By Lila Battis
July 10, 2019
Courtesy of Gasparilla Inn & Club

From sunny Miami to the pale white sands of the Gulf Coast, Florida doesn’t want for dreamy coastline. And this year, readers voiced their appreciation for the eternally aquamarine waters of the Florida Keys: Five of our top 10 best resort hotels are in this island chain, with four in Key West alone. That’s not to say the rest of Florida went unappreciated. On the Atlantic Coast, the Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa came in at No. 10. Even landlocked Orlando made an appearance, with the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World (No. 4) proving that you don’t have to be a kid to appreciate Disney magic.

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.

RelatedThe World's Best Awards 2019

Last year’s first-place winner, the Pearl, in charming Rosemary Beach, came in at No. 5 this year, still winning readers over with its stylish black-and-white color scheme and bold yellow umbrellas that look like they’ve been plucked straight off the Amalfi Coast. “A perfect family getaway,” praised one fan. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, another familiar name on the list, held fast at second place. The private-island resort, currently in the midst of a major overhaul, embodies the best of the Florida Keys, with 30 cozy thatched-roof bungalows and nary a phone or TV in sight. “The staff is exceedingly friendly and provides you with genuine service,” said one reader. “It’s a gem and will be even better after the renovation is completed.”

The list wasn’t without a few surprises. In third place was newcomer Havana Cabana Hotel, a fab Key West find with a sinuous palm-lined pool and light, bright, Cuban-influenced decor that’d make Hemingway feel right at home. “Such a creative property with so many fun offerings and fantastic old cars,” gushed one reader. Nearby, the Marker Waterfront Resort (No. 6) has a prime location just steps from the historic seaport, while No. 7, the Perry Hotel, offers a taste of the old Key West, but with all the modern amenities.

The real takeaway? No matter what kind of vacation you’re after, there’s a Florida resort just right for the occasion. Find the full list below.

10. Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

Courtesy of Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

Score: 91.43

More information: verobeachhotelandspa.com

9. Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Courtesy of Ocean Key Resort & Spa

Score: 91.61

More information: oceankey.com

8. Sandpearl Resort

Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort

Score: 91.72

More information: sandpearl.com

7. The Perry Hotel Key West

Courtesy of The Perry Hotel Key West

Score: 91.77

More information: perrykeywest.com

6. The Marker Waterfront Resort

Courtesy of The Marker Resort

Score: 92.47

More information: themarkerkeywest.com

5. The Pearl Hotel

Courtesy of The Pearl Hotel

Score: 92.50

More information: thepearlrb.com

4. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Score: 92.87

More information: fourseasons.com/orlando

3. Havana Cabana Hotel

Courtesy of Havana Cabana Hotel at Key West

Score: 93.08

More information: havanacabanakeywesthotel.com

2. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Courtesy of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa

Score: 93.45

More information: littlepalmisland.com

1. The Gasparilla Inn & Club

Courtesy of Gasparilla Inn & Club

Score: 94.33

More information: the-gasparilla-inn.com

The Gasparilla, which captures the charm of a bygone era in Florida hospitality, reclaims its throne this year after being bumped to No. 8 in last year’s reader survey. The style here is stately and sweet, with a throwback glamour that recalls the heyday of midcentury Floridian beach resorts and nods to a slower pace of life. As one reader summarized, “It's Old Florida at its best with modern updates.” Activities abound at the resort, which offers golf, tennis, croquet, boating, and watersports galore. Still, no matter how busy your dance card, be sure to book some time relaxing by the beach with a cocktail — you’ll want to commit these views of the Gulf of Mexico to memory.

Want to experience one of the World’s Best resorts for yourself? This October, join Travel + Leisure editor in chief Jacqueline Gifford and Food & Wine’s executive wine editor Ray Isle for an intimate trip to California’s Wine Country during fall harvest season. With the iconic Meadowood Napa Valley as your home base, you’ll be treated to exclusive tastings at some of the region’s best wineries, including a handful that are typically closed to the public. Book your trip now before spots disappear.

See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2019.

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