Travel has made its big comeback. All of those delayed openings and canceled vacations, conferences and celebratory getaways have given hotels and resorts plenty of time to upgrade their services, rejuvenate their facilities and re-envision 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 annual list, FTG ventured into new destinations, such as the Canary Islands, Greece, Ibiza and Malta. The 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 eateries and 67 Recommended restaurants, as well as 102 Five-Star 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, rigorous standards, from modern-day luxuries—such as whether a room is set up to enhance sleep or whether the food-and-beverage choices are health-conscious—to more traditional amenities, such as the quality of the décor and the courtesy of the staff. Seventy-five percent of a hotel’s rating relies on service, while the remaining 25 percent is determined by the quality of its facilities.
See the full list of 2022 Star Awards winners here, and learn more about the newest additions to the collection below.
New Five-Star Destinations
Nine destinations earned the top honor for the first time this year. Madrid made a strong debut with two new Five-Star properties: Four Seasons Hotel Madrid, where you can unwind in the four-story spa and feast in celebrity chef Dani García’s Andalusian brasserie Dani, and BLESS Hotel Madrid, whose recently renovated contemporary interiors take cues from the neighborhood’s 19th-century aristocratic homes. The BLESS brand also claimed its first Five-Star award for its Ibiza property, with destination dining at decorated chef Martín Berasategui’s Etxeko.
Joining the Five-Star ranks in Europe are Berlin’s Hotel de Rome, a Rocco Forte Hotel, an Italian Renaissance-style landmark set among Bebelplatz’s grand buildings; the Netherlands’ Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, a string of six connected 17th- and 18th-century palaces along the Herengracht Canal; Malta’s Iniala Harbour House, a boutique gem with 23 eclectic, stylish rooms; Greece’s Katikies Mykonos, a white-washed refuge with sparkling water views; and Zurich’s Dolder Grand, which lives up to its name with panoramic vistas of the city, lake and Alps from its historic hilltop perch.
A white 15-story tower that sits on the highest of Amman’s seven hills, Four Seasons Hotel Amman earned Jordan’s inaugural award in the Middle East. In Asia, the beachfront Halekulani Okinawa, featuring a showstopping pool lined with nearly 1.5 million mosaic tiles shaped like a Cattleya orchid, garnered the Japanese island’s premier prize.
Achievements in the Americas
In the United States, Auberge Resorts Collection had a Five-Star trifecta with The Lodge at Blue Sky, a 3,500-acre adventure getaway near Park City, Utah; Madeline Hotel and Residences, a sophisticated Telluride mountain escape that was renovated in 2021; and White Barn Inn, a New England classic that’s home to a beloved Five-Star restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Massachusetts scored wins with Encore Boston Harbor, the largest U.S. gaming resort outside of Las Vegas to earn the prestigious rating; Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street, Boston, a modern Back Bay skyscraper; and Chatham Inn, a charming 18-room Cape Cod hideaway.
Other East Coast winners include The Towers at Lotte New York Palace, an exclusive hotel within a hotel in Midtown Manhattan, and The Chanler at Cliff Walk, a Gilded 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 lavish ESPACIO The Jewel of Waikiki dedicates each floor to a single suite with an always-on-call butler.
Toronto’s Hazelton Hotel became the first independent boutique hotel in Canada to earn a Five-Star rating. In Mexico, newcomers include Hotel Esencia, a tropical-chic retreat in Tulum that was once the home of an Italian duchess, and Banyan Tree Mayakoba, where every room comes with a private pool. Bathed in white Greco-Moorish architecture, the reborn Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla was the sole new Five-Star entry in the Caribbean.
Big International Gains
Two new additions—Pan Pacific London, a sleek hotel in a 43-story tower, and The Prince Akatoki London, a serene Japanese-influenced getaway—cemented the English capital as the city with the most Five-Star hotels worldwide (to see the full list of 21 top London winners, click here).
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’s honorees include Emerald Tower at MGM COTAI; Grand Suites at Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip; Hotel Okura Macau; and Skylofts at MGM COTAI.
More top hotels peaked in the Alps (Airelles Courchevel, Les Airelles; Gardena Grödnerhof; Park Hotel Vitznau), the Amalfi Coast (Casa Angelina) and Istanbul (Mandarin Oriental Bosphorus, Istanbul). Caesars Palace Bluewaters Dubai and Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers brought honors to the Middle East; and Bulgari Hotel Shanghai; HOTEL THE MITSUI KYOTO, A Luxury Collection Hotel & Spa; and The Murray, Hong Kong, a Niccolo Hotel were new standouts in Asia.
Stateside, three restaurants achieved the coveted Five-Star rating for 2022. Dallas’ Carte Blanche turns out luscious pastries in the morning and then five- or 12-course tasting menus in the evening. At Cara, tucked inside Rhode Island’s newly minted Five-Star hotel The Chanler at Cliff Walk, chef Jacob Jasinski crafts nightly changing blind tasting menus with New England ingredients. Savor French-Japanese fare in seasonal tasting menus in Waikiki from chef Jason Yamaguchi at ESPACIO’s hidden gem MUGEN.
Hong Kong added to its Five-Star restaurants with L’Envol, a French fine-dining destination; Sushi Saito Hong Kong, whose seafood is chosen every morning by chef Takashi Saito at Tokyo’s Toyosu Market and delivered that day; and Tempura Uchitsu, which specializes in a tempura omakase menu. In Macau, two Chinese restaurants also took the top honors: Five Foot Road, which focuses on flavorful Sichuan cuisine, and Imperial Court, which offers a modern take on Cantonese fare (be sure to peek at the dining room’s dragon column). Finally, La Dame de Pic, Raffles Singapore showcases the culinary prowess of world-renowned French chef Anne-Sophie Pic.
For those in need of some premium pampering, there are plenty of star-filled possibilities this year, whether it be in the country (Salamander Spa in Middleburg, Virginia), the city (The Spa at Encore Boston Harbor; The Spa by Ivanka Trump at Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.; or The Wellness Floor at One Dalton in Boston), the mountains (Spa Ojai in Ojai, California, or Edge Spa in Utah) or the Lowcountry (Spa Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina).
Around the world, seek out The Bulgari Spa Dubai, a sleekly designed oasis, and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha, which introduces Qatari ingredients like pearl powder and sand into some services. Not only are they the inaugural 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 provides everything from expressive arts therapy to facials; SE Spa at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, where a hydrotherapy circuit should precede slipping into one of the Puerto Vallarta sanctuary’s 20 treatment rooms; and Banyan Tree Spa Mayakoba, where Asian-inspired therapies combine with Mexican traditions and a lush jungle setting.