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10 Best Hotels in the USA

The hotel you choose can make or break your vacation. It doesn't matter that the surf was killer or the snow was pristine if the hotel doesn't stack up. You spent hours comparing prices, locations and continental breakfasts, but in the end, you can't tell whether or not a hotel will meet your expectations until you get there.

Or can you?

There are legions of guidebooks, magazines and websites aimed at helping you find the best hotel. Some rely on in-house experts while others gather guest reviews. To compile the U.S. News list of Best Hotels in the USA, our editors analyzed recommendations across many of these sources. Using this unbiased approach, we found the hotels that consistently come out on top.

From a starting list of more than 850 luxury hotels across 49 major travel destinations, 86 earned a spot on our exclusive list of the Best Hotels in the USA. Among them, there are 10 elite properties that rise to the very top as the most beautiful, most luxurious and most beloved hotels in the country.

[See a photo recap of the 10 Best Hotels in the USA]

10. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples

The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples [more photos]

Naples, Fla.

Home to 800 acres of immaculate greens, lush fairways and pesky sand traps, the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples is popular among golfers of all levels. The Tiburón Golf Club -- located on the hotel grounds -- features two 18-hole championship courses, both of which were designed by golf legend Greg Norman.

But The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples doesn't only have swingers in mind. Guests can also play a few tennis matches or soak up some rays by the pool. Plus, thanks to the golf resort's close partnership with another nearby Ritz-Carlton -- located on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico -- guests also have access to the amenities provided there. There's even a complimentary shuttle to transport them from Ritz to Ritz. Edward Staros, the vice president and managing director of The Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples, says that booking here means "you’ve chosen a single destination that offers you the sun, the moon and the stars." Guests claim that this specific Ritz is nothing short of fantastic.

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9. Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York

Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York [more photos]

New York City, N.Y.

Donald Trump surely knows how to live the high life in the Big Apple. After undergoing a colossal renovation in 2010, each of his hotel's guestrooms has floor-to-ceiling windows, custom furnishings and soothing Jacuzzi tubs. State-of-the-art electronics include gargantuan 55-inch flat-panel HDTVs and Blu-ray DVD players. Who says size doesn't matter?

There are several other reasons why the Trump International Hotel & Tower has made our list. The Trump Spa, for example, offers an impressive array of treatments. The two in-house restaurants are also not to be missed: The three-Michelin starred Jean Georges serves up unique euro-fusion fare, while the more casual Nougatine restaurant allows guests to watch the chefs in action. Plus, there's always New York -- the hotel's Central Park locale plants guests in the heart of one of the most vibrant cities on earth.

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8. Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas

Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas [more photos]

Las Vegas, Nev.

This Four Seasons affords fantastic views of the city from its perch on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. Still, the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas stands out not for its kitsch, but its innocence. "Luxury hotel chain The Four Seasons has touched down in Las Vegas, yet hasn't picked up any bad habits," Condé Nast Traveller writes. "It remains as chic, discreet and sophisticated as ever." But with access to the wild amenities of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino next door, you can test Sin City's waters without having to dive right in.

The hotel website boasts "a calm, personalized approach to Las Vegas vitality," an experience that the staff works hard to provide. And it is this effort that guests claim to love the most. According to the hotel's general manager, Mark Hellrung, employees are trained to accomplish three things for guests: understand them, anticipate their needs and surpass their expectations. He also claims that the hotel's attentive and friendly personnel are the primary reason why guests return regularly: "Hire the right people first, and then you can do anything."

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7. The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park [more photos]

New York City, N.Y.

The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park prides itself on being classy. According to its website, the hotel "offers all the elegance and charm of a private home in the heart of New York City." Each room looks as though it was designed in the 19th century, with richly embroidered curtains shielding vast windows and plush furniture waiting to catch you after a long day (or night) on the town.

Sure, the Ritz's Central Park location is a hit. Its on-site restaurant, BLT Market (run by famous chef Laurent Tourondel) and the decadent La Prairie at The Ritz-Carlton Spa also earn commendation. And recent guests praise the employees -- from the concierge to the cleaning crew -- for their consistently upbeat attitudes and dedication to meeting customer needs. Travel & Leisure points out a few of the ways in which Ritz employees can help make your stay memorable: "The multilingual staff -- which includes bath butlers, a tech butler (for troubleshooting laptop issues), a gemologist, and an award-winning concierge team -- will loan you (or your dog) a Burberry trench coat if it's raining, and come evening, the chauffeured house Bentley is at your disposal."

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6. The Hermitage Hotel

The Hermitage Hotel [more photos]

Nashville, Tenn.

Since its founding, Nashville has been collecting nicknames like no one's business. The city's dedication to higher education earned it the title, "Athens of the South," while the rise of the entertainment industry inspired the epithet, "Music City." And now, thanks to The Hermitage Hotel, Guitar Town has earned a reputation among luxury lovers as well.

