When plunging into uncharted territory—whether the wilds of Botswana or the refined boulevards of Paris—the choice of a home base matters. More than just a place to rest one's head, the best hotel becomes a home away from home, with benefits like prime location, mouthwatering food, and pitch-perfect amenities. Plus, staff who make you feel like they want you to return again and again.
These are the hotels we searched high and low for in this year's second-annual Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards. We stayed in hundreds upon hundreds (ok, thousands) of hotels from Vietnam and Chile to New York City and Las Vegas to narrow down the properties that deserved an extra round of applause. No matter their location (cities, countryside, islands) or size (resorts, inns), they have all mastered stellar service, truly great amenities, and noteworthy style. As our executive editorial director Arabella Bowen notes, "Every traveler will find a dream hotel on this list, no matter what their travel personality happens to be."
This year's winners fall into nine distinctive categories: New & Noteworthy (the most exciting new hotels this year); Trendsetter (hotels that are changing the hospitality landscape); Global Icon (top-of-mind, landmark hotels); Trip of a Lifetime (destination hotels that offer a complete escape); Local Experience (go-to hotels for a sense of place); Royal Pedigree (hotels with a royal past); Fun for All Ages (hotels that are terrific for kids and adults alike); City Chic (contemporary, stylish city hotels); and Best All-Inclusives (worry-free resorts include it all in the rate).
For a serious case of wanderlust, visit Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2012.