With more than 800 standards to uphold, the teams at luxury hotels strive to cross every “t” and dot every “i” when it comes to being a Forbes Travel Guide Star-Rated property. And although earning any Forbes Travel Guide distinction is notable, the crème de la crème in hospitality obtains the Five-Star honor, a designation that only 18 new properties were able to achieve this year.
Among this luminous list sits China’s Conrad Macao, Cotai Central. The two-time Four-Star property worked hard to elevate its status. “We are honored to be included as one of the 115 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotels in the world,” says Bede Barry, general manager of the 636-room property. The staff at Conrad Macao separated itself from its 26 sister properties around the globe by living and breathing the FTG standards.
“It was important that we engaged our team members on a daily basis to live and, more importantly, to believe in the Forbes Travel Guide standards,” Barry says. “We implemented Forbes Travel Guide training into our daily morning briefings and job training programs with all of our team members from managers down to line staff.”
In its efforts to reach elite status, the Cotai Strip gem also used mystery shoppers to seek out areas for improvement. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the hotel goes the extra mile to provide special touches — think eating bespoke candy or cozying up with the brand’s signature turndown teddy bear — for every guest experience.
Another property that earned the only Five-Star recognition for its brand is The Langham, Hong Kong. After undergoing a massive $30 million makeover, the hotel, which is located in the heart of the Tsim Sha Tsui district, positioned itself to be one of the best in the world. “The renovation extends to 230 rooms and suites encompassing subtle references to 1920s glamour,” says Bob van den Oord, managing director of The Langham, Hong Kong and VP of brands for the Langham Hospitality Group. “The two Signature Suites, Penthouse Suite and the Director Suite, both feature distinctive living spaces with playful character pieces and lofty views of Canton Road.”
In addition, The Langham, Hong Kong touched up its lounge, Palm Court, with natural stone flooring and painted timber columns. It’s here where you can relish traditional tea during the property’s very own The Langham Afternoon Tea with Wedgwood, an occasion when scones and other treats are served on custom-made Langham Rose Wedgwood chinaware.
And right next door, you will find the hotel’s new Art Deco-inspired Artesian bar. With plenty of bourbon and gin offerings to go around, the glam cocktail spot showcases artisanal libations with housemade infusions. “We want to create memorable experiences,” van den Oord says about the drinks and the hotel’s countless other delights. “New facilities and amenities enhance our brand as the luxury hotel of choice for discerning guests looking for supreme comfort and convenience.”
Rounding out this shining first-timer Five-Star list is Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California, about 33 miles north of San Diego. The 327-room hotel, which sits on 200 acres of verdant rolling hills and overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon, prides itself on providing personalized luxury, genuine hospitality and an overall enriching experience at its world-class facility.
According to property general manager Ulrich Samietz, “The resort offers visitors dramatic sunsets, views of the San Diego bay, and walking paths to explore and experience its landscaped grounds, and local flora and fauna.” But Park Hyatt’s beauty doesn’t just radiate in the mere physical sense. Samietz insists that things extend deeper than that. “Our colleagues are at the heart of this hotel,” he says. “I am so honored to work alongside such dedicated, committed and genuine colleagues who have made this hotel what it is today. I truly believe our people make all the difference.”