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2015 Best in Travel Poll - Hong Kong is the Top City for Business in Asia

TRAVEL POLL

The Great Asian Brand Chase

Our readers vote in Asia's best hotels and cities and the world's best airlines and airports. Here are the full results of our 2015 Best in Travel Poll. Spot the top teams this year on Facebook in our fast-expanding Winners' Photo Album.

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JUMP TO Best Airlines | Best Business Class | Best Cabin Service | Best Budget Airlines | Best Hotel Brands | Best Holiday Destinations | Best Cities for Business | Best Airports | Best Business Hotels | Best Leisure Hotels & Resorts | Best Spa Hotels | Best Conference Hotels | Best Boutique Hotels

The SmartTravelAsia.com 2015 BEST IN TRAVEL POLL – now in its 12th year – is a distillation of our readers’ perceptions and favourite travel brands. Their vote is based on substantial hands-on travel experience with 12 annual air trips. The open poll ran for three months May-July (without nomination fees or fancy premiums for voters). This year saw a marked increase in voters from India, Hong Kong and China, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea, Middle East, Australia and Europe, and the results perhaps reflect this modest change in the voting demographic.

The results, as in previous years, offer some classic winners and a few surprises. Interestingly, individual hotels played a key role in the projection of the parent brand - because travellers relate to people and experiences, not logos and abstract promises. And cities with a dynamic political or environmental situation affected resident hotels positively or adversely, depending on the situation.

Brand perceptions
Individual hotels played a key role in the projection of the parent brand - because travellers relate to people and experiences, not logos and abstract promises

Beijing pollution dropped ranks in the city universally. Malaysia slowed. Seoul dipped. Bangkok remained buoyant, overtaking eternal favourite Bali as the most popular holiday destination. Maldives boomed, Taipei soared, and China flight delays slaughtered an otherwise solid performance from Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong International Airport. Like it or not, negative passenger perceptions following flight delays and missed connections are focused on the carrier and transit airport, not on an abstract civil aviation authority, which is the prime - but unaccountable - culprit.

Travellers tended to rate good service and attention to simple details far higher than design wizardry and blinding hi-tech. They also tended to favour hotels that represented authentic local traditions and ‘sense of place’. This accounts for some strong performances on this poll by otherwise smaller brands.

Random factors
China flight delays slaughtered an otherwise solid performance from Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong International Airport

Perhaps the biggest change on this poll is the end of bunching in various ranks. We stayed with combined ranks (as in three or more hotels co-ranked No.15 and so on) for several years as the percentage difference in votes was too small to split. This year we decided to make the results more lean and ordered, and this has, sadly, pushed several worthy candidates just out of the Top 25 Lists.

It is worth noting that in the airline voting where the vote is split between just a handful of competitors, each player garners a fair share; but the hotel vote spread over hundreds of possible choices, results in a highly fragmented result with percentage gaps between say rank 10 and rank 15 less than a percentage point. That's close. And this is after we've weeded out the fake votes. This also means that a hotel ranked No.25 is actually in percentage terms ranked almost as high as another in No.15. The point is these are all good hotels.

What influenced voters?
- Actual use of the product,
- Feedback from friends and colleagues, and
- Visibility of the brand in their browsing space.

Send us your Feedback / Letter to the Editor

Smart Travel Asia is the region’s dedicated online travel magazine with over one million readers worldwide – frequent travellers in the know.

Who were the voters? On average, voters took 12 air trips over the past 12 months and earned US$160,000 in household income. As many as 85% of readers say Smart Travel Asia helps them make travel decisions after which 52% book through their travel agent, 38% through an online agent (OTA), and 10% through a hotel site. This is of course for high end bookings, much of it for business. Typically cheaper rates are booked directly via a hotel or through an online booking engine.

Fragmented hotel vote
The hotel vote spread over hundreds of choices, results in a highly fragmented result with percentage gaps between say rank 10 and rank 15 less than a percentage point

Where did they come from? Approximately 70 percent were based in Asia (largely Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and the Middle East), 15 percent in UK/Europe and 15 percent in USA and North America.

As many as 97% of the voters said they drew their primary image of brands from the Internet, not from print or television.

What does Smart Travel Asia do that is different? The online magazine Smart Travel Asia serves up independent reviews and insights that help discerning travellers make intelligent brand choices. This is a critical area where most travellers lose their way as they attempt their initial research only to be confronted with a barrage of retail options and high-decibel discounts with minimal trusted brand information in sight. It is always brand before booking and research before retail. This is our space.

In many ways, Smart Travel Asia’s professional editorial insights are the antithesis of crowd-sourced rankings that can be misleading despite the best efforts of various platforms to deal with manipulation, fake reviews, and the inadvertent impact of youthful inexperience.

Think of crowd-sourced ratings as a ‘bus stop test’. Say you have a frightful headache and your ears are turning green. You walk down to the bus stop where 20 persons are standing, and ask for an opinion, you’ll get 20 random views, some sensible, some snarky, some silly. The pitfalls of this approach are immediately clear. A smart person would go straight to a doctor for professional advice.

