10 Best Hotels in the USA

By Miriam B. Weiner
The hotel you choose can make or break your vacation. It doesn't matter that the surf was killer or the snow was pristine if the hotel doesn't stack up. You spent hours comparing prices, locations and continental breakfasts, but in the end, you can't tell whether or not a hotel will meet your expectations until you get there.

Or can you?

There are legions of guidebooks, magazines and websites aimed at helping you find the best hotel. Some rely on in-house experts while others gather guest reviews. To compile the U.S. News list of Best Hotels in the USA, our editors analyzed recommendations across many of these sources. Using this unbiased approach, we found the hotels that consistently come out on top.

From a starting list of more than 850 luxury hotels across 49 major travel destinations, 86 earned a spot on our exclusive list of the Best Hotels in the USA. Among them, there are 10 elite properties that rise to the very top as the most beautiful, most luxurious and most beloved hotels in the country.

10. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, Florida

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort's two championship courses have been catering to golfers of all levels for years. "Greg Norman outdid himself on these courses," says Vice President and Managing Director Edward Staros about the courses' designer. "They're challenging, but not so much that a novice golfer will be discouraged." But this resort isn't just for golfers; guests here also have access to the amenities provided by the nearby Ritz-Carlton, Naples, which also made our list of the Best Hotels in the USA.

9. Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York City, New York

Soaring above the southwest corner of Central Park, Donald Trump's 176-room hotel is ideal for guests who like to live big. Everything about the rooms -- from the windows to the beds to the marble bathrooms -- is oversized and immaculate. "One half expects the pleasant-sounding waterfall streaming down to the lower level food court to flow with champagne," Fodor's writes.

8. Four Seasons Hotel,
Las Vegas, Nevada

General Manager Mark Hellrung says, "We get a lot of different types of guests here," but they share an appreciation for the Four Seasons' staff. He goes on to say that a great experience begins with hiring personable, service-oriented people. Recent guests agree that the hotel's friendly and accommodating employees make the difference between a great experience and a perfect one.

7. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park, New York City

Resting on the southern edge of Central Park, this Ritz-Carlton is renowned for its sophisticated atmosphere. "There's a lot to like about this hotel," a Frommer's editor writes. "But what I like best is that this luxury hotel manages to maintain a homey elegance and does not intimidate you with an overabundance of style." Guests turn to it time and time again to surround themselves with 19th-century décor, to pamper themselves at La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa and to delight their taste buds with a meal at the Chef Laurent Tourondel's restaurant, BLT Market.

6. The Hermitage Hotel,
Nashville, Tennessee

Sitting in the heart of Nashville, The Hermitage Hotel has got the Music City experience down to a T. Beaux-Arts décor takes guests back to the days when the city was thriving both economically and intellectually, while state-of-the-art entertainment systems in each room make it easy to croon along with some of Nashville's favorite musicians. And thanks to the hotel's notoriously friendly staff, you're sure to get your fill of Southern hospitality.

5. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel, Seattle, Washington

This breathtaking hotel in downtown Seattle has been catering to Emerald City visitors since 1924, long enough to earn it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. And although the Olympic was recently adopted by the Fairmont Hotel group, guests and Seattleites agree that none of its original charm has been lost. For a real taste of Seattle history, head to the in-house oyster bar, Shuckers, which has been serving the best of the Pacific Ocean since the 1930s.

4. Mandarin Oriental,
San Francisco, California

San Francisco is all about the vistas. And guests at the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco can enjoy these beautiful views without ever having to get out of bed. But according to Concierge.com, that's not the only place you can enjoy the view. "For pure indulgence, it's hard to beat the Golden Gate Mandarin King rooms, which have a bathtub perched in the window." You'll find this five-star hotel in the third-tallest building in the city, towering over anything that threatens to block your gaze.

3. Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago, Illinois

In a city famous for its architecture, the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago has managed to distract many a visitor from the Windy City's more famous buildings. But while many guests rave about the hotel's stunning design, Vice President and Managing Director Colm O'Callaghan claims that it's the personnel's attention to guests' needs that makes a stay here truly wonderful.

2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii

Boasting luxurious rooms, prime beach access and a serenity pool so beautiful that it made the cover of the June 2011 edition of Condé Nast Traveler, this hotel easily earns the number-two spot on our list. But according to General Manager Thomas Steinhauer, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has a high guest return rate because it stays ahead of travel trends. "Catering to your changing needs: That's our game. And that's what makes this job so much fun."

1. Elysian Hotel Chicago

When in Chicago, the most particular luxury lovers look not to the notable chains to fulfill their hotel needs, but rather to the chic boutique. The beloved Elysian Hotel Chicago is as stylish as it's location in the Windy City's trendy Near North Side district, and it's just a short walk from the Magnificent Mile.

"Visitors would be hard-pressed to find a more elegant spot," Fodor's writes. Accommodations here are as sophisticated as they come, boasting crackling fireplaces, oversized tubs, high-tech entertainment systems and beds that you'll struggle to leave in the morning. Couple this with two fantastic restaurants, Balsan and RIA (which earned two Michelin stars this year), plus an award-winning spa and you'll see why the Elysian has been ranked number-one on our list of the Best Hotels in the USA.


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