The people have spoken. Twelve Opal Collection properties were awarded Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards. So what’s all the fuss about?
Thirty-three 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.
So why does any of this matter? Because the ones casting the votes are unbiased and honest travelers looking for the most out of their vacations. Which means (cue Sally Field’s Oscar 1984 acceptance speech) “you like, you really like” several Opal Collection properties. That’s because 12 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….
#9. Zota Beach Resort [Longboat Key, FL]
Up six spots in this category since 2019’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.
#10. Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa [Hutchinson Island, FL]
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.
#14. Opal Sands Resort [Clearwater Beach, FL]
With a striking facade that curves along the coastline, Opal Sands Resort is the only hotel on Clearwater Beach where there’s a view of the ocean from every room – all 230 of them. But the water isn’t the only spectacle: custom pieces of art are found around every corner, including a 400-piece glass-and-metal sculpture shaped into a wave, a nine-foot metal grouper sculpture, and billboard-size water-themed paintings by native Floridian and master artist, Christopher Still. But there are other feasts for the senses here, too, including fresh local seafood and handmade pastas that will leave you happily stuffed at Sea-Guini, and, of course, “America’s Number One Beach,” as rated by TripAdvisor’s 2018 and 2019 Travelers’ Choice Awards, just a few easy strides away.
#17. Sandpearl Resort [Clearwater Beach, FL]
Beachfront fire-pits, a climate-controlled zero-entry pool, and easy access to “America’s Number One Beach.” 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.
#23. 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. Especially as the resort is about to complete a landmark top-to-bottom renovation that evokes an enviable yacht-sleek design vibe.
Category: “Top 15 Hotels in Florida”
And the award goes to….
#12. 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….
#12. 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 20 Hotels in New England”
And the awards go to….
#8. West Street Hotel [Bar Harbor, ME]
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.
#10. 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.
Category: “Top 25 Resorts in the Northeast”
And the awards go to….
#5. Lake Placid Lodge [Lake Placid, NY]
Individually designed so that no two are alike, the accommodations at this Arts and Crafts property in the heart of the Adirondacks are private, warm, and comfortable – as well as being a visual feast. In the Main Lodge, Lakeside Building, Cabins, and Overlook Rooms, stone fireplaces offer guests the chance to cozy up beside a roaring fire, while deep soaking tubs beckon from the bathrooms. And local art – in the form of sculpture, hand-carved furniture, and landscape paintings – are around every corner.
#15. Samoset Resort [Rockport, ME]
This family-friendly resort’s most notable claim to fame might just be their “Ultimate Backyard.” Located between the resort and the main road to property, the rolling lawn is packed with a plethora of active offerings, including a basketball court, a nine-hole disc golf course, multiple tennis courts, pickle ball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, badminton, and even a playground for the little ones.
#18. The Sagamore Resort [Bolton Landing, NY]
This historic resort located on its own private 70-acre island in Bolton Landing, right on Lake George, has mastered the art on on-site dining with its eight restaurants. You heard that right, eight. The options range from La Bella Vita’s highbrow Italian fare to a New York-style steakhouse to a surf and turf restaurant that is set on stilts over the lake.
Where to Stay Edgewater Beach Hotel | Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marina | Lake Placid Lodge | Opal Sands Resort | The Resort at Longboat Key Club | The Sagamore Resort | Sandpearl Resort | Samoset Resort | Sunset Key Cottages | West Street Hotel | Zota Beach Resort