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OUR FAVORITES 
THE FOLLOWING PICKS ARE BASED ON OUR OWN PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.  SEE HOW THEY COMPARE WITH YOUR CHOICES!
Note:  Entries in blue are linked to a web site.

BEST AIRPORT

1. TAMPA INTERNATIONAL
Nothing else comes close in our opinion!
2. KUALA LUMPUR INTERNATIONAL
3. SINGAPORE CHANGI
4. ATLANTA HARTSFIELD
5. INCHEON (Seoul)

BEST INTERNATIONAL AIRLINE - PREMIUM CABIN INCLUDING SERVICE

1. SINGAPORE AIRLINES
The best airline on the planet.  Period.  End of story!
2. EMIRATES
So good we can't wait to fly them again.  Watch out Singapore!!!!
3. BRITISH
4. DELTA
5. AIR NEW ZEALAND
*-The venerable Swissair had been high on our list for superior service until
  its sad demise at the end of March, 2002.  We'll see how the new Swiss Air
  Lines measures up in due time.

Honorable mention, mainly for excellence in food, to Alitalia, Iberia, Thai Airways & Malaysian Airlines.

BEST INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS / FIRST CLASS LOUNGE

1. SINGAPORE AIRLINES SILVER KRIS LOUNGE - CHANGI SINGAPORE
Huge first class lounge with food & beverages.  Orchards everywhere, showers, just one beautiful and huge place.
2. EMIRATES BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE - SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Newly opened during our visit, this is the most elegant lounge we've ever seen. The person who greets you at the door personally shows you around to get you acquainted.  Rolex clocks are featured on the walls.  There is a marvelous assortment of gourmet food, premium liquors & champagnes, and drop dead beautiful restrooms and showers -- first class all the way.  Great views of the airport tarmac, too.
3. EMIRATES BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE - AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Not quite as posh as the lounge in Sydney but still very, very nice. Wonderful staff, good food.  No airport view here.
4. KOREAN AIR BUSINESS CLASS LOUNGE - INCHEON AIRPORT IN SEOUL
This is a very nice and big facility offering a variety of food and beverages although they tend to be stingy with the booze, just like Korea's flagship airline!  Can be crowded and being admitted you are practically given a body cavity search by the airline personal at the check-in desk before being allowed in. Still a nice place.
5. DELTA AIR LINES BUSINESS ELITE LOUNGE - ATLANTA AIRPORT
There are bigger such facilities and certainly nicer ones but this is our "home" airport and we enjoy it.  It offers great tarmac views, nice bartenders and the food has gotten a lot better in recent years.

BEST U.S. AIRLINE

1. DELTA AIR LINES
2. AMERICAN AIRLINES
3. SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
4. CONTINENTAL AIRLINES
5. UNITED AIRLINES

BEST AIRPORT HOTEL IN THE WORLD
We base these reviews on rooms, restaurants, location, and staff courtesy.

1. HYATT REGENCY - SEOUL INCHEON AIRPORT
This is the classiest airport hotel we've ever encountered.  Spacious, beautiful rooms, good restaurant options and a good view of the airport but with no noise problems.
2. SHERATON - AMSTERDAM SCHIPHOL AIRPORT
A very nice facility with spacious rooms and good airport views.  No problem with noise.  Elegant and directly connected to the airport by a short ramp.  Very nice staff, too.
3. RENAISSANCE CONCOURSE HOTEL - ATLANTA HARTSFIELD
Very nice rooms with balconies and the facility sits right on the ramp with unbelievable views of jets--mainly Delta--coming and going.  This is the place to stay there for airplane nuts.
4. HILTON - LEONARDO DI VINCI AIRPORT - ROME
This is a cut above other airport Hiltons including London Gatwick and Zurich Kloten.  Bigger rooms, better dining options and a direct walkway leading to Rome's outdated airport!
5. WESTIN - DETROIT METRO AIRPORT - EDWARD MCNAMARA TERMINAL
This is a beautiful facility that is at the airport.  It even has it's own TSA Security entrance to the airport if you're not checking bags.  Spacious rooms and if you ask in advance, they should be able to hook you up with a nice tarmac view.

Honorable mention to the Gatwick Airport Hilton and Zurich Kloten Hilton for pure convenience.  Also to the LAX Marriott Hotel.  I can't tell you how wonderful it is to check in there after a long flight over the Pacific.  The staff is just great.  Rooms are smallish and ordinary but with great airport views if you wind up on a high floor facing one of the runways.
 

