Trends

Zagat Surveys 23,409 Travelers to ID World's Leading Lodgings

Surveyors (Including 1,626 Travel Agents) Report Rises in Spending

Zagat Amanresorts and Four Seasons Hotels are the World's Best Chains

Four Seasons George V (Paris) Wins as Top Large Hotel; Singita (South Africa) -- Top Small Hotel; Four Seasons Hualalai (Hawaii) Scores Both Top Resort and Top Spa


Zagat Survey today released the results of its 2007/2008 World's Top Hotels, Resorts and Spas survey. The guide is based on the experiences of 21,783 frequent travelers and 1,626 professional travel agents who averaged 36.9 hotel nights per year. It includes rates and reviews of 1,287 of the best places to stay and play in the world as well as 48 leading hotel chains.

"This guide is designed to help travelers make informed decisions about the best places to stay around the world," said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. "Whether it's business or pleasure -- the guide should be an essential resource for any savvy traveler."

Winners: The Top-Rated large hotel (i.e., 100 or more rooms) in this year's survey is the "creme de la creme" Four Seasons George V in Paris. The "absolutely flawless" safari compound, Singita in Kruger Area, South Africa is a double winner, as Top Small Hotel with Top Rooms. The Four Seasons Hualalai (Hawaii) and its "gorgeous rooms" won for both Top Resort and Top Spa. And rising to the occasion, is No. 1 for Dining, the renowned La Maison Troisgros (France), which is "worth a visit," just for dinner.

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The following lists show the leading chains, hotels, resorts and spas:

  Hotel Chains:
1. Amanresorts 6. Ritz-Carlton
2. Four Seasons 7. Rosewood
3. Mandarin Oriental 8. Orient-Express
4. Raffles 9. Oberoi
5. St. Regis 10. Shangri-La

Top Destination Spas:
1. Four Seasons/Hualalai, Hawaii 6. Amandari, Bali
2. Esperanza, Baja Peninsula, 7. Four Seasons, Carmelo,
Mexico Uruguay
3. Four Seasons Wailea, Hawaii 8. Phoenician, Phoenix/Scottsdale
4. Las Ventanas, Baja Peninsula, 9. Brenner's Park, Baden-Baden,
Mexico Germany
5. Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, 10. Schloss, Buhlerhohe, Baden-Baden,
Bali Germany

Large Hotels (100+ rooms):
1. Four Seasons George V, Paris 6. Four Seasons, Chicago
2. Peninsula, Chicago 7. Four Seasons, Budapest
3. Peninsula, Bangkok 8. Mandarin Oriental, Miami
4. Peninsula, Hong Kong 9. Peninsula, Los Angeles
5. Oriental, Bangkok 10. Four Seasons, Las Vegas

Resorts (100+ rooms):
1. Four Seasons/Hualalai, 6. Four Seasons Resort,
Hawaii Guanacaste, Costa Rica
2. One & Only, Baja Peninsula, 7. Halekulani, Hawaii
Mexico
3. Four Seasons Wailea, Hawaii 8. Ritz-Carlton, Cayman Islands
4. Four Seasons, Canadian 9. Four Seasons Resort,
Rockies Provence
5. Burj Al Arab, Dubai, United 10. Four Seasons, Punta Mita,
Arab Emirates Mexico

Small Hotels, Resorts & Inns (less than 100 rooms):
1. Singita, Kruger Area, South 6. Oberoi Udaivilas,
Africa Rajasthan, India
2. Amanjiwo, Borobudur, 7. Amankila, Bali
Indonesia
3. Four Seasons Tented, Golden 8. Gidleigh Park, Devon, U.K.
Triangle, Thailand
4. Como Shambala, Bali 9. Four Seasons Sayan, Bali
5. Four Seasons, Chiang Mai, 10. Blanket Bay, Queenstown, New
Thailand Zealand

Rooms (based on Rooms score): Service (based on Service score):
1. Singita, Kruger Area, South
Africa 1. Como Shambala, Bali
2. Amanjiwo, Borobudur, 2. Amansara, Siem Reap, Cambodia
Indonesia
3. Four Seasons/Hualalai, 3. Four Seasons Tented, Golden
Hawaii Triangle, Thailand
4. Amankila, Bali 4. Amanusa, Bali
5. Oberoi Udaivilas, 5. Inn/Little Washington,
Rajasthan, India* Washington, DC
* Indicates a tie with the property above

