Travel + Leisure magazine has named Savannah the seventh best city in the United States and Canada in its "2013 World's Best Cities Awards," up one position from its eighth-place performance in the magazine's 2012 awards.
Charleston, S.C. nabbed the number one spot this year after coming in fourth place in 2012 in the same category. Impressively, Charleston also scored a spot in the magazine's top 10 list globally this year, coming in seventh-place in the world for the best cities to visit, only just a few fractions of a percentage point behind Rome and two spots ahead of Paris.
Meanwhile, New York City fell from first to third in the 2013 rankings for U.S. and Canada, and New Orleans dropped from fifth to sixth.
Among the magazine's 2013 top 10 list, Savannah edged out Quebec City, Vancouver and Washington D.C., respectively. This year marked Washington D.C.'s first appearance in the magazine's rankings to date.
The honorific is by no means the first time Travel + Leisure has ranked Savannah highly in its editorial pages. The Hostess City came in seventh place once before back in 2011, and later that year was proclaimed the nation's "top fall travel destination," earning perfect marks for its romantic scenery and historical architecture, and handily beating out Charleston for the season's best fall getaway spot. In November, the magazine even ranked Savannah near the top of its "hotness" list based on the attractiveness of its residents.
At least a few of Travel + Leisure's subscribers aren't fawning quite so much over Savannah, however. Just earlier this month, readers voted Savannah the 12th "snobbiest city" in the nation in a survey for "having the biggest nose in the air." But, to be fair, Charleston placed two spots higher than Savannah on the "snobbery" list, suggesting that perhaps a little local entitlement isn't necessarily a turn-off in and of itself.
Here's Travel + Leisure's full list of its best cities in the U.S. and Canada:
The magazine determined the winners first by conducting a survey among readers of potential cities for consideration, then by narrowing down the nominations based on the folllowing categories and characteristics.:Hotels Rooms/facilities, location, service, restaurants/food, value. Optional: for business, for families, for romance.Cities Sights, culture/arts, restaurants/food, people, shopping, value. Optional: for romance.Islands Natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people, value. Cruise ships Cabins, restaurants/food, service, itineraries/destinations, excursions/activities, value. Optional: for families, for romance.Tour operators and safari outfitters Staff/guides, itineraries/destinations, activities, accommodations, food, value. Optional: for families, for conservation/philanthropy.Airlines Cabin comfort, in-flight service, customer service, value. Optional: for food, for timeliness/reliability, for loyalty programs.Airports Location/access, check-in/security, restaurants/food, shopping, design, flight delays. Optional: for business, for families.Car-rental agencies Vehicle selection, vehicle availability, car-rental location, service, value.Destination spas Accommodations/ambience, treatments, service, food, facilities, value. Optional: for romance.Hotel spas Ambience, treatments, service, facilities, value. Optional: for romance.Hotel brands Locations, rooms/facilities, restaurants/food, service, design, value. Optional: for business, for families, for romance, for loyalty programs.
With the exclusion of the cruise ship category, at least for now, it's not too much of a stretch to see how Savannah received high marks for the aforementioned amenities. But, I still slightly suspect that Travel + Leisure harbors a tiny irrational preference for historic southern cities (I mean, come on, ranking Charleston over Paris? Charleston's a fantastic city, but it's not by any means on the level of Paris). Not that loving Savannah or Charleston is a bad thing, though. Savannah -- and Charleston, too -- are both hard places not to find beauty in, even for cynical folks like myself.Not to mention, it's good for the city as a whole. As you can imagine, it didn't take long for Visit Savannah to take to Twitter in elation at the news:
#Savannah lands at #7 on Travel + Leisure's 2013 World's Best List among U.S./Canadian Cities! http://t.co/gFTgC6XwoN— Visit Savannah (@VisitSavannah) July 11, 2013
I share in their excitement.
Carl V. Lewis is the Digital Media Manager for Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com as well as its associated digital properties. Follow him on Twitter @carlvlewis or contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.