By Madeline Bilis
July 10, 2019
Courtesy of Deer Path Inn

Those who’ve never thought of the Midwest as a resort destination will be pleasantly surprised by places like Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri. “The first thing that goes through your mind when you arrive is ‘This is Missouri?’ Wow!” a reader noted. Travel + Leisure’s audience knows there are elevated comforts and natural splendors to be discovered in the middle of the country, and they voted five resorts as the best in the region.

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

The American Club at Destination Kohler, No. 4 on the list, is a longtime reader favorite. Carved from a brick Tudor home built in 1918, the resort was once a dormitory for Kohler employees. (The workers and their families, who were primarily immigrants, learned English at the American Club — and enjoyed its on-site pub, barbershop, and bowling alley.) The building became a hotel in the 1980s and has been dazzling visitors with its Kohler Waters Spa since.

The Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island is another popular getaway among readers. The 397-room complex lays claim to the world’s longest porch, from which you can glimpse panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac. “This hotel blew me away. I love the throwback feel,” wrote one reader. “There are so many things to do and see on the island. This hotel makes your whole experience special.”

Read on to see which resort bested the Grand Hotel for No. 1 this year and to peruse the full list of winners.

5. Hotel Iroquois, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Courtesy of Hotel Iroquois

Score: 87.78

More information: iroquoishotel.com

4. American Club at Destination Kohler, Kohler, Wisconsin

Courtesy of Kohler Co.

Score: 90.28

More information: americanclubresort.com

3. Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri

Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Score: 90.29

More information: bigcedar.com

2. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Courtesy of Grand Hotel

Score: 91.15

More information: grandhotel.com

1. Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois

Courtesy of Deer Path Inn

Score: 95.80

More information: thedeerpathinn.com

This property edged out the Grand Hotel, last year’s winner, to clinch first place this year — and that’s in addition to securing the No. 66 spot in our list of the Top 100 Hotels in the World. What sets this inn apart is its history of traditional English innkeeping, which translates to personalized service in an old-world setting, not to mention the added coziness of stone fireplaces and afternoon tea. Renovated in 2016, the resort now boasts more windows in the lobby, an expanded restaurant, and a glass conservatory called the Garden Room.

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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