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This year's World's Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three year period. We hope that this year's honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.

Europe is always an in-demand destination for avid travelers, but the calling has been especially strong among Americans who have been grounded during the pandemic. That includes the hundreds of thousands of T+L readers who weighed in on this year's survey. According to voters, the best hotels in European cities are time-tested properties — all open for at least six years, with some having opened their doors more than a century ago.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

Sprinkled among beloved cities like London, Paris, and Istanbul, the best hotels in Europe, according to T+L readers, all boast opulent rooms, deluxe amenities, acclaimed dining, and attentive staffs. While modern builds did manage to claim a few spots on the list (see No. 3 Shangri-La the Shard in London and No. 5 St. Regis Istanbul, for example), most of the winners are hotels housed inside glamorous historic buildings, indicating that many visitors truly enjoy indulging in Europe's long history.

The No. 8 hotel, the Goring, was the last hotel built during King Edward VII's reign, in 1910. It has retained its old-world luxury, which is only reinforced by the staff's gracious hospitality. "The Goring treats you like family but even better," wrote one reader. Another called it "the best hotel in London." Guests raved about the detailed and thoughtful service at No. 2 La Resérve Paris – Hôtel & Spa, which is inside a 19th-century Haussmann mansion. One voter wrote that the hotel is "a truly chic and authentically French hotel with the most modern, luxurious amenities, fine dining, and central location."

Read on to see which hotel got the top spot — it may surprise you.

1. Mandarin Oriental, Milan, Italy

Mandarin Oriental Milan
Credit: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

This near-perfect property is housed inside four interconnected 18th-century palazzos in the heart of Milan, and it is truly an urban oasis. Each of the 104 rooms, conceived by Italian designers Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel, embodies understated luxury, with the clean lines, rich textiles, thoughtful details, and high-end finishes that Mandarin Oriental is known for. Guests can dine at the award-winning Seta restaurant, overseen by chef Antonio Guida, and get pampered in the 9,700-square-foot indoor spa and indoor swimming pool. Readers appreciate the great location, as one voter mentioned, thanks to its proximity to the opera house La Scala, the Duomo, and Via della Spiga.

Score: 98.67
More information: mandarinoriental.com

2. La Réserve Paris – Hôtel & Spa, Paris

La Réserve Paris – Hotel & Spa
Credit: Courtesy of La Réserve Paris – Hotel & Spa

Score: 98.60
More information: lareserve-paris.com

3. Shangri-La  the Shard, London

Shangri-La The Shard, London
Credit: Courtesy of Shangri-La The Shard, London

Score: 98.57
More information: shangri-la.com

4. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet

Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Score: 98.40
More information: fourseasons.com

5. The St. Regis Istanbul

St. Regis Istanbul
Credit: Courtesy of The St. Regis Istanbul

Score: 97.89
More information: marriott.com

6. The Lanesborough, London

The Lanesborough
Credit: Courtesy of The Lanesborough

Score: 97.87
More information: oetkercollection.com

7. Raffles Istanbul

Raffles Istanbul
Credit: Courtesy of Raffles Istanbul

Score: 97.72
More information: raffles.com

8. The Goring, London

The Goring
Credit: Nick Rochowski Photography/Courtesy of The Goring

Score: 97.57
More information: thegoring.com

9. The St. Regis Florence

St. Regis Florence
Credit: Courtesy of St. Regis Florence

Score: 97.52
More information: marriott.com

10. Mandarin Oriental, Paris

Mandarin Oriental Paris
Credit: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental

Score: 97.50
More information: ritzparis.com

11. Hôtel Plaza Athénée, Paris

Hôtel Plaza Athénée
Credit: Courtesy of Hôtel Plaza Athénée

Score: 97.18
More information: dorchestercollection.com

12. Le Bristol, Paris

Le Bristol Paris
Credit: Courtesy of Le Bristol Paris

Score: 97.00
More information: oetkercollection.com

13. The Stafford, London

The Stafford London
Credit: Courtesy of The Stafford London

Score: 96.75
More information: thestaffordlondon.com

14. Park Hyatt Milan

Park Hyatt Milan
Credit: Courtesy of Hyatt

Score: 96.53
More information: hyatt.com

15. Villa San Michele, a Belmond Hotel, Florence

Belmond Villa San Michele
Credit: Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 96.52
More information: belmond.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.