Condé Nast Traveler readers selected the best places to stay in the world for the 2010 Gold List. Of the 516 properties, 151 hail from the U.S. From that select list, here’s the top 5.
No. 1: 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
The top-scoring property in the United States, in what was once tobacco and bourbon warehouses, has 9,000 square feet of exhibition space filled with contemporary art. Original brickwork, arches, and prismatic glass transoms are offset by hand-knotted rugs, linen upholstery, and reclaimed-wood floors. Rooms are “very artsy in a minimalist, high-end way,” with Herman Miller chairs and silver mint julep cups. Proof on Main presents “a unique twist on Kentucky-inspired cuisine,” using ingredients from the rooftop garden. “Staff are willing to help but are never pushy.”
(90 rooms) Web site
Overall score: 97.2
No 2: The Peninsula, Chicago, Ill.
Occupying a full city block, this European-style hotel has “public spaces that are grand in every sense of the word,” with Murano chandeliers. “Closets are abundant,” and housekeeping notes personal room preferences, so “yours is always made as you like it.” The Art Nouveau bar “is friendly and always active.” “Staff love their job and their hotel.”
(339 rooms, pool, spa) Web site
Overall score: 96.0
No 3: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii
“We were floored by the beauty” of this resort. Natural light streaming through patio doors brightens white bedding and the mixed browns of the furniture and upholstery; lanais are “a perfect place to unwind.” Duo’s open kitchen turns out “a delightful Kobe steak.” “Staff are incredibly attentive and anticipated all our needs.” An adults-only infinity pool opened in July 2009.
(380 rooms, golf, pool, tennis, spa, water sports, beach) Web site
Overall score: 95.8
(29 rooms, pool, spa) Web site
Overall score: 94.9
No. 5: Mandarin Oriental, Boston, Mass.
The Asian-influenced limestone-and-marble newcomer next to the Prudential Center is “very well thought out.” Teal- and taupe-shaded rooms “are spacious, with fabulous bathrooms.” Bamboo floors and Jerusalem limestone walls at Asana set the tone for “amazing Nova Scotia halibut and Maine lobster” and caramelized miso cod. “Staff are exceptional—the smiles are never forced.”
(148 rooms, spa) Web site
Overall score: 94.4
For the complete list—and an explanation of our methodology—visit cntraveler.com or pick up the January 2010 issue of Condé Nast Traveler.