The world's best hotels and resorts aren't necessarily overseas. In this list, our readers pick the most impressive properties right here at home.
Readers' Choice Rating: 95.7
"There is something for all ages" at this "truly family-friendly," Addison Mizner-designed, Mediterranean-style resort on a private island. Rooms with wood furniture, overstuffed chairs, exposed beams, and Turkish rugs showcase views of the Black Banks River and the ocean. Staff "make you feel like you've arrived in another era, where manners and gentility are still the norm." Seven restaurants offer a variety of options. Take advantage of "tons of activities," including horseback riding; unwind at the "magnificent spa and fitness center," or enjoy a round of "fantastic golf."
Readers' Choice Rating: 96.3
"It's our hideaway close to home." This ivy-cloaked Tudor-style country house on 117 acres in the Berkshires is furnished with nineteenth-century antiques from France and England. Guest rooms have fireplaces, extensive book collections, and fabric-lined dresser drawers. Taking their lead from the "caring owner," "staff are always exceptionally warm." The main dining room offers a country-house dinner menu with French influences, accompanied by live piano music. "I wish the food were better, although the wine list is stupendous." In winter, snow barbecues are held next to the ice rink--a.k.a. the flooded tennis courts.
Readers' Choice Rating: 96.3
Created from abandoned tobacco and bourbon warehouses, and doubling as a contemporary art museum with more than 9,000 square feet of exhibition space, this property has reclaimed-wood floors, hand-blocked linen upholstery, exposed brickwork and timber trusses, and glass transoms. "The art collection makes it such a fun place to stay." "Unique and creative" guest rooms have Herman Miller chairs, high ceilings, pewter mint julep cups, Malin and Goetz bath products, and rubber ducks in bathtubs. Proof on Main's menu is inspired by Italy and the American South, hence dishes like Marksbury Farm Bone-in Pork Chop or rye pasta carbonara, and a choice of more than 50 Kentucky bourbons, several bottled exclusively for the hotel. "It's an incredible place for such a small city."
Readers' Choice Rating: 96.4
This late-1700s stone, pine, maple, and brick farmhouse and lodge, the former home of Nobel Prize-winning writer Sinclair Lewis, is now a "top-notch lodge" between a ski lift and Copper Pond 75 miles southeast of Burlington. Dinner is often preceded by cocktail hour, and meals from the daily-changing menu are served in cottages, as well as in the wine cellar or packed for picnics. Out of the Woods spa uses all-vegetarian bath and body products. Experience "graceful hospitality and quiet beauty." The "spacious and not overly ornate" rooms and cottages are individually decorated—modern to Moroccan—and display contemporary and folk art.
Readers' Choice Rating: 96.7
This "outstanding luxury hotel" is set on 33 acres of vineyards and olive groves—"the views are spectacular." "Sumptuous cottages" done in sun and earth tones have wood-burning fireplaces and refrigerators stocked with local wines and cheeses; bathrooms come with skylights and flat-screen TVs. The "stunning restaurant" serves wine-country cuisine with French Mediterranean influences, and its terrace has heaters for dining out on cool evenings.
The Lodge at Sea Island, St. Simons Island
Readers' Choice Rating: 96.8
Anchoring the end of the island's historic Avenue of Oaks, the decidedly English-style manor has tranquil views across the Sound and golf course and service more akin "to an intimate European hotel, with Southern charm" (think: "meeting your every need without being over the top or overly effusive.") Folks "love the sunset bagpiper" and personal butlers that can "draw you a rose petal bath." Golfers consider it a nirvana, but "couples will be equally enchanted."
Readers' Choice Rating: 97.0
This "chic, intimate" modernist interiors of this hotel in Beacon Hill contrast with the exterior—a turn-of-the-century, ten-story Beaux Arts building of iron, limestone, and brick, capped with a copper cornice. The lobby has an original cage elevator, while individually designed rooms in taupes, creams, and espressos come with fireplaces, mahogany built-in cupboards, and contemporary canopied beds that are "so luxurious and relaxing it's hard to leave them." Service is "top of the line," including a concierge who is "off the charts in his care and attention."
Readers' Choice Rating: 97.6
"From the decor to the service, this is one of the greatest hotels I've stayed in." This "oasis of luxury" (opened at the end of 2009 as The Elysian) is in the Gold Coast neighborhood, steps from the lakefront. Designed to emulate the grand hotels of Paris in the 1920s, it is set in a 60-story tower that has colonnades, spires, and a motor court. The "fantastic, spacious rooms," ten per floor, have fireplaces, furnished terraces, Italian linens, and white Carrara marble bathrooms with soaking tubs.
Readers' Choice Rating: 97.7
The 1924 landmark Metropole Hotel survives in the restored terrazzo floor, curving staircase, arched windows, and ornate plasterwork of 21c, its every corner, from the 156 guest rooms to the nine-story solarium, a showcase for contemporary art. Much of it is playful and witty, such as the trademark four-foot yellow penguins that pop up in elevators and hallways.
Readers' Choice Rating: 97.7
"This will be the best inn you've ever stayed at," by the May River amid acres of forests and ancient freshwater rice fields. "Superb Southern-style service" comes from staff "who make you feel like you are the first-ever guests." Rustic cottages are "quiet, secluded, immaculate, and spacious," with screened porches, white-wood doorways, vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, wide pine-plank floors, and hipped metal roofs. "You can do everything—golf, fishing, horseback riding, and a spa are some of the activities—or nothing, and be blissfully happy either way."
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