This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
The word resort might conjure dreams of tropical locales or Mediterranean beaches, but this year’s list of the best resort hotels in the western U.S. proves that you don’t have to travel far for beauty and solitude. With rugged mountains, rolling plains, and those famous big skies, there’s a serene remoteness that feels completely transportive.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.
The least populous states in the region (excluding California, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah, which all have dedicated categories this year) are well-represented on the list, offering plenty of wide-open spaces, dramatic mountains, lakes, and forests, and few people to bother you while you’re taking it all in. Idaho, Oregon, and Montana claim eight of the top 15 between them. Among these is Montana’s Lone Mountain Ranch, a 106-year-old property (No. 9 in the rankings) just outside the boundaries of Yellowstone National Park. Twenty-seven historic log cabins, refurbished in 2016, are set on 148 acres of pristine wilderness, including 50 miles of hiking trails and 80 miles for cross-country skiing. “If you’re going to stay in Big Sky,” one survey respondent wrote, “this is the only place you need to know.”
But even states that are perhaps better known for their urban centers have plenty to offer. Nevada is a traveler favorite for the big-lights entertainment and high-rolling nightlife of Sin City, but take a seven-hour drive from Vegas to the crook of Nevada and California, and you’ll hit the Sierra Nevada and the Edgewood Tahoe Resort, on the south shore of the glacial lake, which comes in at No. 2 on this year’s list. And less than an hour from Seattle, in the foothills of the Cascades, No. 4 honoree Salish Lodge & Spa offers an easy escape from the bustle. (Twin Peaks fans will also remember its star turn in exterior shots of the Great Northern Hotel.) One reader described it as “cozy and romantic, a wonderful getaway in a stunning setting.”
Wyoming has the lowest population of any U.S. state, but offers access to two of the country’s most stunning national parks — Yellowstone and Grand Teton — and a wealth of other protected natural areas. No wonder that four of this year’s top 15 resorts call the Cowboy State home — including the property in the top spot. Read on to learn more about the resort T+L readers voted the best in the West.
1. The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming
This 33-key property, a longtime T+L reader favorite, claims the top spot for the third year in a row. Guests here can indulge in all their most-beloved ranch activities on the resort’s 30,000-plus acres of wilderness, from horseback riding to mountain biking to fly-fishing, but it’s the unexpected luxuries that seem to keep loyal customers returning again and again. What other dude ranch has private tastings in their hidden spirits vault? Or cheese-making lessons from the property’s dairy farmers, and a herd of Alpine, Nubian, and mini Nigerian goats? Or a ranch-to-table meal made only with ingredients grown at Brush Creek, including top-quality Wagyu beef? “The staff goes above and beyond,” one respondent said, “and the chef knows exactly how to please.”
More information: brushcreekranch.com
2. Edgewood Tahoe Resort, Stateline, Nevada
More information: edgewoodtahoe.com
3. Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, Montana
WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Score: 95.43
More information: triplecreekranch.com
4. Salish Lodge & Spa, Snoqualmie, Washington
More information: salishlodge.com
5. Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana
More information: pawsup.com
6. Four Seasons Resort and Residences Jackson Hole, Teton Village, Wyoming
More information: fourseasons.com
7. Brasada Ranch, Bend, Oregon
More information: brasada.com
8. Shore Lodge, McCall, Idaho
More information: shorelodge.com
9. Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Montana
More information: lonemountainranch.com
10. Amangani, Jackson, Wyoming
More information: aman.com
11. The Lodge at Jackson Hole, Jackson, Wyoming
More information: lodgeatjh.com
12. Coeur d’Alene Resort, Coeur D’Alene, Idaho
More information: cdaresort.com
13. Stephanie Inn, Cannon Beach, Oregon
More information: stephanieinn.com
14. Salishan Coastal Lodge, Gleneden Beach, Oregon
More information: salishan.com
15. Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico
More information: hyatt.com
See all of our readers’ favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World’s Best Awards for 2021.