Forbes Travel Guide has added 36 hotels, restaurants and spas to its exclusive list of Five-Star properties.
Among them are 15 hotels, bringing the total number of Five-Star hotels to 97 worldwide, the most in its history.
A number of the hotels on the list are newly-opened or recently renovated, which Forbes Travel Guide President Michael Cascone says is proof of an uptick in investment in the luxury hotel industry.
"In other words, the capital is flowing back into this segment," Cascone says. "The outlook remains strong for this segment."
Luxury hotels suffered the most during the recession. Many projects came to a halt, as occupancy levels and average daily rates dropped.
Still, through November of last year, 75.4% of luxury hotel rooms were filled, while the average daily rate was $287.94, according to STR. In 2009, at the height of the economic downturn, 63.7% of luxury hotel rooms were occupied with an average daily rate of $243.98.
Forbes Travel Guide has been handing out stars since 1958. A team of inspectors anonymously evaluates properties against about 800 standards, the company says.
Cascone says those include such factors as décor and cleanliness. But most importantly, it's about consistently top-notch service, he says.
"It's first and foremost service," he says. "That consistency is what we look for, and that's what ultimately the best of the best end up doing."
The newly renovated Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco and The Pierre New York, A Taj Hotel earned Five Stars.
The recently constructed St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Four Seasons Hotel Toronto and Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto also earned Five-Star ratings.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts had a strong showing. It's the brand with the most Five-Star properties this year, with a total of 18 hotels in 11 destinations. The company has tripled its number of honored hotels in the past decade.
California has the most Five-Star hotels of any U.S. state with 17. That includes four additions this year: El Encanto in Santa Barbara, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa near San Diego, Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco.
Montana got its first Five-Star hotel with The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg.
Outside of the U.S., Shanghai doubled the number of Five-Star hotels to four. That brings China's total number of Five-Star hotels to 19.
Restaurants and spas
There are now 48 Five-Star restaurants in Asia and the USA. New York alone has seven Five-Star restaurants.
There were 16 new Five-Star restaurants. Eleven of them were outside the U.S., including Caprice at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong and Iggy's at the Hilton Singapore Hotel.
In the U.S., New York's Del Posto and Chicago's Grace received Five Stars.
Five spas catapulted to the Five-Star list, including The Reméde Spa at The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in Miami and The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco.
There are now a total of 41 Five-Star spas.
Triple Crown and Four Stars
An even more exclusive list of hotels earned Five Stars in all three categories.
The "Triple Five-Star" properties include both Wynn Macau and Encore Macau, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong, Mandarin Oriental hotels in Miami, Las Vegas and Hong Kong, and The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong.
The 2014 Forbes Travel Guide includes 1,000 hotels, restaurants, and spas in the USA, Canada, London, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Macau, and Singapore.
Forbes Travel Guide also recognizes 296 Four-Star hotels, 186 Four-Star restaurants and 149 Four-Star spas.
It also has a list of 82 Recommended hotels and 42 Recommended restaurants in those markets.
This year's complete list of new Five-Star hotels:
- Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford, Calif.
- El Encanto, Santa Barbara
- Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
- Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco, San Francisco
- Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, Rancho Santa Fe
- The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort, Miami
- The Ranch at Rock Creek, Philipsburg, Mont.
- The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York
- Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, Vancouver
- Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, Toronto
- Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto, Toronto
- Banyan Tree Macau, Cotai Strip, Macau
- Four Seasons Hotel Macao, Cotai Strip, Macau
- Four Seasons Hotel Pudong, Shanghai
- Mandarin Oriental Pudong, Shanghai
The complete list of new Five-Star restaurants:
- Aubergine the Restaurant at L'Auberge Carmel, Carmel, Calif.
- La Mer, Halekulani, Honolulu
- Grace, Chicago
- Del Posto, New York
- TÈ, The Inn at Leola Village, Leola, Pa.
- Amber, Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
- Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
- Lung King Heen, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong
- Mandarin Grill, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
- Pierre, Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong
- Aurora, Altira Macau
- Golden Flower, Encore Macau
- Jade Dragon, Crown Towers, Macau
- Wing Lei, Wynn Macau, Macau
- Iggy's, Hilton Singapore Hotel, Singapore
The complete list of Five-Star spas:
- The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
- The Spa at Pebble Beach, Pebble Beach Resorts, Pebble Beach, Calif.
- Remède Spa Bal Harbour, The St. Regis Bal Harbour, Miami
- Banyan Tree Spa Macau, Banyan Tree, Macau
- The Spa at Crown, Crown Towers, Macau
- The complete list of of 2014 Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating recipients can be found here.