Among larger destinations, Southern California was a big winner in the Five-Star hotel category with the storied Hotel Bel-Air regaining its Five-Star designation, along with first-time winners Montage Laguna Beach, and The Resort at Pelican Hill, Newport Coast.
For the first time ever, Beijing, China received its first Five-Star hotel rating – China World Summit Wing, a Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts property – making it the first and only Five-Star hotel in that market. In the U.S., Forbes Travel Guide named the first Five-Star Rhode Island hotel - the Ocean House, at Watch Hill.
Also for the first time in its 55-year history, the company revealed its new Recommended rating category, designating well-appointed hotels and restaurants that deliver enhanced service, distinct value and a strong sense of place.
Marking the latest installment of the travel ratings system that has been the gold standard in the hotel industry since 1958, the new awards list includes the following notable additions:
- Miami, Florida now has two Five-Star hotels - The Mandarin Oriental, Miami, and Acqualina Resort & Spa On The Beach. - In addition to the Los Angeles, Beijing and Rhode Island awards, notable new Five-Star hotels include Trump Chicago International Hotel & Tower and Canyon Suites at The Phoenician.
- With the addition of Five-Star awards for Encore Macau and the Spa at Encore Macau, Wynn Resorts now holds more Five-Star awards than any other brand in the Las Vegas and Macau markets.
- Hong Kong, China has the most Five-Star hotels in the world - with the addition of InterContinental Hong Kong and The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong to the existing five Five-Star winners.
- Four new Five-Star restaurants made the list: Melisse in Santa Monica, California, Naoe in Miami, Florida, Azul in Miami, Florida, and Sixteen in Chicago, Illinois.
- Four new Five-Star spas have been added to the list, including spas in Arizona, California, Florida and Hong Kong.
"We are delighted to see such outstanding commitment to service and to the traveling consumer by our 2013 award winners," said Michael Cascone, President and Chief Operating Officer of Forbes Travel Guide. "We have four new markets represented this year with the coveted five star hotel award – Beijing, Miami, Scottsdale and Watch Hill. We are deeply proud and honored to be associated with the winners in these markets, as well as with all of our world-class hotels, restaurants and spas."
There are also seven Five-Star hotels in Hong Kong, five in Macau, three in Singapore, two in Shanghai and one in Beijing. There are now 28 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurants, all in the U.S., and 35 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spas around the globe.
The complete 2013 Forbes Travel Guide honor roll includes over 650 hotels, restaurants and spas in the U.S., Canada, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Macau and Singapore.
In April 2013, Forbes Travel Guide will announce its first ever ratings and Star Awards in London, England, marking the brand's expansion into the European hospitality market.