By John Wogan
July 08, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Capella Ubud, Bali

This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on March 2, just before widespread stay-at-home orders were implemented as a result of COVID-19. The results reflect our readers’ experiences before the pandemic, but we hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your trips to come — whenever they may be.

The resort landscape in Asia is as vast as the continent itself, and this year’s list of the best demonstrates exactly just how much travelers have to choose from in this part of the world. The Mulia Bali, at No. 8, is set on a secluded white-sand beach. In India, meanwhile, an opulent Rajasthani compound on Lake Pichola, the Oberoi Udaivilas, took the No. 14 spot.  This year’s No. 12, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, is in the jungle of northern Thailand. While these and other winners may seem to have little in common beyond their geographic location in Asia, readers gave all the properties in this category very high marks across the board. The secret sauce? A focus on delivering “a magical experience,” as one voter put it.

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.

India was big on readers’ minds this year, and resorts on the subcontinent took six spots, including the Leela Palace Udaipur, at No. 4. “It was an unbelievable experience,” said one guest. “When we arrived, a shower of roses fell from the ceiling above us as two hotel attendants, in their full traditional regalia, stood by, welcoming us! This hotel is above any other I've stayed in, in every respect.”

In the Maldives, the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi made a splashy debut, taking the No. 3 spot thanks to its spectacular location on three private islands. (The private guest villas, a huge spa, that 130-foot-long infinity pool, and the on-site dive center certainly didn’t hurt.) This year’s runner-up, the Ritz-Carlton, Bali, impressed with “a stunning, beautiful location with superb service and excellent cuisine,” as one reader said. Set on a stretch of Nusa Dua beach on the island’s southern coast, the resort is also a “perfect place for a honeymoon,” said another.

The Indonesian property, Capella Ubud, Bali, not only snagged the No. 1 spot here, but won the top honor on the list of the best hotels in the world. Below, find out why and see the full list of the best resort hotels in Asia.

1. Capella Ubud, Bali, Bali, Indonesia

Credit: Courtesy of Capella Ubud, Bali

Score: 99.85

More information: capellahotels.com

The Capella’s setting in Bali’s rain forest is cinematic, and resort architect Bill Bensley has created a world based on an imaginary 19th-century expedition. “It’s a magical experience,” one reader raved of the hidden-in-the-jungle feel of the 22 one-bedroom tented villas that dot the hillsides, most of them connected by a series of suspension bridges. Inside each, you’ll find vintage travel trunks and luxurious four-poster beds that feel of another era. “This is by far the best property in Bali,” said one T+L reader.

2. The Ritz-Carlton, Bali, Indonesia

Credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Bali

Score: 98.85

More information: ritzcarlton.com

3. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, South Malé Atoll, Maldives

Credit: Courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Score: 98.79

More information: waldorfastoriamaldives.com

4. The Leela Palace Udaipur, India

Credit: Sivan Askayo

Score: 97.64

More information: theleela.com

5. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Credit: Courtesy of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas

Score: 97.57

More information: anantara.com

6. Belmond Jimbaran Puri, Bali, Indonesia

Credit: Courtesy of Belmond Jimbaran Puri

Score: 97.50

More information: belmond.com

7. The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India

Credit: Courtesy of Oberoi Rajvilas

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 97.33

More information: oberoihotels.com

8. The Mulia Bali, Indonesia

Credit: Courtesy of The Mulia Bali

Score: 96.73

More information: themulia.com

9. Rambagh Palace, Jaipur, India

Credit: Courtesy of THE INDIAN HOTELS COMPANY LIMITED

Score: 96.50

More information: tajhotels.com

10. The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India

Credit: Courtesy The Oberoi Amarvilas

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 96.45

More information: oberoihotels.com

11. Nihi Sumba, Indonesia

Credit: Courtesy of Nihi Sumba

Score: 95.29

More information: nihi.com

12. Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand

Credit: Courtesy of Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas

Score: 95.09

More information: anantara.com

13. 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai, Thailand

Credit: Courtesy of 137 Pillars House Chiang Mai

Score: 94.82

More information: 137pillarschiangmai.com

14. The Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India

Credit: Courtesy of Oberoi Udaivilas

Score: 94.80

More information: oberoihotels.com

15. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India

Credit: Courtesy of THE INDIAN HOTELS COMPANY LIMITED

Score: 94.21

More information: tajhotels.com

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2020.