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World's Top 25 Hotels 2011

Oberoi Vanyavilas, Rajasthan, India

Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

You arrive at your palace-like hotel and walk past reflection pools to your room, which has Burmese teakwood floors and rich fabrics. But the “wow” moment really comes when you step out onto your private open-air terrace, and there, off in the distance, you see the Taj Mahal. This is the experience you can have at India’s Oberoi Amarvilas, one of the world’s top 25 hotels.

Travel + Leisure’s annual compendium of the best hotels around the globe features winning properties from New York to New Zealand. Honing in on these captivating places is no easy task. That’s why T+L looks to the ultimate critics—our readers—to rank their favorite hotels in our annual survey. The results are always surprising.

The top 25 hotels are just the beginning of a larger list that includes 500 hotels—218 of which are in the U.S.—and shows that readers are interested in all sorts of experiences. Hotels at the top of the list include Triple Creek Ranch, with western-style cabins in the Montana Rockies (No. 2); California’s San Ysidro Ranch and its 41 rooms in a string of clapboard cottages in Santa Barbara’s wine country (No. 4); and Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower, set in the second-tallest building in the U.S. (No. 20). All three illustrate what travelers are looking for now: unique environments and stellar service.

Another hotel known for going above and beyond? Jade Mountain in St. Lucia (No. 11 overall, No. 2 in the Caribbean), where butlers are on call for all 28 rooms. Here, bridges lead to open-air suites with infinity plunge pools, and you can stargaze from the terrace while dining alfresco on calypso-marinated kingfish. It was enough to entice last year’s World’s Best Awards Sweepstakes winner, who chose this exclusive escape for his $10,000 grand prize.

If you’d rather stroll around Europe, you’ll find five European hotels among the top 25. The No. 1 hotel in France (and No. 9 overall) is a perennial showstopper: Domaine des Hauts de Loire in the Loire Valley, just two hours from Paris. The 32 rooms and suites at this former hunting lodge open onto a park and the property’s pond. It’s also the top-ranked hotel for less than $250 a night (rates start at $182). On your way there, try the 147-room Hôtel de Crillon in Paris’ Eighth Arrondissement, ranked No. 19 overall, and featuring Louis XV interiors and Carrera marble bathrooms.

So what property claimed the title of world’s best hotel? Read on for that and the other top 24 hotels. You can also download our first ever T+L 500 iPad edition, available January 1, 2011, at the App Store. Get inspired and then go traveling. There’s no need to have a bad experience when the world’s top hotels are just a click away.

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