With the announcement today of the 55th-annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Award winners, an elite group of properties have earned the highest distinction. These exclusive hotels and resorts nabbed a Five-Star award for every category we rate: hotel, restaurant and spa. Of the 58 hotels, 28 restaurants and 23 spas in the U.S. that earned the prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award for 2013, just six properties achieved top honors across the board. To experience the ultimate in luxury travel, considering putting these resorts on your must-visit list this year.
The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs
As one of the first hotels to receive the highest rating, The Broadmoor has maintained its Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star honor every year since 1960—the longest of any property in the world. Its fine-dining restaurant, Penrose Room (named after the resort’s founder, Spencer Penrose), and Spa at The Broadmoor both gained the top award in 2010, making the Colorado Springs resort one of the few that scored Five-Stars across the board.
There are a few newcomers to the all-Five-Star group this year, including Mandarin Oriental, Miami. The hotel and its European-Asian fusion restaurant, Azul, now join its spa to become the only property in Florida to earn the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award in all three categories.
Just in time for its 10-year anniversary, Montage Laguna Beach earns Five-Stars in all three categories. The 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage Laguna Beach received its first Five-Star award in 2007, while its contemporary French restaurant, Studio, nabbed the coveted rating two years later in 2009. The 248-room resort was the first property for Montage Hotels & Resorts, which also has locations in Deer Valley, Beverly Hills and Los Cabos, Mexico.
The Grand Del Mar, San Diego
The Grand Del Mar, which opened in 2007, is the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel in San Diego. It looks more like a Mediterranean estate, thanks to its arched doorways, rotundas, wrought-iron accents and ornate stone inspired by the works of famed architect Addison Mizner. The 249-room resort features endless activities, ranging from the equestrian center and Tom Fazio-designed golf course to restaurants like Five-Star Addison and San Diego’s only Five-Star spa.
The Cloister, Sea Island
Reborn in 2006 after a $350 million rebuild, The Cloister has been a favorite coastal retreat since 1928. The Spanish-revival architecture is a nod to the resort’s original architect, Addison Mizner, and the Mediterranean details (Turkish rugs and wood-beam ceilings in the guest rooms) further cement that style. There are endless activities—horseback riding, dinner at Georgian Room and treatments at The Cloister Spa, to name a few—and the Sea Island Yacht Club boasts the 71-foot vintage Cloister Belle yacht that’s great for sunset cruises along the golden marshes.
Part of the glitzy CityCenter complex, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas offers a non-gaming respite in Sin City. The 392 sleek guest rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the neon-lit Strip or the surrounding desert mountains; one-of-a-kind artwork; and an amazing dining experience in Twist by Pierre Gagnaire. The Adam Tihany-designed hotel opened in 2009, receiving its first Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star award in 2012. It feels exclusive when you enter the glamorous spa, but the refined service is more than welcoming.
Photos Courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, The Broadmoor, Sea Island Company and The Grand Del Mar