It’s so idyllic it’s almost cliché: a South Pacific bungalow that stretches out over clear blue water, with a bedside picture window to take in the view. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the InterContinental Bora Bora, along with a seawater-centric spa and Bora Bora’s chicest lounge.
The combination of luxury and location got this InterContinental the nod as one of the world’s best island hotels by Travel + Leisure readers. The results are culled from T+L’s World’s Best Awards Survey, where we ask readers to vote on their favorite hotels around the globe. (Vote now in this year’s survey!) In other words, if your travel plans include an island escape, this is the list to consult.
Of the 20 best island hotels, Caribbean properties made the biggest splash this year, with seven on our list. Coming in at No. 11, Jamaica’s Couples Swept Away in Negril, epitomizes the destination’s couples-only, all-inclusive appeal in its 312 romantic suites with louvered windows overlooking the soft sand and gentle surf of Seven Mile Beach.
The sand’s a bit grittier at Chesterman Beach on British Columbia’s wild Vancouver Island. That’s the setting of the No. 4 best island hotel, the 75-room Wickaninnish Inn. A haven for nature lovers year-round—even during winter’s tumultuous “storm-watching” season—the Wickaninnish charms guests with its in-room fireplaces and soaking tubs, plus a hotel restaurant that serves seasonal dishes with 240-degree views of the crashing waves.
Further out in the Pacific, Hawaii lays claim to five of the 20 best island hotels. One of the winners: The Lodge at Koele—the Four Seasons resort on the island of Lana’i. You’ll find rattan armchairs on covered porches, shaded forests and gardens, and the charming sensibility of an upland plantation estate. Although it’s not a beachfront paradise, the 102-room Lodge at Koele has its own trump cards: a tranquil vibe, world-class golf, and room rates below those found at five-star hotels on neighboring Maui. For those unwinding at the Lana’i hotel in the island’s central highlands, the scene is indeed mai ka lani (“heaven sent”).
Want to know which property is No. 1 of the best island hotels? Read on for the winners.