Forbes Inspector

Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

Forbes Travel Guide created America's original hospitality Star Rating system in 1958. Since then, its team of incognito inspectors have checked into thousands of hotels, dined at just as many restaurants, and experienced scores of spa treatments to bring you information on the very best places to stay, eat and relax around the world. Throughout ForbesTravelGuide.com, you'll find answers about these Star-Rated and recommended hotels, restaurants and spas, as well as destinations and activities, written and provided by Forbes Travel Guide's team of professional inspectors. It's a dynamic group of people who live around the world, have a wide variety of interests and backgrounds, and are united by a passion for travel and a devotion to hunting down the world's most outstanding places.

  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What makes The Setai, Miami Beach different from other Four-Star hotels?

    The Setai, Miami Beach is one of the only Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotels located in the middle of Miami Beach, and is unique in its Asian-inspired décor, its level of exceptional service and the intimate and private atmosphere it cultivates for its guests. We’d describe The Setai as a spa-like oasis in the heart of South Beach: Imagine a diamond set in the middle of other precious stones, and you’ll get the idea. The Setai, Miami Beach offers you the best of both worlds: The hub of activity and energy the beach is known for and then a quiet, chic retreat as soon as you step through the lobby doors.
  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the wet areas like at The Spa at The Setai?

    The wet areas at The Spa at The Setai include a steam room and sauna. In the locker rooms, you’ll find separate bathrooms and showers, which help to complete the space. This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Miami spa provides you with all the usual toiletry amenities, including combs, toothpaste and shaving kits, as well as shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the showers, but it’s not an area you’ll want to spend too much time in. What the spa lacks in its wet areas, it makes up for in private space within the four treatment suites upstairs. It’s in those areas where you’ll find private steam showers as well as breathtaking views of the hotel’s palm tree-lined pool and the Atlantic Ocean.

    The gym at The Setai is located in the same building as the spa, near the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s 40-story oceanfront Tower building. So, after an intense workout, relax in the steam room or sauna and then head to the showers to freshen up. You’re sure to enjoy your workout in the freshly renovated space while looking out at the hotel’s three pools, swaying palm trees and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best treatments at The Spa at The Setai?

    With several treatments that are meant to restore your body, mind and spirit at The Spa at The Setai, we’ve picked five of our favorites including the Ancient Balinese Massage, The Setai Oriental Ritual, REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm, Organic Naturelle d’Orient Facial, and The Setai Love Bath Ceremony.

    1. Ancient Balinese Massage: This combines Balinese palming, stretching, lighter massage strokes and pressure-point techniques to relax your body’s tense areas. We enjoyed the change of flow from a standard Swedish massage when sampling this treatment ($180 for an hour or $235 for 90 minutes).

    2. The Setai Oriental Ritual: This 150-minute, $620 extravaganza includes an aromatherapy foot polish, a massage, an organic facial, an Asian-style foot massage, a Himalayan crystal body polish and an Oriental bathing ceremony. You’ll undergo a full-body treatment in less than three hours.

    3. REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm for Delicate Skin: This hourlong body balm treatment exfoliates the skin with French mineral sea salt (combined with basil, peppermint, olive and almond oils). Post polish, hot towels are used to wipe away the balm and soak in the oils. Then, a rose body cream is applied. After this treatment, your skin is left hydrated, smooth and glowing.

    4. Organic Naturelle D’Orient Facial: For $150, and 60 minutes of your time, you can indulge in this facial that begins with a cleanse and exfoliation. It also includes a steam and massage and is topped off with a regenerative masque. The service concludes with an anti-aging moisturizing cream.

    5. The Setai Love Bath Ceremony: This ceremony is a bathing ritual for two in the deluxe double spa suites with oversized tubs and a private steam shower. This treatment includes includes a love potion, rose petals, champagne and canapés ($150 for 30 minutes). Anniversary gift, anyone?
  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What does the entrance look like at The Spa at The Setai?

    The entrance to The Spa at The Setai is particularly private and is tucked behind the hotel’s Art Deco and Tower buildings. From the main Art Deco building, you’ll walk through the alfresco courtyard, past the newer 40-story oceanfront Tower building, along a palm tree-lined path outfitted with eye-catching Asian sculptures. You’ll find the spa and fitness center in the white building on your right. When you open the door to the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa, you’ll enter through the spa boutique. Here you will find all-natural, organic product lines that are used throughout the treatments. You’ll also see the front desk, where a spa staff member can direct you to a private treatment room, the wet areas or the fitness center.

