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 July 30, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the interior design of The White Barn Inn Restaurant?

    © TheWhiteBarnInn The White Barn Inn Restaurant seamlessly creates a mood of antique elegance, consisting of a small bar and seating area and two dining rooms within a completely renovated barn. The design makes good use of the barn’s high ceilings allowing both rooms to be open and airy with lots of exposed wood and vintage signage. The rustic appointments are then enhanced with stately white linens, delicate Riedel stemware, Villeroy & Boch china, and weighted silver cutlery. The back wall of both dining rooms includes a large picture window framing an illuminated garden (which is meticulously attended to) that’s lush in color and content, and forever changing, dictated by the seasons.
  • On July 10, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What restaurants does Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco have?

    ©FourSeasons Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco has just one restaurant, MKT Restaurant - Bar, on the fifth floor of the Five-Star hotel. The laid-back eatery took the place of Seasons in 2013.

    Whereas Seasons had the feel of three different places — a casual dining area, a formal section and a lounge — MKT harks more of a hip, bar-centric vibe throughout. Sitting mere minutes from the historic Hearst publishing building, it makes sense that the AvroKO-designed restaurant would want to evoke the spirit of San Francisco's famed newspaper roots. This is conveyed through dark oak floors, brush brass touches, recycled newsprint walpaper and other headline-making décor elements.

    If you don’t want to leave the confines of your pillow-top bed, room service is available 24 hours, though the menu changes throughout the day. Order Belgian waffles or farm-fresh eggs for breakfast, and soups, salads, sandwiches, steak and fish for lunch or dinner. You can even get a picnic to go if you’re heading for a bike tour or trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s a good-sized kids’ menu too, including a gourmet section with treats like a small salmon filet or prime beef tenderloin.
  • On July 10, 2014
  • On July 2, 2014
  • On June 13, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are five things to know about Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore?

    When heading down to “Bawlmer” as they say there, keep in mind these five things about Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore:

    1. Everything is new. The hotel opened for business at the end of 2011, so everything is in tip-top shape, from the sleek wooden furniture to the shiny spa facilities. The Harbor East neighborhood where the hotel is located is also an up-and-coming area with many trendy boutiques, restaurants and spanking new apartment complexes.

    2. Don’t bother renting a car. If you’re visiting Baltimore from out of town, you won’t need to rent a car as most of the city’s major attractions — including the National Aquarium, the USS Constellation and the Maryland Science Center — are all just a short walk away, and the hotel has a designed town car to shuttle you around (if available).

    3. Eat! We love the contemporary Southern cuisine served at the hotel's restaurant, Michael Mina’s Wit & Wisdom. And definitely save room for dessert — pastry chef Chris Ford has won Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Chef award.

    4. If grabbing a cocktail at Wit & Wisdom, go early or late. The restaurant offers excellent tipples, both classic concoctions and modern marvels, but things can get busy with the after-work crowd. One way to avoid the throngs but still enjoy some drinking: Every Sunday, all full bottle purchases are 50 percent off in the restaurant’s dining room from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

    5. Even kids get the luxury treatment. Who says mom and dad deserve all the pampering? Kids, too, get special perks at Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore like complimentary child-size bathrobes and baby and children's toiletries, and the hotel will set you up with cribs and tools to childproof the rooms. The pool staff also provides inflatable tubes and kickboards for the little ones.
  • On June 13, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the design style of Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore?

    Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore opened at the close of 2011, so it’s not surprising that the hotel, which is located in the up-and-coming Harbor East neighborhood, offers a contemporary fresh look that combines an overall Scandinavian aesthetic with sleek natural elements. In the public spaces of the hotel, you’ll find light wood paneled walls, lots of tan marble and over-sized, multicolored art on the walls emblematic of the Washington Color School of the mid-20th century. The hotel itself occupies a glass structure that rises above Baltimore’s harbor and is a cool vision of blue glass and gray steel; because of these windows, all guest rooms are bright and airy and offer calming sights of boats floating along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The hotel’s eateries, like Wit & Wisdom, also showcase conceptual light fixtures, over-sized furniture and a warm sensibility that creates a unique sense of place that simultaneously values aesthetics and comfort.
  • On May 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the guest rooms like at Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa?

