It seems like everyone is throwing around the word luxurious these days. Spas, hotels, Airbnb’s aren’t the only users. Trains, planes, and automobiles use it to describe their experience. But in a world where people use the word flippantly, can travelers trust the claims that tout the descriptor “luxurious?” They can now. For the first time, the Forbes Travel Guide has created two new lists for the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas. This is a brand new resource that erases all doubt about whether a property is truly luxurious.
The Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists Criteria
In order for a hotel or spa to be in the first Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists for the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas, it had to meet some pretty steep standards. According to Forbes, incognito inspectors evaluate the properties on up to 900 standards. They then use these standards to evaluate the properties’ Forbes star ratings. Basically, that means if a hotel or spa makes the cut, guests can feel confident that luxurious means luxurious.
Some of the criteria for hotels include:
- Hotel surroundings that are distinctive and convey a sense of place, including exceptional attention to interior design and landscaping.
- The hotel provides thoughtful touches throughout the guest experience, such as fresh flowers in the guest room, a noteworthy or thoughtful element at evening turndown service, chilled towels and fresh fruit in the fitness center, etc.
- Rooms are exceptionally comfortable, with top-of-the-line bed linens and pillows, luxurious bath amenities, and high-quality robes, slippers, and towels.
- The guests’ belongings are handled thoughtfully and with care.
- There is a notable variety and distinctive presentation of food and beverages in the bar, hotel dining, and room service. All silverware, napkins, and coasters are of exceptional quality.
Spas that made the cut had to live up to a similar set of considerations, though slightly less specific:
- When inside a private treatment room, the ambiance is relaxed, quiet, private and comfortable.
- The spa’s public spaces are generously spacious and thoughtfully laid out.
- Amenities are always plentifully stocked and conveniently and attractively displayed in showers and dressing areas.
- Spa amenities (e.g., shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc.) are exceptionally luxurious in quality.
- The use of sound, light, scent, and other visual elements combine to create a unique sense of place.
The Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists Hotels and Spas
Around the world, 58 hotels and 30 spas made the Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists for the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas. You will find these particular hotels in 17 countries. They consist of 52 Five-Star hotels and 6 Four-Star hotels. The United States, China, Indonesia, Italy, and Mexico are the top five countries for luxury properties. If the spas are what you’re after, you can find them across six countries consisting of 21 Five-Star spas and 9 Four-Star spas. Again, the United States and Puerto Rico had the most, followed by China.
The destinations with the most luxurious hotels on the list are Macau, Las Vegas, New York City, and Bali, with three hotels each. Los Angeles/Beverly Hills, London, Hong Kong, and Manila each had two. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel group plays host to the most properties of any brand. These hotels represent the top 6 percent of all Star Rated hotels globally, according to Forbes.
As for spas, Macau came out on top for the most. Hong Kong, the Riviera Maya, and Puerto Rico came after. Perhaps not surprisingly, The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group not only had the most properties of any other brands in hotels, but they also had the most spas too. Since the listings are a sampling of the top 11 percent of all Star Rated spas globally, you can rest assured they’ll be pure luxury.
Luxurious hotels and spas often come hand in hand, usually on the same property. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that eight properties made the Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists for both the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas.
A Sampling of Amenities
What are the tangible details that make a hotel or spa so worthy of the list? Think personalized embroidered towels at Altira Macau or a personal butler at The Lanesborough in London. Or perhaps you would rather have an exclusive local Mezcal at Rosewood Mayakoba and a complimentary limo from the airport to Aria Sky Suites in Las Vegas.
As for spas, amenities include services that transpire in a tree house at Spa Botanico, a Chinese bathing ritual at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, and champagne and cupcakes at Eau Spa.
The Bottom Line
Of course, there are some listings that appeared twice for both the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas. There were 58 hotels plus 30 spas in total. For those searching for luxury accommodation that truly the new Forbes Travel Guide Verified Lists do not to disappoint.