Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its 2023 Star Awards, which this year feature ocean cruise ratings for the first time.
The 65th annual list features 360 Five-Star, 585 Four-Star and 433 Recommended hotels; 79 Five-Star, 113 Four-Star and 67 Recommended restaurants; as well as 119 Five-Star and 195 Four-Star spas worldwide
In Australia, the trio of ‘Five-Star’ Hotels from 2022 were repeated – Crown Towers Melbourne, Crown Towers Perth and The Darling Sydney. This year was the seventh consecutive year for The Darling Sydney, which was also the first, and remains the most-awarded recipient in New South Wales.
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The number of local Forbes-rated ‘Four-Star’ properties fell this year, awarded only to COMO The Treasury (Perth), Park Hyatt Melbourne and Park Hyatt Sydney.
Local hotels on Forbes’ ‘Recommended’ list were: Grand Hyatt Melbourne, InterContinental Sydney, The Langham Melbourne, Shangri-La Sydney and Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.
The Darling Spa in Sydney and Crown Spa Perth were two of the three local ‘Spas’ highlighted, both scoring a 4-Star rating. The other was Crown Spa Sydney with a 5-Star rating, but the Barrangaroo-based luxury hotel missed out on either a Five- or Four Star rating.
In New Zealand, the listings were identical to 2022, which were The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Huka Lodge and The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs (Four-Star) and Cordis Auckland and Delamore Lodge, Waiheke Island ‘Recommended’.
In Fiji, Dolphin Island was the only ‘Five-Star’, while Kokomo Private Island Fiji and Six Senses Fiji were both ‘Recommended’. Interestingly, Nanuku Resort Fiji dropped off the list this year. The Pacific Harbour-based luxury resort separated from the Auberge Resort Collection in late 2022. Fifteen Auberge properties in the US, Canada, and Mexico achieved Forbes’ star status in 2023.
Celebrity Cruises was the inaugural cruise line to make its way into the Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards within the new resorts at sea category. Five ships made the grade, including Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Flora and Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Summit. Forbes did state a second wave of cruise lines will be announced later this year, and even more in 2024.
More broadly, the hotel ratings expanded into new destinations, including Athens, Bodrum, Capri, Copenhagen, Cusco, Cyprus, Oslo, Sicily, Stockholm and Tunis.
Nine destinations welcomed their first Five-Star hotel: Athens (Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens); Bodrum (Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum); Capri (J.K. Place Capri); Kuwait (Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya); Lake Como (Mandarin Oriental, Lago di Como); Mallorca (Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa); Osaka (The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka); Riyadh (Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh at Kingdom Centre; The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh); and Shenzhen (Mandarin Oriental, Shenzhen).
After four years of London claiming the most Five-Star hotels in the world, Macau is the new title holder with 22 top-rated properties. This year, Macau gained more new Five-Star hotels than any other destination (Galaxy Hotel, Grand Lisboa Palace Macau, The Karl Lagerfeld, Londoner Court, The Londoner Hotel).
After a two-year renovation, the legendary Raffles Hotel Singapore triumphantly returned to the Star Ratings list with a Five-Star award.
Mallorca landed its debut Five-Star achievement for Jumeirah Port Soller Hotel & Spa. The property and new Five-Star Jumeirah Al Naseem (Dubai) join the iconic Burj Al Arab (Dubai) as the Jumeirah brand’s top-rated winners.
Nordic countries made their first showing on the list with Four-Star Hotel d’Angleterre Copenhagen and Recommended winners Amerikalinjen (Oslo), Ett Hem (Stockholm) and Grand Hôtel Stockholm.
“Travel is in an incredible position for continued growth, as people prioritise authentic, in-person experiences,” said Amanda Frasier, President of Ratings for Forbes Travel Guide. “The hotels, ocean cruises, restaurants and spas on our 2023 Star Rating list demonstrate an impressive commitment to creating memorable environments that nurture connection, joy and sense of place as we experience the world to its fullest.”
View Forbes Travel Guides‘ Star Award winners for 2023 here.