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2016 Best in Travel Poll - Bangkok ranked the Best City for Leisure in Asia

TRAVEL POLL

Top ranked travel brands in Asia

It's people who make the brands - not corporate logos - said readers, voting in Asia's best hotels and cities and the world's best airlines and airports. The full results of our 2016 Best in Travel Poll. Spot familiar faces in our Winners' 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

THERE were some well-oiled classic muscle winners and a few fresh names with the influx of many new voters in the SmartTravelAsia.com 2016 BEST IN TRAVEL POLL. This market research exercise has run since 2004 (when we launched with an airline poll to identify passenger perceptions of the best and worst). In 2005, Cathay Pacific polled an impressive 26 percent of the vote to emerge as the favourite airline worldwide, with hapless Aeroflot named the world's worst airline with 9 percent of the vote in that category. Times have changed as the charts below reveal. And we dropped polling for the 'worst' category to avoid online trolls and the inevitable competitor bullying.

The year 2016 saw an increase in voters from India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and China, Indonesia, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Middle East, USA, Australia and The UK. It also saw more younger voters who spotlighted several new products.

What influenced their voting? Almost 30 percent of voters visited our Top Asian Hotels Collection - a recommendation section - to view our editors' picks before heading to the voting page. A similar number voted after reading reviews on destination or airline pages, and roughly a third came direct to the polling page via social media, chiefly Facebook, and websites promoting the poll. Visibility in reader browsing space was the singlemost important influencing factor along with product experience and social circle feedback.

With 13 years behind it, the Smart Travel Asia BEST IN TRAVEL Poll is a distillation of our readers’ perceptions of top travel brands. It is a well informed audience. Reader votes are based on substantial hands-on travel experience with 12 annual air trips on average.

The open poll runs for three months May-July without usurious nomination fees or gala dinner arm-twisting for clients, or fancy premiums for voters, that often results in rigged outcomes. We watch for and eliminate fake votes and hotels attempting to stuff the ballot. It is a lively business that keeps us entertained.

Participants were clear that individual hotels drove their 'brand' perceptions and not the corporate message. Clearly, travellers relate to people and experiences, not logos and abstract promises.

Main voting influences
- Visibility of the brand in reader browsing space
- Product usage experience
- Feedback from friends, colleagues, social media

Pollution, traffic, poor signposting and taxis were the main scourges of otherwise popular cities and many lost points as a result. China flight delays continued to slaughter otherwise solid performances from several airlines as 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’.

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Smart Travel Asia is the region’s dedicated online travel magazine with 1.2 million readers worldwide – frequent travellers in the know.

Who are the voters? On average, voters took 12 air trips over the past 12 months and earned an average US$160,000 in household income. As many as 93% of readers say Smart Travel Asia helps them make travel decisions after which 42% book through their travel agent, 43% through an online agent (OTA), and 15% through a hotel site.

Where are they based? Approximately 70 percent were from Asia (largely Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and the Middle East), 15 percent from UK/Europe and 15 percent from 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? The online magazine Smart Travel Asia serves up professionally written independent reviews and insights that help discerning travellers make intelligent brand choices.

Singapore Airlines, Best Airline in the world
Best Airlines worldwide
WORLDWIDE
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines
1
2. Emirates 2
3. Qatar Airways 5
4. Cathay Pacific Airways 3
5. Virgin Atlantic
-

6. All Nippon Airways
     Korean Air

-
4
7. Thai Airways International
     Japan Airlines
6
7
8. Jet Airways
8

9. Air New Zealand
     Bangkok Airways

-
10
10. Garuda Indonesia
      Qantas
-
9
Singapore Airlines, Best Cabin Service worldwide
Best Airlines for in-flight service and cabin crew
WORLDWIDE
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines 1
2. Cathay Pacific Airways 2
3. Thai Airways International
    Garuda Indonesia
3
6
4. Bangkok Airways 5
5. Emirates 7
6.  Jet Airways
    Korean Air
8
4
7. SilkAir
7
8. Dragonair 10

