Condé Nast Traveler today announced its 2021 Gold List. The annual list, curated by Traveler editors in New York and London, is the ultimate collection of our favorite hotels and cruise lines across the globe—those that exemplify the gold standard of service and hospitality, a designation that is even more meaningful after a year of interrupted travel.
For the first time in its history, this year’s Gold List went beyond places to stay, expanding to include a range of experiences—flights, restaurants, bars, and destinations—our editors consider truly exceptional. These are the places we daydreamed about in lockdown, and a few we were actually able to visit—all that sustained us in a year of curtailed travel.
“We wanted to take a more holistic and personal approach to what we define as Gold, just as we’re doing with travel across the board,” said Jesse Ashlock, U.S. Editor at Condé Nast Traveler. “These are the properties, destinations, and experiences we kept thinking about in a year when travel was so constrained. In some cases they represent the travel that was possible to us. We hope they inspire readers to plan their next adventures as the world opens up again.”
While the expected threshold of excellence continues with this year’s Gold List, the 2021 winners more broadly reflect how and why we travel. Highlights include grand dame hotels like the stately Hotel Astoria in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Hong Kong’s near-perfect Peninsula, but also the tiny five-room SingleThread in Sonoma, California, where a pilgrimage-worthy 11 course dinner is the real draw. We spotlight destinations that we can’t wait to revisit, bustling cities like Rome and restorative places like the Peruvian Andes. And we include the restaurants and bars that should be on every traveler’s map–legends like Keens Steakhouse in midtown Manhattan and under-the-radar standouts like South Africa’s Wolfgat. We rhapsodize about the lie-flat seats on Cathay Pacific and Delta’s always stellar customer service, and how we can’t stop thinking about the Thomas Keller-created menus on Seabourn and the excursion we took to a Sicilian winery while sailing with Oceania.
All winners of the 2021 Gold List are prominently featured on Condé Nast Traveler’s website and celebrated in the January/February issue on newsstands nationwide Dec. 22.