More than half a million well-heeled readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine cast votes for their favorites, from hotels to suitcase brands and everything in between, for the magazine’s annual cavalcade of bests. New England made a strong showing in many categories, but there were a few surprises among the usual winners.
The title of top destination spa in the United States didn’t go to any of the Canyon Ranch or Miraval properties across the country (Canyon Ranch in Lenox came in at 15, and Miraval in Lenox came in at 7). Instead, top honors went to Winvian Farm in Litchfield Hills, Conn. The 113-acre estate was once best known for its theme cottages, but now it seems the travelers, at least Condé Nast Travelers, have discovered its spa services and fine dining.
Another surprise came in the best US airport category. Most of the winners here are smaller airports located in secondary markets. Rhode Island’s T.F. Green was named the third best airport in the country, with travelers explicitly calling out its easy-to-navigate design and central location. The airport has been growing steadily as Breeze Airways continues to increase its presence at T.F. Green and add more routes across the country. Bradley International in Hartford was named the sixth best airport in the country. Breeze Airways has also been responsible for Bradley’s resurgence. Bradley, the second largest airport in New England after Logan, won points from travelers for its onsite parking and relaxed atmosphere.
When it came to hotels in Boston, Condé Nast readers stuck by old favorites. The Liberty Hotel, which opened in 2007, was named the 19th best hotel in the world by CNT readers. Although many posh hotels have opened in Boston over the past five years, the Liberty was the only Boston hotel that placed in the category. The Vanderbilt in Newport was named the 15th best hotel in the world (way to go, Rhode Island!), making it the highest New England entry on the prestigious list. It was also named the best hotel in the Northeast.
Condé Nast readers also ranked cities, and Boston came in at number 6 on the list of best big cities. Chicago took top honors.
Closer to home, the Liberty also topped the list of best Boston hotels. But there were some surprises and upsets on the list. The Liberty was followed by the Intercontinental, the Mandarin Oriental, and the tucked-away Boxer. The means perennial CNT favorites XV Beacon and the Boston Harbor Hotel were bumped down the list. The Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport made its first showing on the list this year at number 9. The newly renovated Langham did not make the list. Here’s a more complete look.
Top Boston hotels as named by Condé Nast Traveler readers:
- The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel
- Intercontinental Boston
- Mandarin Oriental
- The Boxer
- Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton
- Boston Harbor Hotel
- Newbury Hotel
- XV Beacon
- Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport
- Hotel Commonwealth
Twin Farms, the luxury escape located in Barnard, Vt., was named the top resort in New England. Wentworth by the Sea in New Castle, N.H., placed second, and Chatham Bars Inn rounded out the top three. Here’s the full list.
Top New England resorts as named by Condé Nast Traveler readers:
- Twin Farms, Barnard, Vt.
- Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, N.H.
- Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham
- Cliff House Maine, Cape Neddick, Maine
- Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe, Vt.
- Woodstock Inn & Resort, Woodstock, Vt.
- Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Harwich
- Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
- The Lodge at Spruce Peak, Stowe, Vt.
- Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Maine
Delta was named the top airline in the US, with Frontier landing at the bottom of the list at number 10. Viking was named the best river cruise company, and Norwegian Cruise Lines was at the top in the mega-ship category. Virgin Voyages was the readers’ favorite large-ship cruise line.
And, if you take issue with the winners, you can always subscribe and vote for your favorites. A word of warning: Votes cast for Quality Inn or La Quinta might not make a showing on these lists.