Forbes Five Star is rarefied territory, and 27 new hotels are now on it. It may surprise some to know that, as always, the just-announced 2018 ratings are heavily weighted to service standards rather than facility quality.
“Our standards—the most exacting in the industry—emphasize graciousness, thoughtfulness and personalized service,” says Forbes Travel Guide Editor Jennifer Kester. “Our incognito inspectors evaluate properties based on up to 900 objective standards.” The scoring system uses a proprietary algorithm that weighs service at 75 percent and the hotel itself at 25 percent, she says.
In its 60th year of rating hotels, restaurants and spas, Forbes expanded into a total of 50 countries and such international destinations as Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Hokkaido, Japan; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Marrakech, Morocco; Prague; and Vienna.
A total of 199 Five-Star hotels were named, plus 513 Four Star and 309 Recommended hotels. The Middle East was among the biggest winners, adding four Five-Star properties—Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre; and Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach). Belmond Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil’s Iguacu National Park became the first South American hotel on the Five Star list.
In the United States, New York City has two new Five Star venues: Baccarat Hotel and Residences and Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. The new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills is Hilton’s first Five Star hotel in the Western Hemisphere.
Among restaurants, five received first-time Five Star honors, 24 won new Four Stars and 10 received Recommended ratings.