Forbes Travel Guide continues to make strides in its goal to become the global hotel, spa and restaurant ranking service, issuing its 2018 Star awards for properties in 50 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.
That's up from 42 countries last year. And with this year marking the guide's 60th anniversary, Forbes, which for years focused mostly on North America, says it intends to expand its reach to 60 countries next year.
The 2018 award winners include 27 new Five-Star hotels, 70 new Four-Star hotels and 76 new hotels in the Recommended category.
Newly added international destinations are Abu Dhabi; Amsterdam; Aruba; Dubai; Hokkaido and Okinawa, Japan; Jamaica; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Madrid; Marrakech, Morocco; Panama; Prague; Sanya and Chengdu, China; and Vienna.
"This is a momentous year for Forbes Travel Guide," CEO Gerard Inzerillo said in a statement announcing the winners. "As the most trusted source for travelers, we continue to carry out our mission to verify luxury worldwide."
With 199 Five-Star, 513 Four-Star and 309 Recommended hotels, 64 Five-Star, 171 Four-Star and 83 Recommended restaurants, and 60 Five-Star and 210 Four-Star spas, he said it is the largest and most global group of star rated properties in the company's history. (See the full list on Forbes' redesigned website.)
Of those, just 13 properties earned Five-Star awards for their combined hotel, restaurant and spa: the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, which continued its streak as the only property to receive top honors from Forbes and AAA every year since the ratings were begun; the Banyan Tree Macau; The Cloister in Sea Island, Ga.; Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego; The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong; Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas; Mandarin Oriental, Macau; Meadowood Napa Valley; Montage Laguna Beach; Ocean House in Watch Hill, R.I.; The Peninsula Hong Kong; Wynn Las Vegas; and Wynn Palace, Macau.
Other highlights from this year's awards:
-- The new Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills becomes Hilton's first Five-Star hotel in the western hemisphere. The brand also has a property in China that has received five stars: Waldorf Astoria Shanghai on the Bund.
--Several other new hotels, including Trump Hotels in Washington, D.C., and Vancouver and the Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, were awarded five stars. The honor is unusual for new properties, but Forbes says it indicates that hotels are becoming increasingly vested in their preopening strategies, including recruitment and training practices.
--In its Forbes Travel Guide debut, the Middle East was a big winner with four Five-Star hotels: Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, Dubai; Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi; Four Seasons Hotel Dubai International Financial Centre; and the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
-- Belmond Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil's Iguacu National Park is South America's first Five-Star hotel.
-- Independent hotels made a strong showing with first-time Five-Star awards going to Le Richemond Geneve, in Switzerland; Magee Homestead in Wyoming; Meadowood Napa Valley; Nemacolin Woodlands Resort Falling Rock in Farmington, Penn.; and Williamsburg Inn in Virginia.