Best Hotels by Brand

Best Hotels by Brand 2015

Choosing a hotel can be overwhelming. Booking websites, glossy travel magazines and online guest reviews eliminate some of the guesswork of finding a quality hotel, but who has time to sift through all of those sources? One tactic is to find a trusted hotel brand that offers the dependable service, amenities and room features you want, and to choose a property from your preferred brand's lineup. This way, you'll know what to expect.

Best Hotels by Brand 2015

Hotel brands tend to live out a philosophy of hospitality that extends to all of their properties. This means that you should be able to rely upon a consistent experience and quality of service. (You can also earn free stays and other perks should you join the rewards program.) That said, finding the best of the brand-backed bunch is a challenge in and of itself. That's where our Best Hotels by Brand rankings come in. After researching magazines, guidebooks, expert online sources and guest reviews, we've come up with a list of outstanding hotels strung across the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico and Canada. These 10 properties are the most lauded hotels within their brand and they also stand out in their respective regions and countries among hundreds of others on our 2015 Best Hotels Rankings.

Not only do these 10 properties exemplify the values that each brand deems most important, they also offer unparalleled customer service. These are the hotels that rank No. 1 in some of the hospitality industry's leading companies.

Ritz-Carlton, Montreal (Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Resorts)


The Ritz-Carlton brand is known for its opulence, its grand amenities and its excellent service. And this year's top-ranked brand property — the Ritz-Carlton, Montreal — seems to epitomize these virtues. Set in the heart of Montreal, the luxury hotel neighbors McGill University and the pristine Mont-Royal Park. Opening its doors in 1912, this Ritz has retained its historic charm while keeping up with the times. For instance, the hotel continues to serve a lavish afternoon tea, but it also contains acclaimed celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's restaurant, Maison Boulud, not to mention a saltwater pool and a well-equipped workout facility. The modern comforts extend inside to the elegant rooms, where guests will find everything from flat-screen TVs to heated bathroom floors. But what recent visitors praise the most about the Ritz-Carlton, Montreal is the amazing service staff, from the attentive bellhops to the kind and accommodating concierge.

Four Seasons Hotel Seattle (Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts)


Four Seasons Hotel Seattle
Steve Sanacore/Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

The Four Seasons is a brand that found success by exacting very high standards of its design, amenities and service. The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, this year's highest-rated Four Seasons outpost, is perhaps the golden child of the brand. Situated in the heart of the Emerald City, the property is a block from the waterfront and within walking distance of top attractions like the Pike Place Market and the Seattle Art Museum. The Four Seasons Hotel Seattle charms guests with its array of in-room amenities, including fluffy robes, down duvets and flat-screen TVs. The hotel also offers guests a delectable menu of Pacific Northwest cuisine served at its ART Restaurant, which also affords views of the glittering Puget Sound. The infinity pool and spa are other crowd pleasers, but the phenomenal staff gets the most shout-outs from guests. Many say the hotel's management remembers guests by name and seeks to anticipate their every need.

Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (Hyatt Group Hotels & Resorts)

Carlsbad, California

The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is located in Carlsbad, California, perched on a ridge overlooking a lush landscape of hills and ocean. But its truly magnificent setting is just one of the many reasons it ranks as Hyatt's best hotel in 2015. (The property's participation in the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty program is another perk.) The Hyatt brand seeks to provide outstanding customer service, and most guests say that this is what they received during their stays here. However what seems to get guests most excited about on the property is the number of on-site features. The 15,000-square-foot Aviara Spa offers numerous services and massages across its 20 treatment rooms. Guests can also swing their clubs at the Arnold Palmer-designed 18-hole golf course. Additionally, this Hyatt resort contains a family pool and an adult pool, a handful of tennis courts, and several heralded dining options.

The Willard InterContinental (IHG Group Hotels)

Washington, D.C.

The Willard InterContinental
Courtesy The Willard InterContinental

The Willard InterContinental is as much a beloved landmark in Washington, D.C., as it is a hotel. It belongs to the storied InterContinental family of luxury hotels. The elegant outpost opened back in 1850 and across the years it has served such esteemed guests as Martin Luther King Jr., Charles Dickens, numerous U.S. presidents and more. But the staff at the Willard doesn't reserve its excellent service for only the famous; many recent guests say that the hotel staff went above and beyond for them as well. The hotel's lobby is reminiscent of an ornate opera house with its marble pillars and stunning chandeliers. Guests also commend its comfortable and surprisingly spacious rooms. The Willard's Pennsylvania Avenue location receives high praise as well, since it puts guests just steps from the White House and the National Mall. A handful of dining options and a spacious spa round out the luxurious experience offered at this historic hotel. Plus, IHG Rewards Club members get extras like free Wi-Fi access and can redeem their points for free nights at this top hotel.