BEST HOTEL CHAIN IN THE WORLD

1. (Tie) PARK HYATT
Always a cut above.  Every luxury provided.  Outstanding service.
1. (Tie) SHANGRI-LA
Luxury in Pacific Asia and the Middle East.  Incredible tropical grounds, great restaurants, courteous staff, outstanding service.
3.  HYATT 
Reliable luxury and some downright fabulous resorts around the world.
4.  WESTIN
Again, reliable luxury and some world class resorts.
5.  MARRIOTT
While these hotels can vary widely in facilities, they're generally a good bet around the world.

BEST HOTEL IN THE WORLD

1. PARK HYATT TOKYO
Unsurpassed service, views & rooms.
2. GRAND HYATT - BALI, INDONESIA
Beautiful setting, incredible restaurants in a village
like setting right on the Indian Ocean.
3. SHANGRI-LA - BANGKOK - Sensational location right on the Chao Phraya River.  Two towers including the super deluxe Krung Thep tower.  Great restaurants, too.
4. VILA VITA PARC HOTEL - ARMACAO DE PERA -
ALGARVE - PORTUGAL

Incredible landscaped grounds with unique, individual
buildings resembling a Greek Island setting.
5. RENAISSANCE RESORT - WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII
Great oceanfront location, beautiful rooms, super staff and some of the best snorkeling right off the beach.

Honorable mention to the RADISSON HOTEL ALTSTADT - SALZBURG, AUSTRIA.  Limited services but unique, incredible rooms in
a very old building complex in the heart of town.

BEST HOTEL VIEWS

1. INTERCONTINENTAL HONG KONG (FORMERLY THE REGENT)
In Kowloon right on Victoria Harbor with incredible shipping traffic 24 hours a day and a backdrop of Hong Kong Central. One of the great views of the world.
2. PARK HYATT SYDNEY
This lovely small, boutique hotel is located in the Rocks area of Sydney and affords wonderful views from your balcony of the Sydney Opera House just across the harbour.  This is the perfect location in Sydney.
3. PARK HYATT TOKYO
From your room at least 42 stories up, you get an incredible view of Tokyo.  Mt. Fuji is often visible in winter.
4. SHANGRI-LA BANGKOK
Great views of the hustling and bustling Chao Phraya River.
5. HILTON HOTEL - BUDAPEST
Sitting on a hill on the Buda side of the Danube looking down on the river and the Hungarian Parliament building on the Pest side. The river absolutely sparkles in the afternoon sun.  Again -- one of the great views of the world.

Honorable mention to the CAPTAIN COOK HOTEL - ANCHORAGE, ALASKA
If you happen to be there during the winter, and it's really an interesting time to go, you can often get an incredible view of Mt. McKinley.  Sunsets bouncing off that huge mountain are memorable.

BEST BEACH RESORT IN THE WORLD

1. GRAND HYATT - BALI, INDONESIA
A wonderful place on the Indian Ocean in the Nusa Dua Resort.
2. RENAISSANCE RESORT - WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII
Not the most expensive on Maui but one of the very best.
3. ATLANTIS CASINO AND RESORT - PARADISE ISLAND, NASSAU, BAHAMAS
Mega resort with much to offer including one of the biggest casinos anywhere.  Some might argue too much but it's an experience you should try at least once.
4. WYNDHAM RESORT - ARUBA
Luxury at affordable prices and a great beach location.
5. BALI HAI - MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA
When we were there in the 90s, this was an incredible place.  Not luxury digs but just a great experience in an overwater bungalow with incredible sunsets.  Since our trip the hotel has been sold and has undergone a face lift.  The new resort is called the Moorea Pearl Resort and their web site is located here.  Still looks great!  To check out the Club Bali Hai website, click here.  The surviving "Bali Hai" boys who created the original resorts can be found here.

Honorable mention has to go out to several other great places including these:
Little Polynesian Motel in Rarotonga.  Very small, very few services but a wonderful location.  Holiday Inn in Grand Cayman.  Sensational snorkeling right off the beach (however we hear that there's a "new" Holiday Inn and that it's not right on the beach).  Marriott Hotel, Kaanapali, Maui, Hawaii.  Great setting. Great staff.  They really make you feel like a treasured guest!

