Oceanfront pools at the sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort
Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Most Popular Hotels: Reader Favorites

By Andrew Harper Staff

The Harper Way | January 10, 2017

Andrew Harper members are a loyal bunch. Once they find their favorite hotel, they tend to book it repeatedly. So it's always exciting when new reader favorites enter the list. Here are the 20 most popular hotels of 2016, along with reader comments on what they liked most.

Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee

Andrew Harper members are a loyal bunch. Once they find their favorite hotel, they tend to book it repeatedly. So it's always exciting when new reader favorites enter the list. Here are the 20 most popular hotels of 2016, along with reader comments on what they liked most.

Blackberry Farm

Walland, Tennessee

© beall + thomas photography

Selected as an Andrew Harper Readers' Choice winner six years in a row (2010–2016), Blackberry Farms is renowned for its signature—and award-winning—"Foothills Cuisine," impeccable grounds, breathtaking views and luxurious spa. This country house hotel of 68 rooms is set on a 4,200-acre estate bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cottages, suites and multi-bedroom homes are enhanced by fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and porches. Amenities include a spa, gym, outdoor pool, tennis, cooking classes, fly-fishing and riding stables.

Reader comments: “This was a wonderful, pastoral, special place. We enjoyed taking advantage of the courtesy car to visit the National Park.”

Read more about Blackberry Farm

The Resort at Pelican Hill

Newport Coast, California

Promenade Pool and Pacific View Courtesy of Pelican Hill

The Resort at Pelican Hill is great for families, golfers or spa-goers. Set on 504 acres south of Los Angeles, this lavish resort has 204 bungalow rooms and suites, about half with sea views. Also, 128 villas offer two-, three- or four-bedroom configurations with full kitchens and butler service. The fine formal restaurant at Pelican Hill offers Northern Italian cuisine.

Reader comments: “Dinners and venues were excellent, as was the bungalow suite.”

Read more about The Resort at Pelican Hill

The Lowell

New York City, New York

The Upper East Side has never felt more comfortable. This refined hotel is set along a tree-lined street between Madison and Park avenues close to notable museums, galleries and shops. The 47 suites are among the finest in the city, and it now offers a recently refurbished lobby with new Majorelle restaurant and garden terraces. Attentive service complements a peerless location.

Reader comments: “THE BEST NYC Hotel I have ever stayed in. This was my 11th stay at the Lowell and the front desk manager presented me with a gift candle and boxed macaroons to express his appreciation for my loyalty.”

“Love the 'small' hotel. A refuge from the street and all the craziness.”

Read more about The Lowell

The Stafford London

London, United Kingdom

The Stafford is a consistent winner of our Readers' Choice Awards and it's no surprise why. This ideally located 105-room hotel consists of three structures surrounding a 17th-century courtyard next to Green Park. Its convivial ambience is further exemplified by the celebrated American Bar and The Lyttelton restaurant.

Reader comments: “Excellent service by everyone that works at the hotel. Best location, walking distance to many places. Wonderful bar and lovely outside area.”

Read more about The Stafford

Windsor Court Hotel

New Orleans, Louisiana

Pool with fitness club view Marco Ricca

The distinguished 316-room Windsor Court Hotel is near the French Quarter but just far enough away from it to offer guests serenity. Guest rooms and suites are decorated in a traditional English style with French accents to reflect the city’s heritage. They feature Italian marble baths, and many suites have private balconies and separate living areas.

Reader comments: Being that this is New Orleans, the bar, of course, is really cool. They have a variety of distillers to choose from.

Read more about The Windsor Court

The Breakers Palm Beach

Palm Beach, Florida

Imperial suite living room The Breakers Palm Beach

Set amid 140 acres, The Breakers Palm Beach is a legendary oceanfront resort. The 538 bright guest rooms and suites are decorated in a tropical palette and provide lavish marble baths. Amenities include two golf courses, a spa, 10 tennis courts, new Ocean Fitness center and a Mediterranean-style beach club.

