Just like many of you, I am an avid traveler. I have visited 35 countries across six continents— some multiple times— and I’ve even lived and taught in South Korea. While my travel style has shifted over the years, from more budget-friendly destinations to living out my bucket list, the one constant is that I have been able to stay at and experience some of the world’s best hotels and resorts.

Although the pandemic has slowed down the pace at which I travel, I have been able to safely venture to some international and domestic destinations in 2021.

This year I was able to travel to Greece, Aruba, the Bahamas, and more, as well as my own city— Charlotte, NC.

As we prepare to close out this year, I wanted to share some of my favorite hotels— as well as recommendations from other Black travelers from around the globe. Factors included amenities, safety, popularity from social media, quality of service, on-site dining options, and overall vibes and views.

So, without further ado, here are my editor’s picks for the best hotels and resorts in 2021.

Let us know if your faves made the list!

1. JW Marriott Tampa- Tampa, Florida


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If you’re familiar with the JW brand under Marriott, then you know these hotels always bring the luxury. The JW Marriott in Tampa, Florida was no different.

Located along the city’s waterfront, the hotel is where the stars stay when they’re in town. If you decide to splurge, definitely go for a high floor king suite, with the soaking tub and walk-in shower. The views alone are out of this world.

2. Myconian Ambassador- Mykonos, Greece


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I literally came across this beauty of a property after reading reviews on Trip Advisor. I was mapping out my own solo trip to Greece, and Mykonos was on the list.

Another Black woman solo traveler spoke highly of the property, the vibes, and the service. I’m here to second everything she wrote in the review. The hotel even upgraded me to a room with a private plunge pool overlooking the beach.

3. Swahili Beach Resort- Mombasa, Kenya


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Of course, I had to include this stunning property on Kenya’s Diani Beach. You have likely seen this hotel on social media for its unique pool setup.

There are nine infinity pools that cascade into one another. Also, the resort’s spa has one of the best views on the whole property. Sip a glass of bubbly as you look out at the Maasai men walk along the shore of Diani Beach.

4. Headlands Coastal Lodge & Spa- Ocean City, Oregon


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You’re probably like, where in the world is Ocean City, Oregon. But, hear me out.

If you are ever on the west coast, or Portland specifically, I highly recommend extended your trip to spend a few days on the Oregon Coast.

While it may not be your typically warm weather beach, the views and tranquility alone are worth it. At Headlands, you can go for a room with a soaker tub that allows you to look out at the ocean while you wash your cares and worries away. Oh, and all this while you stay warm by your in-room fireplace.

5. Kimpton Hotel Arras- Asheville, NC


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Asheville, North Carolina is already a city that brings me tranquility on its own, but the addition of this hotel in the town’s center was next level.

If it’s a cold day, you can expect a fun happy hour in the lobby with the staff serving up hot toddies and different wines. Just steps out the doors, you’ll find some of the best eats the area has to offer— perfect for those who want to order and take it back to your room.

6. Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino- Aruba


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This Hilton property is located on one of Aruba’s main strips along Palm Beach.

From a top-notch spa, to the traditional palapas on the beach (complete with Wi-Fi and outlets)— this hotel is also the perfect WFH location if your job allows it. I definitely spent a few days working and relaxing on the beach

7. Memories Aicha Luxury Camp- Wadi Rum, Jordan

I personally haven’t had the chance to stay here yet, but this unique desert glamping resort has been all up and down my social media feeds this year.

I mean, look at the view. Talk about the ultimate unplugged trip, I can already imagine.

8. Chalet al Foss- Italy

Another one on my bucket list thanks to travelers like you. The photos and videos I’ve seen of this property in the height of winter, look like something out of a fairytale.

And yes, I want to live out my own fairytale here one day— hopefully sooner rather than later.

9. Unico 20 87- Riviera Maya, Mexico


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I had the pleasure of staying here in 2020. Even in the height of the pandemic, the hotel staff went above and beyond to make sure I had everything I needed, while adhering to the current safety measures of the region.

The soaker tub on the balcony was definitely a highlight, along with the array of on-site dining options. Oh, and you could opt for your own in-room mixology set to start your vacation!

10. Chateau Elan Winery & Resort- Braselton, Georgia


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I will forever sing the praises of Château Élan. I took a road trip to the property to clear my mind after my mom passed away from cancer earlier this year.

Although I only stayed a night,  I made sure to book a full service spa package with lunch, massage, facial, and a private reservation in the spa’s jacuzzi— which overlooks the woods and a small lake.