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October 16, 2008

Dream Trips at the Readers' Choice Awards

Tango on the red carpet: 30 Rock's
Katrina Bowden and Argentina's
Carlos Enrique Meyer.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage

by Julia Bainbridge

Last night's 21st annual Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards was awash in black cocktail dresses and liberal-leaning jokes. Tony Award-winning actress Jane Krakowski, our host, poked fun at her tendency to photograph foreign food (Viennese pretzels, in particular), editor-in-chief Klara Glowczewska shared fond memories from a recent trip to Cairo, and celebrity attendees piled into the Champagne- and blue light-fueled after party at the New York Public Library.

What the event was really about, though, was honoring the winning hotels, resorts, islands, cities, and modes of transportation as decided by our readers--32,633 of them, to be exact. 

The night's theme? "Dream Trip." So right after their photo ops with publisher Lisa Hughes and their Frank Gehry-designed trophies, we asked the award winners: "What is your dream trip?" Below, some of the more interesting answers:

Weerasak Kowsurat, Minister of Tourism and Sports in Thailand, was ready to leave steamy Bangkok behind, if only for a week. "If I have a chance, I would like to go to Alaska for once. I just would like to see what it's like in Alaska."

Not surprisingly, Pamela Conover, President and CEO of Seabourn Cruises, will hop on a ship this January. A 14-day cruise on the Seabourn Spirit will take her from Hong Kong to Singapore and down the coast of Vietnam. "It's really an opportunity to visit those places in Vietnam that it's hard to do by land," she said.

Vikram Oberoi of the Oberoi Group said, "I'm terribly boring. I ride a motorbike, and my dream trip is to go up to a place called Dak To on a motorbike." Doesn't sound so boring to us.

Although we didn't talk extensively about his dream trip, Carlos Enrique Meyer, Argentina's Secretary of Tourism, was too passionate about his homeland to resist a mention. (And he should be: Buenos Aires was voted the number one city to visit in the Americas this year.) When asked what it is about the city that resonates with people, he was short and to the point: "the tango." 

And finally, President and CEO of SFCVB Joe D'Alessandro just wants to stay in San Francisco. "It's not like any other U.S. city. We try to be different. We like the fact that we don't fit in any mold," he said. An insider tip from our readers' favorite U.S. city? "Of course, there's Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square, but people don't necessarily know that the Mission is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the U.S. right now. They have great places to eat, great galleries, phenomenal murals--this kind of eclectic culturally young life. I think it's fantastic." We do, too.

Read the full list of winners here.


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