Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand
Condé Nast Traveler
No.1 spot: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand.
updated 1/25/2010 11:41:30 AM ET 2010-01-25T16:41:30

In 2009, more than 25,000 Condé Nast Traveler readers rated hotels and resorts based on a number of factors including rooms, service, design, and food.  
  
Here, we present the heavyweights, the cremè de la cremè, the top 5 properties worldwide as selected by the world's savviest travelers. Ready? Set? Gold List!

No. 1: Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, Chiang Rai, Thailand
"If I had to pick the best places I've ever stayed, this would be number one" (apt for the top-scoring property on this year's Gold List). With views of three countries—Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos—this resort surrounded by a bamboo forest offers perfect-scoring activities including "learning to ride an elephant bareback."

"The tents were beautiful—true luxury," with handcrafted furniture, mosquito nets, and a hand-hammered copper bathtub—garnering a perfect rooms score. Staff earned a perfect score for "second-to-none service," as did the restaurant Nong Yao for regional and Western cuisines served in a thatched-roof pavilion.

(15 rooms, pool, spa)Web site

Overall Score: 98.3
Rooms: 100
Service: 100
Food: 100
Location: 96.7
Design: 96.7
Activities: 100

Peninsula House, Dominican Republic
Condé Nast Traveler
No. 2: Peninsula House, Dominican Republic

No. 2: Peninsula House, Dominican Republic
"The most luxurious place in the Caribbean"—and the top-scoring property in the Americas—is "a magnificent hillside retreat with a glorious pool and Atlantic views." This two-year-old Victorian-style house is "like a museum," with eclectic art scattered throughout. Suites have Brazilian hardwood floors and antiques such as Chinese bamboo storage trunks and an Indian ivory cabinet. The kitchen makes use of the on-site organic garden. Lunch is served at the Beach Club, a couple of miles from the property (rides there and back are complimentary). "The personal service was never less than excellent."

(6 suites, pool)Web site

Overall Score: 98.6
Rooms: 100
Service: 100
Food: 96.6
Location: 96.6
Design: 100

Blanket Bay, New Zealand
Condé Nast Traveler
No. 3: Blanket Bay, New Zealand

No. 3: Blanket Bay, New Zealand
This upscale lodge in a perfect-scoring location between the Southern Alps and Lake Wakatipu means "majestic seclusion," with perfect-scoring rooms that have stone fireplaces, recycled timber, floor-to-ceiling arched windows, antler chandeliers, and "very welcoming hot tubs." The menu at the restaurant, "which has wonderful, unique tastes," emphasizes local meats like Canterbury duck leg and Angus beef. Perfect-scoring staff "never miss a thing."

(6 suites, pool)Web site

Overall Score: 98.3
Rooms: 100
Service: 100
Food: 95.8
Location: 100
Design: 95.7

King Pacific Lodge, British Columbia
Condé Nast Traveler
No. 4 (tie): King Pacific Lodge, British Columbia

No. 4 (Tie): King Pacific Lodge, British Columbia
At this floating ecolodge made of pine, cedar, fir, and stone, "all rooms are front-row seats" on the wildlife in the Great Bear Rainforest. Staff exhibit "passion for the ancient values of the Gitga'at people," in a "wilderness made welcoming by the very civilized lodge." Slate bathrooms have soaking tubs, and the "best food ever" includes smoked black cod and grilled coho salmon. The lodge developed mentoring programs with local indigenous communities.

(17 rooms, spa, water sports)Web site

Overall Score: 97.8
Rooms: 97.8
Service: 97.8
Food: 97.8
Location: 100
Design: 95.6
Activities: 97.8

Julien Capmeil
No. 4: La Scalinatella, Capri, Italy

No. 4 (Tie): La Scalinatella, Capri, Italy
A stay at the top-scoring property in Europe begins on the right note when perfect-scoring staff "address you by name as soon as you arrive." The Moorish hotel in a pine grove has "a wonderful clifftop location" and guest rooms with handmade Neapolitan tiles, ceramics, and terraces with views of Marina Piccola bay. The poolside Mediterranean restaurant, which changes its menu weekly, serves "an excellent breakfast and lunch."

(30 rooms)Web site

Overall Score: 97.8
Rooms: 97.4
Service: 100
Food: 97.3
Location: 97.3
Design: 97.3

© 2013 Condé Nast Traveler

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