    The 500 guest rooms at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa exemplify the Southwestern and Native American theme that can be found throughout the property. They are spacious with balconies, and include views of the Sonoran Desert, Sierra Estrella and South Mountain ranges, Hanyo Pools and Whirlwind Golf Club. All rooms and suites have views of the Sierra Estrella Mountains or the Gila River and include a design with earth tones, natural elements and furnishing selected to complement the natural desert landscape. The Pima and Maricopa tribes from the area are famous for their baskets and pottery, respectively, and rooms in the resort are separated into two wings — one for each tribe’s art forms. Design motifs appearing on the headboards, tiles, etc. in the Pima rooms reflect their basket patterns, while those in the Maricopa wing showcase the tribe’s pottery designs. Each room comes with a hardcover book titled Way of Life by Hindag-Yamathoy about the Gila River Indian Community.
  • On May 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the petit fours or mignardise served at Herons?

    When it comes to pastries at Herons, you can definitely expect the red carpet treatment at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star dining spot. Though the mignardises will vary slightly depending on when you visit the restaurant, you can anticipate far more than bland bonbons.
     
    The Executive Chef takes classic French delicacies to a new level by giving them a unique and more contemporary spin. The Executive Chef has made canelés, a traditional pastry from France’s Bordeaux region, a staple in mignardise at Herons. The tiny vanilla rum cakes are whipped to perfection with a crunchy and caramelized exterior, complete with a pudding-like interior. The Executive Chef also typically incorporates macarons into the mignardise experience, with frequently changing flavors that deviate from the classic chocolate or coffee — think carrot cake and cream cheese frosting.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best spas in Phoenix & Scottsdale?

    As a city full of tranquil landscapes and peaceful sunsets, you might expect Scottsdale’s collection of spas to be stellar — and it is. From the stunning 12,000-square-feet The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North to the Havasupai Waterfall-encompassing Willow Stream Spa at The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star retreats seem plentiful just north of the city center. South of it, you’ll find Aji Spa, another Four-Star beauty that employs traditional Native American techniques in its treatments. Right in the heart of things sits The Sanctuary Spa in all its understated Four-Star elegance. Another chapel of serenity is the cutting-edge Four-Star The Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician. And when it comes to the oasis known as Royal Palms Resort & Spa’s Four-Star Alvadora Spa, there’s so much to tantalize –the Mediterranean-styled, open-air design; the mesmerizing plant-inspired massages—that you may need to get a room for a couple of nights to ensure that you fit it all in.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Phoenix & Scottsdale?

    The best places to stay in Phoenix take advantage of the sunny weather with luxurious pools, fine dining and stunning desert settings.

    At Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, Southwestern-style casitas stand out on the 40-acre nature preserve in the foothills of Pinnacle Park. A veritable mecca for golfers, the resort grants priority tee times at Troon North's two courses, considered among the best in the world. Be sure to check out the spa, which offers desert nectar facials and moonlight massages.

    Also in Scottsdale and situated at the base of picturesque Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician is a local gem with pristine golf courses, pools and a spa. Don't miss a walk through the cactus garden and get an audio tour of the hotel's $25 million collection of art, which includes French tapestries, Navajo rugs and contemporary fiber art.

    And right next door sits Five-Star The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician, a resort-within-a-resort that caters to travelers with their intentions set solely on relaxing. From the plush rooms equipped with private terraces to the all-accommodating Canyon Ambassador, this intimate retreat exudes desert grandeur.

    Located near some of the best shopping and restaurants in the city in the middle of Camelback Corridor, The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix wows with striking views of Piestewa Peak and luxurious service. The rooms, classically decorated with beds topped with luxury Egyptian cotton linens, all have views of the skyline or the Squaw Peak Mountain Range. To take in the sun, go outside to the heated pool and the sundeck area, which is cooled with hydro-misters.

    Or venture to Paradise Valley to Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain. You won't find typical Southwestern décor here. The desert chic mountain casitas have woodblock floors, glass-tiled dry bars and luxurious bathrooms with travertine marble. The multi-level spa casitas boast floor-to-ceiling windows and walk-in closets, while the spa suites have outdoor soaking tubs in case you just can't bring yourself to walk the short distance to the large infinity-edge pool.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best restaurants in Phoenix & Scottsdale?

