The Forbes Travel Guide ranks travel destinations for the year 2021 as those with the most five-star hotels, with the British capital winning this year with 19 five-star hotels.
The city of London continues to top the Forbes Travel Guide 2021 Star Awards luxury hotel rankings, with 19 five-star properties located in the capital. Tokyo added four hotels to its five-star list, bringing its total to nine, while New York and Paris have 10 and Macau has 13.
The London hotels with a new five-star status are the following: Brown’s Hotel; Four Seasons Hotel London in Park Lane; Four Seasons Hotel London in Ten Trinity Square; The Goring; The Lanesborough; The Langham; Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park; The Milestone Hotel & Residences and Rosewood London.
New five-star hotels in Tokyo include the Capitol Hotel Tokyu; Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, a luxury boutique hotel; the Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo; and Takanawa Hanakohro.
Cities awarded a five-star hotel for the first time are Houston, with The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, Montreal, with the Four Seasons Hotel Montreal, Philadelphia with the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, and Seattle with the Four Seasons Hotel Seattle.
Los Cabos, Mexico welcomes a trio of new five-star award winners: Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection; Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection; and Chileno Bay Spa Inn.
Bali has two new five-star hotels: The Mulia Nusa Dua, Bali, and St. Regis Bali, while Scotland wins its first five-star award with the Balmoral, a Rocco Forte hotel in Edinburgh.
Some special awards were presented, including the Instagram Hotel Award, new this year, given to the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, which has 145,000 followers on the social network. The Maldives resort won the award “for creating an Instagram profile that radiates personality, engages with its followers and has an astonishing overall aesthetic“.
The finalists for this award were Airelles Gordes, La Bastide on the French Riviera, the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in Puerto Rico, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando located at Walt Disney World Resort, and the Grand Hotel Tremezzo at Lake Como.
The Berkeley in London receives the Philanthropic Star award. The hotel served 500 meals to the emergency services during the first lockdown. The award “honors a property that has helped others face adversity in 2020, whether through an international campaign or a community effort“.
“When Covid-19 forced the closure of Berkeley, the hotel created the Berkeley 999 Drive-Thru, serving 500 meals a day during the first emergency shutdown. In partnership with Westminster Council, an additional 250 meals a day were provided to seniors and the most vulnerable people in the community,” Forbes says. “In total, more than 50,000 meals were provided. Staff members, many of whom were laid off, volunteered to serve food and were a beacon of positivity”.
Hilton’s luxury brands “Conrad” and “Waldorf Astoria, Americas” also impressed the judges with their responses to the pandemic.
The five-star Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho Hotel received the Health Security Star award for “taking intelligent and proactive steps to improve health security for guests and employees“.
The judges added: “In response to the pandemic, [they] quickly developed deluxe service manuals with detailed videos and illustrations to detail the modified guest experience with security in mind. They also created a robust cleanliness and disinfection program.”
Three hotel employees were also recognized, including the hotel’s Employee of the Year, Hisashi Sugimoto, a master bartender at the Tokyo Station Hotel.
Hisashi Sugimoto, 80 years old, joined the Tokyo Hotel in 1958 and invented many original cocktails that fill the Oak Bar’s menu. The Forbes Travel Guide said, “His colleagues report that his passion for making guests happy is what keeps guests coming back after six decades.
Spa employee of the year is Najla Ceman, a therapist at the spa at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York Downtown. Restaurant Employee of the Year is Bruce Wong, Supervisor of the Italian restaurant Cucina at the Marco Polo Hotel in Hong Kong.
The Forbes Travel Guide states: “Our anonymous professional inspectors evaluate according to 900 objective standards, with an emphasis on exceptional service, to help discerning travelers choose the world’s best luxury experiences“.
The Forbes Travel Guide, based in Atlanta, is a global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, and spas established by an independent inspection process. For a complete list of winners and more information, visit the Forbes Travel Guide website.
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Featured photo : © The Balmoral Hotel of Edimbourg