The people have spoken. Eleven Opal Collection properties were awarded Condé Nast Traveler’s 2019 Readers’ Choice Awards. So what’s all the fuss about?
Thirty two years ago, Condé Nast Traveler – the legendary luxury lifestyle travel magazine – put out its first travel survey. Back then, it was just a short paper ballot. Today, it’s an annual comprehensive online survey, known as the Readers’ Choice Awards, which between the months of April and July allows people to vote on their favorite cities, hotels, islands, cruise lines, and more – we’re talking 30,000 listings. In 2019, a record 600,000 people made their voices heard.
So why does any of this matter? Because the ones casting the votes aren’t limited to some random panel of self-proclaimed travel experts who haven’t been to said places. It’s unbiased travelers who are the ones doing the voting. In fact, when a resort or travel destination earns a spot in one of the categories, it’s a bit like winning a People’s Choice Award…just for the travel industry.
Which means (cue Sally Field’s Oscar 1984 acceptance speech) “you like, you really like” several Opal Collection properties. That’s because 11 Opals were awarded this year, affirming what we have always known: Our destinations go above and beyond to create unique experiences you won’t just find anywhere. Here’s how.
Category: “Top 30 Resorts in Florida”
And the awards go to….
Sandpearl Resort [Clearwater Beach, FL]
Beachfront fire-pits, a climate-controlled zero-entry pool, and easy access to “America’s Number One Beach” as rated by TripAdvisor’s 2018 Travelers’ Choice Awards. These are just some of the perks when you stay at Sandpearl Resort. But one of the all-time favorite guest amenities is how, each evening, a staff member rings a “sunset bell” alerting guests that an awe-inspiring show is about to begin. Guests make their way to the western side of the resort, finding places along the private beach in secluded cabanas and hammocks to watch as the sun sets over the Gulf.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club [Longboat Key, FL]
A destination in itself, The Resort at Longboat Key Club is set on 410 acres on a secluded barrier island, providing a unique blend of privacy. While Sarasota proper is just a quick six-mile drive away, thanks to the property’s 45 holes of golf, full-service marina with 291 slips, five restaurants, and a fitness center, the chance of you ever feeling the need to leave this 223-room oasis is slim.
Zota Beach Resort [Longboat Key, FL]
Up 15 spots in this category since 2018’s awards, Longboat Key’s newest luxury beach resort is a chic study in casual beach cool. Modern architectural elements blend with richly grained wooden headboards found in the 187 guest rooms and suites. The resort’s secluded beach is prime ground for guests to soak up the sun and relax on the white sands.
Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa [Hutchinson Island, FL]
New to the list this year, the 178 rooms of Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa are a fresh take on an old standard – the luxury beach getaway, where travelers can escape the hectic rush of modern life and settle into the laid-back coastal cool. The first new beach resort to be built on Hutchinson Island in nearly 20 years, the resort opened in the spring of 2017, featuring two oceanfront restaurants, two swimming pools, and a signature spa.
Category: “Top 15 Hotels in Florida”
And the award goes to….
Edgewater Beach Hotel [Naples, FL]
Don’t expect a typical hotel room. The all-suite accommodations of this 125-unit property offer residential-style comforts within elegantly appointed living rooms, bedrooms, full kitchens, and private porches. But if looking for something really lavish, book one of the two Premium Suites. Located in either corner of the resort, the 2,000-square-foot accommodations offer panoramic views from a balcony that runs the expanse of all the rooms. It’s like living in your own luxury apartment.
Category: “Top 15 Resorts in the Florida Keys”
And the award goes to….
Sunset Key Cottages [Key West, FL]
Located on its own private Florida key just a seven-minute ferry ride away from Key West, this secluded cottage-studded resort marries a castaway vibe with opulent amenities. Hammocks hang between palm trees just steps from a luxurious spa and a restaurant that pays tribute to one of Key West’s most famous residents: Ernest Hemingway.
Category: “Top 30 Hotels in New England”
And the awards go to….
West Street Hotel [Bar Harbor, ME]
Up 10 spots in this category since 2018’s awards, Bar Harbor’s only luxury boutique hotel offers something you cannot find elsewhere in the state: the only rooftop pool in Maine, as well as a restaurant, Paddy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, which features furniture imported from Ireland and a glass-enclosed floor-to-ceiling rotisserie that slowly spit roasts meat for the menu’s Motherland classics.
Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina [Bar Harbor, ME]
Harborside isn’t just a name. This hotel’s premium accommodations, the Boathouse Suites, sit on the water of an operational marina and feature all the comforts of home as well as some luxurious details like rooftop patios and jacuzzies, gas fireplaces, and private decks – just feet from the water.