What makes staying at a hotel a truly memorable experience? Does it depend more on the variety of the room service menu or is it the complimentary bathrobes that put a visit over the top of exceptional? For the past five years, U.S. News & World Report has compiled an annual list that sets out to answer these pressing questions, ranking hotels from around the world, including more than 2,500 resorts in the U.S. alone. They’ve also just unveiled their list for the Best U.S. Hotels, weighing in a multitude of factors during their ranking process.
The criteria for compiling the list feature a hotel score based on three essential factors: Awards and Recognition, Hotel Class and Guest Rating. Awards and recognition revolves around the number of total accolades a resort has received in the past year from other lists or other published recognition. To officially determine hotel class, U.S. News & World Report collaborated with multiple sources to calculate the average of a resort’s class rating and guest rating was estimated by calculating user review scores through websites such as TripAdvisor. Each category was scored between 1 and 10. Here’s an overview of the top five establishments that made U.S. News & World Report’s list for Best U.S. hotels for 2015:
5) Four Seasons Hotel – Seattle
Overlooking the majestic Elliott Bay, the Four Seasons Hotel boasts plenty of impressive features that have helped the hotel earn its status as the only five-star hotel in the state of Washington, according to Forbes. It’s also garnered the fifth spot on this best hotel list for its outstanding number of awards and proximity to the most frequented attractions to visit in the Emerald City. If you’re in pursuit of a true luxury experience in Seattle, a few nights at the Four Seasons Hotel will make anyone feel like they’re getting the V.I.P. treatment. What other hotels can provide exclusive tours of art studios such as the Chihuly Garden and Glass, the creation of acclaimed artist Dale Chihuly featuring fascinating displays of glass-art innovation, or other standard amenities such as full-on spa services and 24-hour in-room dining? The Four Seasons Hotel has already received multiple awards in the first month of 2015, such as the 2015 Condé Nast Traveler Gold Award and a 2015 AAA Five Star Award. As a bonus, this luxury resort is stationed right next to all the biggest Seattle attractions, such as the Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum.
4) The Allison Inn & Spa – Newberg, Oregon
Most people probably wouldn’t be able to tell you much about the city of Newberg, let alone point it out on a map. But that doesn’t stop this town from being home to what many consider to be one of the best luxury spa resorts in the entire country. Taking the No. 4 spot on the list is The Allison Inn & Spa, which finds itself making an appearance in the U.S. News & World Report top five rankings for a second year in a row. With only 77 rooms available, The Allison tries to create a more intimate environment, so guests truly soak in the serene surroundings of nature, vineyards and famous Oregon forests. Of course, the real gem here is the 15,000-square-foot spa, where practically anything is possible. A massage menu of more than a dozen variations of soothing rubdowns? Check. Enjoying cocktails during dusk on the sun terrace? You betcha. Outdoor yoga practices in their secluded gardens? All of these features add up to one relaxing experience, which helps explain its repeated awards from publications such as Travel + Leisure, AAA and Lonely Planet.
“More than 20,000 acres to explore take Southern hospitality to a whole new level at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff.”
3) The Inn at Palmetto Bluff – Bluffton, South Carolina
Southern hospitality takes on a whole new level at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a resort that’s surrounded by more than 20,000 acres of land that’s used for more outdoor activities than you can imagine. This hotel is definitely more geared toward active guests, whose yen for relaxing leans toward ventures such as horseback riding, canoeing across the May River or taking in a starry sky huddled next to an outdoor fire. The advantages to staying at The Inn at Palmetto Bluff go beyond the room service, heavenly mattresses or restaurants; it’s a hotel that brings the vacation and memories to you.
2) The Lodge at Sea Island – Sea Island, Georgia
Last year’s selection for the No. 1 spot on this list now falls back one spot, but that isn’t anything to scoff at. To put it simply, this five-star hotel has pretty much everything to cater to all interests. There are three championship golf courses, in case one just wasn’t enough for you. There’s a combination spa and fitness center that sprawls more than 65,000 square feet. Horseback riding, bird-watching excursions and guided boat tours are all standard amenities at The Lodge at Sea Island, providing anything but a “standard” hotel experience.
1) Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa – Rancho Santa Fe, California
Supreme scenery, a wide selection of deluxe resort accommodation packages and just about every kind of amenity you can think of were enough reasons to give the Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa the top spot on the list. Besides excellent markings in customer service, room furnishings and all the on-site activities available, it essentially boils down to the variety that’s abundant at this hotel that puts it over the top. Guests can customize their stay with options for private luxury suites or their own countryside villas, The list of awards this resort has won is simply too long to enumerate, and everything from its dozens of spa packages to first-class dining experiences and daily outdoor event calendar give couples infinite ways to create the hotel stay of their dreams.