You’ll be treated like family at these Southern retreats, which range from seaside havens in Georgia to a culinary mecca in Tennessee.
The winners in this category include resorts in Virginia’s rolling hills, Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, and South Carolina’s grassy Lowcountry. What these 10 properties have in common is warm and intuitive hospitality, something the South has perfected over generations.
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.
This year’s winner, the Inn at Willow Grove, is an antebellum home located on 40 acres in northern Virginia’s bucolic countryside. Guests can stay in the original manor house or in several cottages that dot the property. The Schoolhouse, which is one of these specialty suites, is actually a registered landmark. Among other draws, our readers rave about the “fresh beignets delivered hot” every morning, the “heated towel racks and bathroom floors,” and a staff that “makes you feel like royalty.”
Last year’s winner, The Willcox, slipped to second place. But the Aiken, South Carolina, favorite, a Colonial-revival mansion originally built in 1898, still wows T+L readers for its horse-country history — it’s earned a spot on the National Historic Register — and beautifully appointed rooms with crown moldings and fireplaces.
Coming in third is Blackberry Farm, which married a working farm and sterling silver place settings long before farm-to-table was an industry standard. Here, on this Walland, Tennessee estate, you can spend your days fly-fishing or heading out on a tour of the fields led by a farmstead artisans (as they’re lovingly known on these 4,200 acres) before meals in one of two elegant dining rooms — The Barn and The Dogwood, which is located in the Main House.
The Old Edwards Inn & Spa — a North Carolina gem with an award-winning spa offering Blue Ridge Mountain–inspired treatments — and Hilton Head Island’s Inn & Club at Harbour Town, where rooms overlook the Harbour Town Golf Links, rounded out the top five.
Check out the rest of the Top 10 winners below.