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Travel + Leisure's Hotel Values

The key attributes we consider when recommending hotels

At Travel + Leisure, we know a hotel can make or break a trip. We love checking into a room with a fluffy white bed and a balcony with a view as much as our readers do. However, we also know a lot more than that goes into making a hotel experience truly special. The best hotels provide personalized service and thoughtful amenities, and have authentic interactions with their communities. Here, we dig into all the categories we consider when choosing a hotel to feature in a T+L article, and the key attributes that make a hotel excel within each. Your vacation is as important to us as our own, and these are the same criteria we use when searching for hotel stays for ourselves. As your trusted travel source, we hope to help you find your new favorite home away from home.

Our Hotel Values


A great hotel room feels luxurious and stylish, but also functional (think: power outlets next to the bed, a full-length mirror, and a well-positioned TV). Since we don’t like to feel cramped on vacation, space also wins us over: we want plenty of room to unpack and spread out — and we love a sizable bathroom (especially with a bathtub or rain shower). We expect cleanliness all around, and a comfortable bed that tempts us to stay a while. Of course, outdoor space and a great view go a long way. 


We believe hotel guests should feel pampered, not nickel and dimed. We prefer hotels with thoughtful amenities aimed at making our days and nights easier, like filtered water, Wi-Fi, and a good iron or steamer. We love when hotels go the extra mile and provide a stocked minibar, a welcome gift, and an outdoor shower or Jacuzzi. Extras like on-site laundry, a spa and gym, and a great concierge are likely to secure a spot on our lists.


We look for hotels with locations that are convenient or spectacular (or both!), whether they’re walking distance from a city’s top sights or on a remote island with access to a pristine private beach. We always take the destination into account and think about our readers’ intent — and try to pinpoint the ultimate home base in every travel situation.


When it comes to connecting with a hotel and destination, personalized service is key. We love a knowledgeable local concierge who’s excited to share insider recommendations and a welcoming staff that tends to every detail of a stay from start to finish. Above all, we want to make sure guests feel welcomed and taken care of.


A good hotel restaurant can be a destination in its own right, and we’re constantly on the lookout for notable chefs, buzzy collaborations, local ingredients, and downright delicious food that can be enjoyed without leaving the premises. Give us a room service option that maintains quality and we’re there (no soggy waffles, even from bed, please). Figurative bonus points are awarded to hotel restaurants that add something new and exciting to a destination’s existing culinary scene.


While we often cover five-star, luxury hotels, we’re also always thinking about value for the money spent at any price point. Will guests feel like they got what they paid for? Are valuable extras included in the fee? If there is a way to maximize a stay with rewards points or a chance to save on your booking, we’ll tell you about it. 


Experiences are what make our travel memories last forever, and we value hotels that offer unique ways to showcase their destination, on and off their grounds. We’re looking for it all: family programming, romance, adventure, and chances to get involved in the community through volunteer opportunities, nature outings, and more. We also appreciate those that support their local small businesses. 


We place value on design that’s thoughtful, cohesive, and plays into a property’s personality. We want to feel a true sense of place, wherever we may be. We believe in letting a destination with natural beauty shine — and paying homage to a building’s history. 

Accessibility and Inclusivity

We firmly believe that every person deserves to be included and respected as a traveler, and we place extra value on a hotel with features and services that make visits easier for guests with disabilities. We also expect a hotel we feature to be a safe and welcoming place for BIPOC travelers, LGBTQ+ travelers, and anyone who might come through its doors.


We acknowledge the effects travel can have on the environment. That is why we believe it is important to support hotels that operate using environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, educating guests and inspiring them to do the same. It is also critical for hotels to give back to and empower their local communities.

Our Annual Hotel Awards

World’s Best Awards

Every year, hundreds of thousands of T+L readers vote on their favorite hotels across the globe in our industry-leading World’s Best Awards survey. The survey is developed by T+L editors in association with research firm Proof Insights, and hotels are rated by readers based on categories that include rooms/facilities, location, service, food, and value. See our methodology here.

T+L 500

T+L 500 is our directory of the most trusted hotels as voted by our readers. Derived from the results of each year’s World’s Best Awards survey, winners are grouped into eight geographical regions: Africa and the Middle East; Asia; Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific; Canada; the Caribbean; Europe; Mexico, Central America, and South America; and the United States.

It List

Our annual list of the 100 best new or renovated hotels in the world — tested and selected by T+L editors — It List includes major openings and long-awaited renovations along with under-the-radar gems. Winners are divided into seven categories: beach getaways, city hotels, adventure resorts, affordable luxury stays, over-the-top retreats, wellness escapes, and U.S. resorts.