America's Best Hotels

New York has bright lights, busy streets, and as of two years ago, the 86-room Crosby Street Hotel, where cheerful design touches include portraits of local dogs. In a city filled with marble-and-glass skyscrapers, it stands out for unexpected amenities: a sunlit back patio, oversize warehouse windows, even weekend movie screenings. And Travel + Leisure readers have taken note. For the first time, the Crosby Street Hotel ranked as one of America’s top 20 best hotels. These properties aren’t just places to rest your head—they are transporting retreats that deliver just the right mix of comfort and curiosity, in addition to standout location and service. Every year, when Travel + Leisure asks readers to rate their favorite places in the annual World’s Best Awards survey, one thing remains the same: the winners may be located across the country, but each adds a unique touch to an experience in a city. Though four are new to the list this year, the No. 2–ranked Little Palm Island (up from No. 10 last year) is a perennial favorite, set on a private island in the Florida Keys. Colorful sunsets are de rigueur in the area, but at this getaway, accessible only via boat or seaplane, there are also Sandbar Session concerts, which have featured bands including the Indigo Girls and Stephen Marley. The other winner in Florida, the Ritz-Carlton, Naples, delivers the kind of resort experience (two pools; a spa; a new small-plate restaurant) readers love—especially as they gear up for winter. Like Florida, three other states (California, New York, and Utah) also had two winners each in this year’s survey. Elsewhere, in Rhode Island, the Chanler at Cliff Walk (No. 14) is set in an 1873 mansion along a promenade in Newport. Each of the 20 rooms and suites has an unexpected design sense: the Mediterranean Suite, for example, has a bathroom with a tiled nymph mosaic. The perks? All guests have access to the hotel’s vintage fireplaces and a six- or nine-course tasting menu at the New England–inspired Spiced Pear restaurant. On the West Coast, the trump card is clearly the setting. The Resort at Pelican Hill, in California’s Newport Beach, surrounds an enormous, circular outdoor pool, inspired by Rome’s Colosseum. And the resort’s oversize rooms—which start at 847 square feet—open onto patios for views of the Pacific Ocean. But which hotel is ranked No. 1? It’s none other than Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch, an adults-only mountain escape with a full roster of activities, from horseback riding to snowshoeing. Read on for all of this year’s winners.

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No. 1 Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT

America's best hotels: Triple Creek Ranch
Courtesy of Triple Creek Ranch

Triple Creek Ranch is a service-driven, adults-only property located in Montana’s Bitterroot Mountains. The 600-acre landscape has 23 plush log cabins, each outfitted with cozy touches like wood-burning fireplaces, hot tubs, and locally woven woolens. Itineraries are tailored to guests’ interests and can include dinners at the chef’s table, wine tastings, helicopter tours, cattle drives, and skiing at nearby Lost Trail Powder Mountain.

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No. 2 Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key, FL

America's best hotels: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Little Palm Island Resort is one of Florida’s most secluded and romantic retreats: a South Seas–style idyll set along a white-sand beach on a private six-acre island, accessible only by boat or seaplane, which will also take you to a smaller island for a picnic. Come sunset (best seen from the end of the island’s main dock), the island’s SpaTerre fills with bikini-clad travelers awaiting a Coconut Sugar Body Polish, before a candlelit dinner of shrimp and snapper ceviche and mahimahi.

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No. 3 Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN

America's best hotels: Blackberry Farm
Beall and Thomas Photography

About 25 minutes from Knoxville, Blackberry is the ne plus ultra in rural luxury, with renowned cuisine and a cooking school set on a farmstead in the Great Smoky Mountains. The 62 rooms—spread throughout the main house, three guesthouses, and 20 cottages—are done in a plush Anglo-American idiom, complete with fringed swags and decorative pillows in fancy fabrics. Regulation rockers are positioned onto the front lawn for the day’s Big Moment: sundown with tumblers of 20-year-old Hirsch bourbon.

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No. 4 Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, UT

America's best hotels: Stein Eriksen Lodge
Courtesy of Stein Eriksen Lodge

Stein Eriksen Lodge is the oldest luxury resort in Deer Valley, and it still sets the standard for excellence. Its location is unbeatable: the Norwegian-style chalet is planted halfway up a ski mountain with front-door access to the slopes. Valets unload your skis from your car and keep them in a ski locker; free guides will show you around the mountain. After skiing, warm up with Stein’s Kahlua Cappuccino in the decadent Troll Hallen Lounge (also the place for garlic cheese fries).

