Credit: John Novogrod

Part of my role as editor-in-chief of Travel + Leisure involves serving as a travel confessor, and my friends sure have plenty to say. Recently, at a cocktail party in the garden of a well-loved hotel in California, the kickoff for a weekend event, a friend who was staying there shared her complaints, from bad service to bad follow-through. Until that moment, enchanted by the property’s lushness and sense of privacy, I had been feeling that my husband and I may have made a mistake in booking elsewhere. Airlines also frequently come under review—unsurprising, given the turmoil of fare hikes, delays, and consolidation. That a number of recent comments from my circles have started with the word “actually”—as in, “Actually, the flight wasn’t so bad” or “Actually, the seat was comfortable, and I slept most of the way over”—is a very good sign.

Because experiences and opinions vary, I always relish seeing the cumulative wisdom of our readers—with the results of T+L’s annual World’s Best Awards. In 2012, an unprecedented number of readers—tens of thousands of them—tapped in to their inner critic to tell us what they think about hotels, resorts, destinations, cruise lines, airlines, and travel providers, and the experiences they offer. For the first time, our editors are highlighting hall-of-famers—award winners for a decade or more—as well as properties, places, and companies that are new to the World’s Best, and those that have been recognized previously on T+L’s annual It List or noted by our editors as a World’s Best One to Watch.

There is, of course, much more in this issue, including stories on Canada’s largest city, Greece’s undiscovered wine regions, and Costa Rican lodges. You’ll also find our T+L Decoder, spotlighting the antipodean city of Sydney, and Justin Peters’s interesting review of the various new cures for that persistent problem we travelers suffer—jet lag. Editor-at-large Peter Jon Lindberg reveals the pleasures of repeat vacations, such as his annual pilgrimage to the Maine Coast, thereby underscoring that some gratifying travel does not involve exploration but rather a deepening knowledge of one particular place.

The challenge of being both an editor and a confessor is that my own opinions must remain just that, and I guard them with care. I can assure you that I have my travel favorites—as well as my personal hall of fame. But I always welcome hearing how other people see it.

Where to Find Me

Twitter: @TLNancy