The South's Best Resorts of 2019
Ever checked into a resort so great that you forgot all about the destination that made you book there in the first place? Sure, we thought we wanted to see Cinderella’s castle and ride Space Mountain . . . until we saw the pool at the Grand Floridian. It’s the whole one-stop-shopping appeal of being able to park your car (who are we kidding—they have valet), turn your luggage over to the bell captain, check in and know you just completed the most stressful part of your trip. No more worries. No driving through traffic and looking for a parking space. Everything you need—from spa treatments to craft cocktails to fine dining to outdoor fun—is right here, and anything that’s not here can be easily acquired by the helpful staff. Your room is a dream. The view is divine. Whether you’re chilling on a gorgeous beach or cozying up in the mountains, the resort makes the trip. Want to know where to find the South’s best? Here’s what our readers said.
*Southern Living Hotel Collection Member
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1. The Omni Grove Park Inn
Asheville, North Carolina
There’s nothing petite about this 100+-year-old resort with stunning mountain views: The Grove Park has 513 rooms, a 43,000-square-foot spa featuring waterfall pools, a 50,000-square-foot sports complex, and a whole array of restaurants and bars.
2. Big Cedar Lodge
There’s no such thing as a bad time to visit this resort overlooking Table Rock Lake in the Ozarks. From golf to horseback riding to paddling, there’s no end to outdoor recreation. Brides love the resort’s beautiful Chapel of the Ozarks at Top of the Rock.
3. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Check into this luxe Victorian-inspired resort, and you might forget all about Mickey and Minnie. From upscale dining to plush rooms, elegant public spaces, an inviting pool, and one-stop Monorail access to the Magic Kingdom, it’s a definite bucket list stay for Disney fans.
4. Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa
Point Clear, Alabama
Set on 550 acres overlooking Mobile Bay near Fairhope, Alabama, the Grand is a Southern classic that just got a major reno but still maintains is old school warmth. Amenities include the 20,000-square-foot Grand Spa, a pool complex, farm-to-table dining at Southern Roots, and two golf courses.
5. Blackberry Farm*
There aren’t many places where you can check into a luxury stay on 4,200 acres in the Great Smoky Mountains. The food and wine at the Beall family’s gorgeous property is legendary. But Blackberry Farm goes far beyond dining and lodging to create a total farm experience, with wellness and enrichment programs and even an on-property trainer for Lagotto Romagnolo truffle hunting dogs.
6. Gaylord Opryland
From the soaring conservatory of the Cascades Lobby to an indoor lazy river, the Gaylord Opryland is not going for understated. The brand-new SoundWaves at Opryland offers four acres of indoor and outdoor water recreation, which you can add to your lodging package when you stay at the hotel.
7. The Cloister
Sea Island, Georgia
Opened in 1928, this elegant hotel is now the centerpiece of Sea Island’s offerings, from a sporting club and lodge on the island to an inn on St. Simon’s Island, as well as top-notch golf, a yacht club, biking, horseback riding . . . Don’t miss the experience of dinner in the Georgian Room.
8. The Greenbrier
White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
“America’s Resort since 1778,” the Greenbrier first attracted guests with its mineral springs and spectacular setting in the Allegheny Mountains. Over the years, it has hosted U.S. Presidents and royalty, along with generations of families who love the sense of tradition here.
9. The Sanctuary Hotel
Kiawah Island, South Carolina
The Loggerhead Grill will serve you on the beach—not just by the pool—at this luxe stay, centerpiece of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. We could get used to that. Multiple pools cater to adults or families with kiddos. And the island setting offers every kind of recreation and relaxation imaginable.
10. The Henderson, A Salamander Beach & Spa Resort
Serenity reigns at this upscale—but dog friendly—hotel. A cool, relaxing color palette echoes the Gulf; the views are gorgeous; and designated spa rooms (with a private spa elevator) ramp up the pampering.