Where our readers go, Barack Obama follows.
At least, he followed their lead by checking himself in to the Brando, an all-villa private-island resort in French Polynesia this past March. Turns out, our readers had a similar need for some R&R — this year, they voted the property the second best in the entire world. “We are very busy with work and hardly get a chance to relax,” said one fan. “At the Brando, if you can’t relax and enjoy yourself — it’s your own fault.”
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Hotels were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
But as it turns out, you don’t necessarily have to fly halfway across the globe to stay in a World’s Best Award–winning property. Twenty-seven of the top 100 hotels were located right here in the United States, and they range from an old-school Floridian retreat (Gasparilla Inn & Club) to a discreet New York City boutique hotel (the Surrey). New to the list this year: the Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, a Wyoming property where travelers can fly-fish, hike, skeet shoot, or go horseback riding among some 30,000 acres of wilderness.
Only 17 hotels out of the top 100 were in urban locations, which, perhaps, in our 24/7 connected world, speaks to our readers’ need to be in the great outdoors — be it on a beach in the Bahamas (Kamalame Cay), in the jungles of Costa Rica (Nayara Springs), or on the floodplains of Botswana (andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp). The urban retreats that did make the list spanned the globe, and were in locations that may seem surprising. The Temple House, a 100-room property set in a Qing dynasty building in up-and-coming Chengdu, China, was No. 19, while the Alfond Inn, an Orlando-area property known for its contemporary art collection, was No. 62.
Just where in the world is our No. 1 winner? You’ll need a passport to get there, and you’ll probably want to pack a bathing suit. But leave the surfboard at home — the resort’s got you covered.