NEW YORK, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Nearly 37,000 Conde Nast Traveler readers voted on the world's best destinations, hotels, cruise lines, airlines and more in this year's 11th Annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards Poll, considered to be the most credible, authoritative and comprehensive poll of its kind. Results of the poll were announced today by Thomas Wallace, editor-in-chief of Conde Nast Traveler, at an awards ceremony held by the magazine at The Streisand Center for Conservancy Studies in Malibu, California during the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) World Travel Conference. Despite economic problems in the region, the Pacific Rim was voted the most desirable place to vacation by readers of Conde Nast Traveler, the top travel magazine in the world. The Pacific Rim countries dominated the top scores in all applicable categories with 10 of the top 20 hotels and resorts found in the Best of the Best in 98. Sydney, Australia, for the fourth consecutive year, leads the Top Foreign Cities category with 5 other Pacific Rim cities -- Melbourne, Kyoto, Queenstown, N.Z., Singapore and Hong Kong -- close behind. Maui, for the fifth year in a row, reigns as the favorite island as well as the best for lodging/dining and activities/fun. Nine other Pacific Rim islands appeared on the Top 20 Islands List. For the fourth consecutive year, San Francisco, which is also at the top for restaurants and fun/energy, and Sydney, Australia hold the No. 1 position for best U.S. and foreign city, respectively. For most friendly foreign city, Queenstown, New Zealand was the top scorer. In the U.S., Charleston scored the highest while Atlantic City, once again, was voted the least friendly. A new feature of this year's poll is the creation of two new categories, Top Monuments and Top Small Hotels. The top score for monuments goes to the pre-Columbian cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde, Colorado. The very elite category of Small Hotels has a virtual newborn, Amandari, Bali, as the inaugural winner with a score so impressive it is not only the world's top small hotel but also No. 2 among all hotels, large and small. The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans was ranked No. 1 in the U.S. Hotel category as well as rated the highest overall hotel in the world. New Orleans was once again ranked No. 2 in the Top U.S. Cities List and scored well in the restaurants and fun/energy categories. The annual Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards Poll analyzes the travel preferences of the magazine's readership in the following categories: cities, islands, airlines, cruise lines, hotels, spas, resorts and car rentals. Thirty-seven thousand magazine subscribers participated in the poll. Complete results of the poll will be published in the November 1998 issue of Conde Nast Traveler, which hits newsstands the first week in November. Other Poll Results: Top 10 Foreign Cities: Sydney; Rome; Florence; Paris; Venice; Victoria, British Columbia; London; Vancouver; Cape Town; Melbourne. Top 10 U.S. Cities: San Francisco; New Orleans; Santa Fe; Charleston, S.C.; Boston; New York; Seattle; San Antonio, Chicago; Washington, D.C. Top 10 Islands: Maui; Bermuda; Kauai; Bali; Big Island; Bora Bora; Moorea; Fiji Islands; Virgin Gorda; Lanai. Best Hotel Worldwide & Best U.S. Hotel: Windsor Court Hotel, New Orleans Best Small Hotel: Amandari, Bali Best European Hotel: Hotel Plaza Athenee Best Pacific Rim Hotel: Regent, Hong Kong Best International Airline: Singapore Airlines Best U.S. Airline: Midwest Express Best Large Ship Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises Best Small Ship Cruise Line: Silversea Best Car Rental: Hertz Best Spa: Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Lenox, Mass. Best Spa Resort: Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel and Spa, Maui METHODOLOGY: A randomly selected sample of Conde Nast Traveler subscribers received the "Poll of Consumer Attitudes" with their May 1998 issue. Of 37,293 responses, the first 28,736 that conformed to the geographic distribution of our readership were tabulated by Mark Clements Research, Inc. Readers were asked to evaluate individual cities, airlines, hotels, and so on, as "excellent," "very good," "good," "fair," or "poor" in a variety of categories. A minimum number of responses were required for a candidate to qualify to win in its field. Final percentages quoted in the 1998 Readers' Choice Awards were compiled using "excellent" and "very good" votes that a candidate received in the following categories: Cities: Environment/ambiance, people/friendliness, cultural enrichment, restaurants, fun/energy Islands: Environment/scenery, people/friendliness, activities/fun, lodging/dining, beaches Hotels: Rooms, service, food/restaurants, location/environment Airlines: Routes/scheduling, punctuality, comfort/service, food, baggage handling, frequent flier program, fares Cruise Lines: Destinations/itineraries, staff/service, cabins/decor, food, excursions/activities Spas: Location/service, rooms, diet/cuisine, staff/service, program/facilities Resorts: Rooms, service, food/restaurants, location/environment, activities/facilities Car Rental Companies: Service/courtesy, reliability of fleet, speed of check-in/check-out, rates The Travel Channel will air a special program of the Conde Nast Traveler's 11th Annual Readers' Choice Awards Ceremony with on-location segments shot at all the winners' properties/headquarters. The program, hosted by Travel Daily's Michelle Garforth, will air on Thursday, October 15, 5 p.m., & 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel and seven additional times during the fall. For more information, call Celia Chen, Paul Wilmot Communications, 212-206-7447.
SOURCE Conde Nast Traveler