9. Air New Zealand

-
10. Malaysia Airlines 9
Bangkok, Thailand, Best Holiday Destination in Asia
Best Asian holiday destinations
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Bangkok, Thailand 1
2. Bali, Indonesia 2
3. Phuket, Thailand
    Taipei
3
3
4. Hong Kong 5
5. Maldives
    Shanghai
4
-
6. Bhutan
    Macau
    Seoul, South Korea
-
6
9
7. Tokyo, Japan
    Goa, India
    Angkor (Siem Reap), Cambodia
7
8
10
8. Rajasthan, India
    Koh Samui, Thailand
    Singapore
6
7
9
9. Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    Danang, Vietnam
    Chengdu, China
3
8
-
10. Palawan, Philippines
      Hokkaido, Japan
      Sanya, China
10
9
10
Shangri-La, Best Hotel Brand
Best Hotel Brands
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Shangri-La 2
2. Grand Hyatt 1
3. Ritz-Carlton 9
4. Four Seasons 4
5. Mandarin Oriental 3
6. St. Regis
    JW Marriott
    Peninsula
7
8
8
7. Park Hyatt
    Conrad
5
6
8. InterContinental
8
9.  Hilton
    Sheraton
7
-
10. Sofitel
9
Island Shangri-La Hong Kong, Voted the Best Business Hotel in Asia
Best Asian business hotels
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Island Shangri-La Hong Kong 7
2.  Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 4
3. Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong 1
4. Waldorf Astoria Shanghai
    on the Bund
2
5. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur 5
6. The Peninsula Hong Kong 6
7. The St Regis Bangkok 12
8. InterContinental Bangkok 13
9. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
    The St Regis Singapore
16
14
10. Park Hyatt Sydney 3
11. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore 7
12. The Peninsula Shanghai
     The Upper House, Hong Kong
8
-
13. Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
      Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok
11
15
14. Mandarin Oriental Tokyo
      W Taipei
15
-
15. Goodwood Park Hotel Singapore
      The Shilla, Seoul
-
17
16. Palace Hotel Tokyo 19
17. Park Hyatt Beijing 21
18. Fairmont Makati, Manila
      Regent Singapore
22
16
19. The Westin Chosun, Seoul
      The Mandarin Oriental Shanghai
      Pudong
18
-
20. Anantara Siam, Bangkok
      Le Meridien Taipei
-
21
21. The Langham Melbourne
      The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
-
-
22. Sofitel So Singapore
      The Ritz-Carlton, Chengdu
-
23
23. Hilton Kuala Lumpur
     Sofitel Guangzhou Sunrich
20
24
24. The Langham Xintiandi, Shanghai 22
25. The South Beach Singapore -
Banyan Tree Phuket, Voted the Best Asian Spa Hotel
Best Asian spa hotels and resorts
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Banyan Tree Phuket 1
2. The St Regis Bali Resort 4
3. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island 3
4. Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali
5. Ayana Resort and Spa Bali 2
6. Four Seasons Resort Bali
    at Jimbaran Bay
8
7. Bulgari Resort Bali 5
8. The Nam Hai Hoi An Vietnam 7
9. Shangri-La's Rasa Sayang
    Resort & Spa Penang
    The Peninsula Bangkok
11

15
10. Grand Hyatt Bali 9
11. Mandarin Oriental Bangkok 13
12. Banyan Tree Samui 12
13. Hotel Tugu Bali 14
14. Six Senses Samui 15
15. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai 16
16. JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa 24
17. Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas -
18. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort -
19. Banyan Tree Lang Co, Vietnam -
20. Chiva-Som Hua Hin 17
21. Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui 22
22. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra
     Golf and Spa Resort Cambodia
21
23. Alila Diwa Goa, India
24. Angsana Xi'an Lintong, China -
25. The Ritz-Carlton Sanya 23

Pollution, traffic, poor signposting and taxis were the main scourges of otherwise popular cities and many lost points as a result. China flight delays continued to slaughter otherwise solid performances from several airlines...

Singapore Airlines, Best Business Class in the world
Best Business Class Worldwide
WORLDWIDE
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Singapore Airlines 1
2. Emirates 3
3. Cathay Pacific Airways 2
4. Qatar Airways
4
5. Air New Zealand 7
6. Thai Airways International
5
7. Korean Air
6
8. Garuda Indonesia 10
9. Japan Airlines 9
10. Jet Airways 8
AirAsia, Best Budget Airline
Best Asian budget airlines
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. AirAsia 1
2. Indigo 4
3. Scoot 5
4. Jetstar Asia 2
5. HK Express 6
6. Tiger Airways 8
7. Cebu Pacific 3
8. Peach -
9. Nok Air -
10. Jin Air 7
Singapore Changi, Best Airport worldwide
Best Asian airports
WORLDWIDE
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Singapore Changi Airport 1
2. Hong Kong International Airport 3
3. Incheon International Airport
    South Korea
4. Haneda Airport Tokyo
5. Munich Airport Germany -
6. Kuala Lumpur International Airport
     Malaysia
5
 
7. Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok
     Thailand
6
 
8. Hamad International Airport, Doha -
9. London Heathrow Airport
    Terminal 5 United Kingdom
     Chhatrapati Shivaji International
     Airport, Mumbai, Terminal 2, India
9