Singapore Airlines, Best Airline in the world
Best Airines worldwide
WORLDWIDE
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines
2
2. Emirates 4
3. Cathay Pacific Airways 1
4. Korean Air 5
5. Qatar Airways
3
6. Thai Airways International 5
7. Japan Airlines
8
8. Jet Airways
7

9. British Airways
    Qantas

6
9
10. Bangkok Airways -
Singapore Airlines, Best Cabin Service worldwide
Best Airlines for in-flight service and cabin crew
WORLDWIDE
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines 1
2. Cathay Pacific Airways 2
3. Thai Airways International 3
4. Korean Air 3
5. Bangkok Airways 5
6. Garuda Indonesia 4
7. Emirates
    SilkAir
5
7
8.  Jet Airways 8

9. Malaysia Airlines
   Vistara

5
-
10. Dragonair -
Bangkok, Thailand, Best Holiday Destination in Asia
Best Asian holiday destinations
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Bangkok, Thailand 5
2. Bali, Indonesia 1
3. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Phuket, Thailand
    Taipei
-
4
7
4. Maldives 3
5. Hong Kong 2
6. Rajasthan, India
    Macau
6
7
7. Tokyo, Japan
   Koh Samui, Thailand
5
7
8. Danang, Vietnam
    Goa, India
8
9
9. Seoul, South Korea
    Singapore
    Hokkaido, Japan
4
8
9
10. Angkor (Siem Reap), Cambodia
     Palawan, Philippines
     Sanya, China
6
7
10
Grand Hyatt, Best Hotel Brand
Best Hotel Brands
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Grand Hyatt 1
2. Shangri-La 4
3. Mandarin Oriental 5
4. Four Seasons 3
5. Park Hyatt 8
6. Conrad 8
7. Hilton
    St. Regis
7
8
8. Peninsula
    JW Marriott
    InterContinental
6
7
-
9. Ritz-Carlton
    Sofitel
2
9
10. Raffles Hotels & Resorts
8
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Voted the Best Business Hotel in Asia
Best Asian business hotels
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 1
2.  Waldorf Astoria Shanghai
       on the Bund
3
3. Park Hyatt Sydney 5
4. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 2
5. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur 6
6. The Peninsula Hong Kong 5
7. Island Shangri-La Hong Kong
   The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
5
3
8. The Peninsula Shanghai 9
9. The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore 4
10. Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 10
11. Shangri-La Hotel Singapore 7
12. The St Regis Bangkok 11
13. InterContinental Bangkok 12
14. The St Regis Singapore 12
15. Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
     Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
13
14
16. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
     The Regent Singapore
13
19
17. The Shilla Seoul 15
18. The Westin Chosun Seoul 15
19. Palace Hotel Tokyo
     Conrad Hong Kong
16
21
20. Hilton Kuala Lumpur 16
21. Park Hyatt Beijing
     Le Meridien Taipei
     Raffles Makati Manila
18
22
23
22. The Langham Xintiandi Shanghai
     Grand Hyatt Shanghai
     Fairmont Makati Manila
19
21
-
23. JW Marriott Hotel Shanghai at
         Tomorrow Square
     The Ritz-Carlton Chengdu
20

21
24. Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich -
25. The Okura Prestige Bangkok
     The St Regis Chengdu
22
-
Banyan Tree Phuket, Voted the Best Asian Spa Hotel
Best Asian spa hotels and resorts
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Banyan Tree Phuket 1
2. Ayana Resort And Spa Bali 2
3. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island 8
4. The St Regis Bali Resort 15 
5. Bulgari Resort Bali 7
6. W Retreat Koh Samui 3
7. The Nam Hai Hoi An Vietnam 8
8. Four Seasons Resort Bali
       at Jimbaran Bay
4
9. Capella Singapore
    Grand Hyatt Bali
10
10
10. The Legian Bali 11
11. Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang
       Resort & Spa Penang
3
12. Banyan Tree Samui 6
13. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 8
14. Hotel Tugu Bali
      Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
11
15
15. Six Senses Samui
     The Peninsula Bangkok
9
15
16. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai 16
17. The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi Maldives
      Chiva-Som Hua Hin
15
-
18. The Peninsula Hong Kong 16
19. The Royal Pita Maha Bali 16
20. W Retreat & Spa Bali Seminyak 18
21. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra
        Golf and Spa Resort Cambodia
      Kamalaya Koh Samui
14

18
22. Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui 21
23. The Ritz-Carlton Sanya 19 
24. JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 17
25. InterContinental Bali Resort 20

Beijing pollution dropped hotel ranks in the city. Malaysia slowed. Seoul dipped. But Bangkok stayed buoyant, finally overtaking Bali as the most popular holiday spot in Asia. Maldives boomed, Taipei soared...

