Forbes Travel Guide’s 2021 Star Award winners

Forbes has announced the latest recipients of its Star Awards. Congratulations to all of Forbes Travel Guide’s 2021 Star Award winners!

Forbes Travel Guide (FTG) has announced the winners of its 63rd annual Star Awards.

The 2021 list of honorees features 283 Five-Star, 576 Four-Star and 438 Recommended hotels; 73 Five-Star, 136 Four-Star and 77 Recommended restaurants; and 90 Five-Star and 200 Four-Star spas worldwide. This year’s awards also include a number of special accolades for individual workers and brands in the hospitality industry. 

 Some highlights:

  • Four new Five-Star hotels were named in Tokyo for a total of nine in the city: The Capitol Hotel Tokyu; The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, A Luxury Collection Hotel; The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo; and Takanawa Hanakohro.
  • Five cities got their first Five-Star hotels: Hilton Head (Montage Palmetto Bluff), Houston (The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston), Montreal (Four Seasons Hotel Montreal), Philadelphia (Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center) and Seattle (Four Seasons Hotel Seattle).
  • Three new Five-Star winners were named in Los Cabos: Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection; Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection; and Auberge Spa Chileno Bay.
  • Scotland’s Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel is the country’s first Five-Star hotel.
  • The cities around the world with the largest number of Five-Star hotels include London (19), Macau (13), Paris (13), New York (10) and Tokyo (9).

Employee of the Year awards

The second annual The second annual Employee of the Year awards, sponsored by Frette, honor the stand-out team members who have gone the extra mile in service of guests and co-workers.

The 2021 Hotel Employee of the Year is Hisashi Sugimoto, master bartender at The Tokyo Station Hotel. Eighty-year-old Sugimoto has been with the Tokyo Station Hotel since 1958 and invented many of the original cocktails at the hotel’s Bar Oak. Colleagues say Sugimoto’s passion for making guests happy has kept them coming back for six decades.

The 2021 Spa Employee of the Year is Najla Ceman, therapist, The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown. Forbes reports that, when the spa closed for nine months due to COVID, the 20-year industry veteran became certified in several health-and-safety-related courses to ensure she was prepared to meet new demands upon reopening. 

Hospitality Stars of the Year awards

Forbes Travel Guide also introduced the Hospitality Stars of the Year awards, sponsored by Frette, in 2021. 

These winners include:

Wellness Star of the Year, Hotel Esencia, Riviera Maya, Mexico. Hotel Esencia introduced a unique new room category, Rooftop Wellness suites, that come with a Mirror virtual fitness trainer, a Peloton bicycle, a Technogym weight set, yoga mats and an aromatherapy steam shower. The innovative accommodations also embrace the jungle setting with rooftop terraces, outdoor showers, solariums and private pools.

Philanthropic Star of the Year award, The Berkeley, London. The Berkely took the opportunity to provide drive-through meal service to emergency services and the vulnerable members of the population during the first COVID shutdown. Team members volunteered their time to participate. Five hundred meals were served daily to emergency services, and 250 meals a day were given to the elderly and vulnerable people in the community, in partnership with Westminster Council. In total, more than 50,000 meals were provided. 

People First Star of the Year: Raffles Seychelles. When Raffles Seychelles was forced to close for several months, it saved jobs by reducing salaries while continuing to provide housing and meals to team members. Only 10 employees of 300 were not retained. When conditions improved, the hotel paid a bonus to all employees.

Service Visionary Star of the Year: Ocean House Management Collection. The Ocean House team took an innovative approach to service during the pandemic by introducing the OH Well program. The program included a mobile cart for room-to-room delivery of cocktails and complimentary appetizers to recreate the bar experience, personalized picnics, culinary garden and winter igloo outdoor dining setups, and private culinary and wine classes and dinners.

Health Security Star of the Year, Hilton Luxury Brands, Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, Americas. In response to the pandemic, Waldorf Astoria and Conrad in the Americas quickly developed luxury service manuals with detailed videos and illustrations to thoroughly describe the modified guest experience with safety in mind. The brand also created a robust cleanliness and disinfection program for VERIFIED hotels.

Nominations for these industry awards were submitted by properties in Forbes Travel Guide’s worldwide collection. FTG received hundreds of entries.

“In this unprecedented time for the travel industry, every persisting staff member at a hotel, restaurant and spa is a winner,” said Filip Boyen, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “But we also wanted to honor those hospitality workers who went above and beyond during the pandemic to aid their guests and colleagues. Our Employees of the Year and Hospitality Stars exemplify the best of our industry.”

Below are the new 5-Star spa and hotel award winners for 2021. To view the full list of 2021 Star Award winners, visit 

New Forbes 5-Star Spas for 2021:

Auberge Spa Chileno Bay, Los Cabos, Mexico
Remède Spa Aspen, Aspen CO, United States
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas, Las Vegas NV, United States
The Spa at Four Seasons Toronto, Toronto ON, Canada
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing, Beijing, China
Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, Philadelphia, PA, United States
Sunstone Spa, Palm Springs CA, United States 

New Forbes 5-Star Hotels for 2021:

The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
The Capitol Hotel Tokyu, Tokyo, Japan
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, Los Cabos, Mexico
Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul, Istanbul , Turkey
Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection, Los Cabos, Mexico
Four Seasons Hotel Montreal , Montreal QC, Canada
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center, Philadelphia PA, United States
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle, Seattle WA, United States
Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing, Beijing, Beijing, China
Montage Deer Valley, Park City UT, United States
Montage Palmetto Bluff, Hilton Head SC, United States
The Mulia – Nusa Dua, Bali, Bali, Indonesia
The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, Houston TX, United States
The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, A Luxury Collection Hotel, Tokyo, Japan
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
The St. Regis Bali Resort, Bali, Indonesia
The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
The St. Regis San Francisco, San Francisco CA, United States
Takanawa Hanakohro , Tokyo, Japan

How to get a Forbes Five-Star Rating for your spa

We looked into our crystal ball and predicted the future for the year ahead. Subscribe to our newsletter and download our special report on the trends we’ll be watching: Nine spa and wellness trends for 2021. Download here.

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