Once again, the choices in our annual World's Best Awards survey point out that Travel + Leisure readers have been traveling far in a quest for distinctive and authentic experiences of place. This year, the No. 1 hotel in the world is Udaivilas, a five-year-old Oberoi resort on Lake Pichola in Udaipur, India, and as the top hotel in Asia, it takes the slot previously occupied by sophisticated urban hotels in the continent's leading capitals. The highest-rated property in Europe is the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, which overlooks Hagia Sophia and the Topkapi Palace from the site of a converted 1917 prison. Tu Tu' Tun Lodge, on the shores of the Rogue River, seven miles from the Pacific in southern Oregon, earned the No. 1 spot in the Continental U.S. and Canada. In Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific region, Huka Lodge continues to hold sway, as does the safari-luxe Singita Sabi Sand (formerly Singita Private Game Reserve) in Africa and the Middle East. I take all of this as a positive sign for T+L—indicating that our readers are with us every step of the way as we continue pushing out the boundaries of our world.
Besides the World's Best Awards results, in this issue you'll also find T+L's definitive neighborhood-by-neighborhood guide to shopping in Tokyo ("Tokyo's Cutting Edge"), by contributing editor Lynn Yaeger; John Seabrook's assessment of the quiet revolution in food and wine under way in southeastern Sicily ("Sicily, Old & New"); and a look at Portland, Oregon's enduring urban-indie scene, from the city's biggest new fan, contributing editor Tom Austin ("American Eden"). There are also four easy itineraries for great coastal European drives, and, to help keep your memories alive, a tutorial on travel photography, with T+L photographers' tips to help you shoot your next trip like an expert ("Photography 101"), along with our guide to the best new cameras.
Like you, I've been venturing ever farther from home for the pleasure and rewards of getting to know the world. I will spare you the details of my ongoing quest for the right equipment, but I offer here a few snapshots from my recent travels. Such material records are touchstones for the distinctive and authentic experiences of place we travelers seek.
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