Top 100 Hotels in the World
When the results of our Readers' Choice Awards were first published in 1986, the high score was 87.0—a score that still impresses, though it would not even qualify for this year's Top 100 hotels in the world, in which the lowest rating is a 95.
1. La Residence, Franschhoek, South Africa. This is La Residence "take two"—a flashier version of the original Franschhoek property, built from scratch on a different site but with the same personal vibe—and appeals to those who wish to be close to the action but out of the limelight.
3. Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve, South Africa. "Riding mountain bikes past zebras is the right way to start the day" at this rehabilitated farmstead. Light-filled contemporary rooms have outdoor showers. Meals at Makana draw from native fynbos herbs and local meat.
5. Grand Hotel Timeo, Sicily. A triptych of perfect scores for rooms, location, and design make this "the place to fall in love again." The landmark, nineteenth-century hotel was updated in 2011 with obvious "pride and care" for its authentic, post-Sicilian Baroque décor.
7. One&Only The Palm, Dubai. This resort compound of modern, sea-facing mansions (each holding six to nine guest rooms), private villas, and a restaurant wing (called the Manor, with additional accommodations) backed by a beautiful pool garden occupies the best position on the man-made Palm Jumeirah island.
7. Four Seasons Gresham Palace Budapest. Once home to an insurance company, it's "a must if you stay in Budapest." Located at the foot of the Chain Bridge on the Pest side of the Danube, the Art Nouveau-Secessionist building has mosaics, stained glass, and ironwork.
11. 21c Museum Hotel, Cincinnati. The 1924 landmark Metropole Hotel survives in the restored terrazzo floor, curving staircase, arched windows, and ornate plasterwork of 21c, its every corner, from the 156 guest rooms to the nine-story solarium, a showcase for contemporary art.
15. Villa San Michele, Fiesole, Italy. "You cannot beat the ambience" at this former monastery on a cliffside amid trees and terraced gardens just outside Florence. Suites come with "unbelievable views of the City of Lilies."
15. St. Regis Lhasa Resort. With 20-foot lobby ceilings, huge exposed beams, locally woven carpets, and paintings of Tibetan nomads, Lhasa's first luxury hotel combines au courant comforts and Tibetan motifs inspired by the nearby Sera Monastery.
18. The Chedi, Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai's Chedi has upped the ante in this posh town on the Mae Ping River. The 84 sleek rooms, protected from urban noise by two sets of thick doors, have sweeping floor-to-ceiling views of Thai river life.
20. Lodge at Doonbeg, County Clare. Accommodations are in one- to four-bedroom suites with high ceilings, gas fireplaces, kitchens, and sumptuous beds. The centerpiece of the resort is the Greg Norman–designed course mowed through the rolling marram grass dunes.
22. Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa. This camp is on rehabilitated land formerly used to grow pineapple, cotton, and sisal, near the Ubombo Mountains. Guests experience "all the comforts, but get them in the wilderness," where zebras, impalas, and wildebeests roam.
25. Parador Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Located on the main square adjacent to the Catedral de Santiago, this national monument was founded as a hostel and hospital for pilgrims by the Catholic Monarchs in 1499. The property's rich history is reflected and restored in its Spanish Renaissance and Baroque decor.
28. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris. This Haussmann-era palace, which celebrated its centennial this year, has "a perfect location" on the Avenue Montaigne, close to the fashion houses, is "superbe" and has welcomed the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, Maurice Chevalier, and Rudolph Valentino as guests.
35. Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra. Phnom Penh's most professional hotel is extremely comfortable and has good restaurants, but it's a little isolated. This may be exactly what you want. Come here if you need to escape Cambodia and want to listen to a pianist in a cathedral lobby.
35. Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge, Rwanda. From the deep veranda of any of the eight chalets (outfitted in warm hues and African materials), you can see the mist-shrouded hills made famous by the late zoologist Dian Fossey.
35. Gleneagles Hotel, Auchterarder, Scotland. "The approach is enticing" at this château that "reminds one of a stately private home." Helpful staff give "smiles to everyone." "Totally relaxing rooms have great closet space and a large tub and shower."
38. Singita Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania. American billionaire Paul Tudor Jones II has established three splendid lodgings—Sasakwa, Sabora, and Faru Faru—within his 340,000-acre tract adjoining Serengeti National Park. Sasakwa Lodge, the most sumptuous, comprises nine suites styled as colonial manor houses, with fireplaces, claw-foot tubs, a wraparound veranda, a plunge pool, and Wi-Fi.
