Alexa Rudin Soraya Conway
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ZAGAT SURVEY RELEASES ITS 2005 TOP U.S. RESTAURANT AND HOTEL GUIDES
Annual Reports Find Nation’s Meal Costs and Room Rates on the Rise
America Votes and the Winners Are…
Italian Cuisine, Smoking Bans, Online Travel, NYC and the Four Seasons
NEW YORK, November 1, 2004 -- Zagat Survey®, the world's leading provider of consumer survey-
based leisure content, today released both its 2005 America’s Top Restaurant Guide and its 2005 Top
U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas Guide. This marks the 26th year that Zagat Survey has reported on the
shared experiences of diners and the 19th year the company has covered hotels, resorts and spas. The
books are available for $14.95 at bookstores nationwide or at www.zagat.com.
According to the two new Surveys, the national average meal cost is up 3.1% to $31.51 versus $30.57 a
year ago. The average hotel room rate is up a modest 1.48%. After a tough period following 9/11, one-
third of travelers report that their personal travel spending has increased in the past year, but emphasize
that while their domestic travel is up, they are traveling less to foreign destinations. In another sign of the
improving environment, diners are more generous when it comes to tipping, with the average tip
increasing from 18.4% to 18.6% since last year.
"The healthy increases in consumer spending on dining and travel are signs of returned consumer
confidence,” said Tim Zagat, CEO of Zagat Survey. “The personal leisure category, especially the
domestic segment, is benefiting the most from this trend with people dining out for pleasure with greater
frequency and planning more vacations than in the last few years. Also, as time goes by, more and more
people are returning to the airways for their vacations.”
Zagat Survey’s America’s Top Restaurants covers 1,383 of the best restaurants in 41 major U.S. markets.
The ratings and reviews are based on the collective opinions of roughly 110,000 restaurant-goers
throughout the country who used Zagat Survey's signature 30-point scale to rate Food, Decor and Service.
Zagat Survey’s Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts and Spas covers 1,021 hotels, resorts and spas as well as major
chains in the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This year’s 16,413 frequent traveler
participants included over 900 members of the American Society of Travel Agents.
In addition to rating and reviewing the nation’s best restaurants and travel destinations, the two new
Surveys measured consumer sentiment regarding other topical issues:
Sunny Skies - The most frequent diners in the country also happen to live in the cities with the
warmest climates: Los Angeles (3.8 restaurant visits per week), Miami (3.6) and Las Vegas (3.6).
Meanwhile, diners in the East report eating out the least: Boston (3.0 times per week), Washington,
DC (2.8) and Philadelphia (2.6). The weekly national average is 3.2.
Buono Apetito – In every market surveyed, Italian is Americans’ preferred cuisine with 31% citing it
as their favorite fare. While Asian cuisines continue to surge in popularity with 25% of diners
reporting these foods as their favorites, French continues to lose ground with only 14% of the vote,
down from 16% last year.
Go 76ers – Philadelphians are the most generous in the nation, leaving an average tip of 19.2% while
Atlanta diners are a close second at 19.1%. Westerners are more tight-fisted -- San Francisco
(18.2%), Los Angeles (18.2%) and Seattle (18.0%).
Where There’s Smoke There’s Ire – Four out of five surveyors think smoking should be banned in
restaurants. Allaying industry concerns about the effect of smoking bans on business, 26% of
customers say they’d eat out more often if a ban were put into effect and a mere 3% say less. In cities
such as San Francisco and Los Angeles where smoking has already been banned, the support is even
stronger with more than 70% of diners saying they would eat out less if the bans were repealed.
Service Please! – In both the Restaurant and Hotel surveys, participants overwhelmingly cite poor
service as their greatest irritant. Whereas 72% of diners complain about service, only 5% gripe about
bad food or prices. Meanwhile, 59% of travelers say poor service irritates them most. Dirty rooms
(17%) and noisy guests (12%) take distant second and third places.
Web Bookings –Online travel planning has taken off with 69% of travelers reporting that they usually
book their travel on the Web, an astonishing increase of 20% versus two years ago. Use of travel
agents has declined by 12% in just two years with only 13% of surveyors citing agencies as their
preferred planning method.
Take a Bite out of the Big Apple – When asked, “What is the best U.S. city to visit?” 38% of
surveyors say New York. San Francisco is a strong second choice with 22% of the vote. Las Vegas
(6%), Chicago (6%) and New Orleans (4%) round out the top five.
Let’s Get Physical – Travelers rate fitness centers as the most important amenity when traveling for
business followed by daily newspaper delivery, frequent guest programs, wireless Internet
connections and Club Level floors.
Bargain USA – Both Surveys indicate U.S. travel is a big bargain when compared to major
international cities. For example, meal costs in Tokyo, Paris and London are respectively $72.68,
$64.75 and $64.67 in contrast to the U.S. average of $31.51. Hotel rates show similar discrepancies.
