It’s been a busy year for the LATM family, traveling all over North America and discovering new and classic hotels and resorts. Beyond the traditional winners’ travelers explore and through extensive reviews, we have compiled our Top 10 Best North American Hotels & Resorts list for the year. From Anguilla to the Great White North and south of the U.S. border this list is filled with the top accommodations we personally visited this year.
*This list does not include Los Angeles area hotels and resorts as we provide a separate list on The Best of LA.
The 10 Best North American Hotels & Resorts are:
- The Fairmont, Whistler
- Cap Juluca, Anguilla
- El Secreto, Belize
- Costa Careyes, Mexico
- Four Seasons, Punta Mita
- Cliff House Resort & Spa, Ogunquit, Maine
- Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa, Paradise Valley, Arizona
- Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, South Carolina
- The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
- Hotel del Coronado, Coronado
Resting at the base of Blackcomb Mountain sits The Fairmont Chateau Whistler, a AAA/CAA Four Diamond Award ski-in-ski-out luxury resort. From its 550 rooms to its six dining venues, the hotel is bathed in modern elegance and classic alpine décor. Just a 15 minute walk from the town center, or a few minutes away via the free shuttle bus, the resort provides guests with the perfect location between the adjacent slopes and the nearby heart of Whistler Village. With a rooftop chapel, six dining venues, and a host of child-friendly activities, you’ll find this resort ideal for weddings, family vacations, and romantic evenings!
Expect impeccable service upon arrival, including a convenient online check-in system that allows guests to receive their keycard from the bell staff and head directly to their prepared accommodations. After a day skiing on the mountain slopes, warm yourself with a cup of hot chocolate from the Fairmont Snow Host.
For a taste of nightlife, sip on a martini in the Mallard Lounge, the resort’s club lounge with live entertainment. Discover the romantic ambiance of a steakhouse dinner at The Grill, elegantly featuring a stone fireplace and cherry wood wine cabinets. Beyond the delicious British Columbia cuisine at each dining venue, the resort offers a variety of activities. With a tranquil indoor/outdoor wading pool, and an enchanted Tree Fort within the gardens, there is plenty for couples and families to enjoy. A blend of class, comfort, and après-ski entertainment, this resort is a Canadian gem definitely worth of being on the 2015 list of top hotels and resorts!
By Susan Watkins
Cap Juluca sits majestically on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Maundays Bay Beach. The sand under your feet at this crescent beach is like velvet, and the calm crystal waters are a heart-stopping shade of aquamarine that defies description. Stretched across this gorgeous beach are Cap Juluca’s signature whitewashed Greco-Moorish style villas, world-renowned for unparalleled luxury, elegance and privacy. The resort is absolutely stunning in its beauty and ambiance.
Cap Juluca is named for the rainbow spirit of the Arawak, Anguilla’s earliest inhabitants. The legend goes that Juluca was a mystical being covered with fine and colorful feathers, said to bring luck to fishermen. Dazzling sugar white beaches beckon, and the warm turquoise waters bathe your soul with light and energy. At Cap Juluca, you may wander lush tropical gardens gleaming against terracotta pathways, or indulge in an icy mojito under the shade of a swaying palm.
Newly refurbished guest rooms and villas reflect Cap Juluca’s harmony with the ocean and are designed with your every comfort in mind. Each spacious room is beachfront, granting the most glorious views of the sea just beyond plantation shutters. Cool, light rooms are splashed with colors of the sun and sea and reflect an exotic elegance. Featured are every modern convenience – wireless internet, minibar, refrigerator, spacious marble bathrooms with delicious amenities and DVD. Your private terrace looking onto the sea will be your special place to unwind and enjoy the bliss of this resort.
The hospitable staff of Cap Juluca are truly some of the nicest people on earth! It is their pleasure to serve. “Are you enjoying your stay?” they will ask. “Is there anything I can do for you today?” From the General Manager to the bartenders to the housekeepers, this is a place where the staff knows you and greets you by name. The personal and gracious way of life at Cap Juluca is truly a refreshing step into the old-world Caribbean.
By Susan Watkins
Paradise Found. Heaven. Shangri-la. The Garden of Eden. Call it what you will, the exclusive boutique resort of El Secreto is an absolutely magical destination. Tucked away miles from town in a special little enclave on the northern part of Ambergris Caye, El Secreto can be accessed only by boat (or on foot many miles over a jungle path!) From the moment you step off of El Secreto’s private dock onto its gentle curve of white sandy beach, you enter a world unlike any other. For the privileged few, this secluded oasis provides the setting for a pampered experience beyond your imagination.
