Merida tops Condé Nast Traveler Small Cities list

Yucatan capital beats Dresden, Florence and even Monte Carlo in Readers' Poll

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Mérida was named the best small city in the world in a Condé Nast Traveler readers’ poll.

In Readers’ Choice Awards Best Small Cities category, Merida beat second-place Dresden, Germany, followed by the rest of the Top 10: Québec, Canada; Salzburg, Austria; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Bergen, Norway; Florence, Italy; Puebla, Mexico; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and Cologne, Germany.

The poll cited Merida’s natural and cultural attractions and the warmth of its people. In July, Merida got a nod from a rival publication, Travel & Leisure, when it was nominated “Best City in the World” and ended up one of Mexico’s Top 4 cities. In 2017, the same magazine ranked Merida as Latin America’s 7th best destination.

Yucatan’s tourism minister, Michelle Fridman, accepted the Condé Nast award at a ceremony in New York City. The state government had actively campaigned to encourage the public to support Merida in the survey.

“The streets of Mérida are bursting with the colorful facades of Spanish colonial architecture, but the capital of Mexico’s Yucatan state is also steeped in Mayan history,” the magazine states. “Centrally located on the Yucatan Peninsula, UNESCO World Heritage sites like the ancient cities of Uxmal and Chichen Itza are an easy day trip, or head 40 minutes north to the beaches on the Gulf shore in Progreso. Locals recommend visiting Fundación de Artistas, a nonprofit featuring art exhibits in a 19th-century home; Gran Museo del Mundo Maya, a modern cultural museum; and the traditional Yucatecan food at the super casual Manjar Blanco.”

Online voting began April 1 and ended June 30. With 600,000 votes cast, Tokyo, followed by Kyoto, were the Readers’ Choice for Best Big City.

The readers’ favorite country was Indonesia, ahead of Thailand and then Portugal. The most-visited country in the world, France, doesn’t actually appear in the top 20.

The Philippines’ Boracay, Australia’s Whitsunday Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Croatian island of Hvar were recognized in the island categories.

In air travel, Singapore makes an impressive showing, with both its airport and its national company Singapore Airlines earning top mentions.

Some of the 2019 Reader’s Choice Awards: 

Best tour operator: The Turquoise Holiday Company

Best specialist tour operator: Scott Dunn

Best villa rental company: The Thinking Traveller


Best hotel in London: Rosewood London

Best hotel in the United Kingdom: The Balmoral, A Rocco Forte Hotel, Edinburgh

Best hotel in Ireland: The Westbury, Dublin

Best hotel in France and Monaco: La Réserve Paris Hotel & Spa

Best hotel in Italy: Monastero Santa Rosa Hotel & Spa

Best hotel in Spain and Portugal: Finca Cortesin, Casares, Spain

Best hotel in Greece and Turkey: Archipelagos Hotel, Mykonos, Greece

Best hotel in Central Europe: Baur Au Lac, Zurich, Switzerland

Best hotel in Northern Europe: Amerikalinjen, Oslo, Norway

Best hotel in New York: The Lowell

Best hotel in Los Angeles: SLS Hotel, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills

Best hotel on the East Coast of the United States: The Watergate Hotel, Washington DC

Best hotel in the Western and Southwestern United States: Inn of the Five Graces, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Best hotel in the Southern United States: Four Seasons Hotel at the Surf Club, Surfside, Florida

Best hotel on the West Coast of the United States: Olema House Point Reyes, California

Best hotel in Canada: Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City

Best hotel in Mexico: Rosewood San Miguel De Allende

Best hotel in the Caribbean and Central America: Hotel Jamaica, Montego Bay

Best hotel in South America: Aranwa Cusco Boutique Hotel, Peru

Best hotel in China: The Puxuan Hotel and Spa, Beijing

Best hotel in Hong Kong: The Murray, A Niccolo Hotel

Best hotel in India: Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur

Best hotel in Japan: Suiran, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Kyoto

Best hotel in Bangkok: Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel

Best hotel in Singapore: Capella Singapore

Best hotel in Asia: Rosewood Luang Prabang, Laos

Best hotel in Australia and New Zealand: The Langham, Melbourne

Best hotel in Africa: Royal Mansour, Marrakech

Best hotel in the Middle East: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai


Best resort in Europe: Adare Manor, County Limerick, Ireland

Best resort in the Northern United States: Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont

Best resort in the Southern United States: The Swag, Waynesville, North Carolina

Best resort in the Southwestern United States: La Cantera Resort & Spa, San Antonio, Texas

Best resort in Canada: Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, British Columbia

Best resort in the Caribbean and Atlantic islands: Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve, Puerto Rico

Best resort in Mexico: Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Cabo San Lucas

Best resort in Central America: Hacienda Altagracia, Auberge Resorts Collection, Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica

Best resort in South America: Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa, Trancoso, Brazil

Best resort in Asia: Intercontinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort, Vietnam

Best resort in Bali, Indonesia: Capella Ubud, Bali

Best resort in Thailand: Soneva Kiri, Koh Kood

Best resort in Australia and the South Pacific: Nanuku, Auberge Resorts Collection Harbour, Fiji

Best resort in the Indian Ocean: Naladhu Private Island Maldives

Best resort in Africa: Sirikoi Lodge, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Best resort in the Middle East: Jumeirah Mina A’Salam At Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai

Best ski resort: Gstaad, Suisse


Best cruise line for mega ships: Royal Caribbean International

Best cruise line for large ships: Disney Cruise Line

Best cruise line for medium ships: Crystal Cruises

Best cruise line for small ships: Crystal Cruises

Best river ship line: Crystal River Cruises


Best Country: Indonesia

Best destination spa: Ananda in the Himalayas, Uttarakhand, India

Best train company: Belmond Andean Explorer, South America


Best airline in the United Kingdom: Virgin Atlantic

Best airport in the world: Singapore


Best island in Europe: Hvar, Croatia

Best island in the United States: Hilton Head, South Carolina

Best Atlantic and Caribbean island: Puerto Rico

Best island in Asia: Boracay, Philippines

Best island in Australia and the South Pacific: Whitsundays Islands, Australia

Best island in Africa and the Indian Ocean: Maldives

Best island in the Americas: Cape Breton, Canada

See all the results at CN Traveler.

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