Read more about The Breakers Palm Beach

Enchantment Resort

Sedona, Arizona

Casitas along the base of the Boynton Canyon at Enchantment Resort © Lonna Tucker

Voted a Best Spa Resort and Best Golf Resort in 2016, Enchantment lives up to its name. The 70-acre resort is secluded in a box canyon surrounded by sensational red rock formations. The 218 lodgings come with appealing Southwest-inspired décor, and guests can take cooking classes and indulge in wine tastings. They also have exclusive access to the Tom Weiskopf-designed Seven Canyons golf course.

Reader comments: “Stunning location!”

Read more about Enchantment Resort


Honolulu, Hawaii

Photo by Andrew Harper Photo by Andrew Harper

This oceanfront 453-room enclave has it all: a quiet beach, prime shopping, neoclassic French cuisine and a freshwater pool. Generous rooms include twin or king beds, desks, large lanais with chaises longues and separate sitting areas with love seats, coffee tables and occasional chairs; most offer ocean views.

Reader comments: “I was surprised to find such a beautiful and peaceful property in a very busy and popular location. Wonderful service and delicious food!”

“Everything about this hotel is outstanding. I still think it is the only place to stay in Waikiki.”

Read more about Halekulani

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa

Paradise Valley, Arizona

Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa

Set on the tranquil northern slope of Camelback Mountain is the sophisticated Sanctuary Resort & Spa. This distinctive contemporary boutique property is five miles from the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and seven miles from the Desert Botanical Garden. Truly a retreat, it is centered on a huge infinity-edge pool and chic spa featuring a 75-foot outdoor lap pool and an array of Asian-inspired treatments. Many of the 105 lodgings have marvelous views of the desert valley landscape.

Reader comments: “Andrew Harper benefits and rating made this hotel worth a visit. Services and treatment were first-rate.”

Read more about Sanctuary Resort & Spa

The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Kiawah Island, South Carolina

Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. © Kiawah Island Golf Resort

Voted a Best Beach Resort in 2016 by our readers, this beautifully appointed resort is set along a 10-mile beach on private Kiawah Island. The four-story hotel contains 255 casually elegant accommodations outfitted with every conceivable amenity. Ocean View units at the end of each wing directly face the sea.

Read more about Kiawah Island Golf Resort


Canyon Point, Utah

Mr. Harper calls Amangiri's architecture "austere but appropriate" to its stupendous desert setting. A winner of our Readers' Choice Awards for six years in a row, Amangiri is an exceptional resort. Its principal amenity is a serene 25,000-square-foot spa with gym. But if you leave the property, there are many activities to choose from, including guided hikes, national park excursions, boating and fishing.

Reader comments: “One of our favorite properties; beautiful place, personable management, staff very accommodating.”

“We loved our stay here. The hotel was incredibly beautiful, and if we were golfers, it would have been an even better location. The beach was lovely, and the little buggy to take you there was great.”

Read more about Amangiri

Hôtel d'Aubusson

Paris, France

Hotel d'Aubusson Hotel d'Aubusson

The handsome 49-room Hôtel d’Aubusson occupies a converted 17th-century townhouse in Saint-Germain-des-Prés (yet it is only a short walk from the Louvre and other Right Bank landmarks across the Pont Neuf footbridge). The oak-beamed grand salon just off the reception lobby contains genuine Aubusson tapestries, fine antique furniture, an exposed-beam ceiling and a mammoth stone fireplace.

Reader comments: “Excellent hotel, great location and amazingly quiet inside despite the buzz of St. Germaine de Pres. Absolutely loved the jazz bar and the longtime head waiter in the bar.”

“The location of this hotel is perfect for walking to almost everything you'd want to see and do in Paris. Front desk will arrange for a taxi if needed. Discovery Package (4-night minimum) is an excellent value and includes VIP passes for 2 people for 2 consecutive days. Jazz lounge is excellent for evening entertainment. Loved the breakfast dining room, and the staff was so friendly and accommodating! Would definitely return and recommend.”