Sip iced coconut water with lime as you are welcomed by El Secreto’s gracious staff and shown to your villa. On your way through the lush tropical landscape, you intuitively know that while El Secreto is innately exclusive and elegant, it is also beautifully relaxed. Thirteen exotic thatched villas sit nestled offering beachfront, jungle flora and fauna, or picturesque lake views. Each is enchanting, designed to meet the approval of the most discriminating of travelers.
Inside your villa, you’ll find a sophisticated and contemporary love nest which also has a distinct island feel. Traditional elements of fine Belizean tropical woods and a luscious king sized bed with decadent silk coverings and Egyptian cotton linens create a restful ambiance. Cool marble bathrooms feature deep Jacuzzi tubs, but for a change of pace, you can luxuriate in your very own private outdoor rainforest shower! Every convenience is at the touch of your fingertips as the lighting system, LCD TV, music and air conditioning are all controlled by your villa’s own personal iPod.
Romantic and intimate, every part of El Secreto seems to be designed with your dreams in mind. The setting is idyllic – hammocks and all manner of island swings invite you to sit and rock your cares away. Gossamer white canopies surrounding beach cabana beds flutter in the balmy breeze.
As night falls on El Secreto, the magic continues. Soft pastel lights cast their colors against the water, twinkling lights shimmer in the palms and soft music drifts through the air. The El Secreto Restaurant invites you to enjoy the finest of cuisine under its huge thatched palapa with the azure ocean as its backdrop. Savor every moment at El Secreto, your haven from the world.
By Leslie Moore
Named after the turtles that return every year to nest on the pristine beaches, Costa Careyes is an ultra-exclusive resort community of 52 castles, villas and casitas protected from the rest of the world by a 32,000-acre land reserve. It is quickly apparent that life is very different here and that privacy and luxury are taken very seriously. The lifestyle and community of this curated destination has been nurtured and cultivated by the Brignone family for the past 45 years. Just to purchase a castle or villa in Costa Careyes, you must first meet all of 27 requirements that range from “To appreciate the music of sky, earth and sea…” to “having committed most of the seven deadly sins”, and only when you get to number 26 do you have to consider whether you can “…find the financial means to acquire a home.”
Depending on guests needs, Costa Careyes has something for everyone when it comes to accommodations. Choose from a palatial castle, private villa, cute casita or even a charming bungalow and no matter where you decide to stay your every need will be more than met. The castles are some of the most stunning homes on the coast of Mexico complete with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and rugged, jungle-swathed hills. The villas are designed in the unique style of architecture that is synonymous with Careyes. Similar to the castles, all have commanding views and lush tropical gardens encompass your own perfect little paradise; a true home away from home. The castles and villas are staffed with a butler, chef and maid to ensure that you quickly slip into absolute relaxation.
While the Careyes lifestyle is restful, lavish and exciting all at once, it is the Brignone’s dedication to helping the communities around Careyes that is most impressive. The Careyes Foundation was created to help the local communities by providing programs for children such as an early start in English and Math, surfing and bicycle polo lessons to encourage an active lifestyle and an innovative agriculture program designed to teach the children to grow their own vegetable and bring a sense of pride back to farming. During your trip, if you’re really lucky you may have the enviable opportunity to become involved with another one of these programs, the Careyes Foundation’s turtle preservation program. The Brignone family is justifiably proud of this program. In 1983, only 11 turtles returned to the beach to lay their eggs; thirty years later in the 2012/2013 over 1900 turtles nests were protected and 170,000 hatchings were released.
Punta Mita is a 1500 acre beachfront village located on the north part of Banderas Bay in the Mexican state of Nayarit. Once the gates open your driver takes you down a winding landscaped road and a few short minutes later you see it, the beautiful inviting entrance to the Four Seasons. Whether it is golf, fine dining, sailing, world-class fishing, spa treatments or just a simple relaxing getaway, there truly is something for everyone at this resort.
With the same latitude as the Hawaiian Islands, Punta Mita delivers comfortable weather year round with summer temperatures in the high 80’s and winters ranging in the 70’s. This makes for a great vacation spot no matter what time of the year travelers venture here. If you are a true resortist you will feel right at home at the Four Seasons. The General Manager, John O’ Sullivan and his staff go above and beyond to provide an experience guests will never forget. With the perfect blend of luxury, life at the resort is simple and your only task is to plan the perfect day each morning. If even that sounds too stressful, the staff will gladly customize a day full of activities just for you.
