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The right hotel is a cornerstone of an unforgettable vacation. It's the details that stay with you: the pressed Egyptian cotton sheets, the expertly mixed nightcap in the lobby bar, the always-attentive concierge who somehow gets impossible-to-get reservations, the restorative hot-stone massage — en suite, for good measure. Moments like these are what inform the T+L 500 — our directory of the most trusted, best-loved hotels as voted by you, our discerning readers.

This year's T+L 500 black book is derived from the results of the 2021 World's Best Awards survey. The honorees are grouped into eight geographic regions: Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific; Canada; the Caribbean; Europe; Mexico, Central America, and South America; and the United States.

black and white illustration representing the Travel + Leisure 500 top hotels
Credit: ILLUSTRATION BY JONNY WAN

Marriott luxury brands — The Ritz-Carlton, Ritz-Carlton Reserve, St. Regis, JW Marriott, The Luxury Collection, W Hotels, and Edition — were a favorite among T+L readers with a total of 42 winning properties. Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts was a close second with 27 hotels on the list. However, there were also quite a few independently owned hotels that caught readers' eyes, including sustainability-leader Fogo Island Inn and hospitality heartthrob Jade Mountain Resort.

Below, our editors and contributors shared some of their favorite moments at T+L 500 hotels around the globe. Find the full list of winners in the May 2022 Hotels issue, or digitally on Apple News+

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, New York City

Inside the famous Bemelman's Bar at The Carlyle
Credit: Courtesy of The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

"Travelers and locals of all ages flock to this Upper East Side hotel for its iconic Bemelmans piano bar, where martinis and Ludwig Bemelmans murals are what's on the menu. A glitzy younger crowd has made it one of the hottest spots in town." — Timothy Latterner, Senior Editor

Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Surfside, Florida

The conservatory at the Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club

"Even if you're not staying there, it's worth a visit to the Four Seasons Surfside for a drink at the Champagne Bar — a soaring room fringed by potted palms in a renovated 1930s beach club." — John Wogan, Special Projects Editor

Book now: fourseasons.com

Hotel Bennett, Charleston, South Carolina

Image of terrace at Hotel Bennett at sunset
Credit: Courtesy of Drew Castelhano

"The lounges are some of the most beautiful in the city. Take in panoramic views of the skyline at the rooftop bar, Fiat Lux, or sip Champagne in the pink-hued parlor, Camellias." — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection, Park City, Utah

Exterior of The Lodge at Blue Sky, Auberge Resorts Collection
Credit: Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection

"While snowshoeing in the lodge's 3,500 private acres in the Wasatch Mountains, my partner and I stumbled upon a herd of grazing mule deer. The bunch didn't bolt as we approached; it was like we all belonged there together." — Scott Bay, Assistant Editor

The Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua, Hawaii

Exterior aerial view of pools at The Ritz Carlton Kapalua
Credit: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

"The resort sits along a walking path skirting the Pacific Ocean — but with the three-tiered pool and a sprawling terrace facing the best sunsets on Maui, I barely left the property." — Maya Kachroo-Levine, Digital Luxury & Experiences Editor

Book now: ritzcarlton.com

Nobu Ryokan Malibu, California

Bathroom at Nobu Ryokan Malibu
Credit: Courtesy of Nobu Ryokan Malibu

"I felt pretty content listening to the sounds of crashing waves from my teak soaking tub at Malibu's most serene enclave, where Japanese gardens and California coastline collide." — Nina Ruggiero, Digital Editorial Director

Four Seasons Resort & Residences Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

Family enjoying the fire pits at Four Seasons Whistler
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

"Sitting around a firepit in the summer, surrounded by the mountains of the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort and pine forests, felt like being at camp again." —J.W.

