World's Best Hotels 2013

By Travel + Leisure Staff
7/9/2013 9:40:18 AM

Appeared as "World's Best Awards 2013" in T+L Magazine

Picture a cypress-lined road in Tuscany. Now picture yourself arriving at a 10th-century former castle on more than 4,000 acres of rolling hills. Welcome to Castello di Casole, a new 41-suite hotel that already ranks as No. 2 in the world.

We asked our readers to vote in the 18th annual World's Best Awards for properties like Castello di Casole that have won them over-weighing in on categories such as rooms, location, service, food, and value. The resulting list is not only a go-to hotel resource for planning your next trip, but also reveals the destinations that are important now.

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One of the most exciting trends is the desire to get off the grid. For the first time this year, Four Seasons Resort Bora-Bora and the Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand (tied at No. 5) debuted among the top 10 hotels overall for their respective regions. And T+L readers crowned a new No. 1 hotel: Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp in Botswana.

Luckily, there are plenty of amazing places to stay closer to home. U.S. properties represent nearly 20 percent of the top 50 list, from Triple Creek Ranch (No. 13), with 23 intimate cabins with wood-burning fireplaces in western Montana to Elizabeth Pointe Lodge (No. 25) on Amelia Island, FL, with its turn-of-the-century-inspired décor and enormous marble soaking tubs.

Whether you're ready for a nature retreat or eager to pound the pavement of Hong Kong, Berlin, or Beverly Hills, there's a property for you among the World's Best Hotel winners. Read on, and let the daydreaming begin.

-Jennifer Flowers

For the world's best hotels, click here.

Courtesy of Mombo Camp

No. 1 Mombo Camp and Little Mombo Camp, Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Score: 96.60

Mombo Camp's nine tents blend flawlessly into the open plain of the Okavango Delta while retaining a luxurious feel. Private balconies make for prime bird watching, and each tent features mosquito netting on four-poster beds and both indoor and outdoor showers. Tent No. 1, the farthest from the dining area, is the most tranquil. Offering even more privacy are Little Mombo Camp's three guest rooms, which are set apart and feature a private plunge pool. Raised walkways connect tents and allow rhinos, elephants, and other animals to wander freely through the camp. Relax with a post-game drive cocktail in Little Mombo's treehouse-luxe library.

Courtesy of Hotel Castello di Casole

No. 2 Castello di Casole-A Timbers Resort, Casole d'Elsa, Italy

Score: 96.18

A cypress-lined road leads to the rolling 4,200-acre Tuscan estate, whose castle dates back to the 10th century. The 41 rustic suites incorporate oil paintings and reclaimed terra cotta, while Essere Spa, originally the estate's wine cellar, features seven treatment rooms and massages incorporating orange and basil essential oils.

Courtesy of Singita Game Reserves

No. 3 Singita Kruger National Park, South Africa

Score: 96.14

Two lavish lodges with treetop suites and riverside rooms make up this Singita property. The glass-walled Lebombo Lodge overlooks the plains and the Lebombo Mountain Range, while the Sweni Lodge is nestled among trees along the Sweni River. Join the twice-daily game drives and request a guided walk along the Mozambique border for a good chance of sighting of zebras, giraffes, and impalas.

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