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No. 5 San Ysidro Ranch, Santa Barbara, CA

America's best hotels: San Ysidro Ranch
Courtesy of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

A longtime haunt for bold-faced names in search of seclusion, this leafy spread consists of 27 rooms in a historic main house plus a string of vine-covered cottages—still sparkling from a $150 million redo in 2009. When you arrive at the 500-acre property, complete with a long driveway lined with olive trees and lavender, you have the sense of being on the frontier. Plus, the resort is located just an hour south of the Santa Ynez Valley, a perfect day trip for wine-tasting.

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No. 6 Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole, WY

America's best hotels: Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole
Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels

From its staff to its amenities, the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole—the first mountain resort from the luxury hotel brand—set a new standard for both the brand and for luxury ski lodges throughout the U.S. when it opened in 2003. All 156 rooms at the ski-in, ski-out resort have fireplaces and marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and staff members are experts in their field: a biologist gives wildlife tours in the summer, and adventure concierges lead guests down the slopes during the ski season.

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No. 7 Eliot Hotel, Boston

Best Hotels in Boston: Eliot
Courtesy of Eliot Hotel

Small and traditional without being stuffy, this elegant Back Bay hotel welcomes guests like they were family—fitting, since it’s been owned and operated by the same clan for more than 50 years. Of the 95 guest units, 79 are spacious suites, decorated in toile and raw silk, with Italian marble baths and French doors separating the bedrooms from the sitting areas. Staff members are warm, gracious, and multilingual, and the property is uniquely kid-friendly: teenagers stay for free, and little ones are treated to rubber duckies and other bath toys.

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No. 8 The Peninsula Chicago

America's best hotels: The Peninsula Chicago
Courtesy of Peninsula Chicago

As you walk into the Peninsula, the concierge and receptionist greet you by name; classical music plays when you enter one of the 339 rooms; and your bedside table has a control panel to manage the lighting, deactivate the doorbell, and alert housekeeping when you want service. The luxury extends to the hotel’s spa by ESPA: it includes an outdoor sundeck, spa cuisine, eight treatment rooms, a steam room, and a lap pool. In 2011, Chef Anthony Schmidt joined the café and wine bar Pierrot Gourmet, which is worth a visit.

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No. 9 Stephanie Inn Hotel, Cannon Beach, OR

America's best hotels: Stephanie Inn
Courtesy of Stephanie Inn

This shingled Cannon Beach property is an oceanfront hotel set along the scenic Oregon coast. The 41 rooms and suites are individually decorated—some in soothing grays and blues, others in bold reds and yellows—and all have stone fireplaces, wet bars, and whirlpool bathtubs. Regulars rave about the daily country-style breakfast (Scotch eggs, blueberry pancakes, cheddar biscuits), all made with locally sourced ingredients.

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No. 10 Ritz-Carlton Central Park, New York City

America's best hotels: Ritz-Carlton Central Park
Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Central Park

Transformed from the St. Moritz Hotel in 2002, the Ritz-Carlton has a laid-back, townhouse feel (tasseled damask curtains, fringed armchairs), and it’s known for its beyond-the-call-of-duty service (the multilingual staff includes bath butlers, a tech butler, a gemologist, and an award-winning concierge team). The 259 rooms and suites, done up in taupe and pale rose tones, come with four pillow choices, and a farm-fresh meal at BLT Market, the hotel’s Laurent Tourondel restaurant, is a must.

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No. 11 Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Beach, CA

America's best hotels: Resort at Pelican Hill
Courtesy of Pelican Hill

Opened in 2008, the Resort at Pelican Hill redefined the upscale Orange County enclave of Newport Beach as a world-class destination. The 504-acre resort, comprising 332 guest rooms, includes a classically designed bridge similar to the ones that span the Arno River in Florence, but the centerpiece of the resort is the Coliseum Pool, the largest circular pool in the world. Eighteen draped poolside cabanas come complete with Bose music systems, 30-inch HD TVs, refrigerators, a dining table, and of course, pool butlers.