-
10. Dubai International Airport
      Emirates Terminal 3
      Delhi Indira Gandhi International
      Airport Terminal 3 India
4

8
Hong Kong, Best Asian City for Business
Best Asian business cities
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Hong Kong 1
2. Singapore 2
3. Shanghai
    Bangkok, Thailand
3
5
4. Taipei 3
5. Tokyo, Japan 4
6. Seoul, South Korea 7
7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 6
8. Dubai, United Arab Emirates 9
9. Sydney, Australia 8
10. Manila, Philippines
    Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam
10
9
New Majestic Singapore voted the Best Boutique Hotel in Asia
Best Boutique Hotel
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. New Majestic Hotel, Singapore -
2. Naumi Liora Hotel, Singapore -
3.  J Plus Hotel by YOO Hong Kong 6
4. Hotel Proverbs, Taipei
    Hotel Quote, Taipei
-
3
5. Hotel de l'Opera Hanoi
    The Diaoyutai Boutique, Chengdu
1
-
6. Hotel Indigo, Bangkok -
7. Mira Moon, Hong Kong
-
8. 137 Pillars House, Chiang Mai
    Elephant Stables, Kandy, Sri Lanka
-
-

9. Samode Haveli, Rajasthan, India

-
10. Glenburn Tea Estate & Boutique
     Hotel, Darjeeling, India
    SALA Khao Yai, Thailand
-

-
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Best Conference Hotel in Asia
Best Asian conference hotels
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 10
2. Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong 3
3. Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur
    Shangri-La Hotel Singapore
2
4
4. The Fullerton Hotel Singapore 1
5. InterContinental Bangkok 6
6. The Peninsula Shanghai 4
7. The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
     The Venetian Macao
7
5
8. Grand Hyatt Seoul 12
9. Grand Hyatt Bali 9
10. Plaza Athénée Bangkok, a
     Royal Méridien Hotel
-
11. Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok 8
12. The Westin Resort Nusa Dua Bali 18
13. The Shilla Seoul 15
14. JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong
17
15. Conrad Hong Kong 13
16. Regent Taipei
      Regent Singapore
19
14
17. JW Marriott Hotel Macau
      Le Meridien Taipei
-
21
18. Angsana Laguna Phuket
     The St Regis Singapore
22
19
19. Grand Hyatt Shanghai
      Wynn Macau
-
-
20. The Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai
      Grand Hyatt Taipei
18
23
21. Sunrise Kempinski Hotel Beijing 24 
22. Centara Grand at CentralWorld,
      Bangkok
25
23. Conrad Tokyo 16
24. Niccolo Chengdu
     Sheraton Sanya Resort
-
22
25. Park Hyatt Saigon
      Ho Chi Minh City
     Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton
      Hotel, Muscat, Oman
11

-
 
Mandapa - A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali, Best Leisure Hotel in Asia
Best Asian resorts and leisure hotels
ASIA
2016 Rank 2015 Rank
1. Mandapa, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Bali -
2. The Nam Hai Hoi An Vietnam 1
3. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi 4
4. Grand Hyatt Bali 3
5. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
    Amanpuri Phuket
6
5
6. The Legian Bali 3
7. Amankila, Bali
    Banyan Tree Phuket
5
8
8. Four Seasons Resort Bali
    at Jimbaran Bay
    The Peninsula Hong Kong
12

11
9. Cheval Blanc Randheli Maldives 10
10. Bulgari Resort Bali
      Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
13 
14
11. Raffles Hotel Singapore 15
12. Taj Lake Palace Udaipur India
      The Chedi Muscat, Oman
15
11
13. Capella Singapore
      The Ritz-Carlton Macau
2
-
14. COMO Uma Punakha, Bhutan
      Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor
-
16
15. Grand Hyatt Goa, India
      Samode Palace, Rajasthan
-
20
16. Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok
     The Opposite House Beijing
-
17
17. Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra Golf
      and Spa Resort Cambodia
      Twinpalms Phuket
19

11
18. Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa,
     Phang Nga
     Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai
-

19
19. The Oberoi Udaivilas Udaipur India
     Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas,
     Hua Hin
17
 -
20. So Sofitel Bangkok
     The Imperial, New Delhi
23
-
21. Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay
      Alila Seminyak, Bali
24
-
22. Centara Grand Beach Resort Samui 25
23. Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket
     Park Hyatt Siem Reap, Cambodia
-
-
24.  Sofitel Legend, People's Grand
      Hotel, Xian
     The Temple House, Chengdu
     The PuLi Hotel and Spa, Shanghai
-

-
-
25. Banyan Tree Lijiang, China
     Fleur De Chine Hotel Sun Moon
     Lake, Taiwan
     Humble House, Taipei
-
-

-

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