The tiny, 24-room hotel only just opened in June 2022 after a years-long restoration to its 18th century building—which has played host to guests as illustrious as Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, and Vincenzo Bellini who made it his home in the 1800s. The hotel’s instant, meteoric rise in popularity among the jet set has come largely on the heels of charismatic owners Paolo, Antonella and Valentina De Santis who have made the hotel a true labor of love, and who had a built-in following as owners of the beloved Grand Hotel Tremezzo, also in Lake Como. (Rates at Passalacqua start at around $1,800 per night for next summer’s season.)
“If you can dream it, you can do it! Here we are!” said Valentina De Santis, visibly moved as she received the top award. “We don’t have big shoulders behind us, and we still arrived here.”
Following closely behind Passalacqua were a series of iconic Asian stays. Rounding out the top five were Rosewood Hong Kong; Four Seasons Chao Praya River, Bangkok; The Upper House, Hong Kong; and Aman Tokyo. La Mamounia, in Marrakesh, came next—a triumph for a city still reeling from the devastating earthquake on Sept. 8.
Despite the Asia-heavy top 10, the list skewed heavily European—prompting viewers on the live stream to wonder if it was in fact Europe’s 50 Best hotels—with properties on that continent taking up 21 of the 50 slots. Outside of two New York City entries, the Aman and Equinox, no other hotels in the US made the cut. Also notable, independent hotels far outdid branded entities; Marriott and Hilton claimed zero entries between them, though Aman and Four Seasons each took home four nods. Maybourne Hotel Group and Oetker Collection each took home three—both lesser-known brands, but beloved by luxury consumers.
The pronouncement, which took place under the dramatic Medieval arches of London’s Guildhall, marks the first hotels-focused list from the team at 50 Best, which is known for its global and regional restaurant and bar lists—all compiled by UK-based company William Reed Business Media. In its 21 years, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has anointed new global destinations like Copenhagen or Lima—turning them from secondary cities to bucket-list-topping culinary…