Sydney is tops – travel survey

The readers of Travel & Leisure magazine have selected Sydney, Australia as the “World’s Best City” for 1999, while The Oriental in Bangkok was chosen as the world’s best hotel. The survey selects the readers’choice in destinations, hotels, cruise lines, airlines, car-rental companies, and spas around the globe. According to the magazine, its readers are the “world’s most experienced travellers.”

Many of the readers’ top choices haven’t changed in the four years that the survey has been running, which suggests that either they aren’t really the “world’s most experienced travellers” (and have simply all gone to Sydney, once) or that some things just never change.

Once again, the Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa has been named the World’s Best Small Hotel, and Sydney wins World’s Best City for the fourth year. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in California was selected as the Best Hotel in the continental U.S. and Canada.

The survey did provide some surprises, among them the astonishing result that San Francisco and New York were both rated as having better restaurants than Paris. Of the cities rated as having the friendliest people, nine of the top 10 we in Australia and New Zealand. Singapore Airlines was chosen as Best Foreign Airline, and Hertz once again drove away with the honor as the best car rental agency.

Although San Francisco was ranked as the top city in the U.S. and Canada, Victoria and Vancouver placed second and third respectively. Canadians must be doing something right, although it is surprising that we didn’t win more “best value” honours, given the sad state of our dollar.