Forbes Travel Guide has come out with its annual best-of-the-best list for 2016, and several Florida hotels, restaurants and spas have found themselves with four- or five-star ratings.
Overall, the state had 41 hotels, 19 spas and 20 restaurants receiving one of the three levels of accolade. All but one of the 20 restaurants to receive ratings are located within a hotel or resort, with Miami’s NAOE being the lone exception.
“Our Star Ratings recognize the finest hotels, restaurants and spas in the world. These ratings serve as the most authoritative guideposts for guests seeking exceptional travel experiences,” said Gerard J. Inzerillo, CEO of Forbes Travel Guide. “Our primary mission is to contribute to excellence in hospitality, serving the global tourism industry as well as the guest.”
The ratings come on the heels of both TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards and the AAA five-diamond ratings, and many of the properties that garnered those accolades are represented on this list as well.
But first up, the golds.
Miami had the most top-level winners with four hotels, two restaurants and three spas garnering the five-star designation. Many of the restaurants and spas go hand-in-hand with the hotel for the award. For instance, the Mandarin Oriental, Miami landed five-star ratings for both its hotel and spa as well as the on-site restaurant Azul. Acqualina Resort & Spa and The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort received top honors for both its hotel and spa as well. The other five-star hotel in Miami is The Setai in Miami Beach.
Naples’ five-star hotel is The Ritz-Carltonwhile Palm Beach had five-star designations for the Fourt Seasons Resort Palm Beach and Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.
The five-star designation for Eau Palm is a return to the top since its transition away from the Ritz-Carlton brand in 2013. Both its hotel and spa earned five-star ratings for the first time together this year, making it one of only six new hotels to garner the honor across the U.S. this year. The spa had already achieved five-star status in 2015.
“When we set out to create this independent brand, our goal was to meld the absolute best in service with the essence of the Palm Beach lifestyle,” said Eva Hill, president of Britannia Pacific Properties, Inc., the holding company that owns the resort property. “This accolade is a testament to how the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa brand has resonated with guests both globally and locally in the Palm Beach community.”
Another newcomer to the Forbes list this year is the new Four Seasons resort atWalt Disney World, which landed four-star ratings for its hotel and spa as well as netting a recommended rating for on-site restaurant Capa.
“We are honored by the recognition we’ve received. The guests who stay with us are well-traveled Four Seasons guests, and combined with our special relationship with Disney, our guests have a high expectation which we strive to exceed,” said Thomas Steinhauer, regional vice president and general manager for the resort. “It’s extremely rewarding when we are recognized in any way, whether it’s through these official awards or the guest comments we receive in e-mails or from sites such as TripAdvisor. Ultimately, this feedback is a testament to our hardworking team, which truly cares about delivering an exceptional experience for our guests.”
Orlando had two other hotels on the four-star list: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando at Grande Lakes and the Villas of Grand Cypress. Its four-star restaurants were Nine18, which is at the Villas of Grand Cypress and Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. The Ritz-Carlton Orlando spa as well as Relâche Spa & Salon at Gaylord Palms Resort also landed four-star ratings.
There was one other hotel in Florida that earned its way into four-star territory this year: Trump National Doral Miami, which just finished up a $250 million renovation.
The rest of the Florida accolades went to hotels that held par from previous years’ ratings including several Four Seasons and Ritz-Cartons across the state.
The complete list of honored hotels, restaurants and spas is listed below by city.
The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Amelia Island
The Pearl Hotel, Rosemary Beach
WaterColor Inn & Resort, Santa Rosa Beach
Fish Out of Water, Santa Rosa Beach
The Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, Destin
Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Destin
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Key West
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, Little Torch Key
The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Key West
Southernmost Beach Resort, Key West
The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale
One Ocean Resort & Spa
Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
Spa at Ponte Vedra Inn & Club
Spa One Ocean
Acqualina Resort & Spa
Mandarin Oriental, Miami
The Setai, Miami Beach
The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort
Acqualina Spa by ESPA
Remède Spa Bal Harbour
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
The Betsy – South Beach
Four Seasons Hotel Miami
Loews Miami Beach Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour, Miami
The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Miami
The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach
Trump International Beach Resort
Trump National Doral Miami
J&G Grill Miami
The Restaurant (Note: The Restaurant has closed and been reopened as Jaya)
Scarpetta Miami Beach
Lapis The Spa at Fontainbleau
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Key Biscayne
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, South Beach
The Spa at The Setai
Fontainbleau Miami Beach
Turnberry Isle Miami
Bourbon Steak, Miami by Michael Mina
Il Mulino New York
The Setai Grill
The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites
The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples
The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Villas of Grand Cypress
Victoria and Albert’s
Relâche Spa & Salon
The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Orlando, Grande Lakes
The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort
Hyatt Regency Orlando
Reunion Resort, A Salamander Resort
Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa
Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
The Breakers Palm Beach
Café Boulud Palm Beach
Jové Kitchen & Bar
Palm Beach Spa at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach
The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
The Members Spa Club, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
Innisbrook, A Salamander Resort