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.
These days, travelers often look to Southeast Asiafor its top-tier wellness programs and spacious resorts, which are just as much about the outside as in.The best resorts in Southeast Asia, according to T+L readers, showcase not only a particular country’s unique culture through architectural styles and restaurants but also their secluded natural surroundings, each creating a brand of luxury with a deep sense of place.
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.
Like last year, Thailand captured a majority of the spots, with six out of 10 resorts. Some newcomers have made the list, including the lush Banyan Tree Samui (No. 10). Life at this resort, located on a secluded bay in the Gulf of Thailand, feels incredibly exclusive with a private pool outside every villa. As one reader said, “This place is simply paradise on earth.”
At No. 10 is the Anantara Chiang Mai, whose guests enjoyed its buzzy rooftop lounge, which has panoramic river and city views. T+L readers always love Aman properties and their dedication to service, local culture, design and wellness. One T+L reader singled out newcomer Amanpuri (No. 3), in Phuket, for its “good beach, good service, and location.” Another reader named it “my favorite lodging in the world…and we travel a lot.” As for the Amansara (No. 8), in Siem Riep, a showstopping example of 1960s New Khmer architecture, one reader simply wrote, “Wonderful hotel. Great location.”
In Vietnam, Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai gained traction, going from No. 10 to No. 6 on the strength of its impressive facilities, which include three infinity pools, eight overwater spa suites, and 100 spacious villas, each with its own courtyard.
But it’s another resort in Vietnam — Six Senses Con Dao — that nabbed the coveted No.1 spot, with one reader exclaiming it the “best place ever.”
Read on to find out what readers thought made it so outstanding and which other hotels join it on this year’s list of best resorts in Southeast Asia.
1. Six Senses Con Dao, Con Dao, Vietnam
Since opening in December 2010, Six Senses Con Daohas amassed a loyal following, and it’s no wonder why. Fronting a quiet beach in a protected national marine park, with the dramatic backdrop of the verdant Lo Voi Mountains, it feels deliciously secluded. A wonderful example of luxury with a deep sense of place, the resort was designed to reflect a traditional fishing village, with 50 private, ocean-facing pool villas and residences built from reclaimed teakwood and sustainable materials. One reader called it “a great sustainable destination.” As with any Six Senses resort, wellness plays a big factor: it has five treatment rooms and an outdoor yoga and meditation pavilion, plus programs that run the gamut from mind exercises to life coaching and immunity boosting tutorials. “Had an amazing time and am eager to return as soon as possible,” proclaimed one reader.
More information: sixsenses.com
2. Pimalai Resort & Spa, Koh Lanta, Thailand
More information: pimalai.com
3. Amanpuri, Phuket, Thailand
More information: aman.com
4. Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, Siem Reap, Thailand
More information: raffles.com
5. Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai, Thailand
6. Four Seasons Resort the Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam
More information: fourseasons.com
7. Cape Fahn Hotel, Koh Samui, Thailand
More information: capefahnhotel.com
8. Amansara, Siem Reap, Cambodia
More information: aman.com
9. Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand
More information: anantara.com
10. Banyan Tree Samui, Koh Samui, Thailand
More information: banyantree.com
See all of our readers’ favorite hotels, cities, airlines, cruise lines, and more in the World’s Best Awards for 2021.