Outdoor terrace seating next to deer statue

#1 Resort Hotel
in the Midwest

Those who’ve never thought of the Midwest as a resort destination will be pleasantly surprised…

Those who’ve never thought of the Midwest as a resort destination will be pleasantly surprised by places like Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri. “The first thing that goes through your mind when you arrive is ‘This is Missouri?’ Wow!” a reader noted. Travel + Leisure’s audience knows there are elevated comforts and natural splendors to be discovered in the middle of the country, and they voted five resorts as the best in the region.

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. Hotels were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city or resort based on their locations and amenities.

The American Club at Destination Kohler, No. 4 on the list, is a longtime reader favorite. Carved from a brick Tudor home built in 1918, the resort was once a dormitory for Kohler employees. (The workers and their families, who were primarily immigrants, learned English at the American Club — and enjoyed its on-site pub, barbershop, and bowling alley.) The building became a hotel in the 1980s and has been dazzling visitors with its Kohler Waters Spa since.

The Grand Hotel on Michigan’s Mackinac Island is another popular getaway among readers. The 397-room complex lays claim to the world’s longest porch, from which you can glimpse panoramic views of the Straits of Mackinac. “This hotel blew me away. I love the throwback feel,” wrote one reader. “There are so many things to do and see on the island. This hotel makes your whole experience special.”

Read on to see which resort bested the Grand Hotel for No. 1 this year and to peruse the full list of winners.

5. Hotel Iroquois, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Score: 87.78

4. American Club at Destination Kohler, Kohler, Wisconsin

Score: 90.28

3. Big Cedar Lodge, Ridgedale, Missouri

Score: 90.29

2. Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Score: 91.15

1. Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois

Score: 95.80

This property edged out the Grand Hotel, last year’s winner, to clinch first place this year — and that’s in addition to securing the No. 66 spot in our list of the Top 100 Hotels in the World. What sets this inn apart is its history of traditional English innkeeping, which translates to personalized service in an old-world setting, not to mention the added coziness of stone fireplaces and afternoon tea. Renovated in 2016, the resort now boasts more windows in the lobby, an expanded restaurant, and a glass conservatory called the Garden Room.


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