BEST SNORKELING

1. MAUI, HAWAII
Sensational right off the beach at Wailea and sometimes great, depending on current, off of Kaanapali. Molokini crater is always interesting.
2. GRAND CAYMAN
Fabulous snorkeling right off the beach at most hotels. Stingray City is an incredible encounter with huge rays.
3. TITIKAVEKA LAGOON - RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS
Great views right off the beach at the Little Polynesian motel.  Especially great for wrasse varieties.
4. MOOREA
Everything you could possibly want to see right off the beach including Lionfish, Moorish Idols and even a giant Napoleon wrasse if you're lucky!
5. TURKS & CAICOS
Beautifully clear water with all the usual Caribbean "suspects" from parrots to wrasses to butterflies.

Honorable mention must go out to Fiji.  Other than having to worry about low tides, snorkeling was excellent off the beaches at Mana Island.

BEST BEACHES

1. MURI LAGOON - RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS - SOUTH PACIFIC
Hardly another person on the beach at the Little Polynesian motel.  Great snorkeling.  Super fine sand.
2. CANCUN, MEXICO
Some would argue with this one but the sand in Cancun is some of the best in the world and the water is an incredible blend of blues.
3. PROVO - TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS - TROPICAL ATLANTIC
Unspoiled and to a large degree, undiscovered.  Great snorkeling if you know where to go.
4. WAILEA, MAUI, HAWAII
Fairly decent sand but with great snorkeling and great views.  Light surf in the morning for snorkeling. Breakers in the afternoon for body surfing.
5. ARUBA
Palm Beach is great and Eagle Beach is nice as well.  Great beach, pretty water.

BEST ISLAND IN THE WORLD

1. MOOREA, FRENCH POLYNESIA, SOUTH PACIFIC
Beautiful scenery, incredible lagoon, Mai Tai Roa in Polynesian meaning "THE very best."  The stuff that dreams are made off.  And did I mention some of the most incredible fire-red sunsets in the world?
2. RAROTONGA - COOK ISLANDS, SOUTH PACIFIC
Unspoiled yet beautiful with a great lagoon surrounding it.  No mega resorts -- thank goodness!  Not even a single stop light. Just an uncrowded, friendly paradise.
3. MAUI, HAWAII
One of the prettiest islands anywhere in the world with great beaches and plenty to do.
4. ARUBA
Great people, great island, great beaches, and it's safe!  Great place to visit.
5. BALI, INDONESIA
The fabled Island of the Gods is truly unique.  Fortunately tourism hasn't changed the way the Balinese people live their lives, for the most part.  A really neat place!

BEST ISLAND IN THE CARIBBEAN / TROPICAL ATLANTIC

1. ARUBA
Friendly people, nice beaches, plenty to do or not to do!  Affordable, out of the hurricane belt, great restaurants, great casinos.  Our favorite in the Caribbean.
2. GRAND CAYMAN
Friendly people, nice beaches, incredible snorkeling, great restaurants although it's a little more expensive than Aruba.
3. CANCUN
Nice people, great beaches, some of the prettiest water you'll see anywhere in the world, great restaurants, a great range of hotels from 2 star to 5 star and lots to do.  All at a very affordable rate.  Some would argue with this choice because of all the youngins who invade during spring break. I say, just don't go during spring break!
4. PROVIDENCIALES (PROVO), TURKS & CAICOS
Friendly people, beautiful water, nice beaches, quaint homespun restaurants and a bit off the beaten tourist path, which is nice.
5. BERMUDA
Very accommodating people, great water, pink beaches, good but expensive restaurants and hotels.  These islands attract some of the best repeat business in the tropical world.

Honorable mention to New Providence Island (Nassau and Paradise Island) in the Bahamas.  Nassau often gets a bad rap but we have enjoyed our several visits there.

BEST TRAIN RIDES

1. VIENNA TO ZURICH IN THE WINTER
The "Trans Alpen" express train takes you through the breathtaking, snow covered Alps.  Try and get a seat in the "Panorama Wagon" for an extra great view!
2. BERGEN, NORWAY TO OSLO
While the train's interior isn't nearly as comfortable as most European trains it's the view that makes this trip so special.  Even in mid-summer it treks through fjords, waterfalls, rushing rivers and in the higher elevations, snow capped mountains and frozen lakes.
3. AMSTERDAM TO MUNICH (Changing trains en route)
Much of this route takes you right along the Rhein River and it's many castles overlooking the river.
4. LONDON TO PARIS
The Eurostar "Chunnel" train is great and tops out at 186 miles an hour on the French side.
5. ROME TO VENICE
This Italian "Eurostar" train offers great views of the Italian countryside along the way.

