The best hotel in the world isn’t some urban hotspot in Tokyo, Paris, or New York, or some romantic hideaway on a beach in Mexico or on an Alpine mountaintop.
According to the 2019 edition of Travel & Leisure’s annual readers’ poll ranking the top places to stay around the world, it’s a veritable palace on a lake in Rajasthan, southwest of New Delhi in northwestern India — the Leela Palace Udaipur. Prices for this perfection range up to $6,550 a night for a suite — considerably more than what a room will cost at the most expensive hotels in America.
Earning a score of 98.89 out of 100, the 72-room, eight-suite luxury property was praised for its “breathtaking view of Lake Pichola,” its feeling of “glamour and romance,” its great service, and its sumptuous spa.
Udaipur is obviously a good destination for those who love luxury hotels, as the Travel & Leisure list includes two other establishments there, the Taj Lake Palace at number 38 and the Oberoi Udaivilas at number 49.
The Mumbai-based Leela company operates nine properties around India. The Leela Palace New Delhi also made the list, at number 31.
Travel & Leisure asked readers to rank hotels according to facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. The results spanned 33 countries and every continent but Antarctica. Asia was the winning region, with 22 of the top 100. Africa came next, with 17. There is also a good representation of the best hotels in Mexico and the Caribbean.
The world’s second-best hotel, according to the poll, was The Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming. Number three was the Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa’s Sabi Sands Game Reserve. There were 14 U.S. properties on the list in all, including The Lowell in New York City (number 98) and two in California’s Napa Valley, the North Block Hotel (tied for number 55) and Meadowood Napa Valley (number 75).