The Top 15 Resort Hotels in Florida
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.
If you ask T+L readers, the best resorts in Florida are the ones situated on the coast. (Proof: 12 of the 15 properties on this year's list can be found along a seashore.) From the tropical islands in the Keys to the golf course-studded retreats by the Gulf of Mexico, the voters' hearts are with the water.
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.
Located in a sleepy barrier-island town on the Gulf Coast, Gasparilla Inn & Club (No. 4) balances the easygoing vibes of the Sunshine State with the elegant, old-world spirit of its historic building, which dates from 1913. "The décor and atmosphere of this hotel make it so special," said one reader. "The bar is one of my favorite places on earth. It all feels like you've gone back in time." Another reader exclaimed that the hotel is "absolutely first-rate in all categories."
A handful of family-friendly properties impressed readers specifically for the wealth of activities on offer. One reader who stayed at No. 6 Oceans Edge Key West Resort & Marina loved the free Jet Ski rentals, but there's also snorkeling, kayaking, and fishing charters to enjoy. And at No. 8 LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, options include dolphin cruises and paddleboarding.
One exception to this beach-heavy list is No. 3 Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort. "We have stayed at hotels in many places but keep going back to this one," explained a reader. "There's a great bar on the top level, fun splash pools and lazy rivers, and it is just so creative, fun, and attentive." Another reader especially appreciated the "fantastic service," which started with the valet parking at check-in.
Read on for more of this year's best resorts in Florida, including No. 1 Sunset Key Cottages, in Key West.
1. Sunset Key Cottages, Key West
Situated on a private, 27-acre island just off Key West, Sunset Key Cottages is "absolute paradise," according to a reader. The property's 40 stand-alone bungalows offer the kind of privacy not easily found at other Florida resorts, and all of them come with wraparound verandas and Adirondack chairs, a fully equipped kitchen, and bright interiors in shades of blue and white that reflect the sea and sky outdoors. On-site activities include treatments at the spa, swimming in the pool under the shade of palm trees, tennis on one of two full-size courts, and yoga sessions on the beach. Another reader summed up the overall experience as "secluded and quiet. Picturesque and quaint. Elegant and tropical."
More information: sunsetkeycottages.com
2. The Alfond Inn, Winter Park
More information: thealfondinn.com
3. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
More information: fourseasons.com
4. Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande
More information: the-gasparilla-inn.com
5. Opal Sands Resort, Clearwater Beach
More information: opalsands.com
6. Oceans Edge Resort & Marina Key West, Stock Island
More information: oceansedgekeywest.com
7. Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key
More information: littlepalmisland.com
8. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, Naples
More information: laplayaresort.com
9. Pelican Grand Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale
More information: pelicanbeach.com
10. Ocean Key Resort & Spa, Key West
More information: oceankey.com
11. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
More information: ritzcarlton.com
12. The Resort at Longboat Key Club, Longboat Key
More information: longboatkeyclub.com
13. The Henderson, a Salamander Resort, Destin
More information: hendersonbeachresort.com
14. Isla Bella Beach Resort, Marathon
More information: islabellabeachresort.com
15. Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection, Key Largo
More information: playalargoresort.com
See all of our readers' favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World's Best Awards for 2021.