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Rancho Valencia Resort named best U.S. hotel by U.S. News & World Report

Rancho Valencia Resort named best U.S. hotel by U.S. News & World Report
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., opened in 1989. It received a $30-million upgrade five years ago when it changed hands. (Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa)

U.S. News & World Report on Tuesday named  Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., the best luxury hotel in the United States.

Rancho Valencia near San Diego received a 5-diamond rating from AAA last week and already had a five-star rating from Forbes. It also made Conde Nast Traveler's 2015 World's Best Hotels Gold List.

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"Word of mouth has gotten out there, and momentum builds" Jeff Jacobs says of the resort's newfound fans. He leads an investment group that bought the property in 2010 and invested $30 million to upgrade the site.

Even with the changes, the character of the boutique resort remains. "The owners of the original property in 1989 did an incredible job of building a resort with 52 rooms on 45 acres," Jacobs says.

In selecting the best hotels of 2015, U.S. News ranked 2,558 properties in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, according to a statement.

The magazine looks only at luxury hotels that have 20 rooms or more and weighs the opinions of travel experts as well as TripAdvisor customer reviews in scoring each site.

The rest of the top five hotels in the U.S.:

2. The Lodge at Sea Island in Georgia

3. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort, in Bluffton, S.C.

4. The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg, Ore.

The magazine also gave high marks to these hotels:

Mexico: 1. Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood Resort in San Jose del Cabo; 2. Rosewood Mayakoba in Solidaridad; 3. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Punta de Mita; 4. Banyan Tree Cabo Marques in Acapulco and 5. Capella Ixtapa in Ixtapa.

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