America’s best hotels, as chosen by the readers of Travel + Leisure.
Coutresy of Madrona Manor Coutresy of Madrona Manor
| Credit: Coutresy of Madrona Manor

What’s the #1 hotel in the U.S.?

No question, it’s a big deal to be America’s top vote-getter in Travel + Leisure’s annual reader survey of the world’s best hotels (vote in this year’s survey). After all, these are properties voted on by the well-traveled, opinionated readers of the magazine.

But much of the news this year surrounded the #1 hotel in the world, the Oberoi Udaivilas in India—a country which made a huge splash this year, since it plays host to the world’s #10 and #11 hotels as well (see the World’s Top 25 Hotels). Still, the United States is hardly unrepresented: 182 of the top 500 hotels are in the 50 states.

You won’t be surprised where some of these properties are: 11 in New York City, 16 in Hawaii, a whopping 37 in California. And of course the luxury chains play a prominent role in keeping American hotels among the world’s best: on our list are 24 Ritz-Carltons and 21 Four Seasons, along with Fairmonts, Peninsulas, and Mandarin Orientals.

But what makes the list exciting is the appearance of newcomers—and list-climbers. Willows Lodge in Woodinville, Washington, for example, has 84 intimate rooms with large soaking tubs and is surrounded by nearly two dozen wineries. It didn’t crack the top 100 last year, but this year comes in at #11. And the Bernardus Lodge, in Carmel Valley, California, is a lodge, spa, and winery all in one. It moved from #49 last year to #16 this year.

Regionally, America’s South emerged the big winner. Southern hotels, with their legendary hospitality, made an especially strong showing in the survey: three of the top 10 are in South Carolina. One is the Woodlands Resort in Summerville, a 1906 revival home surrounded by palmetto, oak, and magnolia trees, which skyrocketed from out of nowhere to capture the #2 spot in the U.S. this year. Clearly, Travel + Leisure readers fall hard for Southern charm.

Of course, what you really want to know is: who’s #1?You’re just one click away.