The endless hiking trails, extraordinary lakes, and storied mountain ranges of upstate New York are a balm for busy travelers from around the world, which is perhaps what drew Travel + Leisure readers to these five fantastic New York State resorts.
How Voting Works
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).
Hotels were classified as either resort hotel, city hotel, or safari lodge based on their location and amenities, and they were specifically rated on the criteria below:
For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses.
What Readers Loved
Whether headed to the Catskills, Lake Placid, or the Finger Lakes, readers gravitated toward cozy properties that offered ample opportunities for relaxation. “You can leave all of your stresses with the valet and embrace nature,” shared one voter who visited Mohonk Mountain House (which earned the No. 5 spot). Unwinding at the Hudson Valley property, which sits amid 40,000 acres of forest, might involve rock scrambling or horseback riding adventures one day, followed by kayaking and archery the next. (Less active but equally worthwhile: time spent at the recently refreshed spa.)
While T+L readers are always at the travel vanguard, they also hold certain tried-and-true places close to their hearts — and for good reason. Mirror Lake Inn Resort and Spa (No. 2) has become one reader’s annual tradition. “My husband and I go there every year for his birthday,” shared the voter. “It is our absolute favorite!” Another reader was captivated by the changing seasons as experienced at No. 4 Lake Placid Lodge: “In October, I enjoyed the beautiful and spectacular views overlooking the lake with all of the fall colors on the trees.”
Checking all of those boxes and then some is this year’s reader favorite — a historic property in the buzzy Catskills that was revamped by new owners in 2022.
Wylder Windham: Windham, New York
Occupying 20 acres along the Batavia Kill River, this seven-lodge resort is breathing new life into the former Thompson House resort, a 160-year-old Catskills institution. The update seamlessly integrates contemporary touches (new wide-plank oak floors, Carrara marble in the bathrooms) with original features, like a hand-carved wooden staircase and stained-glass windows. Many onsite amenities, such as fire pits and hammocks, tap into the Borscht Belt location’s nostalgia factor, but there’s plenty of subtle encouragement to get off property — or at least out of the hotel itself. For example, mountain bikes and e-bikes are available for guests to borrow, and a vintage Land Rover Defender stands ready to shuttle guests to Windham Mountain for skiing in the winter. The staff is also happy to recommend other activities in the surrounding area, whether visitors want to know about the best hiking trails around or simply where to grab a bite to eat in town.
Whether you want to ski on the nearby slopes, tube in the river, bike along scenic paths, or have a try at fly-fishing, this resort has it all. With its seven restored historic lodges (from Victorian to modern), a heated pool, pickleball courts, and wood fired saunas, the Wylder Windham is ready to offer a vacation you’ll never forget.
The Full List
1. Wylder Windham: Windham, New York
Reader Score: 97.33
2. Mirror Lake Inn Resort & Spa: Lake Placid, New York
Reader Score: 92.59
3. Inns of Aurora Resort & Spa: Aurora, New York
Reader Score: 91.84
4. Lake Placid Lodge: Lake Placid, New York
Reader Score: 91.35
5. Mohonk Mountain House: New Paltz, New York
Reader Score: 90.64