Book now: fourseasons.com

Cap Juluca, a Belmond Hotel, Anguilla

View through an archway at the Belmond Cap Juluca, voted one of the best resorts in the Caribbean
Credit: Courtesy of Belmond

"The suites are plush and the service is superb, but it's Maundays Bay — Cap Juluca's comma of velvety sand — that takes my breath away every time I see it." — Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Contributor 

Book now: belmond.com

Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 

Hotel rooms over looking lagoon
Credit: Courtesy of Banyan Tree Mayakoba

"The expansive property feels like a world of its own — a jungle-like lair with forest trails, a serpentine lagoon that's home to furrowed wood turtles, and my favorite, the dreamy villas, each with a private pool." — Alisha Prakash, Senior Digital Editor

Book now: banyantree.com

Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador 

Terrace rooftop at Casa Gangotena
Credit: Courtesy of Casa Gangotena

"When I think of the moment I fell hard and fast for Quito — its exuberant, high-altitude sprawl and primordial natural splendor — I think of the elegant rooftop terrace of Casa Gangotena, where I sipped a cocktail while taking in a hallucinatory sunset." — David Amsden, Contributor

Hotel Fasano São Paulo, Brazil

Hotel Fasano São Paulo
Credit: Courtesy of Hotel Fasano São Paulo

"For the chicest night out, dress up and stay 'in' at the clubby Baretto restaurant— all teak and leather, and brimming with São Paulo's most stylish denizens." — Heidi Mitchell, Contributor 

Book now: lhw.com

Aman Venice

Aman Venice - Interior - The Ballroom
Credit: Courtesy of Amanresorts

"The sumptuous hotel is in an impeccably restored Renaissance palazzo perched above the Grand Canal. There are original frescoes all over the property that would be cherished in any museum." —Tony Perrottet, Contributor 

Book now: aman.com

Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Istanbul

Ciragan Palace Kempinski from water
Credit: Courtesy of Ciragan Palace Kempinski

"In my next life I'm coming back as an Ottoman princess and taking over this waterside wedding-cake of a retreat on the Bosporus. The curtains, the chandeliers, the gardens, the walkways along the water all conspire to re-create an Istanbul from centuries ago… one that probably never existed anywhere but in my mind (and at this magical property)." — H.M.

Book now: kempinski.com

Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, Baden-Baden, Germany

Woman walking along pool edge of indoor spa pool with floor to ceiling windows of outdoor gardens
Credit: Courtesy of Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa

"Brenners Park is the grande dame of Baden-Baden hotels. But at one end of it is the town's most contemporary restaurant, Fritz & Felix. The chefs source earthy ingredients like venison, pike, and beets from the Black Forest, which is visible from the table, and dress them up with Nordic and Japanese flourishes." — Simon Willis, Contributor 

Hotel Alfonso XIII, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Seville, Spain

Exterior of Hotel Alfonso XIII at night
Credit: Courtesy of The Luxury Collection

"Seville is an architecture lover's dream, something that truly hits home at this 93-year-old landmark of Andalusian design. Don't miss the restaurant San Fernando, a fantasy world of soaring arches, brightly colored tiles, and multiple styles of jamón at breakfast." — Jacqui Gifford, Editor in Chief

Book now: marriott.com

Le Bristol, Paris

Exterior of Le Bristol luxury hotel in Paris, voted one of the best hotels in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Le Bristol Paris

"I'm always thinking about things hotels could improve on, but in the case of Le Bristol, I was stumped! The service, the décor, the spa, the food — all as close to flawless as any I've seen." —Flora Stubbs, Executive Editor 

Capella Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Capella Ubud
Credit: Courtesy of Capella Hotels & Resorts

"Designer Bill Bensley didn't cut down a single tree to create Capella's tents, which sit between the jungle and the rice terraces outside Ubud. The view from my deck showcased Bali's quintessential landscape — made possible by Bensley's sustainable vision." — Gisela Williams, Editor at Large

Raffles Singapore 

Raffles in Singapore
Credit: Courtesy of Raffles Singapore

"Few hotels define their city quite like Raffles defines Singapore. Just taking in the 19th-century colonial façade or sipping a Singapore Sling, the drink of choice at the hotel's Long Bar, made me feel a part of Singapore history." — M.K.L.

Book now: raffles.com

The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia

The Brando
Credit: Courtesy of The Brando

"When the waitstaff learned I loved a dessert featured in their haute cuisine French restaurant, they served it to me in the casual café. When they realized I'm not great on bikes — every guest has access to one — they brought me an adult tricycle." — Jeff Chu, Editor at Large 

Book now: thebrando.com

Mahali Mzuri, Masai Mara, Kenya

A group of cheetahs seen on a safari at Mahali Mzuri
Credit: Samantha Lauriello

"One afternoon, a family of elephants came to graze in the valley below as we ate our lunch in Mahali Mzuri's openair dining space. Everyone had their own version of a fresh garden salad." — Samantha Lauriello, Social Media Editor