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Blessed with ancient forest covering rugged mountains, vast golden plains filled with agricultural abundance, dramatic seaside cliffs and sheltered sandy bays, the natural wonders of the US have been immortalized in film and literature. The cultural landscape is equally diverse, with bustling modern cities filled with museums, theaters, galleries and world-class restaurants to quiet historic townships showcasing the traditional values and warm hospitality of rural America. In a country as large and jaw-droppingly varied as the USA, it stands to reason that the range of hotels, resorts and retreats is equally as impressive. From stylish city establishments to rustic countryside lodges, sprawling oceanfront mega-resorts to boutique villas nestled among vineyards, accommodations are available to suit a variety of desired ambiances and experiences.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Lake Kora
The former retreat of the famed Vanderbilt family, Lake Kora in upstate New York offers a classic American holiday experience in a luxurious country lodge, surrounded by both opulent décor and unspoiled nature. The hotel overflows with bucolic charm, with natural-finished wooden timbers and smooth river stones the principal building materials. Rustic guest cottages contain well-appointed rooms with soft plush couches, antique fittings and roaring stone fireplaces. Activities in the outdoors abound, from exploring the network of trails in the surrounding woodlands on foot or by mountain bike, to paddling a canoe, fishing or windsurfing out on Lake Kora. Within the grounds, guests can play tennis, volleyball or other lawn games, and for days spent indoors, there is a bowling alley, a squash court and table games such as ping pong and billiards. In the evenings, guest dine on wholesome and seasonal gourmet dishes, either round the cheerful communal table or in a more private location around the resort. After dinner, guests gather for s’mores, singing, storytelling and acoustic guitar entertainment by the fire.
Best Romance: Twin Farms in Barnard
Nestled in the verdant woodlands of Vermont, Twin Farms in Barnard is an intimate and secluded escape in the heart of nature. Guest rooms and cottages feature individual décor in quaint and warm styles that complement the rustic-chic design, with amenities including romantic wood-burning fireplaces to snuggle up by, marble-lined bathrooms with separate baths and walk-in showers and cushioned window reading nooks. Guests can relax in the glass-brick steam room and Japanese furo baths of the full-service spa or indulge in a romantic couple’s massages in the privacy of their room, complete with champagne and rose-petal baths. Guests can dine on impeccable gourmet fare made from fresh seasonal ingredients in the cozy restaurant, on the alfresco dining terrace, or picnic in a tranquil corner of the property according to their desire. Meals are accompanied by wine pairings from the extensive cellar selection. Active travelers can choose to spend time together on the network of hiking trails, bond over a game of tennis or discover the property on mountain bikes. On Copper Pond, they can try their luck with fly-fishing, take a canoe out onto the calm waters or plunge off the jetty for a refreshing dip.
Best Family: Four Seasons Hualalai
The only five-star resort on Hawaii’s Big Island, the Four Seasons Hualalai provides a complete family holiday experience, with upscale amenities, a wealth of activities and dedicated childrens’ services. Guest suites and villas are spacious, well-lit with natural light and meticulously designed with a restrained blend of plush modern furnishings and artisanal highlights. Accommodations feature a variety of amenities such as whirlpool tubs, outdoor showers and private plunge pools, and LED TVs and Bluetooth speakers. Rooms have Venetian doors leading out onto stunning private terraces or balconies with ocean views. Seven pools include an ocean-edge infinity pool, a sandy-bottomed kids’ pool with water features and toys, and a seawater pool carved out of volcanic rock. A massive swimmable aquarium stocked with over 4,000 tropical fish is a perfect place for children to learn the basics of snorkelling from experienced instructors. While young ones enjoy the activities and games of the kids’ and teens’ clubs, parents can play a round on the 18-hole, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course or pamper themselves with a signature treatment of a volcanic mud and sea clay wrap followed by a detox massage in the open-plan spa.
Best City: The Peninsula Chicago
Self-styled as the meeting of Far East graciousness and Midwestern hospitality, The Peninsula Chicago is renowned for its graceful architecture, the stylish minimalist influence in the décor and the excellence of its service. Guest rooms come with slick marble bathrooms with an LCD TV above the soaking tubs, a soothing blue and white color scheme and superb views through large windows. The indoor pool and Jacuzzi tub are housed in a soaring hall with full-length windows looking out over the city skyline and an adjacent outdoor sun deck. The spa offers massages, facials and body treatments based on Asian and Ayurvedic principles. The famed lobby restaurant serves contemporary American cuisine in an elegant hall filled with ornate silver trees and cascading purple blooms. In the scenic courtyard, the Shanghai Terrace dishes up delectable Cantonese delicacies, while the European-style Pierrot Gourmet café and wine bar spills onto the sidewalk for dynamic streetscape vistas. Located in the heart of the famed Magnificent Mile, the hotel is surrounded by designer shopping, buzzing gourmet restaurants and art galleries.
