The votes – cast in their thousands – are in. Drum roll please as we present your favourite hotels and destinations of 2021
It goes without saying, but there are a lot of hotels in the world. So picking just one to spend your money and time within during your annual vacation (day-dreaming of a post-pandemic era, this is) is kind of a big decision. So where to start?
Well, why not begin with the very best there is to offer – life is short, after all. The Middle East aside (being World Traveller Middle East, we felt the region deserved its own category) our readers have voted in the cream of the crop, wherever you might be planning to travel to. And the winners are…
Also read: World Traveller Readers’ Awards: See the hotels and destinations voted by you as the best in the Middle East
Best Hotel in Europe:
Four Seasons Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, France
With its history spanning one-hundred-plus years, visitors have had ample opportunity to enjoy the palatial splendour of the Four Seasons Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, the prized jewel in the Côte d’Azur crown. Elizabeth Taylor and Winston Churchill were fans, as are you, voting in your thousands to make this famed property your favourite in all of Europe. Your preference for extravagance was further confirmed by your highly commended hotels in this fiercely contested category – Istanbul’s stunning Çiragan Palace Kempinski and Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, a spectacular setting whether winter or summer
Çiragan Palace Kempinski, Turkey
Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Best Hotel in Indian Ocean:
Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas
It’s no secret that you love the Indian Ocean, but we were as eager as anyone to discover which of its incredible resorts you would vote as your number one. After all the entries were totalled up, it was Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas that came out on top – by a landslide. Was it the underwater restaurant? The Maldives’ only over water observatory? The overwater spa? We could go on…Also beloved by you is Mauritius grand dame One&Only Le Saint Geran, which lost none of its charm post renovation, and Gili Lankanfushi Maldives – it was their Private Reserve and its slide into the sea, wasn’t it?
One&Only Le Saint Geran, Mauritius
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Best Hotel in North America:
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at
Walt Disney World Resort, USA
Mickey Mouse will be pleased. However, it wasn’t just its proximity to the Magic Kingdom that took this sprawling, pool-dotted property to the top of your list. This is a resort for grown-ups as much as ankle-biters, with its sensational spa, adult-only pool, cool boutiques and brilliant restaurant, Capa – the finest vantage point in town for Mickey’s nightly firework show. Highly commended here are The St. Regis New York – a hotel truly deserving of the word iconic – and skiers’ resort of choice, the Fairmont Château Whistler.
The St. Regis New York, USA
The Fairmont Château Whistler, British Columbia
Best Hotel in South America:
Belmond Hotel das Cataratas, Brazil
From trains and boats to hotels and restaurants, Belmond’s luxury portfolio is, perhaps, without equal in the world of luxury travel. It’s their pastel-pink hideaway in Brazil that stands alone in this category, a gem of a hotel set amidst lush rainforest aside the country’s breathtaking Iguassu Falls – best observed on one of the hotel’s full moon walking tours. Elsewhere in South America, it was the colonial charm of the Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena (a converted 17th-century convent) in Colombia and the infinitely more modern W Bogota in the same country that you highly commended.
Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Colombia
Best Hotel in Asia & Australasia:
Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, Thailand
Something tells us you’re rather fond of Thailand. Beating all other countries into submission in this wide-reaching category, its hotels occupy the top three spots, with Anantara Chiang Mai Resort voted your number one. What was it, the spa’s elevated relaxation deck that bestows river views? Thought so. You’re also fans of the property’s sister hotel, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, home to a world-renowned Elephant Camp that cares for, and allows you to safely encounter, these most majestic of creatures. As a group, Mandarin Oriental offers a level of service beyond compare – Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok is the standard bearer.
Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Thailand
Best Hotel in Africa:
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania
A game drive remains a truly awe-inspiring experience. But it seems that topping even it is a hot-air balloon safari – one of the unique attractions of your favourite African resort, Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Tanzania. Here’s where you like to spot the Big Five in an untamed landscape. The idyllic Royal Mansour Marrakech ticked a lot of boxes for you, a magnificent hotel that would adorn any location in the world. And speaking of locations, they don’t come much better than the spot occupied by One&Only Cape Town, South Africa – nestled between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean.
Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco
One&Only Cape Town, South Africa
Best New Hotel Opening:
Four Seasons Madrid, Spain
Sophisticated Madrid has never wanted for much, but few are the places that wouldn’t be bettered by a new and gleaming Four Seasons hotel. Part of a beautiful building that dates to 1887, its myriad attractions include the culinary creations of three Michelin-starred chef Dani Garcia and a four-floor spa. Can’t quite think what you like about it. You also shared your affection for the latest addition to the Six Senses’ portfolio – the immersed-in-a-forest Six Senses Bumthang Lodge, Bhutan – and Hotel The Mitsui, Kyoto, Japan, home to its own thermal spa.
Six Senses Bumthang Lodge, Bhutan
Hotel The Mitsui, Kyoto, Japan
Best International City Destination:
There was no real need to count your votes in this category – anyone who has taken a stroll down Brompton Road in Knightsbridge (or little Middle East, as it will probably become known) could tell us how much you love London. And with good reason, too. From setting food and fashion trends, to its surfeit of culture and entertainment, London continues to lead the way. Barcelona and its fabled Gaudi-designed architecture is another city close to your hearts, as is the brilliantly bonkers Tokyo, a real feast for the senses.
Best International Beach Destination:
Powder-soft sands, azure waters and palm-fringed atolls, the Maldives furnishes many a fantasy, never more so than in the midst of a global pandemic. This dream destination is somewhere you can completely switch off and succumb to the charm of Mother Nature, safely ensconced on your own slice of paradise. It won this category by a distance greater than the length of one of its islands. It was no surprise that the spellbinding beauty of the Seychelles also featured prominently, or that Bali – somewhere we also can’t wait to open up again – completes your top three.
See more from our World Traveller Awards 2021 here,