The Pacifico Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus is a golfers dream. This picturesque beauty has the ability to take your breath away with its 8 holes that border the Pacific Ocean and Banderas Bay. Picture yourself about to tee off on the 17th hole as you look to the right and you see a whale breaching right off the shore with sailboats dotting the background. Looking for a challenge? Try the infamous “Tail of the Whale”, which is the world’s only “natural island green”. Tee off across the ocean on to a narrow green, where even the best golfers get a bit challenged. Taking an amphibious golf cart across the ocean to make that birdie putt is certainly a once in a lifetime experience.
The Cliff House Resort & Spa located about an hour north of Boston is the ideal East Coast Retreat. Most rooms include an amazing ocean view, which really sets the tone for your stay. This New England hotel ups the romantic ante with its charming decor and outstanding service. From check-in to check-out their staff goes above and beyond. One of the highlights of the hotel is the restaurant terrace with a view that is breathtaking; even if the appreciation is induced largely by a dreamy cocktail menu. A cocktail or glass of wine overlooking the ocean is the perfect way to wind down. Consisting of several guestroom buildings spread out over a hotel campus overlooking a bold, dramatic coastline spectacular views of the ocean and coast abound both inside and outside the hotel. Photo opportunities are endless here.
Oceanview dining is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Cliff House restaurant as well as the Ocean Terrace lounge. The Terrace Patio offers the option of outdoor dining, (weather permitting; it is New England after all). Relax in any of the 4 pools including a lap pool with accessible zero entry and an outdoor infinity pool with a patio overlooking the ocean. The full-service Cliff Spa offers signature treatments inspired by the coast and an array of services including body treatments, massages, skin treatments, manicures and pedicures. Another bonus, as of recent the resort became pet-friendly so your four-legged friends can now join you for a relaxing escape.
By Susan Watkins
Indulge yourself at this intimate five-star boutique hotel. Located in a quiet downtown neighborhood just minutes from the historic district of Charleston, you will feel like you are a world away – kiss your cares goodbye and sink into the pampered life at Wentworth Mansion!
If you are fortunate enough to stay here you will feel every bit like a Royal. The spacious and utterly enchanting Suite Nine features a king-sized bed with decorative canopy, luxurious linens, wood parquet floors, a hand-carved marble fireplace for romantic evenings, antique armoire, vintage chandeliers, oriental carpets, wood-paneled walls, Scarlett O’Hara green velvet draperies, a comfortable library to curl up with a good book, a spacious bathroom with double sinks, two-person whirlpool tub and enormous shower, and a sun porch looking out on to the gardens.
The mansion is simply breathtaking. Bask in the serenity and splendor of this place. Note the beautifully preserved historic features of the home including the inlaid floors, classic moldings and the grand staircase fit for a King (or Queen!). Take a glass of wine to the rooftop cupola for an unparalleled 360-degree sunset view of the fabled skyline of Charleston. In the mornings, make it a point to see the sun illuminate the amber and sapphire glass of the vintage Tiffany windows over the entry doors.
A stay at Wentworth Mansion includes an evening wine and hors d’oeuvres reception as well as a full complimentary breakfast. Even bedtime is an occasion. In the parlor, you’ll find evening port, sherry and brandy set out on gleaming silver service, and house-made chocolates will be waiting in your room.
Tucked within the beautiful landscapes of Camelback Mountain, the Sanctuary Resort & Spa showcases a higher level of luxury and opportunity for renewal than any other wellness oasis we have experienced. This famed Scottsdale luxury resort introduces guests to a refreshing new spirit of sophistication and relaxed refinements, as they discover 53 acres of private paradise where formalities are replaced by fun, and the most luxurious amenity is the art of re-connection.
Relaxation and renewal are among the top things to do when visiting the stylish tranquility of Scottsdale’s finest luxury accommodations. Retreat to ultimate comfort within a spacious casita, suite or private estate home, each offering the most spectacular views of the famed Paradise Valley. Refresh your spirit as you indulge in the award-winning cuisine of Food Network star and Executive Chef Beau MacMillan.
Experience the intimate retreat of Sanctuary’s resort spa, one of the top destination spas in the country. The luxury spa offers a menu of Asian–inspired services in twelve indoor & outdoor treatment rooms. Enhanced by distinctive architecture and a breathtaking setting, the relaxing Zen meditation garden, tranquil reflecting pond, and Watsu® pool provide the ultimate relaxation. Luxury spa services and classes in Sanctuary’s state-of-the-art fitness center and movement studio include Pilates, meditation, Yoga, fitness & nutrition consultations, and more.