Asian Newcomers Join the 2021 Forbes Travel Guide Star Award Winners

The annual Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards has recently announced its list of winners for 2021, and Asia has made its mark with more than a quarter of the 83 hotels worldwide acknowledged with a 5-star rating. This is a testament to the region’s outstanding hospitality industry which is fast becoming a mecca for luxury travel and lifestyleIn this article, we will discuss how award winners are picked and which hotels in Asia have entered the prestigious 5-star list for the first time.


About The Forbes Annual Star Awards

The Forbes Star Awards is considered to be the only independent global rating system for the hospitality industry. It recognizes leaders in the hospitality industry which includes hotels, spas, and restaurants all over the world. The company boasts of having created the original 5-star rating system in 1958, with the name Mobil Travel Guide.

The awards given are based on 900 different factors and stringent standards for modern-day luxuries. Some of these factors include the quality of the interior decor, facilities, whether or not the rooms enhance sleep, if the food and beverage sections are health-conscious, as well as many other factors.

The criteria consist of 75% service-related objectives with 25% allocated to the quality of facilities. More emphasis is placed on the services provided by the establishment, such as level of care, genuine concern for guests, and overall services.

The company’s highly trained inspectors stay at each hotel for 3 days and 2 nights, with the global team being anonymous. This means that hotels don’t know who they are, giving them authentic experiences just like any other guest would.

2021’s Forbes Star Awards were taken from reports before restrictions to the COVID-19 were in place, as well as after restrictions were lifted in some of the hotels on the list.


Asia’s Forbes Star Awards 2021 Newcomers

Many hotels in Asia have been recognized in this year’s Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards, including some first-time recipients of the sought-after 5-star rating.  The vibrant city of Tokyo leads the pack with four newcomers, followed by the tropical island of Bali with two, and Beijing with one.


1. The Capitol Hotel Tokyu

Capitol Hotel Tokyu’s guest room with stunning night skyline views. to Photo: Tokyu Hotels

A well-established 5-star hotel in Tokyo, The Capitol Hotel is favoured by Japanese dignitaries and international VIPs for its privacy and exclusivity. Located in the heart of downtown Tokyo, the hotel is defined as being a modern urban luxury mixed with a traditional spirit.


2. Takanawa Hanakohro

Takanawa Hanakohro’s tatami rooms blends luxury with Japanese tradition. Photo: Prince Hotels

Offering the perfect mix of tradition and luxury, this 5-star hotel provides a perfect example of Japanese hospitality. With only 16 intimate rooms called ryokan (which are traditional Japanese inns), set amidst a 5-acre Japanese garden complete with hundreds of cherry blossom trees and 16 types of flowers, this hotel is a true luxury haven in Tokyo.


3. The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo

The contemporary East-Meet-West interiors of The Ritz-Carlton Suite. Photo: The Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo offers a unique setting for guests. This 5-star luxury hotel is located on the 45th floor of the famous Midtown Tower, where sweeping views of the Tokyo skyline provide its guests with picturesque views of the Tokyo Tower, the National Stadium and even Mount Fuji on a clear day. Literally elevating the luxury hotel experience to new heights is what The Ritz-Carlton Tokyo is known for.


4. The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho, A Luxury Collection Hotel

Embrace modern luxury in the guest suites of The Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho. Photo: Marriott

And the last newcomer on our list of 5-star luxury hotels in Tokyo is The Prince Gallery. Dubbed as a contemporary retreat where every room looks out over the city, it is situated only steps away from the iconic Akasaka Prine Classic House. Offering upscale travel experiences, immaculately-designed rooms and suites, it is one of the most highly sought-after luxury hotels in downtown Tokyo.



1. The St. Regis Bali Resort

Aerial shot of St. Regis Bali’s villas and lagoon pool. Photo: Marriott

The St. Regis Bali Resort is a 5-star hotel that offers suites and villas that provide an enchanting abode for its guests. Complete with private pools, gazebos, and genuine Balinese interior touches, the resort is what a perfect luxury Balinese experience should be. Take a dip in their 40,000 square-foot saltwater swimming lagoon, relax at their butterfly-themed spa or lap in luxury as your personal butler attends to your every need.


2. The Mulia-Nusa Dua, Bali

The iconic oceanfront Oasis Pool of The Mulia in Nusa Dua. Photo: The Mulia Bali

This all-suite resort in Bali was given a 5-star rating due to its luxurious 4-star spa, some of the island’s top dining spots, and for having the island’s longest and most stunning oceanfront pool. This infinity pool is lined with 20-feet-tall statues of women that depict the symbol of prosperity in Bali.



1. Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing

A spacious suite at the Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing overlooking the Forbidden City. Photo: Mandarin Oriental

A high-end hotel set in an enviable location in Beijing, Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing presents extraordinary experiences to its guests. The hotel has some of the largest rooms and suites you can find in Beijing, all of which are designed to exude glamor and sophistication. The hotel has two dining outlets, a bar, a 25-meter indoor pool with sky roof, and a fitness center. The hotel is also home to The Spa, which is also a first-time recipient of the five-star rating in this year’s awards for the spa category.


Other Notable 2021 Newcomers from Asia

Here are more newcomers from Asia’s hotel industry who were recognized in this year’s Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards.

1.) Hotel New Otani Tokyo The Main

One of the spacious luxury suites in The Main hotel of New Otani Tokyo. Photo: The New Otani

Rated 4-stars in this year’s awards, The Main is one of the three hotels in the large complex of Hotel New Otani Tokyo. The hotel has a total of 556 luxurious suites, with spectacular views of the 400-year-old Japanese garden that surrounds the property. With over 35 restaurants serving different cuisines and a wide selection of first-rate facilities, this hotel provides guests with satisfying stays right at the vibrant capital of Japan.


2.) The Shanghai EDITION

Experience laid-back luxury at the light-filled guest suites of The Shanghai EDITION. Photo: Edition Hotels

Another 4-star awardee for 2021 is The Shanghai EDITION, a two-tower hotel with 145 guest rooms designed for modern travelers seeking luxurious yet laid-back accommodations. The hotel boasts an extensive array of event and conference facilities, including 5 meeting studios and 2 forums. Dining outlets include the hotel’s signature Japanese restaurant, a Cantonese restaurant with 5 private dining rooms for intimate gatherings, an all-day dining venue, and 5 lounge and rooftop bars.


3.) Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas

The gorgeous living room of Anantara Kihavah Maldives’ overwater pool villa. Photo: Anantara

Earning a Recommended rating for 2021 is the tropical resort of Anantara Kihavah Maldives Villas. The resort offers two types of luxurious private pool villas. The beach pool villas enjoy direct access to the signature white-sand beach of the Maldives, while overwater pool villas feature private staircases that lead to the ocean. Other resort highlights include the world’s first overwater observatory and lounge, as well as a medical spa with cutting-edge dermatological therapies.


With so many luxury hotels and resorts where you can experience the best that the world has to offer, Asia is becoming a true luxury destination for the discerning elite traveller who wants to have it all. It won’t be a surprise when more and more hotels and resorts all over the region will make it to this prestigious list in the foreseeable future.


Featured photo credit: Mandarin Oriental