Singapore Airlines, Best Business Class in the world
Best Business Class Worldwide
WORLDWIDE
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines 1
2. Cathay Pacific Airways 2
3. Emirates 4
4. Qatar Airways
3
5. Thai Airways International 4
6. Korean Air
5
7. Air New Zealand
6
8. Jet Airways 6
9. Japan Airlines 7
10. Garuda Indonesia 8
AirAsia, Best Budget Airline
Best Asian budget airlines
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. AirAsia 1
2. Jetstar Asia 3
3. Cebu Pacific 4
4. Indigo 2
5. Scoot 6
6. HK Express 7
7. Jin Air 10
8. Tiger Airways 6
9. Spice Jet 5
10. flydubai -
Singapore Changi, Best Airport worldwide
Best Asian airports
WORLDWIDE
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Singapore Changi Airport 2
2. Incheon International Airport
       South Korea
4
3. Hong Kong International Airport
4. Dubai International Airport
       Emirates Terminal 3
5
 
5. Kuala Lumpur International Airport
       Malaysia
3
 
6. Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok
       Thailand
6
 
7. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
       Netherlands
9
 
8. Delhi Indira Gandhi International
       Airport Terminal 3 India
7
 
9. London Heathrow Airport
       Terminal 5 United Kingdom
   Abu Dhabi International Airport        Terminal 3
8
 
-
10. Shanghai Pudong International         Airport -
Hong Kong, Best Asian City for Business
Best Asian business cities
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Hong Kong 1
2. Singapore 2
3. Shanghai
    Taipei
3
5
4. Tokyo, Japan 7
5. Bangkok, Thailand 8
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3
7. Seoul, South Korea 4
8. Sydney, Australia 6
9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
4
-
10. Manila, Philippines 10
Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi, voted the Best Boutique Hotel in Asia
Best Boutique Hotel
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi 2
2. The Luxe Manor Hong Kong 3
3. Hotel Quote Taipei 4
4. Naumi Singapore 5
5. IP Boutique Hotel Seoul 5
6.  J Plus Hotel by YOO Hong Kong 7
7. Sireeampan Boutique
       Resort & Spa Chiang Mai
8
8. Tandjung Sari Bali 6

9. Fusion Maia Da Nang Vietnam
   The Quincy Hotel Singapore

7
-
10. Savoy Hotel Yangon 9
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Best Conference Hotel in Asia
Best Asian conference hotels
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore 1
2. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur 3
3. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 2
4. Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
    The Peninsula Shanghai
4
11
5. The Venetian Macao 16
6. InterContinental Bangkok 15
7. The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore 3
8. Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok 16
9. Grand Hyatt Bali
     Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong
9
10
10. Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 9
11. Park Hyatt Saigon
        Ho Chi Minh City
15
12. Grand Hyatt Seoul 8
13. Conrad Hong Kong 12
14. Park Hyatt Sydney
      The Regent Singapore
17
-
15. The Shilla Seoul 17
16. Conrad Tokyo 20
17. JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong 18
18. The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali
     The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
10
15
19. The St Regis Singapore
     Regent Taipei
7
16
20. Island Shangri-La Hong Kong
     Mandarin Oriental Singapore
6
13
21. Le Meridien Taipei 23 
22. Angsana Laguna Phuket
     Sheraton Sanya Resort
22
24
23. Grand Hyatt Taipei 20
24. Sunrise Kempinski Hotel Beijing -
25. The Westin Langkawi Resort & Spa
     Centara Grand at CentralWorld
        Bangkok
18
24
 
The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam, Best Leisure Hotel in Asia
Best Asian resorts and leisure hotels
ASIA
2015 Rank 2014 Rank
1. The Nam Hai Hoi An Vietnam 1
2. Capella Singapore 3
3. The Legian Bali
    Grand Hyatt Bali
4
5
4. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi 7
5. Amankila Bali
    Amanpuri Phuket
3
5
6. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island 11
7. Four Seasons Resort Maldives
        at Landaa Giraavaru
11
8. Banyan Tree Phuket 6
9. Ayana Resort and Spa Bali 10
10. Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives
11. The Peninsula Hong Kong
      Twinpalms Phuket
     The Chedi Muscat Oman
1
8
9
12. Four Seasons Resort Bali
       at Jimbaran Bay
4
13. Bulgari Resort Bali 6
14. Amandari Bali
     Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
5
7
15. Taj Lake Palace Udaipur India
     Raffles Hotel Singapore
6
7
16. Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor
     W Retreat Koh Samui
8
8
17. The Opposite House Beijing
     The Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur India
2
9
18. Goodwood Park Singapore 10
19. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf
        and Spa Resort Cambodia
     Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
     The Siam Bangkok
11
 
12
22
20. Samode Palace Rajasthan 14
21. Taj Exotica Resort & Spa Maldives
      InterContinental Danang Sun
        Peninsula Resort Vietnam
     Grand Nikko Bali
13
24 

-
22. Banyan Tree Samui
     The Diaoyutai Boutique Chengdu
13
25
23. The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore
    Sofitel So Bangkok
14
21 
24.  Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay
        Sanya China
     Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay
19

25
25. Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui
     El Nido Lagen Island Resort Palawan
18
21

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