"We are constantly reinventing ourselves so that we do not have the perception of stuffy or old luxury," says The Hermitage Hotel's spokeswoman, Janet Kurtz. "But we stay true to Nashville by incorporating other Nashville icons into everything we do." Reflecting the Beaux-Arts fashion of the early 20th century, this 1910 hotel boasts a lobby adorned with massive marble columns and magnificent chandeliers. To fully satisfy your appetite for Southern heritage, head to the in-house Capitol Grille. Here, Chef Tyler Brown prepares dishes inspired by regional favorites and infused with a hint of contemporary flair.

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5. The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Fairmont Olympic Hotel [more photos]

Seattle, Wash.

"Stunning," "excellent," "as good as it gets." These are just a few of the nice things guests have to say about Seattle's Fairmont Olympic Hotel. This 450-room hotel is the crème de la crème of Emerald City digs, boasting an indoor swimming pool, its very own piano bar and The Georgian, a AAA Four-Diamond restaurant.

But what draws guests to the beautiful Fairmont Olympic is its steeped history, one that earned it a slot on the National Register of Historic Places. And although it became a member of the Fairmont Hotels group in 2003, the Olympic has not lost the elegance that makes it a prized Seattle landmark. This property has been catering to visitors and Seattleites since 1924, while the in-house oyster bar, Shuckers, has been satisfying seafood hankerings since the 1930s. 

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4. Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco

Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco [more photos]

San Francisco, Calif.

Not only is the Mandarin Oriental the highest-rated San Francisco property on our list, it's also the third-tallest building in the city, towering over its competition both physically and figuratively. And you know what that means: breathtaking vistas.

But views aren't the only thing the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco has to brag about. "My colleagues and I strive for making each guest's visit unique to them by anticipating their needs, acting on their known preferences and delighting them with special touches," says General Manager Cliff Atkinson. The smallest room here clocks in at a spacious 350 square feet, while the décor -- characterized by warm golds and reds -- reflects the luxury chain's Asian inspiration. Add to that an impressive collection of high-tech amenities and a luxuriously stocked bathroom (not to mention a pair of binoculars to better see the surrounding sights), and you might have trouble finding a reason to leave.

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3. Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago

Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago [more photos]

Chicago, Ill.

Back in January 2008, The Donald took the Windy City by storm with the grand opening of his latest edition to the Trump Hotel family. And though it’s the new kid on the hotel block, Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago has already earned a reputation as a luxury heavyweight. According to Vice President and Managing Director Colm O'Callaghan, there are two reasons for this: looks and personality.

In a city known for its dazzling skyline and stunning buildings, the Trump International Hotel & Tower makes its mark with a stainless steel and gleaming glass structure, blocked off in a shape that almost resembles a game of Tetris. "It's a very exciting design," O'Callaghan notes. "It's truly unique in a city famous for its architecture." Recent guests concur, giving the hotel a thumbs-up for style. And like O'Callaghan, guests at the Trump Chicago praise everyone from the concierge to the bellman for their attentiveness. 

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2. Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea

Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea [more photos]

Maui, Hawaii

Overlooking the golden sands and rumbling waters of the Pacific, the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea is often referred to by guests as "paradise." And they're not too far off. First of all, it's in Hawaii. And second of all, the Four Seasons Resort goes out of its way to make sure your vacation is as exciting and luxurious as possible -- without any extra cost.

"This isn't a resort that just maintains," says Thomas Steinhauer, regional vice president and general manager. The Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea has worked hard to stay ahead of travel trends, all without losing sight of the rich Hawaiian heritage surrounding it. The resort now features state-of-the-art spa facilities and even a spanking-new serenity pool, as well as the second-largest collection of Hawaiian art in the state. But according to Steinhauer, what really makes a visit special is the Unforgettable Events program, which allows guests to sample some of the resort's most popular activities (including yoga, surfing and scuba diving) for free.

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1. Elysian Hotel Chicago

Elysian Hotel Chicago [more photos]

Chicago Ill.

When in Chicago, the most particular luxury lovers look not to the notable chains to fulfill their hotel needs, but rather to the chic boutique. The beloved Elysian Hotel Chicago is as stylish as it's location in the Windy City's trendy Near North Side district, and it's just a short walk from the Magnificent Mile.

"Visitors would be hard-pressed to find a more elegant spot," Fodor's writes. Accommodations here are as sophisticated as they come, boasting crackling fireplaces, oversized tubs, high-tech entertainment systems and beds that you'll struggle to leave in the morning. Couple this with two fantastic restaurants, Balsan and RIA (which earned two Michelin stars this year), plus an award-winning spa and you'll see why the Elysian has been ranked number-one on our list of the Best Hotels in the USA.

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See what other properties made our list of the Best Hotels in the USA

[Pictures of the 10 Best Hotels in the USA]

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