Best Country: Blackberry Farm
Situated amongst picturesque maple, fir and oak forests of Tennesee, Blackberry Farm offers an idyllic country escape in the rural foothills of the Great Smokey Mountains. Outdoor activities abound, from horse back rides, hiking and bicycling tours through the countryside to archery, clay pigeon shooting and paintball courses. Guests can also go fly fishing, take a canoe or paddle board out onto the lake or have a go at wakeboarding. More relaxed options include horse-drawn carriage rides around the estate, cooking demonstrations and tastings of wines and whiskies and soothing massages and signature skin care treatments at the Wellhouse spa. Guest rooms and suites feature traditionally luxurious furnishings, with hand-carved antique furniture, quilted cushions and drapes and French doors opening onto the terrace. Cottages are built in a more rustic style, with wooden walls and ceilings, natural-finish wooden furniture and large stone fireplaces. Artisanal chefs serve gourmet haute cuisine, using farm-produced ingredients in an array of sophisticated platters and hearty local recipes, paired with a respectable craft beer, wine and spirits selection.
Best Beachfront: Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Set amid the glitz and glamour of the fabulously wealthy Miami Beach, the award-winning Faena Hotel stands apart for its extravagant décor, modern amenities and impeccable service. Housed in a historic Saxony building filled with Art Déco architectural elements, opulent furnishings such as the Grecian décor of the Saxony Bar, the gold-gilt mammoth statue in the courtyards and a white marbled terrace overlooking the tranquil beachside pool complete the sense of glamour and indulgence. Guest rooms and suites offer plush furnishings in a bold color scheme of vibrant reds and blues, marbled bathrooms with rainfall showers and soaking tubs and balconies with sweeping views over the clear ocean waters. The hotels contains two highly-acclaimed restaurants, with contemporary Asian cuisine being served in the lavish atmosphere of Pao. At Los Fuegos, the critically-acclaimed asado cooking of celebrated executive chef Francis Mallmann transforms traditional Argentine flavors into culinary masterpieces under the caress of open flames. On the beach, an array of candy-striped sun lounges and beach umbrellas are serviced by attentive staff bringing an assortment of drinks and beverages to guests relaxing in the warm Florida sunshine.
Best All-inclusive: Club Med Sandpiper Bay
Set around a sandy beach of the shores of the St. Lucie River, Club Med Sandpiper Bay is an all-inclusive resort filled with modern facilities and fun-filled activities on Florida’s east coast. Guests enjoy unlimited access to the greens and group classes on the resort’s 18-hole golf course, and water sports activities on the river include water skiing, wakeboarding and kayaking. At the supervised kids’ clubs, younger children can enjoy cooking classes and dance shows, while older kids can play in the tennis courts or trapeze, go on hikes and picnics or play on video games. The spa is run in association with the famed L’Occitane brand, offering traditional aromatic treatments developed amid the lavender fields of Provence. Guest rooms feature minimal but comfortable furnishings clad in cheerful colors, with amenities including flat screen TVs, tea and coffee facilities and a minibar. Restaurants include The Riverside Grill & BBQ, which serves a selection of gourmet dishes based on local specialities and paired with excellent wine vintages. At the Marketplace, a range of international cuisines, including American, Asian, Italian and Mexican, in served up in a casual family atmosphere.
Best Ski: St. Regis Deer Valley
Enjoying ski-in, ski-out access to one of the largest ski fields in the US, The St. Regis Deer Valley provides upscale luxury lodging in the scenic Wasatch mountains of Utah. The awe-inspiring lobby is filled with soaring stone columns, plush couches and an enormous wood-panelled fireplace, while spacious guest suites combine modern furnishings with traditional textures. Amenities include marbled bathrooms with oversized tubs, separate showers, double vanities, and a stone-lined fireplace. The Reméde Spa uses indigenous herbal poultices, mineral salts and ayurvedic principles in a range of massage and detox treatments. The flagstone courtyard contains a graceful two-tier infinity pool, heated throughout the year, and whirlpool hot tubs. Guests can cozy up around crackling firepits while they take in gorgeous mountain scenery from the outdoor terrace, where sommeliers crack open champagne with razor-sharp sabres in a nightly sunset ritual. At the award-wining J&G Grill traditional, farm-to-table cuisine is served in an atmosphere of casual sophistication, to be followed with libations in the atmospheric St. Regis Lounge. For guests wanting to visit during the summer months, activities including hiking and mountain biking are available.
Best Wine Country: Auberge du Soleil
Set on oak-covered hillside with sweeping views over the vineyards of the famed wine region of Napa Valley, Auberge du Soleil epitomizes the relaxed luxury and sedate ambiance of this sun-drenched corner of California. On the terrace, guests can swim in the pool or laze on padded sun lounges and shaded couches while gazing over the bucolic surrounds, sipping an iconic Chardonnay. Within easy strolling distance are the vineyards of Rutherford Ranch, Quintessa and Conn Creek. The Zen-inspired spa takes advantage of the surrounding natural beauty, with infinity pools and a tranquil courtyard with a central fountained pond surrounded by mature olive trees and facing over wooded valleys. Inside, guests can indulge in signature treatments such as grapeseed exfoliations, mud body wraps and Himalayan salt stone massages. Colorful artistic touches in the modern guest rooms complement the natural color palette of the furnishings. Amenities include fireplaces and a private terrace facing over the gardens or hillsides. The Michelin-starred restaurant delivers an unforgettable fine dining experience under the creative expertise of head chef Robert Curry, with Mediterranean-inspired dishes made with local seasonal produce and stunning sunset vistas available from both the dining room and the alfresco veranda.
Our writers spent 4 hours researching the most popular hotels in the USA on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different hotels overall and read over 80 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.