More on TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards (USA TODAY)

TripAdvisor unveils Travelers’ Choice best hotels awards

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

By Barbara De Lollis

TripAdvisor today announces the 25 hotels that have won a spot on its 10th annual Travelers’ Choice Awards lists for most outstanding hotels.

Hotel Check-In has assembled a photo tour of the Top 25 hotels in the USA. (Keep reading for the Top 10.)

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The coveted No. 1 ranking for best U.S. hotels goes to Chicago’s Elysian, the stylish, independent hotel that opened in 2009 and has won awards and accolades ever since.

By Barbara De Lollis

It’s a bittersweet award for the Elysian since it’s one of the last, if not the last, awards it will receive as an independent property. Next month, the Elysian will become part of Hilton’s Waldorf-Astoria chain.

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In fact, many of the winners on the Top 25 US hotels list are independent properties or part of small collections. You won’t find Marriott, Hilton, InterContinental, Starwood or any other hospitality giant on the list.

There are, however, two relatively small chains that stand out on this “best hotels” list.

San Francisco-based upscale boutique hotel operator Kimpton Hotels has three properties that made the list in Chicago, Portland, Ore., and Alexandria, Va.

And Toronto-based luxury hotel operator Four Seasons has two properties that made the list, both of which are resorts on Hawaiian islands.

You may notice that TripAdvisor this year has expanded the Top 10 winners’ list to Top 25 to give travelers more ideas for remarkable hotel stays.

The online review giant also expanded the number of categories its honoring. Travelers will find winners for hotel categories such as: Best Luxury and Bargain, Best for Service, B&Bs and Inns, All-Inclusive, Spa, and Trendiest.

Unlike most hotel awards lists, TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice winners are based on the millions of reviews and opinions written by TripAdvisor travelers around the world.

The average nightly rate for 2012 Travelers’ Choice Hotels award winners is $270, although there’s no need to blow your budget.

TripAdvisor says that 45% of the winners have an average nightly rate of $200 or less per night.

Here are select winners of TripAdvisor’s top hotel categories:

Best Hotel in the World: The Phoenix Resort in San Pedro, Belize

Best Hotel in the USA: Elysian Hotel in Chicago

Best Luxury (4&5 star) Hotel in the World: Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo

Best Luxury (4&5 star) Hotel in the USA: The Grand Del Mar in San Diego

Best Bargain in the World: HueNino Hotel in Hue, Vietnam

Best Bargain in the USA: SeaCoast Inn in Hyannis, Mass.

Best for Service in the World: Arcadia Residence in Prague, Czech Republic

Best for Service in the USA: SeaCoast Inn in Hyannis, Mass.

Best B&B and Inn in the World: The Twenty One in Brighton, England

Best B&B and Inn in the USA: A.G. Thomson House: Historic Bed and Breakfast in Duluth, Minn.

Best All-Inclusive in the World: Garonga Safari Camp in Phalaborwa, South Africa

Best All-Inclusive in the Caribbean: East Winds Inn in Gros Islet, St. Lucia

Best Relaxation and Spa in the World: BollAnt’s im Park in Bad Sobernheim, Germany

Best Relaxation and Spa in the USA: Bella Monte Hot Springs Resort and Spa in Desert Hot Springs, Calf.

Trendiest Hotel in the World: Villa Zest Boutique Hotel in Cape Town, S.A.

Trendiest Hotel in the USA: Smyth Hotel, a Thompson Hotel in New York City

Top 10 hotels in the USA as rated by TripAdvisor reviewers:

  • 1.Elysian Hotel Chicago, Chicago
  • 2.The Grand Del Mar, San Diego
  • 3.Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
  • 4.Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Highlands, N.C.
  • 5.Heathman Hotel, Kirkland, Wash.
  • 6.Hotel Commonwealth, Boston
  • 7.French Quarter Inn, Charleston, S.C.
  • 8.Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
  • 9.Hotel Monaco Portland – a Kimpton Hotel, Portland, Ore.
  • 10.Inn at the Market, Seattle