Honorable mention to VIA Rail's run in Canada from Toronto to Quebec City (via Montreal).  This is especially a pretty trip in the winter time.  Another good Canadian run on VIA--and this might surprise you--is the three or four hour trip from Windsor (just across the river from Detroit) to Toronto.  When the leaves are changing this is a beautiful trip.

BEST SUBWAYS

1. LONDON'S UNDERGROUND
Safe, efficient, gets you where you need to go and at a good value.
2. BUDAPEST
The yellow line is the oldest in Europe and each station is uniquely designed.
3. SINGAPORE
One of the best and most modern in the world.  The air conditioning really pumps it out and you need it in this part of the world!
4. VIENNA
Incredibly civilized with beautiful tones signaling an upcoming stop.
5. TORONTO
Great service.  You don't need your car when you're in T-town.

MOST EXPENSIVE CITY

1. TOKYO
This says it all.  The price of a taxi from Narita Airport to the Park Hyatt in downtown Tokyo is listed at between $250 and $300 U.S. -- one way!  Ouch!
2. LONDON
You'll spend lots of pounds there. But it's a great city.
3. ROME
4. STOCKHOLM
5. SINGAPORE
Serious honorable mention goes out to Copenhagen.

LEAST EXPENSIVE CITY

1. BUDAPEST
Great value. Safe.  Friendly People.
2. PRAGUE
Another great value.  Good beer for less than 90 cents a glass!
3. BANGKOK
You can easily find a great meal with a cocktail for under $5 U.S.
4. BRATISLAVA
Another central European bargain but not for everybody!
Kind of a "hangover" from the old Communist days to present day in terms of service, etc.  Nice, though.
5. FRANKFURT
Not too horrible compared to some other European cities.
 

FRIENDLIEST CITY

1. (TIE) LONDON
The Brits really make you feel welcome here.
1. (TIE) AMSTERDAM
The Dutch are a riot.  Very friendly and fun.
1. (TIE) SYDNEY
Very friendly blokes from the minute you approach the customs and immigration folks.  We didn't run across one bad apple there!
1. (TIE) AUCKLAND
Indeed a very friendly lot, here, too with Kiwis anxious to help us around this great city.

Honorable mention to Oranjestad in Aruba, Toronto, Dallas, Chicago & New York City.

LEAST FRIENDLY CITY

1. HONG KONG
The "King Kong" of unfriendly cities in our worldwide travels.  Can't think of another city that even comes close.

FAVORITE RESTAURANTS

1. RULES - LONDON
Great food and great heritage at this place, said to be the oldest restaurant in London.
2. BRISAS DEL MAR - ARUBA
Plain, simple Caribbean food in a rustic (!) atmosphere with great sunsets.
3. ST. PETER'S RESTAURANT - SALZBURG, AUSTRIA (Austrian Site)
Carved partially into the side of a mountain.  This is said to be one of the oldest restaurants in Europe with roots dating back to the year 803.
4. TRADER VIC'S - PARK LANE HILTON, LONDON
Great Polynesian cocktails and food.  We've eaten at the late Trader's locations all over the world.  It's a shame so many have closed.  He's probably rolling over in his grave now. He loved his restaurants.
5. CRACKED CONCH - GRAND CAYMAN
UPDATE:  WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT THIS PLACE. THE WEB SITE IS GONE AND PERHAPS THE RESTAURANT.  I KNOW IT WAS UP FOR SALE AWHILE BACK.
If you love this sweet, tasty sea snail that the restaurant is named after, you'll love the Cracked Conch.  Nothing fancy but just the best conch (pronounced konk) around. If you're wondering what the shell looks like, it's big and pink and is often pictured in movies with people blowing into it making a horn like noise.  Savvy?

BEST BEER

1. DEUTSCHLAND (GERMANY)
We think this is the best beer around.
2. CZECH REPUBLIC
Surprisingly good suds.
3. BELGIUM
Many would argue the world's best.
4. UNITED KINGDOM
Great beer and great pub ambience.
5. NETHERLANDS
Heineken is great sampled where it's made.  Amstel is also a good choice.

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