The South is commonly painted with a broad brush — thought to be a monolithic area of angel oaks, indulgent meals, and honeyed accents. But in fact, the Southeast is richly diverse: the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia shares little with the white-sand seashores of Alabama’s Gulf Coast, accents shift regionally from twang to lilt to television-host impartial, and even inside a single state, the barbecue debates run as sizzling and fierce as any political disagreement (Team Vinegar!).
That’s excellent news for vacationers, since you might discover the area for years and by no means have the similar expertise twice. The one factor you’re assured to seek out, irrespective of the locale? That legendary Southern hospitality — one thing this yr’s winners for the World’s Best resort lodges in the South deliver in spades.
Every yr, for the World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on journey experiences round the globe — to share their opinions on the high lodges, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airways, and extra. Hotels were rated on their amenities, location, service, meals, and general worth. Properties had been labeled as metropolis or resort based mostly on their areas and facilities.
Related: The World’s Best Awards 2019
Some acquainted names seem on this yr’s listing of the high resort lodges in the South: seven of the 10 properties chosen by readers had been on final yr’s lineup, too. Perennial favourite Blackberry Farm, in the Great Smoky Mountains, jumped three slots this yr, coming in at No. 4. Its expansive 4,200-acre property, legendary culinary program, and top-of-the-line service have helped it earn a status as one in all the nation’s best retreats. As one reader put it, “Blackberry Farm could not be any better. It is absolutely phenomenal.”
Just throughout the state line in North Carolina, the Swag presents a extra rustic sensibility that’s no much less welcoming, with rough-hewn wooden furnishings, handmade quilts, and stone fireplaces that maintain the place cozy year-round. One fan likened it to “camp for adults,” saying that the property “has all the amenities you’d want to take advantage of.”
Ahead, our full listing of winners for the World’s Best resort lodges in the South.
10. Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Highlands, North Carolina
More info: oldedwardsinn.com
9. Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia
More info: theinnatlittlewashington.com
8. The Cloister at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia
More info: seaisland.com
7. The Fearrington House Inn, Pittsboro, North Carolina
More info: fearrington.com/inn
6. Montage Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
More info: montagehotels.com
5. Primland, Meadows of Dan, Virginia
More info: primland.com
4. Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
More info: blackberryfarm.com
3. The Swag Resort, Waynesville, North Carolina
More info: theswag.com
2. Lodge at Sea Island, Sea Island, Georgia
More info: seaisland.com
1. Inn at Willow Grove, Orange, Virginia
From the exterior, this yr’s first-place winner seems like so many different Southern resorts, set inside a stately 18th-century mansion that oozes grandeur. But step inside and also you’ll see how the property’s recent, up to date method units it aside. The design is heat and eclectic, with an edge, and overstuffed leather-based furnishings and classic items mingle with animal-print accents and industrial gadgets. The location — simply two hours from D.C., nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the center of Virginia’s wine nation — is a dream for individuals who need to hike, bike, and go vineyard-hopping inside simple attain of a significant airport. “As you enter the grounds, you’ll feel your stress slip away,” mentioned one fan. Of course, the service is superlative as effectively. One reader gushed over the considerate staffer who “brought hot beignets and coffee to us in our lovely cottage at 5 a.m. before we went hot-air ballooning.”
More info: innatwillowgrove.com
Want to expertise one in all the World’s Best resorts for your self? This October, be a part of Travel + Leisure editor in chief Jacqueline Gifford and Food & Wine’s government wine editor Ray Isle for an intimate journey to California’s Wine Country throughout fall harvest season. With the iconic Meadowood Napa Valley as your private home base, you’ll be handled to unique tastings at a few of the area’s greatest wineries, together with a handful which are usually closed to the public. Book your trip now earlier than spots disappear.
See all of our readers’ favourite lodges, cities, airways, cruise strains, and extra in the World’s Best Awards for 2019.