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No. 12 Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an AubergeResort, Bluffton, SC

America's best hotels: Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Resort
Courtesy of Inn at Palmetto Bluff

Life at this plantation-style luxury resort, with Spanish moss dripping from low-lying oak branches and egrets soaring overhead, seems to move at the pace of a deep-southern drawl. But the many diversions—a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course, fly-fishing, spa treatments, naturalist-led alligator “hunts”—on 20,000 acres of South Carolina coastal marshland keep travelers occupied.

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No. 13 Omni Bedford Springs Resort,Bedford, PA

America's best hotels: Omni Bedford Springs Resort
Courtesy of Omni Bedford Springs Resort

Before the 216-room Omni Bedford Springs Resort was built, the 2,200-acre property was a popular destination because of its eight natural mineral springs, believed by many to have healing powers. Today, the springs are incorporated into a 30,000-square-foot spa, which—along with the resort’s five restaurants, trout-fishing river, and hiking trails—makes the Omni Bedford a favorite East Coast getaway.

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No. 14 Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, RI

America's best hotels: Chanler at Cliff Walk
Courtesy of The Chanler at Cliff Walk

For an intimate Rhode Island experience that channels the state’s history, travelers are best off in one of the 20 rooms at the Chanler, once a private summer home built in 1873. Each guest space is individually named and designed—some reflect a French Provincial style, others have Greek Revival details—though all are appointed with heated bathroom floors, wet bars, and antique prints or original oil paintings.

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No. 15 Ritz-Carlton, Naples, FL

America's best hotels: Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Mark Wieland

This Mediterranean-inspired beachfront resort is perched on three miles of pristine sand on the north side of upscale Naples. In addition to spectacular views of the gulf and coastal lagoons, the resort offers a 51,000-square-foot spa with more than 30 treatment rooms, a kid-friendly marine center with 11 aquariums, and eight different restaurants, including a new small-plates spot, Bites.

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No. 16 [tied] Crosby Street Hotel, New York City

America's best hotels: Crosby Street Hotel
Firmdale Hotels

The new 86-room Crosby Street Hotel feels very much a part of its vibrant, intimately scaled neighborhood: the restaurant-bar has become a local favorite, and the salon-like lobby is filled from morning to midnight. Check out the tongue-in-cheek flourishes, from an oversize white steel Jaume Plensa sculpture in the lobby to portraits of local dogs in the elevators.

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No. 16 [tied] St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City, UT

America's best hotels: St. Regis Deer Valley
Courtesy of St. Regis Deer Valley

The resort is just over a year old, but it has already become a hub for travelers and ski town insiders alike in tightly knit Deer Valley. At the Jean-Georges Vongerichten J&G Grill, ingredients are sourced from local farms such as High Star Farms, and the wine vault has a collection of more than 7,500 bottles. The resort also has the only funicular in North America.

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No. 18 Stowe Mountain Lodge, Vermont

America's best hotels: Stowe Mountain Lodge
Courtesy of Stowe Mountain Lodge

A luxurious addition to one of New England’s oldest ski towns, the six-story ski-in/ski-out Stowe Mountain Lodge has transformed the local hotel scene. Guests can borrow from its Mercedes fleet, and each of the 312 rooms comes with a gas fireplace and a private balcony. There’s no log-cabin chic here: the progressive design incorporates floor-to-ceiling windows, stainless-steel kitchen appliances, and bamboo sheets and robes.

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No. 19 Willows Lodge, Woodinville, WA

America's best hotels: Willows Lodge
Sammy Todd Dyess

Inside and out, the Willows Lodge takes full advantage of its Washington wine country location. The 84 rooms are subtly done in local salvaged timber and antique slate, and outfitted with Frette linens, fireplaces, and giant Jacuzzis for two. Nearby, the Burke-Gilman Trail lures cyclists; back on the property, there’s a full-service spa and truffled macaroni and cheese at the hotel’s Barking Frog bistro.

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No. 20 The Cloister, Sea Island, GA

America's best hotels: The Cloister, Sea Island
Courtesy of Sea Island Resorts

Long a favorite of the East Coast establishment, the 1928 Mediterranean-style mansion is set on 1,000 acres of a barrier island south of Savannah. The design is romantic Mediterranean, a nod to the Spaniards who discovered and settled this coast long before the English arrived. During the day, guests hike, bike, or horseback along five miles of private beach.

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