I’ve spent hours selecting a hotel, going down the rabbit hole of online reviews, checking out locations on maps and figuring out neighborhoods. It’s so much easier to get a recommendation. Who better to ask than travel writers, whose job involves sleeping in hundreds of them?
I wasn’t sure what responses I’d get. A lot of travel writers don’t love to be asked, “What’s your favorite place?” It’s impossible to choose just one.
But when I asked, “What’s your favorite hotel or resort,” the answers were quick, decisive and heartfelt. Check out these fantastic suggestions from dozens of travel writers.
Travel Writers Favorite Hotels in the United States
For a grand experience, The Greenbrier in West Virginia. For staying right in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a bar where you can meet the locals, Inn of the Governors. For a journey back in time, The Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa, Point Clear, Alabama. For a green experience, Proximity Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina.
– Jill Dutton
Primland Resort in Southwest Virginia. Stunning mountain views and it even has its own observatory!
– Brianna Jellerson Simmons
Semiahmoo in Northwest Washington. Right on the ocean beach, with a view of Canada across the strait. Bonfires at night. Total pampering. Freshly caught seafood. Fine wines. Massages, facials, golf course, boating, bicycling. They even accommodate your dogs.
– Candace Dempsey
I stayed at Hotel Leveque, this art deco hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and was blown away by the friendliest concierge ever, but the nightly turndown service that includes a star machine projecting constellations on the ceiling was one of the coolest I’ve ever experienced.
– Laura Watilo Blake
Favorite ever: LOGE Entrada in Bend, Oregon. Reason: It’s in the woods, inventive, newly renovated, focus is 100% on guest experience both in the outdoors AND on property, very unique brand.
– Rob Taylor
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Hawaiian vibe and multi-generational appeal. (See story: Discover Why It’s ‘Almost’ All About the Beach at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel) And Four Seasons Lanai because it offers an authentic Hawaiian experience amidst so much luxury. (See story: Four Seasons Resort Lanai – Oh So Authentic )
– Nancy Besharah
Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on the Big Island. I got married on the beach there and that morning we played on the gorgeous golf course amid the lava fields. The property is fascinating, has restored “anchialine” ponds and a jungly spa. On-property cultural experiences make this a hideaway to linger in for days and days! (When you drive up to the entrance, the bellmen say, “Welcome home, Ms. Misuraca!” Now, how did they know?)
– Karen Misuraca
In the US it’s Conrad Chicago. The location is in the heart of this beautiful city. They have the coolest rooftop bar/ restaurant. The service is so warm and sincere. One day I walked out in the rain and a concierge chased after me to bring me a Conrad umbrella. The rooms are spacious with stunning views. The bathroom is like a spa. The high-tech controls are actually user-friendly. My husband and I (both of us travel all the time) found this hotel unforgettable.
– Renee Sklarew
I love The Inn at Newport Ranch on California’s Mendocino Coast because it is completely unique. This small, boutique hotel is made utilizing redwood trees from the local area. All sustainably salvaged wood (no redwood trees lost their lives for this resort).
– Nancy D. Brown
The Current Iowa, a 78-room boutique hotel in the former Putnam Building in Davenport, Iowa. (See story: Art-Filled Boutique Hotel Opens in Downtown Davenport)
– Diane Lambdin Meyer
Nemocolin Woodlands Resort in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. Beautiful resort with everything right there – spa, zip lines, golf, pool, great restaurant, exceptional guest rooms and a beautiful art collection.
– Fran Folsom
For capturing vintage Hollywood I love Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel in Los Angeles. America’s sublime hotel for millionaires is Jekyll Island Club Resort, and you’ll find old Florida glamour at St. Pete’s Pink Lady, The Don CeSar.
– Cathy Burroughs
Sue Nystrom Rodman would say The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, I bet. I say Lenn Foote Hike Inn in Dawsonville, Georgia, (which is exactly the opposite).
– Lesli Peterson
Not exactly – I love the Cloud Camp at The Broadmoor, which is kind of a luxury Lenn Foote. I also adored the Greyfield Inn on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia for the same reasons.
– Sue Nystrom Rodman
The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. Boutique hotel with lovely afternoon tea. When I came back at night, my room was all lit up with the bar opened bright. It took my breath away.
– Mira Hymen Temkin
Sanderling Resort in the Outer Banks in North Carolina. One of those places where you just feel well taken care of. Roomy family rooms, nice balconies in every room, lots of comfortable public spaces. Nice pools, good restaurants. (See story: A Real Family Getaway at The Sanderling)
– Eileen Gunn
Puerto Rico’s perfect boutique Hotel La Playa on Isla Verde where the ocean practically laps into the alfresco bar.
