The Top 10 Resort Hotels in the Midwest in 2020

Deer Path Inn guest room, Lake Forest, Illinois
Photo: Courtesy of Deer Path Inn

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.

An abundance of lakes, forests, and protected land makes the Midwest a fertile ground for American resorts. Leading the way was Wisconsin, which took four of the top 10 spots, thanks to properties including Grand Geneva Resort & Spa (No. 10), a 1,300-acre lakeside escape, and the grand Osthoff Resort (No. 7), reminiscent of an early-20th-century lodge, in the village of Elkhart Lake.

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.

Related: The World's Best Awards 2020

In Ridgedale, Missouri, near the Ozark National Forest, Big Cedar Lodge appeals to a wide range of readers. “You can be as social or reclusive as you wish,” explained one. “Sometimes we just enjoy the cabin and the fireplace and movies. Other times, we'll go with the family, and it’s very social. It’s always enjoyable for all.”

Over on Michigan’s Mackinac Island, a visit to Hotel Iroquois is a summer tradition for many readers because of its “perfect location on the water” in Lake Huron. The hotel’s 45 guest rooms nod to the surrounding gardens with floral wallpaper and curtains and have plantation shutters that open to the glorious lake views. The restaurant, Carriage House, specializes in local seafood from the Great Lakes and is a major draw. “This is the gem of Mackinac Island,” said a longtime fan.

For the second year in a row, Illinois’ Deer Path Inn takes the top spot. Continue on for the full list of best hotels in the Midwest.

1. The Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois

Deer Path Inn, hotel guest room, Forest Lake, Illinois
Courtesy of Deer Path Inn

Score: 97.64

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Forty minutes north of Chicago in the upscale suburb of Lake Forest, the Deer Path Inn has not only won this list, it is also ranked as the No. 2 resort in the United States. The property dates back to 1860, and it channels an English country tavern of centuries before that, with a Tudor façade, rich wood paneling, and stag motifs. (The afternoon tea service is another transportive British experience at the inn.) “I can't say enough about this gem of a hotel,” said one reader. “The rooms are beautifully and comfortably decorated, the restaurants are excellent, the public areas exude charm, and the staff provides personalized, friendly, and efficient service. The only hesitation in providing too much praise is that the secret will get out and it will become harder to book!”

2. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel, resort exterior, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Michelle Gerard

Score: 92.90

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3. Hotel Iroquois, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Hotel Iroquois, resort exterior, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Courtesy of Hotel Iroquois

Score: 89.17

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4. American Club at Destination Kohler, Kohler, Wisconsin

American Club at Destination Kohler, resort exterior, Kohler, Wisconsin
Courtesy of American Club at Destination Kohler

Score: 88.60

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5. Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri

Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri
Matt Suess/Courtesy of Big Cedar Lodge

Score: 87.44

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6. Grand View Lodge, Nisswa, Minnesota

Grand View Lodge resort exterior, Nisswa, Minnesota
Courtesy of Grand View Lodge ©2019

Score: 86.46

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7. The Osthoff Resort, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin

The Osthoff Resort, pool, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Courtesy of The Osthoff Resort

Score: 83.50

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8. Sundara Inn & Spa, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

Sundara Inn & Spa, resort private deck and hot soak, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Courtesy of Sundara Inn & Spa

Score: 82.71

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9. Mission Point, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Mission Point, resort exterior, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Michelle Gerard

Score: 82.36

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10. Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, golf course, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Courtesy of Grand Geneva Resort & Spa

Score: 81.00

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

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