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Five-star hotel, spa, restaurant ratings revealed

Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its annual star rating awards — this time with a record number of new properties earning the coveted five-star designation. 

More than 100 five-star awards — 107, to be exact — have been announced, 70 of which are hotels. Last year the global rating system only added 21 new hotels to the five-star rating list.

In addition to the hotels earning five-star ratings, there are 13 new five-star restaurants and 24 new five-star spas. The company has been evaluating hospitality for 62 years and designated 1,898 star-rated properties this year: 432 hotels, restaurants and spas earned five-star ratings. More than 2,000 were evaluated. 

Anonymous professional inspectors hired by Forbes Travel Guide evaluate each location across the world based on 900 objective standards — with exceptional service a key metric. Forbes Travel Guide touts itself as the only independent agency for luxury hotel, restaurant and spa rating.

The agency also recognizes four-star properties and offers a recommended designation, too. 

This year, the company expanded, spotlighting international markets including Antigua, the Bahamas, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Zealand and more, with 16 new countries (and 73 in total). Inspectors evaluated more than 200 new properties.

The Four Seasons chain retained its status as the brand with the most five-star hotels; 11 more joined its roster. London had the most top hotels. 

Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff Johannesburg earned a Five-Star rating from Forbes Travel Guide.

“For us, it is all about how does the hotel make the guest feel?” Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide, told USA TODAY.

At The Peninsula in Hong Kong, for example, all towels, pillowcases and bathrobes were embroidered with his initials, for example. At another hotel, Boyen received a handwritten note mentioning that while unpacking his suitcase, someone noticed his toothpaste was running low and replaced it with the same brand. Evidently, luxury is about more than just the big things.

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