    If the fitness center is of interest to you, a spa concierge can arrange for personal training sessions, guided weight training sessions, and Pilates and yoga classes upon request. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel’s personal trainers will hook you up with a tailored exercise program. And you’ll be excited to know that the fitness center has all of the latest equipment — in fact, the gym was completely updated in 2012 and is decked out with brand new Life Fitness equipment, weights and wood floors.
  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What refreshments are provided at The Spa at The Setai?

    You’ll find that refreshments such as tea and water are available to you at The Spa at The Setai. When you check in at the spa’s front desk, you’ll be ushered into the locker room and given a robe and slippers. When you return to the front desk area at this Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Miami spa, you can take a seat to wait for your treatment while being offered cool tea or a bottle of water. After our blissful massage, our therapist offered us water (chilled or room temperature), too. That’s the nice thing about this luxury spa — you don’t ever have to worry about going thirsty. If hunger strikes, head to the nearby pool bar for a relaxing place to enjoy a light breakfast or snack before or after your treatment. There, you’ll find salads and light bites with an emphasis on seafood.
  • On January 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the locker rooms like at The Spa at The Setai?

    The locker rooms at The Spa at The Setai are small but stylish. Once you step inside, you’ll instantly be grabbed by its streamlined and warm look, which features teak finishings and simple décor. You’ll also see a separate water closet and showers, with a small steam room on one side and a sauna on the other that complete the luxurious space. Don’t worry about packing the basics before you head to this locker room — the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa provides you with all the usual toiletry amenities you might need, including combs, toothpaste and shaving kits. Keep in mind, however, that the locker room is small with no private changing areas, so if you’d prefer a more enclosed setting, head into a bathroom to change.

    There is no dedicated relaxation area at The Spa at The Setai. You’ll find a bench inside the luxurious locker rooms; other than that, you’ll have to wait for your therapist in the small seating area in front of the check-in desk. However, what the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Miami spa lacks in elaborate relaxation room space, it makes up for in private space within the four treatment suites upstairs. It’s in those areas where you’ll find a private steam shower and separate restroom, as well as breathtaking views of the hotel’s palm tree-lined pool and the Atlantic Ocean.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is in the mini-bar at Hotel Icon?

    The mini-bar at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong doesn’t have the most extensive offerings, but what it lacks in variety it makes up for in price — all mini-bar beverages and snacks are complimentary. The fridge holds two bottles of water, and two cans of Coca-Cola and Sprite each. A can of Diet Coca-Cola and Carlsberg beer are also provided, along with four small bags of peanut and regular M&Ms. A small packet of Jagabee potato chips is provided in a separate drawer where the complimentary Taylors tea and Moccona coffee are kept, with high quality mugs and sweeteners included alongside. Jasmine, chamomile and English breakfast tea are provided, while both regular and decaffeinated coffee are included. Club rooms are furnished with a Nespresso machine and three types of pods, as well.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the children’s room service menu like at Hotel Icon?

    There is no dedicated children’s room service menu offered at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong, although young guests are sure to find something tempting among the extensive menu. Kid-pleasing candidates include waffles with warm maple syrup and bananas, French toast, crispy fried calamari, cream of tomato soup with cheese croutons, a croque monsieur or spaghetti Bolognese. Mini pizzas with ham, pineapple, cheese and tomato sauce are also available-to-order, as well as more gourmet flatbreads such as a porcini, truffle and fontina variety. Children might also like French fries with truffle mayo, fish and chips, or mashed potatoes with gravy. Desserts include a chocolate brownie, cup cake, fruit platter or mango cheesecake.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What restaurants at Hotel Icon are best for families with children?

    The best restaurant at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong for families with children is The Market on the second floor. Guests enter a warm and friendly space with stone flooring, timber furnishings and exposed pipework behind metal paneling on the ceiling. The all day dining restaurant riffs on the bustle and ad hoc offerings at an Asian street market, spreading its breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet across several stations and counters that feature an open kitchen. The Sweet & Crusty section features freshly baked pastries and petit fours — and to tempt young guests — several scales piled high with candies, including chocolate-covered malt balls, peanut M&Ms, gummy colas and more. A wide variety of Western and Asian dishes are available, including a raw bar for Japanese cuisine and an emphasis on Southeast Asian fare like laksa and curry. Walls of windows look onto a sunny courtyard and fill the restaurant with natural light, while more private tables are available near the back of the dining room for parents with fussier children in their charge.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the gym like at Hotel Icon?

