The results of the 55th annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards are in, and this year we have more luxury hotels, restaurants and spas on our list than ever. After checking in and checking out properties around the world, Forbes Travel Guide's professional inspectors uncovered 18 new Five-Star hotels, five new Five-Star restaurants and four new Five-Star spas you'll want to add to your must-travel list.
Miami, photo courtesy Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
A few destinations won big this year, including Miami: Two hotels here earned Five-Star distinctions for the first time since 1996-Mandarin Oriental, Miami and Acqualina Resort & Spa. Both hotels offer service that's warm and attentive (this is Miami, after all), and a luxurious escape that feels worlds away from the chaos of Ocean Drive. Two Miami restaurants — Azul and Naoe — also captured first-time Five-Star awards. At Azul, the restaurant inside Mandarin Oriental, Miami, you'll find a light and airy room overlooking Biscayne Bay and a menu that takes its cues from its waterfront location. Naoe, a jewel box of a Japanese restaurant tucked away on the city's Brickell Key, is the domain of chef Kevin Cory, who serves just a handful of diners each night during two seatings that are often sold out months in advance. Those who do snag a seat are treated to an impeccable experience in flavor, presentation and gracious service, as they dine on the freshest, purest Japanese dishes found this side of Tokyo.
China World Summit Wing, Beijing, photo courtesy Shangri La International Hotel Management
This year's full list of Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners includes 76 Five-Star hotels, 28 Five-Star restaurants and 35 Five-Star spas, plus 226 Four-Star hotels, 143 Four-Star restaurants and 136 Four-Star spas. New this year is Forbes Travel Guide's Recommended rating, which designates properties that deliver exceptional value and an enhanced experience-2013's list includes an inaugural group of 24 Recommended hotels and 17 Recommended restaurants.