This 69-room family-run hotel deftly balances glitz and English charm. Minutes walk from Buckingham Palace, the century-old pile has long been royally favored: it's where King George VI (and a teen Elizabeth II) came for breakfast to celebrate the end of WWII. Guest rooms layer thoughtful touches with the best of British design. Russell Sage recently revamped four suites using historic silk, some originally commissioned for state carriages of the Royal Mews. In the David Linley-designed Dining Room, guests can feast on British traditional dishes (steak and kidney pie, Lincolnshire rabbit stew) under scintillating Swarovski chandeliers.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.