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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.

During a year that upended the entire world — and, with it, the entire hospitality industry — hotel groups large and small have demonstrated incredible perseverance. They've navigated lockdowns, donated rooms to first responders, found ways to support their staff, and, as conditions improved, welcomed back guests with service that may have looked a bit different but felt no less gracious. In fact, T+L readers awarded hotels even higher marks, on average, than last year, which is especially impressive given all of the COVID-19 safety protocols brands had to implement.

Every year for the World's Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure 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. Readers rated hotel brands on their locations, rooms/facilities, food, service, and overall value.

A woman in a hotel room at the Leela Palace Goa. Leela was voted the best hotel brand in the world
Credit: Courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Belmond, with its collection of 34 properties, made this year's list at No. 22, earning raves for sterling service and elegant properties that deeply reflect a sense of place. "Every trip I take, if there is a Belmond option, I splurge for a few nights," wrote one reader. "Worth it every time. Each property is different and feels unique based on the location — but they're all consistent in their commitment to quality." 

Generally speaking, more and more travelers are gravitating toward hotels that support guests' well-being and follow responsible business practices. It's no wonder then that T+L readers gave two of this year's spots to brands known for their efforts on both fronts. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas earned the No. 6 rank, while Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts came in at No. 19. One reader touted Six Senses as a "good example for sustainability and wellness." Of Banyan Tree, a fan wrote, "You can definitely fully relax and recharge your energy."

Small brands also won big this year. With 11 hotels in Europe, the Caribbean, and South America, No. 4 Oetker Collection captured hearts and votes with warm, gracious service: "They make me feel like family every time I visit one of their magnificent places," wrote one reader. No. 2 Capella Hotels & Resorts, which also took second place last year, swayed readers with the "top-notch" service at its eight "beautiful" hotels, readers said.

But it was The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts, an India-only brand with just nine properties, that ranked No. 1. Keep reading for details on what makes it so special to T+L readers — and which other hospitality groups made this year's list of best hotel brands. 

1. The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts    

Exterior of the Leela Palace Bengaluru. Leela was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Maintaining the top spot for the second year in a row, this nine-property brand proved that it's not always a globe-spanning footprint that makes the difference for travelers. Though India has been hard hit by COVID in the past year, the country remains a bucket-list destination for travelers eager to experience its one-of-a-kind draws, including the jewels and handicrafts of Jaipur, the beaches of Goa, and the historic sights of Delhi. In each of those destinations, The Leela's hotels provide top-tier accommodations with "excellent staff and beautiful rooms and suites," one reader wrote. In fact, "excellent" was the most common adjective used by T+L readers to describe the brand. 

Score: 98.40
More information: theleela.com

2. Capella Hotels & Resorts        

Aerial view of Capella Singapore
Credit: Courtesy of Capella Hotels & Resorts

Score: 97.82
More information: capellahotels.com

3. The Red Carnation Hotel Collection        

Aerial view of Ashford Castle, a Red Carnation hotel. Red Carnation was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Red Carnation Hotels

Score: 97.54
More information: redcarnationhotels.com

4. Oetker Collection        

A serene room at Le Bristol, Paris, an Oetker Collection hotel. Oetker Collection was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Oetker Collection

Score: 96.77
More information: oetkercollection.com

5. Oberoi Hotels & Resorts        

Pool at the Oberoi Udaivilas. Oberoi was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

Score: 96.46
More information: oberoihotels.com

6. Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas        

Exterior of a villa at the Six Senses Shaharut. Six Senses was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Score: 96.35
More information: sixsenses.com

7. One&Only Resorts        

A guest roo. at the One&Only Royal Mirage. One&Only was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of One&Only Resorts

Score: 95.31
More information: oneandonlyresorts.com

8. Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris        

A suite at the Taj Rambagh Palace. Taj was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

Score: 95.20
More information: tajhotels.com

9. Auberge Resorts Collection        

A richly patterned lobby at the Mayflower, and Auberge Resorts hotel. Auberge was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Auberge Resorts Collection

Score: 95.16
More information: aubergeresorts.com

10. Raffles Hotels & Resorts        

Exterior of the Raffles Singapore hotel. Raffles was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Raffles Hotels and Resorts

Score: 95.03
More information: raffles.com

11. The Peninsula Hotels        

Lobby at The Peninsula Tokyo hotel. Peninsula was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotels

Score: 94.92
More information: peninsula.com

12. Aparium        

View from outside to inside at the Detroit Foundation Hotel, an Aparium hotel. Aparium was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Joe Vaughn/Courtesy of Aparium Hotel Group

Score: 94.72
More information: aparium.com

13. Rocco Forte Hotels       

The pool at Villa Igeia, a Rocco Forte hotel. Rocco Forte was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Rocco Forte Hotels

Score:  94.50
More information: roccofortehotels.com

14. Viceroy Hotels & Resorts        

A nest-like bar space at the Viceroy Los Cabos. Viceroy was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Viceroy Hotels & Resorts

Score: 94.45
More information: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com

15. Rosewood Hotels & Resorts        

Inside a villa at Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco. Rosewood was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Rosewood Hotels & Resorts

Score: 94.29
More information: rosewoodhotels.com

16. Montage Hotels & Resorts        

The view from a guest room at the Montage Healdsburg. Montage was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Montage Hotels and Resorts

Score: 94.09
More information: montagehotels.com

17. Mandarin Oriental        

A man walks poolside at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Mandarin Oriental was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group

Score: 93.85
More information: mandarinoriental.com

18. Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts        

The lobby at the Shangri-La Singapore hotel. Shangri-La was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts

Score: 93.65
More information: shangri-la.com

19. Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts        

Aerial view of villas at the Banyan Tree Bintan. Banyan Tree was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts

Score: 93.20
More information: banyantree.com

20. COMO Hotels and Resorts    

A woman ascends the stairwell at the COMO The Treasury hotel. COMO was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of COMO Hotels and Resorts

Score: 93.14
More information: comohotels.com

21. Aman        

Camp Sarika by Amangiri. Aman was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Kyle RM Johnson

Score: 92.92
More information: aman.com

22. Belmond        

The palm tree lined pool at Belmond La Residencia. Belmond was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Belmond

Score: 92.84
More information: belmond.com

23. Swire Hotels        

Bar area at the EAST Miami, a Swire Hotel. Swire was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Swire Hotels

Score: 92.71
More information: swirehotels.com

24. Park Hyatt       

The lobby at the Park Hyatt Aviara resort. Park Hyatt was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Park Hyatt

Score:  92.44
More information: hyatt.com

25. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts        

Dining room at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole. Four Seasons was voted one of the best hotel brands in the world
Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Score: 92.30
More information: fourseasons.com

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