Jravel has made a comeback. All of these delayed openings and canceled holidays, conferences and festive getaways have given hotels and resorts plenty of time to improve their services, rejuvenate their facilities and redesign a better experience for guests.
As travelers return to their favorite properties or seek out new ones, Forbes Travel Guide has announced its 2022 Star Awards for the world’s most outstanding hotels, restaurants and spas.
For the 64th edition of the Star Awards, FTG ventured to new destinations, such as the Canary Islands, Greece, Ibiza and Malta. Winners include 323 five-star hotels, 558 four-star properties and 401 recommended hotels. There are also 74 five-star restaurants this year, 112 four-star restaurants and 67 recommended restaurants, as well as 102 five-star spas and 193 four-star spas worldwide.
To find the best of the best, Forbes Travel Guide’s incognito inspectors stay at each hotel for three days and two nights, posing as ordinary guests. They test up to 900 objective and rigorous standards, ranging from modern luxuries, such as whether a room is furnished to improve sleep or whether food and drink choices are health-conscious, to more traditional amenities, such as the quality of the decor and the courtesy of the staff. Seventy-five percent of a hotel’s rating is based on service, while the remaining 25% is determined by the quality of its facilities.
See the full list of 2022 Star Awards winners here and learn more about the latest additions to the collection below.
New five-star destinations
Nine destinations won the highest honor for the first time this year. Madrid got off to a strong start with two new five-star properties: the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, where you can relax in the four-story spa and feast on celebrity chef Dani García’s Andalusian Brasserie Dani, and the Bless Hotel Madrid , whose newly renovated contemporary interiors take inspiration from the neighborhood’s 19th-century aristocratic mansions. The Bless brand also won its first five-star award for its Ibiza property, with a destination dinner at Etxeko Restaurant from decorated chef Martín Berasategui.
Joining the five-star ranks in Europe are Berlin’s Hotel de Rome, an Italian Renaissance-style landmark set among the grand buildings of Bebelplatz; the Netherlands’ Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, a chain of six linked 17th- and 18th-century palaces along the Herengracht canal; Malta’s Iniala Harbor House, a boutique gem with 23 eclectic and stylish rooms; Katikies Mykonos in Greece, a whitewashed hideaway with a view of sparkling water; and Zurich’s Dolder Grand, aptly named with panoramic views of the city, lake and Alps from its historic hilltop perch.
A 15-story white tower that stands on the tallest of Amman’s seven hills, the Four Seasons Hotel Amman has won Jordan’s inaugural award in the Middle East. In Asia, the Halekulani Okinawa waterfront, featuring a spectacular pool lined with nearly 1.5 million Cattleya orchid-shaped mosaic tiles, won the Japanese island’s top prize.
Achievements in the Americas
In the United States, Auberge Resorts Collection had a five-star treble with The Lodge at Blue Sky, a 3,500-acre adventure getaway near Park City, Utah; Madeline Hotel and Residences, a sophisticated escape in the Telluride Mountains that was renovated in 2021; and White Barn Inn, a New England classic home to a beloved five-star restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Massachusetts scored victories with Encore Boston Harbor, the largest gambling resort in the United States outside of Las Vegas, which earned the prestigious rating; Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, a modern Back Bay skyscraper; and Chatham Inn, a charming 18-room hideaway on Cape Cod.
Other East Coast winners include The Towers at Lotte New York Palace, an exclusive Midtown Manhattan hotel, and The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a Golden Age waterfront mansion. in Newport, Rhode Island.
On the shores of Montecito, California, Rosewood Miramar Beach is a glamorous addition to FTG’s annual Star Awards, laying claim to Santa Barbara’s only five-star spa. In Hawaii, the sumptuous Espacio de Waikiki devotes each floor to a single suite with a butler always available.
The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto has become the first independent boutique hotel in Canada to achieve a five-star rating. In Mexico, newcomers include Hotel Esencia, a chic tropical retreat in Tulum that was once the home of an Italian duchess, and Banyan Tree Mayakoba, where every room has a private plunge pool. Bathed in white Greco-Moorish architecture, the reborn Cap Juluca in Anguilla was the only new five-star entry to the Caribbean.
Big international wins
Two new additions – Pan Pacific London, a sleek hotel in a 43-storey tower, and The Prince Akatoki London, a serene Japanese-influenced getaway – have cemented England’s capital as the city with the most five-star hotels in the world .
The Maldives and Macau each added new five-star hotels. The former unveiled Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, Joali Maldives, Kudadoo Maldives Private Island and Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, while Macau winners include Emerald Tower at MGM Cotai; Grand Suites at the Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip; Hotel Okura Macau; and Skylofts at MGM Cotai.
Other high-end hotels peaked in the Alps (Airelles Courchevel, Les Airelles; Gardena Grödnerhof; Park Hotel Vitznau), on the Amalfi Coast (Casa Angelina) and in Istanbul (Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul). Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers did the honors in the Middle East; and Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, Hotel The Mitsui Kyoto and The Murray Hong Kong were new highlights in Asia.
In the United States, three restaurants have achieved the coveted five-star rating for 2022. Dallas’ carte blanche offers delicious pastries in the morning, then five- or 12-course tasting menus in the evening. At Cara, nestled inside Rhode Island’s newest five-star hotel, The Chanler at Cliff Walk, chef Jacob Jasinski prepares nightly changing blind tasting menus with New England ingredients. Savor French-Japanese dishes from chef Jason Yamaguchi’s seasonal Waikiki tasting menus at Espacio’s hidden gem, Mugen.
Hong Kong added to its five-star restaurants with L’Envol, a French dining destination; Sushi Saito Hong Kong, whose seafood is chosen each morning by chef Takashi Saito at Tokyo’s Toyosu market and delivered the same day; and Tempura Uchitsu, which specializes in a tempura omakase menu. In Macau, two Chinese restaurants also took top honors: Five Foot Road, which focuses on savory Sichuan cuisine, and Imperial Court, which offers a modern take on Cantonese cuisine (be sure to check it out to the dragon column in the dining room). Finally, La Dame de Pic at Raffles Singapore showcases the culinary prowess of world-renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.
For those in need of high-end treatments, there are plenty of star-studded opportunities this year, whether in the countryside (Salamander Spa in Middleburg, Virginia), in the city (The Wellness Floor at One Dalton in Boston) , the mountains (Spa Ojai in Ojai, CA) or the Lowcountry (Spa Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, SC).
Around the world, look for the Bulgari Spa Dubai, an elegantly designed oasis, and the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha, which introduces Qatari ingredients like pearl powder and sand in some services. Not only are they the first five stars in their respective cities, but they are also the first in the Middle East.
Other winning spas include Asaya, a Hong Kong wellness center that offers everything from expressive arts therapy to facials; SE Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, where a hydrotherapy circuit should precede entry to one of Puerto Vallarta’s 20 sanctuary treatment rooms; and Banyan Tree Spa Mayakoba, where Asian-inspired therapies combine with Mexican traditions and a lush jungle setting.