– Cathy Burroughs
Mary Ann DeSantis shared her story on several Dreamy Hotels, which included Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France; The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado; The Epicurean in Tampa, Florida; and Hacienda AltaGracia in Perez Zeledon in Costa Rica. “This Auberge Resort offers an authentic Costa Rican experience amid luxurious surroundings. Guests have their own spacious casita, or private hacienda, at the mountaintop resort near the town of Perez Zeledon in the southern part of the Central American country.”
Travel Writers Favorite International Hotels
Dwarika’s Hotel in Kathmandu! It’s essentially a museum of traditional Nepali/Newari crafts. The founder, Mr. Dwarika himself, made it his life’s work to preserve and promote Nepali craftspersonship. It’s stunning, and one of the most upmarket hotels in Nepal.
– Elen Turner
Dwaraka The Royal Villas in Ubud, Bali. A boutique overlooking rice fields with cooking classes, private pools, massage and delicious breakfast.
– Barbara Ali
Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech in Morocco. It’s a complete oasis and interesting blend architecturally of a contemporary riad.
– Caleigh Alleyne
Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris for its quintessentially French bones, dreamy and feminine design touches, and charmed service.
– Nicole Trilivas
The Griya Villas and Spa in Amed, Bali. Secluded, private infinity pool in private villa, open air living room/dining room/kitchen. Beautiful, peaceful surroundings. Awesome honeymoon spot.
– Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy
Hotel Xcaret Mexico in Playa del Carmen because you have access to so many parks and tours. The food is also amazing for an AI and the hotel is also certified for many green/natural practices
– Yashy Selvadurai Murphy
Fusion Maia in Da Nang in Vietnam. This all-inclusive spa resort is probably the best experience you could have.
– Fahima Marissa A
CayeReef in Caye Caulker, Belize. Beautiful and relaxing. An area of the world devoid of cars, heavy machinery. The motto there is “Go Slow.” Absolutely one of my favorite places in the world, good for young and old alike.
– Arielle DeSoucey
Definitely Finch Hattons in Tsavo West, Kenya – it is built around a natural hippo pond with resident elephants and crocs. (See story: Our Stay at Finch Hattons Luxury Camp in Tsavo National Park, Kenya)
– Kait Hanson
Sanara Tulum in Mexico. Such a grand experience. I will drink their Kool-Aid any day!!!
– Lauren Finney
I love the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace in Budapest. It’s in a historic landmark building that retains much of its original Art Nouveau grandeur. Located on the Pest side of the Danube, it has gorgeous views of the Chain Bridge and the landmarks of Castle Hill on the Buda side. (See story: Savoring Our Stay at a Budapest Luxury Hotel)
– Catherine Sweeney
Kooljaman at Cape Leveque in far north Western Australia is a wilderness camp/glamp owned and operated by local indigenous communities set on the extraordinary Kimberly coast. I love it for its remoteness, exquisite beaches, deep connection with indigenous community and culture, great food and the nearby Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. The setting is extraordinary with the quintessential outback red dirt meeting the clear aqua waters of the Indian ocean. Can’t wait to get back there in September.
– Suzie Weiss
Illa Experience Hotel, a family village villa renovated in a quiet Quito, Ecuador, neighborhood.
(See story: Quito’s Illa Experience – Luxury hotel review)
– Elaine J. Masters
Cap Juluca Anguilla. Dreamiest beach resort in the Caribbean, located on a crescent of the most spectacular powder white beach. Totally chill elegance and it has just been renovated after a few changes in management.
– Valaria D’Elia
Just got back from the Anantara Quy Nhon in Vietnam; stunning beach, incredible villas, amazingly attentive staff. And the entire neighboring area is relatively undiscovered; visited both 900-year-old ruins and local seaside towns without seeing any other travelers.
– Melissa Klurman
Hotel Eden in Rome, Kia Ora in French Polynesia, and Trunk Hotel in Tokyo.
– Stacey Leasca
Clove Tree Hill is a genuine hideaway in Bali that I randomly came across and felt compelled to blog about. (See story: The luxury retreat that’s exactly how Bali used to be) Isalo Rock Lodge in Madagascar that I also felt compelled to write about. (See story: Madagascar in three weeks: highlights, costs and a dream itinerary.) There is no previous press coverage for them but they are GEMS.
– Mia Livingston
I own a tour company and have partnerships with a number of hotels in Tbilisi, Georgia. My favorite is g.Vino City Wine Hotel. It’s Georgian-owned (most of the hotels that get mentioned are owned by Russians), it’s wine-focused, the chef is amazing, great breakfast, super comfortable and quiet rooms. Also, the owners do a lot of work in dog rescue.
– Sarah May Grunwald
Etno House Shancheva in Kratovo, Macedonia. It is actually a traditional house that was rehabilitated by Stevce Donevski – a local who loves his city, crafts and traditions. There is also a small museum refurbished in the old cellar of the house. All the rooms have traditional decorations and furniture. Food served there is cooked using local recipes.
