World's Top 50 Hotels
Courtesy of Jack's Camp
Luxury and value can coexist, as Travel + Leisure learns in our ranking of the world’s best hotels.
Who says staying at the world’s best hotels has to cost a fortune? Travel + Leisure has ranked the top 500 hotels on earth, and—surprise!—more than 50 of them cost $250 or
Ranking hotels is no small undertaking. Every year, we ask our readers to vote on the places
they’ve stayed recently (to participate in this year’s survey—and enter for a
chance to win a $10,000 trip—click here). Thousands of readers share their expert opinions
on their favorite—and not so favorite—properties.
What did we discover in 2009? That in a year filled with challenges, our readers still love
hotels that deliver unique experiences and stellar service—particularly if the price is
In fact, the No. 1 hotel in California—the new 200-room London West Hollywood, set in the Hollywood Hills and known for its rooftop
bar scene—is one of those $250-or-less properties. Not surprisingly, the hot rooftop scene is
also a draw across the country at the Peninsula New
York, ranked No. 3 in New York City.
But the top hotel in America was an unexpected choice: the Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a secluded golf and spa resort in Bluffton,
SC. It’s clear that travelers are looking for an escape
from the daily grind.
Beaches, of course, make for an idyllic getaway, and Waikiki’s Halekulani remains a fan
favorite even after 25 years, taking the No. 1 spot in Hawaii. The
Halekulani wasn’t the only iconic hotel to take top
honors: the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok placed first in the
Thai capital (up from No. 3 in 2008), and Buenos Aires’s
Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt (with
its 700-label wine cellar and weekly tango lessons) ranked first in South
Sometimes, however, getting away is all about intimacy, and our readers also love small hotels.
The 32-room Domaine des Hauts de Loire, two hours
from Paris, once again took top honors in
Europe. And Francis Ford Coppola’s Blancaneaux
Lodge (No. 1 in Central America) stole the show for its
proximity to Mayan ruins.
But what everyone wants to know is: which hotel took top honors as the best in the world? Last
year’s overall winner, Singita Sabi Sand, in
South Africa’s Kruger National Park, didn’t repeat its victory. Its
replacement—also in South Africa—is truly a contender: it was the highest-scoring hotel
in the history of our survey.
So when you’re planning your 2010 getaway and looking for that perfect hotel—the one
that combines luxury, service, and location—this is the list to consult. You may even find
your dream hotel at a great price. Read on for the top 50 winners.