AMERICA VOTES AND THE WINNERS ARE…
2005 Top Rated Restaurants for Food by Market:
( ) = Zagat Survey Food Rating
Atlanta – Bacchanalia (29) Milwaukee – Sanford (29)
Atlantic City – White House (25) Minneapolis/St. Paul – Bayport Cookery (28)
Baltimore/Annapolis – Charleston (28) New Jersey – Ryland Inn, Whitehouse (28)
Boston – Oishii (29) New Orleans – Peristyle (27)
Charlotte – Barrington’s (27) New York City – Le Bernardin (28)
Chicago – Ritz-Carlton Dining Room (29) Orange County – Picayo, Laguna Beach (28)
Cincinnati – Jean-Robert at Pigall’s (29) Orlando – Le Coq au Vin (27)
Cleveland – Johnny’s Bar (28) Palm Beach – 11 Maple Street (28)
Conn. – Restaurant du Village, Chester (27) Philadelphia – Fountain (28)
Dallas – French Room (28) Phoenix/Scottsdale – T. Cooks (27)
Denver – Mizuna (28) Portland, OR – Genoa (27)
Detroit – Rugby Grille (28) Salt Lake City – Tree Room (27)
Ft. Lauderdale – Eduardo de San Angel (27) San Diego – Pampelmousse Grille (27)
Ft. Worth – Lonesome Dove (28) San Francisco – Gary Danko (29)
Honolulu – Alan Wong’s (28) Seattle – Mistral (29)
Houston – Mark’s (28) St. Louis – Tony’s (27)
Kansas City – Bluestem (27) Tampa/Sarasota – Beach Bistro (28)
Las Vegas – Nobu (28) Tucson – The Dish (28)
Long Island – Mill River Inn, Oyster Bay (28) Washington, DC – Makoto (28)
Los Angeles – Sushi Nozawa, Studio City (28) Westchester/Hudson Valley –
Miami – Chef Allen’s (28) Xaviar’s at Piermont (29)
2005 Top Rated U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas:
( ) = Zagat Survey Overall Rating
Top Hotel Chains/Marketing Groups (10+ domestic properties):
1. Four Seasons (28) 6. Leading Hotels/World (26)
2. Ritz-Carlton (27) 7. Fairmont (24)
3. Luxury Collection (27) 8. Preferred Hotels (24)
4. Relais & Châteaux (27) 9. Kimpton Group (24)
5. Small Luxury Hotels (26) 10. InterContinental (24)
Top Hotels (100+ rooms):
1. Peninsula, Chicago (28) 6. Windsor Court, New Orleans (27)
2. Peninsula Beverly Hills, Los Angeles (28) 7. Ritz-Carlton (Four Seasons), Chicago (27)
3. Four Seasons, Chicago (27) 8. Four Seasons, Philadelphia (27)
4. Mandarin Oriental, Miami (27) 9. Four Seasons, Las Vegas (27)
5. Four Seasons, New York City (27) 10. Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas (27)
Top Resorts (100+ rooms):
1. Four Seasons Hualalai, Big Island, HI (29) 6. Lodge at Koele, Lanai, HI (27)
2. Four Seasons at Wailea, Maui, HI (28) 7. Inn at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach, CA (27)
3. Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL (27) 8. Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, UT (27)
4. Four Seasons Aviara, Carlsbad, CA (27) 9. Greenbrier, White Sulpher Springs, WV (27)
5. Ritz-Carlton, Orlando (27) 10. Royal Palms, Phoenix (27)
Top Small Hotels, Resorts & Inns (<100 rooms):
1. Lodge at Sea Island, Sea Island, GA (29) 6. Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, CA (28)
2. Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN (28) 7. Fearrington House Country Inn, Pittsboro, NC (27)
3. Canoe Bay, Chetek, WI (28) 8. The Point, Saranac Lake, NY (27)
4. Twin Farms, Barnard, VT (28) 9. Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA (27)
5. Woodlands Resort, Summerville, SC (28) 10. Bernsley Garden, Adairsville, GA (27)
Top Destination Spas: Top Rated Newcomers:
1. Golden Door, Escondido, CA (27) 1. Mandarin Oriental, Miami (27)
2. Miraval, Life in Balance, Catalina, AZ (26) 2. Ritz-Carlton, Orlando (27)
3. Canyon Ranch, Tucson, AZ (26) 3. Mandarin Oriental, New York City (27)
4. Canyon Ranch in the Berkshires, Lenox, MA (25) 4. Four Seasons, Miami (26)
5. Lake Austin Spa Resort, Austin, TX (25) 5. Princeville Resort, Kauai, HI (26)
It is worth noting that Four Seasons is not only the best chain, but also won five of the ten Top Hotel spots
and three of the five Top Resort spots. When it comes to small hotels, resorts and inns, the Relais &
Châteaux is the clear winner with six of the top ten places.
The Zagat Survey 2005 America’s Top Restaurants guide was edited by Daniel Simmons and Caren
Weiner Campbell. The Zagat Survey 2005 Top U.S. Hotels, Resorts & Spas guide was edited by Randi
Gollin and Donna Marino.
About Zagat Survey, LLC Formatted
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