– Juliana Marchian
Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul is a 17th-century Ottoman Palace featuring exceptional views from its suites, gardens and outdoor infinity pool. Set overlooking the glittering Bosporus, its opulent Tugra Restaurant & Lounge is quite possible the world’s most romantic restaurant but is also worth visiting for its historically accurate Ottoman dishes.
– Michele Peterson
El Silencio Lodge and Spa in Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica. Why? It’s perched at the top of the cloud forest, enchanting, “silent,” environmentally committed and the best bed I’ve ever slept in—hands down.
– Sally Clasen
My favorite hotel is the Mandarin Oriental Pudong in Shanghai. They have the most delightful Club level with an open bar and a huge buffet of food open all day and into the evening. The rooms are each beyond comfortable with round tubs, spa bathrooms, sitting areas, etc. The spa contains an Olympic-length pool and they offer meditation and Tai Chi lessons. But what makes them amazing is the service. One day I left pills sitting out and later that day, my pills were sitting in a pill box. You can have your clothes laundered by putting them in a box between the hallway and your room. They launder them and return to your room. It’s just a higher level of service than I’ve ever experienced.
– Renee Sklarew
Lamanai Outpost Lodge in Belize. Gorgeous location along the river, walking distance to a large concentration of ruins, locally employed guides give you tours of the grounds that include traditional Mayan medicine, botany, nocturnal species spotting (glow-in-the-dark scorpions, anyone?) and river ecology. They offer all locally sourced food, onsite cooking classes, canoes for self-guided river tours (lots of crocs and birds!), and the area is home to one of the most well-studied troupes of howler monkeys in the country. They shake the trees and howl above your room—it’s incredible. I’ve been there five times over 20 years and not much has changed. Can’t say enough good things.
– Maya Seaman
Club Med Punta Cana. Let me count the ways! We have visited numerous higher-end resorts and there’s nothing like Club Med. The food is by far the best of any all-inclusive resort in our experience, and the kids’ club, family activities and nightlife are second-to-none.
– Andrea Traynor
The thing I love about Corso 281 is the location. Nothing makes you feel more like you’re in the heart of Rome than stepping out on to your balcony that overlooks Piazza Venezia. The interiors are so plush that you feel pampered from the moment you walk in. And the staff are welcoming without being invasive. It makes for the perfect Roman holiday!
– Maria Pasquale
Escalante Yurts were like a mirage in the desert. After several days of roughing it to explore the slot canyons and hikes in this fantastic park, I was ready for some pampering. The yurts are fabulously appointed and the owners are wonderful – it’s an oasis in a gorgeously fantastical landscape that is truly worth visiting (and returning to).
– Katie Coakley
I’ve got lots of favourites in India. Pugdundee Safaris Kanha Earth Lodge, Evolve Back Hampi, Suryagarh Jaisalmer, Coconut Lagoon in Kerala, Ahilya Fort Hotel in Madhya Pradesh …. just to name a few!!! (See story: Pugdundee Safaris Lodges: Home base for tiger safaris in India.
– Mariellen Ward
Loved The Anam in Cam Ranh, Vietnam, Fusion Maia Da Nang in Da Nang, Vietnam, or Mai Chau Ecolodge in Mai Chau, Vietnam. Everything made comes from the local area and community and they employ locally.
– Kerry McConnel
I absolutely adored The Bon Ton Resort Langkawi on the Malaysian island of Langkawi. Its rooms are all contained in historic, traditional Malay houses that have been relocated to the site. (See story: The Bon Ton Resort: Malay Tradition in Lieu of the Beach)
– Sarah Stodola
Brijrama Palace Hotel, a 300-year-old heritage property in Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges. I love how it is still evocative of the times gone by – it has been witness to royalty, battles, rebellions and yet stands majestically calm in the city of nirvana.
– Aarti Kapur Singh
Four Seasons Hong Kong for world-class service – I measure hotels and resorts against FS Hong Kong. (See story: Finding Perfection at Four Seasons Hong Kong)
– Nancy Besharah
Coombeshead Farm in Cornwall, England – an absolutely magical, unique experience in the depths of Cornwall. Romantic, beautifully decorated bed & breakfast on a self-sufficient farm. You wake up to a cock crowing and the sun breaking through thick clouds with a view of the neighboring sheep farm, and then you eat soft scrambled eggs and pork sausage and house-made sourdough bread. It’s outrageous.
– Katy Anne
Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, France. It was the summer home for Napoleon and Empress Josephine and overlooks the ocean.
– Ruth Carlson
The place in Calabria I describe at the end of this piece. It’s called EcoBelmonte and it’s so, so special. (See story: A Quest to Cook Like My Grandma Led Me to an Italy Most Travelers Miss)
– Freda Moon
Thanks to all the travel writers who took the time to respond!