38. Le Bristol Paris. On the rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, near the Élysée Palace and the city's nexus of designer shopping, this "epitome of luxury hotels" was built in the early 1800s and today delivers "pure perfection on every level."
41. Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont. This late-1700s stone, pine, maple, and brick farmhouse and lodge, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis, is now a "top-notch lodge" between a ski lift and Copper Pond 75 miles southeast of Burlington.
41. St. Regis Florence. You'll find "super-grand guest rooms" at this fifteenth-century former palace on the Piazza Ognissanti, overlooking the Arno River. Artwork, custom frescoes, antiques, crystal chandeliers, and warm hues decorate rooms.
41. Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena. This former seventeenth-century convent is "absolutely stunning" and "in the best location in Cartagena." Rooms are either contemporary or colonial-style; the newer ones offer views of the pool or the Caribbean, while colonial suites have antique furniture and overlook the Old Town or interior gardens.
41. Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. A teak bridge suspended over a gorge makes for "a standout arrival" at this resort on 18 acres in the Ayung River Valley. "You can't get a more stunning setting." "Everywhere you look, you see beauty."
41. Blue Palace Resort (Luxury Collection), Crete. "The view is breathtaking when you open the curtains" at this "truly inspiring resort" set amid palm and olive trees and jasmine and bougainvillea plants, in Elounda, opposite the isle of Spinalonga.
46. Blantyre, Lenox, Massachusetts. "It's our hideaway close to home." This ivy-cloaked Tudor-style country house on 117 acres in the Berkshires is furnished with nineteenth-century antiques from France and England. Guest rooms have fireplaces, extensive book collections, and fabric-lined dresser drawers.
50. La Résidence d'Angkor, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Cross a bridge over a lotus pond to reach this "very peaceful" mansion-like hotel a few miles from the temples of Angkor—"after a day spent at the dusty archaeological sights, La Résidence is a wonderful refuge."
51. Esperanza, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Comprising clifftop sand-hued casitas and suites and three- and four-bedroom villas, this resort has rooms that all face the Sea of Cortés, some with private balconies with infinity-edge hot tubs.
52. Wickaninnish Inn, Vancouver. "A paradise at the end of the world," this cedar-plank inn is at the gateway to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Rooms with driftwood furniture offer views of the forest and ocean through floor-to-ceiling windows.
52. Las Casitas del Colca, Peru. This remote Orient-Express outpost in Colca Canyon, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, is tough to access (a three-hour drive from the nearest airport, in Arequipa) but worth the detour. Twenty discrete chalets sit halfway up the canyon.
52. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. "Can't wait to come back, and we haven't even left yet!" cried a pair over the "beyond and above" assortment of perfect-scoring digs in the middle of the Indian Ocean. "Luxury life starts here," at "heaven on earth for couples and families" with a choice of 50 ultra-private suites and villas on Rangalifinolhu Island, or 79 on livelier Rangali Island itself.
60. Hotel Villa Magna, Madrid. Grandeur of a more modern sort is found at the hyper-luxurious but low-key Hotel Villa Magna. Rooms have every possible technological need and every amenity, from capacious writing desks and enormous closets to tricked-out marble baths.
63. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens, Costa Rica. The "prize of the Arenal region" sits on the skirt of a grand volcano only a mile and a half off La Fortuna highway. The resort's 50 "huge and colorful" casitas deliver the promise of "views impossible to replicate," and all have outdoor showers and hot tubs.
63. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. This nineteenth-century Ottoman palace sits on the European bank of the Bosphorus Strait and has "magnificent views" of the hills of Asia. Interiors in beige, taupe, aqua, silver, and teal honor Ottoman design with traditional artwork.
70. PuLi Hotel and Spa, Shanghai. A glass tower with fabulous city views and friendly service, the PuLi provides sanctuary from the chaos of downtown Shanghai, despite its construction-heavy JingAn district location.
70. Las Ventanas al Paraíso (Rosewood), San José del Cabo, Mexico. "There's nothing like it in Los Cabos, from the pool butlers to the airport host." A meandering network of terraces, suites, pools, and bars await at this Mexican-Mediterranean resort in "an exquisite location on the Pacific."
70. El Dorado Maroma Yucatán, Mexico. Fronting "one of the prettiest beaches in the world," with a perfect 100 for location just ten minutes north of Playa del Carmen, this adults-only all-inclusive "is second to none" for its "impeccable sand and incredible staff."
75. Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina. "A beautifully restored historic mansion," the Wentworth was built in 1886 as the private home of a wealthy cotton merchant. "The most amazing B&B experience from start to finish. You feel like royalty for a weekend, having someone waiting on you hand and foot."
85. Palazzo Avino, Ravello, Italy. "If I could go to only one place again in my life, it would be here. Everything was perfect!" Rooms are outfitted in handcrafted Vietri tiles, eighteenth-century Italian antiques, brass accessories, and Frette linens.
95. Inn at Perry Cabin, St. Michaels, Maryland. Located in a Victorian resort town—"think Ralph Lauren meets Norman Rockwell"—on the Delmarva Peninsula's Miles River, this nautically themed inn was inspired by the Commodore's cabin on the U.S.S. Niagara.
95. Rosalie Bay Resort, Dominica. Built as a labor of love, this 28-room eco-enterprise is a master microcosm of Dominica: 22 acres of verdant grounds (frangipani, ginger lily, heliconia, and hibiscus) and a hotel blessedly free of pretension.
99. Four Seasons Hotel Doha. Located in the mixed-use West Bay complex, this Moorish-designed hotel showcases local white stone, latticework domes, geometric patterns, arches, columns, and palms galore, and presents "beautiful lobby floral arrangements."
99. Mokara Hotel & Spa, San Antonio, Texas. This "well-located hotel" near the Alamo and the River Walk promises a "touch of luxury." Creamy-hued rooms have 12-foot ceilings, expansive windows, marble baths, and hand-forged iron four-poster beds.
75. The Peninsula Bangkok. This geometric tower on the west bank of the Chao Phraya was designed so that all rooms have river views. Accommodations have silk-upholstered furnishings and marble bathrooms with a TV above the tub
99. Kirawira Luxury Tented Camp, Tanzania. Located between the crocodile-rich Mbalageti and Grumeti rivers, this Edwardian-style camp puts guests in log-tethered stone-and-thatch accommodations full of steamer-trunk wardrobes, brass lamps, and sepia photographs.
15. Rosewood Mayakobá, Mexico. Upon arriving at this ecological enclave "where there is never a rush to get anywhere," guests are "immediately transported into relaxation mode." "The architecture is stunning": Rooms have wooden lattices, glass doors, and earth-toned contemporary decor, some suites come with private plunge pools and roof decks.
63. Jade Mountain St. Lucia. "It's unlike any place in the world—you have to stay here to appreciate the brilliant design." "You will come home changed" from this hillside resort—named for the owners' extensive collection of antique carved jade mountains—that is the sister property to Anse Chastanet.
82. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Big Island. "The perfect example of a hotel designed to fit its surroundings," this traditional Hawaiian resort sits on black lava rock.
28. XV Beacon, Boston. This "chic, intimate" modernist interiors of this hotel in Beacon Hill contrast with the exterior—a turn-of-the-century, ten-story Beaux Arts building of iron, limestone, and brick, capped with a copper cornice.
63. The Cloister, Sea Island, Georgia. "There is something for all ages" at this "truly family-friendly," Addison Mizner-designed, Mediterranean-style resort on a private island. Rooms with wood furniture, overstuffed chairs, exposed beams, and Turkish rugs showcase views of the Black Banks River and the ocean.
75. Sanctuary Hotel at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. "This is one of the best places for an active vacation." With 24 tennis courts, 5 golf courses, and 6 pools, this four-story oceanfront resort 30 minutes from Charleston has "one of the best combinations of accommodations, service, food, and golf on the planet."
82. 41, London. Overlooking the entrance to the Royal Mews stables of Buckingham Palace, this former ballroom in "a great central location" is now "a chic, happening hotel" on the fifth floor of a brick-and-limestone Georgian building.
63. Capella Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas. From the moment they make a dramatic entrance through a 1,000-foot torch-lit tunnel, guests say that this property designed to emulate a Mediterranean mountainside village is "a real nirvana."
11. Lion Sands, Sabi Sand, Kruger National Park. Set on the banks of the Sabi River, this "very luxurious family-run resort" on 10,000 acres comprises two lodges and a family camp. Ivory Lodge rooms, done in ebony and ivory, have African artifacts and views of the river through oversized windows or from private viewing terraces.
25. Le Meurice, Paris. Staying at this seven-story 1835 landmark is "like sliding into a comfortable smoking jacket—a perfect fit." On the rue de Rivoli between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, it's in "the best location in all of Paris, especially for museum lovers."
30. Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul. Enjoy "the ultimate Istanbul experience" at this hotel on the Bosphorus, which blends a former sultan's palace with a modern building. Palm trees and gazebos embellish the hotel's outdoor space, but the centerpiece is "a perfectly maintained waterfront infinity pool."
85. Four Seasons Resort Lana'i, The Lodge at Koele. Sited in the central highlands, this plantation-style lodge has an orchid house, stables, and an old church on its grounds.
3. Singita Sabi Sand, South Africa. A former game farm adjacent to Kruger National Park, this "truly amazing" two-lodge camp and private villa is surrounded by groves of acacia, thornveld, and marula trees on the Sand River.
52. Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris. "The lobby alone is worth the trip." This 1928 white-stone Art Deco landmark with an inner courtyard, near the Champs-Élysées, is where "the magic of Paris comes to life."
22. One&Only Palmilla, San José del Cabo. "Nothing compares" to this beachfront resort where "the amazing rooms" have iron-studded doors, travertine floors, and painted sinks. Staff—especially the private butlers—"treat you like a celebrity."
10. Jumby Bay, Antigua. "Totally over the top yet tastefully so—it's like living in a dream." Named for the local patois word for a playful spirit, this former sugar plantation on a private island has room palettes of pale cream and café au lait, with bright coral and jewel tone accents.
75. Fearrington House Inn, Pittsboro, North Carolina. Located eight miles from Chapel Hill, this "charming inn" was constructed in 1987 on an old dairy farm and takes its cues from the English and French countryside.
46. 21c Museum Hotel, Louisville. Created from abandoned tobacco and bourbon warehouses, and doubling as a contemporary art museum with more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, this property has reclaimed-wood floors, hand-blocked linen upholstery, exposed brickwork and timber trusses, and glass transoms.
33. Auberge du Soleil, Napa. This "outstanding luxury hotel" is set on 33 acres of vineyards and olive groves—"the views are spectacular." "Sumptuous cottages" done in sun and earth tones have wood-burning fireplaces and refrigerators stocked with local wines and cheeses.
38. Rosewood San Miguel de Allende. Reminiscent of a historic hacienda, this "authentic refuge" is downtown, just blocks from El Jardin. Be prepared for "the beauty and richness of colonial Mexico and all the comforts of a state-of-the-art luxury hotel"—it opened in 2011.
11. Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina. "This will be the best inn you've ever stayed at," by the May River amid acres of forests and ancient freshwater rice fields. "Superb Southern-style service" comes from staff "who make you feel like you are the first-ever guests."
63. Langdon Hall Country House, Ontario. This American Federal Revival getaway in the countryside an hour from Toronto "provides every comfort you could wish for." The design highlights the estate's past—it was built as a summer home for the great-great-grandson of John Jacob Astor in 1898.
46. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, Rajasthan. A traditional Mewari palace on former hunting grounds along the shore of Lake Pichola, it's "a little piece of heaven on earth." The dome and arches, illuminated at night, reflect in the lake.
52. Singita Kruger, South Africa. The two lodges—Lebombo and Sweni—are in a 33,000-acre concession full of euphorbia trees. "Incredible safari guides" bring guests close to lions, elephants, buffalo, zebras, and black rhinos.
9. Ritz–Carlton Shanghai, Pudong. "It's the sort of place you dream of staying in." The Pudong hotel fills the top floors of a 58-story financial district building that's a quick walk from the iconic Oriental Pearl Tower.
14. Waldorf Astoria Chicago. "From the decor to the service, this is one of the greatest hotels I've stayed in." This "oasis of luxury" (opened at the end of 2009 as The Elysian) is in the Gold Coast neighborhood, steps from the lakefront.
6. Perivolas, Santorini. "A dream place for the soul! You feel whole again after staying at this paradisiacal sanctuary." On a cliff above the island's famous caldera—a perfect-scoring location—this resort "embodies simplicity, elegance, and tranquility."
22. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora. Sunrise views over the Pacific and sunsets over the lagoon and Mount Otemanu make this Polynesian village resort with a perfect-scoring location "the most beautiful place on earth."
10. Peninsula House, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic. "It's just perfect from the top to the bottom." This family-owned inn sits on 15 verdant hillside acres on the Samaná Peninsula, with views of the Atlantic in the distance.
25. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, South Africa. There are four lodges on this reserve: Selati Camp has a colonial feel, while Earth Lodge's furniture is made from trees uprooted in floods, and all the suites have plunge pools.