It's a simple fact that getting there just isn't half the fun any more. The good news is being there is better than ever.

According to Expedia's industry-leading 2005 travelers' opinions, great service is the most critical component of a hotel stay either during a leisure or business trip. With airport lines longer then ever and more frequently full cabins, travelers want more than just a comfortable room when they hit the ground. They want a memorable experience and excellent service.

Expedia routinely collects traveler opinions and captures intelligence to help travelers make the best travel choices. With more customers than any other online travel provider, the company has a wealth of intelligence provided by its customers. Expedia's proprietary methodology for collecting this data is based on its travelers' first-hand experience. Expedia.com was the first online travel site to only accept reviews from customers who have booked a room at that hotel through Expedia.

The company has just released its customers' choices of the top 10 hotels in the United States for customer satisfaction in 2005. The list runs the gamut of locations, star rating classes and amenities offerings, but each hotel has exhibited a dedication to customer service.

Expedia.com travelers' top 10 three-, four- and five-star hotel picks for customer satisfaction are:

1. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne (Miami)
2. St. Julien Hotel and Spa (Boulder, CO)
3. Resort at Sonoma County (Santa Rosa, CA)
4. ResortQuest Waikoloa Colony Villas (Hawaii - Big Island, HI)
5. Westgate Hotel (San Diego)
6. Hotel Commonwealth (Boston)
7. Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate (Orlando, FL)
8. Grand Hyatt Seattle (Seattle)
9. Westgate Park City Resort (Park City, UT)
10. The Davenport Hotel (Spokane, WA)


"Expedia travelers know a good thing when they experience it," said Steven McArthur, president, North America Leisure Travel Group, Expedia, Inc. "Expedia's reviews are industry-leading in that we have actually verified that a customer has stayed in the property prior to being allowed to post a review. This information is critical to helping consumers make informed choices about where to stay -- and to our hotel partners in improving their customers' experience."

As the leading online travel company in the world and the number one leisure travel company worldwide, Expedia has unparalleled travel intelligence to guide travelers through the entire travel cycle and give them important tips to make their travel plans better. The company's traveler opinions program is designed to capture this intelligence so that travelers can make the best travel choices.

The list was determined by Expedia's 2005 traveler opinions, a database of reviews submitted by Expedia travelers who have booked that hotel on Expedia and stayed there within the last year. Traveler opinions contain first-hand knowledge and insight from other Expedia travelers who have already experienced that particular hotel, providing valuable feedback during any hotel selection process. Beyond the top 10 rankings, Expedia has compiled lists of the top three-, four- and five-star hotels for customer satisfaction, as rated by its customers.

Expedia.com travelers' picks for the top 10 five-star hotels are:

1. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne (Miami)
2. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park (New York, NY)
3. Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows (Hawaii - Big Island, HI)
4. The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui (Maui, HI)
5. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (Phoenix)
6. Kahala Mandarin Oriental (Honolulu)
7. Wynn Las Vegas (Las Vegas)
8. The Boulders Resort and Golden Door Spa (Phoenix)
9. The Breakers (West Palm Beach, FL)
10. Windsor Court Hotel (New Orleans)

Expedia.com travelers' picks for the top 10 four-star hotels are:

1. Westgate Hotel (San Diego)
2. Hotel Commonwealth (Boston)
3. Omni Orlando at Champions Gate (Orlando, FL)
4. Grand Hyatt Seattle (Seattle)
5. The Davenport Hotel (Spokane, WA)
6. Brown Palace Hotel (Denver)
7. The Hay Adams (Washington, D.C.)
8. French Quarter Inn (Charleston, SC)
9. Omni San Francisco Hotel (San Francisco)
10. Conrad Chicago (Chicago)

Expedia.com travelers' picks for the top 10 three-star hotels are:

1. ResortQuest Waikoloa Colony Villas (Hawaii - Big Island, HI)
2. St Julien Resort and Spa (Boulder, CO)
3. Embassy Suites Hotel Tysons Corner (Washington, D.C.)
4. Resort at Sonoma County (Santa Rosa, CA)
5. Westgate Park City Resort (Park City, UT)
6. Sheraton Broadway Plantation (Myrtle Beach, SC)
7. Drury Inn Denver (Denver)
8. Scottsdale Plaza Resort (Phoenix)
9. Drury Inn and Suites (San Antonio)
10. Larkspur Landing Campbell (San Jose, CA)


"There are high-quality hotels at every price level that offer superior value and service. We feel it is important to highlight top hotels at each star level to recognize this excellence," said McArthur.

Each traveler opinion features a score card on four areas: hotel service, hotel condition, room cleanliness and room comfort. Each reviewer has the chance to provide commentary and tips for other travelers. To date, Expedia.com has more than 100,000 traveler opinions on its Expedia Special Rate hotels that help other travelers select the hotel that's right for them. All feedback follows Expedia's strict guidelines to ensure it is relevant and legitimate. Reviews are only accepted if the customer has visited the hotel in the past six months, and all reviews expire after one year. Suppliers are invited to respond to reviews, offering an alternate perspective.

"Our user reviews are extremely important to us," said McArthur. "They give us a first-hand look at the travel experience, and guide us in developing the best tips and recommendations. These user reviews are a great resource for anyone planning a trip, as they rely solely on actual traveler feedback to help rate properties."