Frette linens, canopy beds, Michelin-star restaurants, serene spas and world class service are just a few of the essentials that make luxury travel worth the experience. But when hotels take things to the next level, the stars really shine.
Known for its excellence in defining the extraordinary, Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide), unveiled its 54th annual listing of Five-Star and Four-Star hotels, restaurants and spas worldwide - and the list is nothing short of spectacular. The 2012 winners include five hotels, four restaurants and nine spas that all gained their coveted fifth star for the first time.
The Mandarin Oriental celebrates three new Five-Star hotel ratings for their Boston, Las Vegas and Singapore locations, as well as two new Five-Star spas in Macau and Singapore. The Spa at Four Seasons collection welcomes spas in Vail, Las Vegas and Hong Kong to the Five-Star collection.
The Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego received its fifth star, and now forms a trifecta of five-stars in addition to its Five-Star Spa at The Grand Del Mar and Addison restaurant. Wisconsin is now home to Five-Star The American Club, and Five-Star spa Kohler Waters Spa
Five-Stars were also awarded to new restaurants including L2O in Chicago; Menton in Boston; Twist by Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas; and Herons in Cary, North Carolina. New spas that earned their Five-Stars include OH! Spa, Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island; The Spa at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah; and The Greenbrier Spa in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.
All of the 2012 winners can be found on Forbes' new interactive website, Startle.com. The new website, which launched today in conjunction with the star announcements, includes Forbes Inspector commentary, exclusive offers from partner hotels, original photos from hotels, restaurants and spas, and a space for social networking among its members.
These additions bring the total number of Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotels to 57, 25 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurants, all located in the U.S., and 30 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spas around the world. The complete 2012 Forbes Travel Guide list includes 539 hotels, restaurants and spas in the U.S., Canada, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.
HuffPost Lifestyle is a daily newsletter that will make you happier and healthier — one email at a time. Learn more