Read more about Hôtel d'Aubusson


Jackson, Wyoming

Breathtaking. Stylish. Impressive. Those are all words Mr. Harper has used to describe Amangani. This resort atop 7,000-foot East Gros Ventre Butte is a mere 15 minutes from downtown Jackson. A low-profile sandstone structure houses 40 guest suites featuring sitting areas with fireplaces, large redwood baths (two vanity alcoves, soaking tubs, slate showers) and covered decks. Guests enjoy a 115-foot year-round heated outdoor pool, health spa and gym.

Read more about Amangani

Baccarat Hotel New York

New York City, New York

The Bar at the Baccarat Hotel in New York © Eric Laignel

Opened in March 2015, the Baccarat is a sophisticated and elegant property that makes a notable addition to New York’s roster of hotels. In fact, Mr. Harper calls it "a significant achievement." Set in the first 12 floors of a 50-story tower, it is located directly opposite the Museum of Modern Art. The Grand Salon is extravagantly decorated with massive chandeliers, beautiful display cases and a mica-flecked vaulted ceiling. The 114 rooms and suites, designed by Gilles & Boissier, are just as impressive, with floor-to-ceiling windows and custom-made furniture.

Reader comments: “The Baccarat is a beautiful hotel and is worth a visit."

Read more about the Baccarat

San Ysidro Ranch

Santa Barbara, California

Rated a rare 98 by Mr. Harper, San Ysidro Ranch has also won Readers' Choice Awards for the last five years. A sophisticated 500-acre cottage-style resort in the leafy foothills of Montecito, just outside Santa Barbara, it offers 41 handsome lodgings amid impeccably landscaped grounds. Dining venues include the award-winning indoor/outdoor Stonehouse restaurant and a bistro-bar.

Read more about San Ysidro Ranch

Four Seasons Hualalai

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

© Don Riddle

Consistently a Readers' Choice award winner, this grand resort is set on a half-mile rocky shoreline on the north Kona Coast. Four lodging crescents house 243 stylishly appointed rooms featuring lanais and lavish baths. The Four Seasons Hualalai features a spa, gym, seven pools, tennis courts, manicured Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

Read more about Four Seasons Hualalai

The Peninsula Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago

Steps from the world-class shopping of the Magnificent Mile stands this sophisticated luxury hotel. The 331-room property on North Michigan Avenue offers elegant, high-tech guest accommodations that have been redesigned to feature a more contemporary style. Four dining and bar venues include the indoor/outdoor Shanghai Terrace for distinctive Chinese selections.

Read more about The Peninsula Chicago

Hotel Plaza Athénée New York

New York City, New York

The distinguished Hotel Plaza Athénée is set along a quiet, tree-lined residential street on New York’s Upper East Side. The overall aesthetic is that of a European townhouse. The 143 guest accommodations are furnished with French antiques and handpainted murals. Dining options include the charming Bar Seine and the lovely restaurant Arabelle, serving inventive American cuisine.

Reader comments: “Plaza Athénée did not disappoint! We were in a beautiful suite with balcony overlooking New York City skyline! Service was very good and concierge was excellent!!!”

Read more about Plaza Athénée

The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

New York City, New York

Central Park Tower Suite at The Carlyle © Kevin Lein Photography

Go for the history, stay for the charm. Built in 1930, The Carlyle is a renowned 193-room hotel located in the most desirable quarter of the Upper East Side, a block from Central Park near museums, galleries and specialty shops. The Carlyle Restaurant is decorated in a manor-house style and provides an opulent setting for a menu comprised of local seasonal ingredients. Be sure to visit Café Carlyle where classic cabaret and jazz come alive every night.

Reader comments: “We are longtime customers and love the hotel”

Read more about The Carlyle

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

Kohala Coast, Hawaii

Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

With beautiful grounds and an extraordinary art collection, this 252-room resort, founded in 1965 by Laurance S. Rockefeller, is located in an idyllic setting, overlooking an exquisite white-sand beach on the Kohala Coast. Beachfront Wing features a mid-century modern décor. Guests can enjoy a revitalized 18-hole Robert Trent Jones golf course, plus clubhouse, tennis club, fitness center and a new spa.

Read more about Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

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