It’s good to know, but hardly a surprise, that Travel + Leisure readers and I are thinking the same way about where we want to go now and what gives us the greatest degree of pleasure. It’s no surprise that, once again, and even more dramatically so this time, the T+L World’s Best Awards 2011 winner’s circle is populated by hotels in remote and exotic destinations. It’s happened incrementally over the years, as European and American properties have given way to city hotels, resorts, and lodges in Africa and Asia (including India). Of the top 10 hotels in the world this year, six (including the top four) are African camps and lodges; two are resorts in India; and one is a luxury ranch in Darby, Montana. Of the top cities, No. 1 is Bangkok; No. 5, Istanbul; and No. 7, Siem Reap, Cambodia. (I’m also glad to report that this magazine’s hometown—New York City—climbed to No. 4.) What could be a clearer confirmation of the convictions my editors and I share: exploration, adventure, and authenticity are the holy trinity for today’s inveterate travelers.
This is not to say that destinations such as Trieste, a bridge between Western Europe and the Balkans at the northernmost reach of Italy’s Adriatic Coast, do not afford similarly life-enriching opportunities, uncovered this month in writer Reggie Nadelson’s “Exploring Trieste, Italy.” Or that the swath of seaside New England that Dominique Browning knows so well does not offer up richly rewarding experiences of place, albeit with an American flavor: white-shingled porches, fishing boats, and rugged, windswept beaches (“Rhode Island’s Secret Coast”). Ditto for the deliciously light rosé wines from Bandol, in the south of France, that contributing editor Adam Sachs sets out to discover—they conjure up the very essence of summer. And because this issue appears during the height of the season, we have brought together a passel of fair-weather stories, including contributing editor Bob Morris’s reflections on the pleasures of ferry-boat crossings; Adam H. Graham’s drive from New York City up into the more and more gentrified world of the Catskill Mountains; and Italy correspondent Valerie Waterhouse on the latest crop of stylish and affordable inns.
For more help in making your travel plans, don’t miss our Strategies roundup of the top travel websites and apps. Plus, I hope you will check out our great new iPad edition—Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards 2011—at TravelandLeisure.com/ipad. We’re ready, willing, able, and entirely delighted to guide you to the very best travel experiences in the world.
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