A sumptuously decorated South African resort set against a mountain backdrop and a luxury retreat in New Zealand that offers sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean have jointly nabbed the coveted title of best hotel and resort in the world by readers of Condé Nast Traveler in the US.
It's awards and lists season at Condé Nast, which released the American results of its 26th annual Readers' Choice Awards on the heels of British cousins at Condé Nast Traveller.
Readers of the US title, meanwhile, seem to be more generous with their marks giving a near-perfect score of 99 to both La Residence, Franschhoek, South Africa and The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in Matauri Bay, New Zealand.
The highest-scoring hotel in the British edition, meanwhile, went to Parrot Cay by COMO, Turks & Caicos Islands with a score of 96.
Features that give La Residence the leading edge over its competition include its unrestrained opulence with triple-height ceilings, marble floors, elaborate chandeliers, Persian carpets, French and Asian antiques.
Readers also gave The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand top marks for creating warm, inviting, home-like conditions -- think fireplace, throw blankets and wicker chairs -- on a five-star scale.
Or, as CN Traveler calls it: Greek Revival, meets South Carolina plantation house, crossed with an East Hampton summer cottage.
For the 2013 edition of the Readers' Choice Awards, a record 79,268 readers piped in with their opinions, nearly double the number from 2012. Travelers cast 1.3 million votes for more than 16,000 properties around the world.
Rounding out the top five hotels are Singita Sabi Sand, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve -- both in South Africa -- and the Grand Hotel Timeo in Sicily.
For the full list of winners, visit http://www.cntraveler.com/readers-choice-awards.