The tally is part of the latest Forbes Travel Guide 2021 Star Awards, an annual assessment and listing of luxury hotels worldwide.
Laying claim to 19 hotels on the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star ranking, London’s accolade goes alongside the first inclusion for Scotland on the list, with The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel, making its debut. Bali also picked up two first-time Five-Star hotel listings, The Mulia – Nusa Dua, Bali and The St. Regis Bali.
Forbes Travel Guide sets its stall out as the only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants and spas, and has been publishing the list for 63 years.
The list includes 283 Five-Star, 576 Four-Star and 438 Recommended hotels which were all inspected before the pandemic and when regional restrictions allowed the safe welcoming of guests.
Globally, the cities with the largest number of Forbes Five-Star hotels along with London are now Macau (13), Paris (13), New York (10) and Tokyo (9).
Tokyo had a strong boost in luxury accommodation additions, with four hotels now on the list for 2021 – the Capitol Hotel Tokyu; The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, A Luxury Collection Hotel; The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo; and Takanawa Hanakohro.
Japan is also home to the Forbes Travel Guide Hotel Employee of the Year – Hisashi Sugimoto, master bartender, The Tokyo Station Hotel. The 80-year-old joined the hotel in 1958 and invented many of the original cocktails that fill the menu at Bar Oak.
Alongside a host of other employee of the year awards come new Hospitality Star of the Year categories to honour those doing exceptional work during the pandemic, including The Berkeley in London, which was awarded the Philanthropic Star.
The award acknowledges the hotel’s creation of The Berkeley 999 Drive Thru, which swung into action when the hotel had to shut down because of local restrictions but wanted to support key workers and the community however it could.
It served 500 meals daily during the first lockdown to emergency services staff, and an additional 250 meals a day were given to the elderly and more vulnerable in the community, in partnership with Westminster Council. In total, more than 50,000 meals were provided and staff members, many of whom were furloughed, volunteered to serve food and were “a beacon of positivity”.
Also recognised for the People First Star – an accolade given to a hotel with an exceptional commitment to people and culture – was Raffles Seychelles.
When the hotel was forced to close for several months, it saved team members’ jobs by reducing all salaries but continued to provide housing and meals for them, and only 10 employees of 300 were not retained overall. When conditions improved, the hotel was able to pay a bonus to all employees.
“In this unprecedented time for the travel industry, every persisting staff member at a hotel, restaurant and spa is a winner,” said Filip Boyen, chief executive of Forbes Travel Guide. “But we also wanted to honour those hospitality workers who went above and beyond during the pandemic to aid their guests and colleagues. Our Employees of the Year and Hospitality Stars exemplify the best of our industry.”