Nov 1st, 2005, 07:41 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215

The November 2005 issue of “Conde Nast Traveler” magazine has their yearly “readers’ choice awards”. These listings of the best in travel in the world are results from the response of 28,000 subscribers. The awards for “Africa Resorts and Camps” I’ve listed here.
1. Chief’s Camp Botswana
2. Singita So Africa
3. Phinda Private Game Reserve So Africa
4. Mombo Camp Botswana
5. MalaMala So Africa
6. SabiSabi So. Africa
7. Four Seasons Egypt
8. Londolozi So Sfrica
9. Tortilis Camp Kenya
10. Masa Mara Sopa Lodge Kenya
11. Kirawira Camp Western Serengeti Kenya
12. Savute Elephant Camp Botswana
13. Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp Kenya
14. Little Govenors’ Camp Kenya
15. Samburu Serena Safari Lodge Kenya
16. Royal Livingston, Zambia
17. Mount Kenya Safari Club Kenya
18. Mara Serena Safari Lodge Kenya
19. Palace of the Lost City So Africa
20. Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge Kenya

Well, I’m not sure how useful this is to us. Three of them are obviously hotels. Interesting that Singita was bumped out of top spot. It was first place for at least two previous years. The magazine has a first person article about the Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania. The magazine is 95 percent advertising. That article about Seloous was scattered in four different places across 80 pages. With pages that were not numbered and full page advertisements everywhere. You can’t even find the index to the magazine without wading through many pages of ads. There is a card that offers a years subscription for $12. Good value, but, if every issue is as messed up as this one, I would never read it.
cary999 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 08:48 PM
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oops looks like a double post, sorry
how about using the first, original, "Conde Nast Awards" to respond to
regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 11:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 66
I spent 3 days at the Palace of the Lost City very recently. It is extremely difficult for me to believe that there are 18 resorts/camps ahead of it, particularly in Africa. It is simply the most amazing place I have stayed at and the breakfasts will linger long in my memory.
50something is offline  
Nov 1st, 2005, 11:36 PM
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And how is the gameviewing at Palace Of The Lost City?

Any "Natural Seven Wonders Of The World" that I can enjoy right from the hotel, as I would be able to do at the Royal Livingstone in Zambia?
Roccco is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:02 AM
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It's obvious from this list that it reflect the places that most visitors stay. In East Africa, I can't see how the Mara Sopa fits, nor the Mt. Kenya Safari Club. Sure the Serena properties are lovely, especially Kirawira, but I don't see the lodges deserving of a "best list" designation. For Kichwa Tembo, are they referring to their 40-tent camp or their small intimate Bateleur Camp, which far surpasses in quality and service.

There are so many more resorts/camps in East Africa (and Southern Africa, I'm sure) that far exceed expections and deserve recognition.

Whether Conde Nast or Travel & Leisure, it's only those properties that get the most number of votes that appear. These are the properties included in most standard (and even custom itineraries).

Use these as a guideline, but know there are many more options for "best" to allow you to create "your own list."
Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,354
Agree 100%, Sandi!

For example, Masai Mara Sopa (located outside the Mara in the far north east) ahead of Little Govs??? That's a blatant disgrace and complete disinformation.

Mount Kenya Safari Club does not belong in the top 100 at all.

Apart from Rocco, does anyone else really use these lists?

climbhighsleeplow is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 20,132
I do actually use those lists - that is, I use them as a guide of places to AVOID. I'm sure they're doing some kind of justice as a starting point, as Sandi suggested. And I'm sure that there are some great places that make their lists on occasion but usually I find their rec. places are too commercial and the reasons for ending up on the list questionable. I find Conde Nast to be magazine to be more of a popularity contest of subscribers/magazine vendors when it comes to voting rather than a real poll of most folks who actually do want to get off the beaten path, see amazing wildlife veiwing and experience a different culture like I'm guessing a huge percentage of safari goers want. Now, if I was interested in finding a condo with a golf course outside my room and white bread for food I would use Conde Nasts lists as my bible.
Just my 2 cents.
cybor is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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>>>Apart from Rocco, does anyone else really use these lists?<<<

Quite a few number of people use these lists and it is the reason why a place like Singita is able to charge $1,200 per person per night and why the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is able to charge $800 per person per night and still retain high occupancy rates.

I believe this lists are incredibly valuable not only for travelers wanting to stay at the named establishments but for bargain hunters who are looking for something similar. For example, I did not wish to spend $1,200 per person per night so I stayed at Simbambili for half the price. I seriously doubt that the gameviewing at Singita was any better than I experienced and as far as the rooms go, the rooms at Simbambili are beautiful even if they are not as large as Singita's room (probably about 1,600 sq. ft. for a Singita room and 900 sq. ft. for a Simbambili room, making it bigger than most hotel suites.

Although Ngorongoro Crater Lodge does not appear on this subject list, it did recently appear on yet another Conde Nast Traveler list as being the #1 property in Africa. Did this influence me to stay there??? No, I was already booked there. However, it did make me feel a little better about the money I am spending to stay there, a sort of affirmation I suppose.
Roccco is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2005, 07:12 AM
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Posts: 9,220
The Conde Nast awards are a self-fulfilling prophecy, to an extent.

Once a hotel is listed once, it tends to stay on the list as other readers visit because of it's presence on the last list and their votes ensure it's presence on the next list.

The list does at least let me know that standards at the hotel are high - it wouldn't score well from readers/ voters if this wasn't the case.

But of course, it doesn't tell me if the hotel is better than another hotel in the same destination because those people who voted likely didn't experience (or necessarily even know about) other hotels in that destination.

My priorities when choosing a hotel are seldom in sync. with those of Conde Nast readers so I would never use the list to pick a place to stay. All I might possibly take from the list is an affirmation that the standards in a hotel that I am already considering for other reasons are high enough to appeal to Conde Nast readers.

In Africa I choose based on wildlife experience, number of guests, activities offered plus a certain modicum of comfort/ facilities.

For worldwide city breaks I choose based first on location (and price), and take into account too things like room size, noise issues, ambience etc.

For relaxation breaks I choose based on room, pool, location, spa treatments and things like proximity to good restaurants.
Kavey is offline  

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