    Though Phoenix only gets about eight inches of rain per year, the city is absolutely blooming with stellar restaurants. One of the entries that’s truly grown into a valley treasure is the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Kai Restaurant, a place where locally grown produce pairs with long-followed Native American cooking techniques wonderfully on your plate. Four-Star Talavera is another of the city’s top dinner destinations for a host of reasons, none more obvious than the ever-evolving steakhouse menu and the excellent alfresco dining in the shadows of Pinnacle Peak. Il Terrazzo also pairs brilliant cuisine with breathtaking views. Tucked amidst ultra-green Four-Star The Phoenician, this upscale Italian restaurant offers peeks to up-lit palm trees and a gorgeous resort pool.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Which five Phoenix & Scottsdale restaurants are best for brunch?

    Although the hotspots are somewhat limited, brunch in Phoenix is a must, with patio dining and swoon-worthy cuisine. For the best of both, check out our five best picks:

    1. Lon's at Hermosa Inn. Set in a restored hacienda, Lon's at Hermosa Inn brings the best of old and new Arizona together. A well-worth-it $24 gets you an all in-one-brunch deal, featuring simply yummy entrees made from ingredients from the organic garden.

    2. El Chorro Lodge. A Valley favorite, El Chorro Lodge features a picturesque patio with views of Camelback Mountain. While the restaurant's complimentary sticky buns are addiction worthy, savory dishes, such as house-specialty eggs benedict, shine at this Valley institution.

    3. Fez. This restaurant is easily the best brunch in central Phoenix, with delightful cocktails and stellar twists on classics. The menu boasts the "best egg white omelet you'll ever have" and it isn't lying.

    4. The Mission. Arizonans have a penchant for spicy food in the morning, at noon and, well, all day. If you want to brunch like a local, head to The Mission in Scottsdale where funky style and seriously good Latin cuisine await. The chorizo and eggs and red chilaquiles are staples.

    5. T. Cook's. At T. Cook's at Royal Palm Resort, enjoy sunshine and spectacular views of Camelback Mountain over an all-you-can-eat buffet spread. The Mediterranean elements are the best on the menu, so be sure to try the fresh mozzarella.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is Phoenix & Scottsdale’s restaurant scene like?

    Dining in Phoenix has come a long way in recent years. While much of the city's cuisine is still based on Southwestern and Sonoran influences — and we're not complaining — Phoenix is also home to considerable innovation thanks to James Beard Award-winning chefs and Five-Star worthy dining experiences. The local food movement is taking off in the city, with chefs around the Valley of the Sun snapping up the city's best produce — and growing it themselves — and transforming it into simple, bright dishes. Increasingly, artisanal products such as local olive oil from Queen Creek Olive Mill and Arizona wines are showing up on tables across the city. Still an affordable city, this is the place to try prix-fixe menus without breaking the bank. The only downside to the recent explosion of the restaurant scene is the lack of a central neighborhood to dine in. Much like the sprawling desert, the best of Phoenix dining stretches across cities, suburbs and even into outlying areas.
  • On April 7, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best Phoenix & Scottsdale food experiences?

    Phoenix may not automatically come to mind when you thing of great food cities, but this Southwestern city has plenty to offer foodies. With James Beard Award-winning chefs and a Five-Star dining experience, it's easy to lose yourself in Phoenix's high-end cuisine, but it's not for the faint of wallet. The backbone of the city, however, is Southwestern and Sonoran dishes. Don't leave town before you work your way through our list of can't-miss Phoenix food experiences:

    1. Eat something spicy. The Southwest is known for bold flavors and sweat-inducing meals. Whether it's a green chile burrito at hole-in-the-wall Rito's Mexican Food or street-food inspired tacos at more upscale Gallo Blanco, you can't visit Phoenix without braving the heat.

    2. Try the pizza, yes, the pizza. Listen up, New Yorkers and Chicagoans — Phoenix's Pizzeria Bianco has national notoriety. That means multi-hour waits for the wood-fired pizzas, but it's worth it.

    3. Experience Five-Star cuisine at Kai. The only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant in the Valley of the Sun, Kai wows with Native American inspired dishes and superb service. It's hard to go wrong at this stunning facility, but the grilled tenderloin of tribal buffalo is not to be missed.

    4. Go exotic. Housed in a funky, historic home, Nobuo at Teeter House is James Beard Award-winner Nobuo Fukuda's playground, where stellar Japanese cuisine mixes with to-die-for interpretations of street food. Dishes are designed for sharing, which is good since it's tempting to order the whole menu.

    5. Get out of the city. A drive from Phoenix, Binkley's Restaurant in Cave Creek is a foodie's paradise. The playful interpretations of Americana favorites will keep you on your toes. The menu avoids typical high-end clichés, breathing new light into prix fixe dining.