Forbes Travel Guide (formerly well-known as Mobil Travel Guide) scoured properties around the world to find its 2020 Star Award winners, an elite group of the most luxurious hotels, restaurants and spas.
A record-breaking 107 new Five-Star honourees landed on the 62nd annual list, the result of an ambitious expansion. Forbes Travel Guide ventured to 16 countries – Antigua, the Bahamas, Cambodia, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, India, Jordan, the Maldives, Mauritius, New Zealand, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, the Seychelles and South Africa – for the first time.
To uncover the most outstanding properties, Forbes Travel Guide’s incognito inspectors check into a hotel for a minimum of two nights, posing as ordinary guests and paying their own way. Then they test up to 900 objective, exacting standards – including whether a staff member greets them curbside within 30 seconds of arrival, whether clothing left around a room is folded neatly or draped and placed within immediate view after turndown service, and whether the staff uniforms demonstrated exceptional design. The ratings tabulate 75 percent of a hotel’s score based on its service, while the remaining 25 percent is determined by the quality of its facilities.
Hotels at Forbes Travel Guide 2020
- For the second year, London boasts the distinction as the city with the most Five-Star hotels, tallying 19. New additions to the stable of Five-Star standouts include: The Berkeley; Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel (London’s oldest property); The Egerton House Hotel; the historic Four Seasons Hotel London at Ten Trinity Square; The Milestone Hotel & Residences; and Rosewood London.
- The Maldives made a splashy debut on the list, picking up six of the highest awards. The winners go beyond the ordinary with their offerings. At boutique hotel Velaa Private Island, tee off on the nine-hole golf course designed by Masters champion José María Olazábal, get up close to marine life with a Seabob underwater scooter, or cool off in the spa’s one-of-a-kind snow room, the only one in the Maldives. Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa recently unveiled new Beach Pavilion accommodations with private plunge pools, and the Four Seasons Explorer, a three-deck catamaran with 11 guest cabins, docks at the property. Dive into the waters of Cheval Blanc Randheli to swim with the manta rays or snorkel at night to see biofluorescent marine life.
Design also shines at the Maldives hotels. The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort veers modern with the sleek architecture of its villas and the whale-shark-shaped Whale Bar. The spa’s Blue Hole Pool is an expansive hydrotherapy oasis that seems to melt into the ocean. The three-island Kanuhura Maldives goes for a bohemian feel with whitewashed villas adorned with funky art and Iru bar’s beaded swings and beach teepee. One&Only Reethi Rah puts the scenery at the forefront, from yoga in an overwater pavilion to dining in a treehouse.
- Other destinations with first-time Five-Star accolades include Bora Bora (The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort); Cambodia (Amansara and Belmond La Residence d’Angkor); Cape Town (Delaire Graff Lodge and One&Only Cape Town) and Johannesburg, South Africa (Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg and Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa); the Cayman Islands (The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman); Doha (Mandarin Oriental, Doha); Fiji (Dolphin Island); Ireland (Ashford Castle); Mauritius (Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita, One&Only Le Saint Géran and The Oberoi Beach Resort, Mauritius); Monte Carlo (Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo); Moscow (Four Seasons Hotel Moscow) and St. Petersburg, Russia (Lotte Hotel St. Petersburg – in the photo preview); Prague (Four Seasons Hotel Prague); the Seychelles (Fregate Island Private); and Tahiti (The Brando).
- Stateside, nine hotels join the new top-tier crop. Encore at Wynn Las Vegas and Wynn Las Vegas push the total Five-Star count under Wynn’s roof to seven; they join previous winners Wynn Tower Suites, Encore Tower Suites, The Spa at Wynn Las Vegas, The Spa at Encore Las Vegas and Wing Lei.
There’s also Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club – a former 1930s social club to the stars in Miami that exudes glamour and has an outpost of the Amalfi Coast’s Le Sirenuse restaurant.
In California, Santa Barbara additions include Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, where hotel guests gain entry to the exclusive members-only Coral Casino Beach and Cabana Club across the street – and San Ysidro Ranch, which makes a triumphant return after it was forced to close for renovations following mudslides in 2018. Last but not least, there’s The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, a property with a prime location along the breathtaking jagged coast about 30 minutes from San Francisco.
Over in Rhode Island, there’s Ocean House, a beachfront Victorian beauty, and its more rustic sister property Weekapaug Inn. The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas showcases Texas pride with its “guacamologist,” who doles out guacamole and margaritas in the lobby daily, and an eponymous restaurant from Southwestern chef extraordinaire Dean Fearing.
Check out the full roster of Star-Rated properties here, and learn more about the noteworthy new Five-Star hotels, restaurants and spas below so that you can start planning your next trip.
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