And the world's best city is ...

Story highlights

  • Annual list looks to Japan to name world's best city
  • Travel + Leisure magazine awards based on a survey of readers, with destinations, venues and services rated
  • Kyoto replaces longtime winner Bangkok, which dropped out of top 10 following political turmoil

Thailand's recent political troubles may have worked in Japan's favor when it came to this year's Travel + Leisure awards, with Kyoto knocking Bangkok off its spot at the top of the magazine's world's best cities list.

The Thai capital, which was placed under curfew earlier this year during a military coup, is nowhere to be seen in this year's top 10, voted for by the magazine's readers, despite repeat appearances in the number one spot.

Kyoto, a city on Japan's Honshu island famed for its ancient temples and spring cherry blossoms, was praised by T + L special correspondent Sarah Spagnolo for "an emerging style scene that's cutting edge."

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Second on the list is Charleston, South Carolina, which, according to Spagnolo, improved on its 2013 seventh-place ranking thanks to accessibility, standout hotels (including the Planters Inn) and "a mouthwatering culinary scene where shrimp grits are just the beginning."

Several tourism heavyweights, including Rome and Florence, maintain their places in the top 10, while others make the grade after failing to place in 2013.

Siem Reap, the developing resort town near the Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia, New Orleans, Mexico City and Seville, Spain are all new entries.

Surveys of T + L readers were also used to compile award lists in other categories.

The Triple Creek Ranch in Darby, Montana, was named best hotel; Santorini, Greece, was named best island; Disney Cruise Line was named best of the "mega cruisers"; Singapore Airlines the best international carrier; and Singapore Changi Airport the best international terminal.

Rancho la Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, was named best spa.

T + L's World's Best Cities 2014

10. New Orleans

9. Mexico City

8. Barcelona

7. Seville, Spain

6. Istanbul

5. Rome

4. Siem Reap, Cambodia

3. Florence, Italy

2 Charleston, South Carolina

1. Kyoto, Japan

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