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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - South Africa's Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve was voted the world's best hotel in 2009 in a survey by travel website Travel+Leisue that showed luxury still had its place in the economic downturn.
The survey, released this week, ranks the tops 500 places to stay across the globe, and was compiled based on the opinions of the website's experts and thousands of readers.
Located in the Cederberg Mountains area some 3 hours away from Cape Town, Bushmans Kloof, where double rooms start at $715 a night, unseated last year's top hotel, Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa's Kruger National Park.
India's deluxe Oberoi Vanyavilas in Rajasthan, where double rooms begin at $875, took second place, and in the third spot was Jade Mountain in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, where room rates start at $1,150.
Earth Lodge at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in South Africa, where rooms cost at least $2,200, was voted 4th, and Canada's Inn at Manitou, McKellar, Ontario, where doubles start at $575, rounded out the top five.
Travel+Leisure, however, said that 66 out of the top 500 hotels cost $250 or less a night, which showed luxury doesn't always have to cost too much, especially as people across the globe have cut back on travel due to the downturn.
"What did we discover in 2009? That in a year filled with challenges, our readers still love hotels that deliver unique experiences and stellar service. Particularly if the price is right" the website said.
Following is a list of the top hotels in the world's main regions from Travel+Leisure (www.travelandleisure.com).
* United States - Inn at Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton, South Carolina
* Canada - Inn at Manitiou, McKellar, Ontario
* Europe - Grand Hotel Baglioni, Bologna, Italy
* Asia - Oberoi Vanyavilas, India
* Middle East - Four Seasons Hotel Amman, Jordan
* South America - Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Argentina
* Central America - Blancaneaux Lodge San Ignacio, Belize
* Caribbean - Jade Mountain St. Lucia
* Australia - Lilianfels Blue Mountains Resort & Spa, Katoomba
* Africa - Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve
Writing by Miral Fahmy; Editing by David Fox