    The gym at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong is spacious and energetic, with a beautiful view of Victoria Harbour and professional grade equipment by Technogym. Housed on the ninth floor of the hotel, the fitness center is accessible through a set of frosted glass sliding doors or directly from the separate locker rooms, which include showers, restrooms and steam room. Glittering mosaic-tiled walls and pillars catch the sunlight streaming in through the double-story windows, from which guests overlook the outdoor pool terrace and Victoria Harbour beyond. Treadmills and exercise bikes line the windows, with a row of elliptical machines, Wave machines and a step machine just behind. Along a mirrored wall are a rowing machine and a flexibility machine, while another mirrored side area has a rubber mat underfoot and a full set of free weights from 4 to 26 pounds. Diagrammed stretching mats, a set of chrome hand weights, a yoga ball and an ab crunch bench are also provided. A water cooler and complimentary sports bottles are available to keep guests cool, while fresh fruit, magazines and headsets can be found in the pool lounge atrium just outside the gym. Staff is always nearby or circulating through the gym to assist guests, and snacks and smoothies can be ordered at the pool lounge for a post-workout snack.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is on the room service menu at Hotel Icon?

    The room service menu at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong is extensive and full of international flavors, with a particular focus on Southeast Asian cuisine. For all day dining, small bites include crispy fried calamari, Norwegian smoked salmon, a Middle East platter with taramasalata, hummus and falafel, Vietnamese spring rolls and Malaysian chicken satay. There are six salads listed, including a Thai pomelo and shrimp salad, a Buffalo mozzarella and tomato salad, and a salad Niçoise with seared tuna. There are three types of pasta, several varieties of pizza/flatbread, such as the porcini, truffle and fontina flatbread, as well as a number of side orders like wok-fried vegetables, buttered mixed mushrooms and creamy spinach. Western mains include fish and chips, grilled chicken with rosemary sauce and grilled lamb chop with beurre blanc, while Asian mains include Hainanese chicken rice, Singaporean chicken curry, laksa lemak and abalone and chicken congee. Desserts range from a green tea chocolate cake to a cheese platter. If that’s not enough guests can also order afternoon tea and Cantonese specials from the Above & Beyond restaurant, such as braised crab meat soup with sweet corn and e-fu noodles with dried scallops.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Which rooms have the best views at Hotel Icon?

    The rooms with the best views at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong, are those that overlook Victoria Harbour and the Hong Kong Island skyline. Guest rooms at this hotel are designed to maximize the view through tall windows making up one wall of the room — and more than 80 percent of the rooms here do offer a harbour view. The best view would likely be enjoyed from the Club 38 Harbour Rooms, found on the higher floors of the 28-story hotel, with a king-size bed facing a wall of windows. Rooms on lower floors may offer too close a view to the construction cranes, satellite dishes and debris-strewn rooftops of the surrounding Kowloon neighborhood.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best rooms to stay in at Hotel Icon?

    The best rooms to stay in at the newly opened Hotel Icon in Hong Kong are the Club 38 Harbour rooms. At a spacious 409 square feet and housed on the higher floors of the 28-story hotel, the rooms include king-size or twin beds facing a wall of windows. Guests wake up to stunning views of Victoria Harbour and are lulled to sleep by the glittering light show of the Hong Kong skyline. These rooms are better furnished with technology than the 36 Harbour type, including a Nespresso machine with three types of pods, a DVD player beneath the 40-inch LED television, a 3-in-1 printer and a Bose sound system that can also be used as a phone charging dock. As a bonus, the Club rooms come with access to Above & Beyond, the exclusive lounge on the 28th floor with a private breakfast area and complimentary evening cocktails and canapés.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the bathrooms like in the rooms at Hotel Icon?

    The bathrooms in the rooms at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong have a unique circular shape, with modern fixtures and a range of grooming amenities. The bathrooms are hidden behind a smooth curved wooden sliding door, which reveal a calming space with smooth beige stone flooring and black interlocking granite used for the tub surround and shower wall. A deep soaking tub faces a television embedded in a mirror, while a partially open water closet and an almond-shaped, glass-walled shower are also included. Contemporary chrome-plated fixtures by La Torre are used throughout, in addition to a large bowl sink on the vanity and a rain showerhead and adjustable nozzle in the shower. Grooming amenities by Leonard Paris, including shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion and soap, are available as well.
  • On January 9, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What in-room technology does Hotel Icon have?

    The rooms at Hotel Icon in Hong Kong are updated with advanced technology to make a guest’s stay more convenient. Each room includes a 40-inch HD LED television by Samsung, with a range of international channels such as HBO, Al Jazeera and Star World. A bathroom television is embedded in the square mirror at one end of the tub, allowing guests to watch a movie as they soak. There is a set of media jacks by the desk and a cordless phone by the bed, perfectly suiting the business traveler who needs to field a few calls and run through presentations. A unique hotel portal on the television allows guests to access hotel information, weather, the room service menu, flight information or listen to Internet radio. There is also a smartphone app offered for free by the hotel so guests can access their folio, facilities information and more while on the go.