The 10 Best Resort Hotels in Florida in 2017
If the 50 states held a popularity contest, Florida might win for its beaches alone. Which is why our readers chose seaside properties across the state, from Miami and Palm Beach to Sanibel Island and the Florida Keys, as their favorite places to stay.
This year’s winner, the Gasparilla Inn & Club, on Gasparilla Island, is renowned for its old-Florida elegance. The 166-room property embraces a country-club vibe (picture guests sipping sparkling wine while bouncing from tennis lessons to the golf course) and has been open since 1913. “It is a wonderful, relaxing, inspiring, and engaging destination,” said one reader. “Kids can run free and make friends,” added another. “We see the same families year after year.”
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. Hotels were classified as City or Resort based on their locations and amenities.
But if there is one area that steals the resort spotlight, it’s Miami: four of the top 10 hotels on this year’s list can be found near the city. The Betsy (No. 5) is a 1942 landmark, and the property’s Georgian architecture is a refreshing change of scenery in a neighborhood filled with Art Deco gems. The cultural programming is unique, too: the hotel hosts an artist-in-residence and regular book signings. “The Betsy goes above and beyond to capture, reflect, and support Miami’s intellectual and artistic energy,” said one fan.
Another Miami hot spot is the Edition, a T+L It List Winner in 2015. Stay here if you love the nightlife: the Basement is home to a nightclub, a bowling alley, and yes, even an ice-skating rink. After a night out, guests can enjoy cold-pressed juices and huevos rancheros for breakfast at the airy Market by Jean Georges restaurants, and lounge by one of the two lovely pools. “This place has it all: great food, nightlife, and good vibes at the beach,” said one reader. “Can’t wait to go back.”
10. Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
9. Miami Beach Edition
8. Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate
7. Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach
6. Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key
5. The Betsy, Miami Beach
4. Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables
3. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key
2. Acqualina Resort & Spa, Sunny Isles Beach
1. Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande
One reader described this property as the “very best of Old and New Florida,” meaning that Gasparilla Inn & Club is that rare resort that manages to feel both formal and low-key. The strict dress code has guests looking their best when enjoying the dining room, lobby, and clubs, and adults love to gather at BZ’s cypress bar for Gaspartinis. Yet families with little ones are welcome, and a host of outdoor activities — fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding — get guests outdoors in their workout gear or swimsuits. The tiny town of Boca Grande, with its quaint shops, is within walking distance — another perk that readers noticed. “I feel like it’s home,” said one reader.