By John Wogan
July 08, 2020
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This year’s World’s Best Awards survey closed on Mar. 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.

Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline are a major draw for visitors: 14 of the 15 winners this year are set on the water. But one property impressed with a different kind of enviable location: the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort ranked No. 7, making it the only theme-park property on our list.

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.

Credit: Courtesy of Sunset Key Cottages

The Breakers Palm Beach earned its No. 9 spot with “classic style that creates an elegant yet casual resort environment,” said one reader, referring to the grand Italian-Renaissance Revival structure that dates from 1896 and is steps from the Atlantic Ocean. Another reader appreciated the “stunning floral arrangements and ocean views,” as well as the Sunday brunch (“expensive, but worth it”). A soaring lobby filled with elaborate wall tapestries and chandeliers nods to the hotel’s Gilded Age history and rounds out the picture.

Travelers looking for the old-school version of Florida can’t do much better than the No. 4 Gasparilla Inn & Club, on the Gulf of Mexico in Boca Grande. The main building is a historic, columned 1913 landmark and is popular for multigenerational trips thanks to the feeling of “going back in time, with quiet, simple pleasures,” one reader writes. In other words: plenty of chances to bond as a family in a serene, unrushed environment. “It’s gorgeous and meticulously maintained, with extraordinary service.”

Read on for more on this year’s best resorts in Florida, including No. 1 Sunset Key Cottages, which occupies prime waterfront territory.

1. Sunset Key Cottages

Credit: Courtesy of Sunset Key Cottages

Score: 95.35

More information: sunsetkeycottages.com

“What more could you ask for than a stunning cottage on your own island?” one reader wrote, referring to this year’s top Florida resort. Upon arrival in Key West, a ferry whisks guests to Sunset Key Cottages’ exclusive 27-acre island. Here they’ll find the resort’s 40 pristine bungalows, surrounded by bougainvillea and other tropical vegetation. “The cottages are beautiful and the perfect size for travel as a couple or with the entire family,” said another reader. The property’s restaurant, Latitudes, is also a standout, considered one of the best in Key West, with its “outstanding atmosphere and great service and food.”

2. Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club

Credit: Courtesy of Lago Mar Beach Resort & Club

Score: 94.73

More information: lagomar.com

3. The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens

Credit: Courtesy of The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens

Score: 94.61

More information: thecollectorinn.com

4. The Gasparilla Inn & Club

Credit: Courtesy of The Gasparilla Inn & Club

Score: 94.01

More information: the-gasparilla-inn.com

5. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Credit: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Score: 93.43

More information: ritzcarlton.com

6. Edgewater Beach Hotel

Credit: Courtesy of Edgewater Beach Hotel

Score: 92.91

More information: edgewaternaples.com

7. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort

Score: 92.44

More information: fourseasons.com

8. The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort

Credit: Modus Photography/Chandler Williams/Courtesy of The Henderson, a Salamander Resort

Score: 92.42

More information: hendersonbeachresort.com

9. The Breakers Palm Beach

Credit: Courtesy of The Breaker

Score: 92.20

More information: thebreakers.com

10. Sandpearl Resort

Credit: Courtesy of Sandpearl Resort

Score: 91.79

More information: sandpearl.com

11. The Perry Hotel Key West

Credit: Courtesy of Perry Hotel Key West

Score: 91.36

More information: perrykeywest.com

12. The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Credit: Courtesy of The Resort at Longboat Key Club

Score: 91.29

More information: longboatkeyclub.com

13. The Pearl Hotel

Credit: Courtesy of St. Joe Hospitality

Score: 91.16

More information: thepearlrb.com

14. Opal Sands Resort

Credit: Courtesy of Opal Sands Resort

Score: 90.91

More information: opalsands.com

15. Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

Credit: Courtesy of Kimpton Vero Beach Hotel & Spa

Score: 90.71

More information: verobeachhotelandspa.com

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