Travel Awards

Marco Polo Club Members’ Choice Awards 2017: Best Destinations

The best city breaks, relaxing getaways and a final ultimate destination, as voted by members of Cathay Pacific's Marco Polo Club

Top city break, Asia

Winner: Tokyo

The Japanese capital took the award for best city break in Asia for its great food, superlative shopping and stunning scenery (but mainly its food).

‘It’s not surprising this is the favourite city in Asia. It has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world – every time I think of Tokyo, I think of all the wonderful places to eat,’ says Elaine Kwan, partnership and communications manager of Marco Polo Club.

‘It’s all been about the cheap yen and shopping,’ says Mark Jones, editor of Discovery. ‘But it’s the independent retailers in the low-rise areas that make this such an attractive city to spend your money in.’

Bangkok and Cathay Pacific’s home city, Hong Kong, came second and third respectively.

Read more: Traveller tips for Tokyo

Best city break, international

Winner: London

When it came to the best city in the world for a trip, London came top. Marco Polo Club members praised its beautiful architecture, multicultural vibe and rich history. One added that London was ‘the centre of the world’.

Travel writer and editor Cynthia Rosenfeld labelled London ‘traditional and trendsetting’, while Lucy Jackson, co-founder of Lightfoot Travel, adds: ‘A cosmopolitan and exciting city, London has a rich history, fantastic sites and of course dining and shopping.’

Mark Jones adds: ‘The post-Brexit fall in sterling has encouraged even more international visitors to spend their money in London. But the shopping and entertainment is no longer concentrated in the West End and Mayfair – to see London at its most creative, head east of the centre and south of the river.’

Paris took second spot, with members praising its beauty (one called it ‘dreamlike’). Tokyo took third place.

Read more: World’s best dishes: Black cod

Top relaxing getaway

Winner: The Maldives

The Maldives was the first choice for the destination to unwind and unplug from hectic Hong Kong life. Members applauded the island chain’s beautiful beaches, turquoise waters and utterly relaxing resorts.

Elaine Kwan adds: ‘It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world with the best snorkelling I’ve ever experienced. If you want to be completely removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, you have to go there.’

Hawaii and Bali were second and third respectively.

Read more: Otherworldly locations on film

Ultimate destination

Winner: Japan

When Marco Polo Club members were asked about what the ultimate destination – whether on an existing bucket list or one that’s already been ticked off – Japan came out on top, with the northern island of Hokkaido enthusiastically highlighted.

The Arctic Circle, Polynesia and the Maldives were also top choices. Safari in South Africa and adventure in New Zealand also ranked highly, showing Marco Polo Club members appreciate one-off, special experiences.

Find more great travel content on our Japan page

Cathay Travell Book


Discovery online brings together all the inspirational travel writing from our two inflight magazines, Discovery and Silkroad. Be sure to look out for the print editions when you next fly with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
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