorf Astoria, Chicago

NEW YORK, Oct. 16, 2012 - Conde Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 25th annual Readers' Choice Awards, ranking the best cities, islands, cruise lines, airlines, hotels, and resorts worldwide. Who but Conde Nast Traveler readers would have heard of, let alone, traveled to, Bozcaada or Knysna? They're winners this year, and that is only part of what makes these Readers' Choice Awards so exceptional. A record 46,476 readers participated, rating 370 hotels, resorts, and cruise lines above a score of 90! (To put it in perspective, the first list in 1988 saw the highest score of 87.) In total, the readers elected a grand total of 1,306 winners—so many, in fact, that we have made them easier to locate by region: Consider Italy, now meriting its own list, with 17 hotels rated above 90.0, and the United States, which has sixteen 90.0-plus properties in the South alone. Some list highlights:

  • Qualia on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef, was named the top property in the world, with a perfect 100 score.
  • Charleston, South Carolina is not only the favorite city in the U.S. for the second year in a row, but it's also the favorite city in the world!
  • For the 19th year, Maui is the top island in the United States, and this year, it's tops in the world.
  • The Waldorf Astoria, Chicago, nabs the top spot in the U.S. hotel category.
  • New York has ten hotels scoring above 90, including The Peninsula, Trump International Hotel & Tower, and the Four Seasons.
  • Top honors on the high seas again go to Crystal Cruises; on rivers, Grand Circle Travel is number one.
  • The smart question is not if Mexico but where, as the list is led by One&Only Palmilla, Capella Ixtapa, and Le Blanc Spa Resort.
  • In the Caribbean/Atlantic region, the Peninsula House again takes top honors.
  • China debuts with its own list, dominated by its three powerhouse cities, and in India, Oberoi claims the top two spots.
"Every year, the most discriminating travelers in the world (our readers) pick the world's superlative hotels, resorts, airlines, cruise lines, islands, and cities," said Editor in Chief Klara Glowczewska. "In its 25th incarnation this year, the Readers' Choice Awards are vaster and more compelling than ever before, featuring more than 1,300 properties and places that are truly the cream of the crop."

For the complete list of 2012 Readers' Choice Awards, visit


The Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Survey, begun in 1988, is available through a secure Web site at This year's tabulations of 46,476 responses were done by Global Market Insite, Inc., of Boston. Organization: The questionnaire contains lists of candidates in various categories (Cities, Hotels, etc.). Individual candidates are judged by relevant criteria for each. Those that receive a required minimum number of responses are deemed eligible for a Readers' Choice Award. Evaluation: Each candidate is rated, criterion by criterion, on a five-point scale: excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. Those scores, which represent the percentage of excellent and very good ratings, are averaged to calculate the final score published here. For example, King Pacific Lodge's rating, 96.9, is the average of its scores for all criteria: Food/Dining, Location, Overall Design, Rooms, Service, and (for resorts) Activities/Facilities.


Sarina Sanandaji
Senior Director, Communications

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Also See: Conde Nast Traveler Selects the Top Hotels, Resorts; The Number One Property in the World with a Perfect Score is Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand / October 2010

Conde Nast Readers Name the Top Hotels Around the World: The Top Hotel United States - 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville and the Top Resort Mainland U.S. - Sanctuary at Kiawah Island / October 2009

Conde Nast Traveler Names Top Hotels and Resorts Around the World that Manage to Exceed our Expectations / October 2008

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