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 shores of the Continent always beckon. Still, travelers are as discerning as ever when it comes to determining the best resorts in Europe. As usual, Greece and Italy make a strong showing, but a smattering of properties in the U.K., Switzerland, Spain, and Portugal round out the far-reaching list, proving that the countryside is just as adored as the waterfront.
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 cities or resorts based on their locations and amenities.
After zero presence on the 2020 list, the U.K. captured a spot this year with Chewton Glen in the English countryside at No. 14. Ireland’s famed Ballyfin came in at No. 12, which was described by one respondent as having “elegance and luxury, with the feel of a country home.” Portugal managed to nab one spot again but with a different property this year. Lauded as a “beautiful hotel near Sintra with a great golf course,” Penha Longa Resort secured the eighth spot on the list.
Hotels in Italy made a strong showing. The scoring highest was Il Sereno Lago di Como in Torno, Italy, which claimed spot No. 2. According to one voter, the modern property is “a breath of fresh air in old Lake Como.” Another admirer wrote, “The rooms are beautifully crafted, and each element has been carefully thought through to pamper the guest.” (Perhaps feedback like this is what inspired the hotel to debut a shoppable suite this past summer that lets guests purchase the products they’ve fallen for?)
But rivaling Italy for clout on this year’s list is Greece, which has four hotels on the list, including the Santorini oasis that secured No. 1. Keep reading to find out what made it such a standout, and see the rest of the winners.
1. Grace Hotel, Auberge Resorts Collection, Imerovigli, Greece
Moving up from the last spot on last year’s list, this cliff-top retreat on the quieter side of Santorini captured readers’ hearts in a big way. The stunning white-washed resort offers sweeping views of both the Aegean Sea and the surrounding blue and white buildings. (Elegant rooms echo the color scheme, which gives a seamless look and feel to the resort.) The minimalism continues throughout the modern restaurant, fitness center, and outdoor spaces, with only the massive infinity pool diverting attention from the sea. Guests obsessed over the “best sunset views on the whole island,” and one reviewer wrote simply that “the resort is magical and the food is divine.”
More information: aubergeresorts.com
2. Il Sereno Lago di Como, Torno, Italy
More information: serenohotels.com
3. Canaves Oia Epitome, Santorini, Greece
More information: canaves.com
4. Hotel Il Pellicano, Porto Ercole, Italy
More information: hotelilpellicano.com
5. Katikies Mykonos, Mykonos, Greece
More information: katikiesmykonos.com
6. Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento, Italy
More information: exvitt.it
7. Hotel Crillon le Brave, Crillon-le-Brave, France
More information: crillonlebrave.com
8. Penha Longa Resort, Sintra, Portugal
More information: penhalonga.com
9. Canaves Oia Boutique Hotel, Santorini, Greece
More information: canaves.com
10. Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, St. Moritz, Switzerland
More information: badruttspalace.com
11. Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa, Málaga, Spain
More information: fincacortesin.com
12. Ballyfin, County Laois, Ireland
More information: ballyfin.com
13. Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como, Lake Como, Italy
More information: mandarinoriental.com
14. Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa, New Milton, England
More information: chewtonglen.com
15. Caruso, a Belmond Hotel, Ravello, Italy
More information: belmond.com
See all of our readers’ favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World’s Best Awards for 2021.