Waldorf Astoria Chicago (Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts)


The relatively small collection of Waldorf Astoria hotels bills itself as exemplary properties in exemplary places, and the Waldorf Astoria Chicago is no different. The urban property conjures Coco Chanel for design inspiration, and the resulting decor is both elegant and dramatic. Take the lobby with its Carrera marble and pieces of art. And the monochromatic color scheme — grays, blacks, bright whites and metals — in the guest rooms makes a stunning impression, too. The fireplaces, the bathrooms and the sheer amount of space in the guest rooms also garner kudos from visitors and critics alike. But guests of this Windy City hotel say that what's even more remarkable are the service staff members, ranging from the friendly bartenders to the accommodating concierge, who seem to put the final flourishes on many a great experience. Guests also commend the spa and health club, as well as the European bistro fare plated at the in-house restaurant Balsan, and appreciate that the hotel participates in Hilton's HHonors program.

Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto (Trump Collection Hotels)


Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto
Courtesy Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto

Donald Trump's "think big" philosophy extends to his collection of hotels, from over-the-top decor to amenities and service staff. One of his properties — the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto — lives up to these high standards, which is why it's considered the best of its brand. Centered in Toronto's business and financial district, this hotel is distinguishable from the area's other high rises by a telltale spire. Inside the hotel, a dramatic design is fitted with countless amenities: There's a spa, an infinity lap pool, the swanky America Restaurant, and the glowing and intimate Calvin Bar. Guests say that the hotel's employees, however, made their stay at the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto excellent. From the bellmen to the room service, staff accommodated guests' needs with sincerity and professionalism.

Sandals Royal Plantation (Sandals Resorts)

Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Sandals Resorts have almost become synonymous with two vacation ideals — all-inclusive packages and tropical locales. Jamaica itself contains no less than seven Sandals resorts, but the Sandals Royal Plantation in Ocho Rios takes paradise to a whole new level. This particular property seems to offer an intimacy that isn't found in other properties, including the Sandals Grande Riviera Beach & Villa located next door. Privacy and seclusion are paramount here, but the resplendent suites, private meal service and the awe-inspiring beach views satisfy visitors, too. And if guests want to get moving, the all-inclusive resort offers activities that range from snorkeling and sailing to golf, tennis and yoga. Plus, guests can't say enough about the attentive service, from the friendly butlers to the bar staff.

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island (W Hotels & Resorts)

Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island
Courtesy W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island

With its trendy design, luxurious amenities and secluded setting, the W Retreat & Spa, Vieques Island finds itself at the top of the list for its brand. W Hotels & Resorts are known for being as swanky and cool as they are comfortable, and this Puerto Rican property surely fits the bill. Guests can enjoy spa treatments by the pools, which overlook the ocean. They can relax in the ultra-comfy beds outfitted in 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens. They can dine on local, organic fare at Sorcé (a favorite among recent visitors) or indulge in a nightcap at the stylish bar. The concierge is also happy to arrange countless activities, including snorkeling, sea kayaking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Many guests say that their experience at this W property was exceptional.

RiverPlace, A Kimpton Hotel (Kimpton Hotels)

Portland, Oregon

Located on the banks of the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon, RiverPlace, A Kimpton Hotel personifies the characteristics important to the Kimpton brand, namely a specialized sort of hospitality — one that is both personalized to the guest and intimate in feel. In fact, the motto for RiverPlace is "Stay small. Live large," meaning that though the hotel is small, it's got a lot to offer. The guest rooms are designed with cozy textiles and aesthetically pleasing finishes, including fireplaces and fresh flowers (in some cases). The rooms and suites are also filled with amenities that range from pillow-top beds to yoga mats. And because RiverPlace belongs to the Kimpton family, guests can imbibe cocktails at the complimentary wine hour from 5 to 6 p.m. every day. The in-house restaurant, Three Degrees, serves a guest-approved menu, but the hotel's centralized location means it's pretty easy to explore Portland's breweries and restaurant scene as well. Guests are also awed by the very friendly and accommodating service staff.

Mokara Hotel & Spa (Omni Hotels & Resorts)

San Antonio

Mokara Hotel & Spa
Courtesy Mokara Hotel & Spa

Omni Hotels & Resorts are almost synonymous with the word "luxury." The Mokara Hotel & Spa is located just off San Antonio's popular River Walk, making it easy for travelers to access some of the city's best restaurants, bars and shops. But guests have enough diversions at this Omni hotel without ever having to leave the property. The restaurant, Ostra, has won awards for its cuisine and its wine list, as has the 17,000-square-foot spa. And as far as a comfortable stay goes, some visitors attest that the guest room beds felt like clouds, and they also commend the bathrooms, which feature Jacuzzi tubs. The southwest-style property is crowned by a rooftop pool and cafe. The hotel's service staff members also receive high marks for their friendliness and attentiveness, which is why the Mokara Hotel & Spa offers the ultimate Omni experience.

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