Dining (based on Dining score): Facilities (based on Facilities
score):
1. La Maison Troisgros, Loire, 1. Amanjiwo, Borobudur, Indonesia
France
2. Michel Bras, Aveyron, 2. Singita, Kruger Area, South
France Africa
3. Inn/Little Washington, 3. Oberoi Udaivilas, Rajasthan,
Washington, DC India
4. L'Eau a la Bouche, Montreal 4. Four Seasons/Hualalai, Hawaii
5. Hastings House, Vancouver 5. Blanket Bay, Queenstown, New
Zealand


The Reeling Dollar: American travelers agree their wallets are being hit harder than ever as the value of the dollar continues to drop against the euro. Countries such as France, Germany, Italy and the U.K. have become more expensive for U.S. visitors and vice versa for travelers to the USA. As a possible result, surveyors both American and foreign report doing more U.S. travel within the last year.

Favorite Cities: Expenses aside, when asked what international cities they most like to visit, Paris takes the cake with 26% of the vote, followed by London (19%) and Rome (8%). As for Surveyors' favorite U.S. destination, New York came in first with 25% of the vote, followed by Washington, D.C. (20%), and San Francisco (17%).

The Economics of Travel: With the increase in transportation and lodging prices, it's no wonder that 29% of our surveyors report an increase in their business travel budgets as opposed to 16% who report a decline, and 43% report a rise in their leisure travel spending, vs. 9% reporting a decrease. In an effort to save money, 70% turn to the Internet to book their trips, with 95% of that group purchasing airline tickets, 89% reserving their hotel rooms and 71% making car rentals reservations online.

Paper Chase: While overall global travel has increased significantly since 2000, travel to the U.S. from abroad declined. This is partly due to visa problems. Travelers from China, Eastern Europe, India, parts of Latin America and the Middle East especially report difficulty of getting a U.S. visa. Surveyors by a 71% vote say they would be glad to undergo background checks and pay a yearly fee to speed up trips through security if the U.S. were to implement a type of "Easy Pass" system.

Hook Me Up: Zagat surveyors (23%) say the amenities offered have the greatest impact on their choice of hotel, with their favorite in-room feature -- the now nearly ubiquitous WiFi access (66% of business travelers say it's most important, followed by the morning newspaper -- 46%, and plasma flat screen TV's -- 20%). But electronics aren't the only amenities in high demand. Bed-sheet menus at Mexico's Las Ventanas al Paraiso and soap offerings, such as the 15 varieties available at the Rome Cavalieri Hilton, typify the lengths that the world's top hotels will go to satisfy high-end clients.

Irritants: On the other hand, when asked what irritates them most about the places they visit, 66% of surveyors cited "poor service" as their biggest complaint. "Dirty, small, bad" rooms were named by 12% of surveyors while 11% were bothered by noisy fellow guests; Cost, smoking, and uncomfortable beds registered a mere 2-3% each.

Looking Ahead: On the hotel horizon there's lots of action in China. In anticipation of the 2008 Olympics, China is seeing an unprecedented level of development -- and not just in Beijing. From the just-opened Shangri-La in Guangzhou and Le Royal Meridien in Shanghai to planned outposts from Kempinski in Wuxi and Huizhou, Mandarin Oriental on Hainan Island, Park Hyatt in Beijing and Ritz-Carlton in Beijing and Guangzhou. Tourism to China is expected to grow an astounding 10%, taking in more than $128 billion, in 2007. And the Chinese government hopes to keep up that torrid pace in coming years.

Under the Hood: The 2007/08 Survey not only covers top hotels and resorts around the world, it also features lists of Hotel Types such as All- Inclusive, Bed and Breakfast, Boutique, Cottages/Villas, Ski Resort, and Special Features lists including Casinos, Dramatic Design, Fishing, Noteworthy Newcomers and Romantic. The guide also features top discount travel websites and a number of Travel Tips designed to stretch the travel dollar. In addition, there's a page of key Dialing Codes, Useful Web Sites and Toll- Free Numbers.

The 2007/08 World's Top Hotels, Resorts & Spas guide ($15.95) was edited by Donna Marino Wilkins and David Downing and is available at bookstores and other retail outlets, through ZAGAT.com or by calling 888/371-5440.



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