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 February 5, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are five things I should know about Muse by Jonathan Cartwright at The Mayflower Grace?

    If you’re staying at The Mayflower Grace or just visiting the Connecticut retreat, you can’t leave without visiting its top-notch restaurant. Here are five things you need to know about dining there:

    1. The dress code is relaxed. The staff at The Mayflower Grace describe the dress code at its restaurants as “country casual,” which means that jackets and ties are not required.

    2. You don’t need reservations. You can drop in at Muse by Jonathan Cartwright at The Mayflower Grace on a whim, and if there’s space, you’ll be seated for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    3. Arrive in time for happy hour. We recommend leaving enough time to enjoy a cocktail in the inn’s parlor or library, or to take a stroll through its gardens, before settling down for a dinner of creative, seasonally-driven fare.

    4. You have choices. Diners have the option of opting for the more casual setting provided by the Mayflower’s Tap Room, or selecting the more formal and elegant ambiance of the Center Dining Room. If weather permits, we suggest grabbing a meal or drink on the porch that overlooks the inn’s Shakespeare Garden.

    5. There’s live entertainment. The restaurant features live piano music on Friday and Saturday nights (and Sundays of holiday weekends) in the Tap Room. Sit back and enjoy some light jazz with your candle-lit feast.
  • On January 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What refreshments are provided at The Spa at Wynn Macau?

    An abundance of refreshments are provided at The Spa at Wynn Macau, a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa located on the second floor of similarly Five-Starred Wynn Macau hotel.

    On our most recent visit to this luxury spa, we found bottles of water conveniently placed throughout the gender-separated wet areas, and while changing into our robe and slippers we loved sipping cold water flavored with fresh fruit from a cooler placed in the locker room. In the spa’s plush relaxation lounge, four different varieties of tea were available — two hot and two cold — including chamomile-passion fruit, ginseng and detox tea from the hotel’s Five-Star Wing Lei at Wynn Macau restaurant. There was also a bowl of fresh fruit and elegant glass serving dishes filled with dried prunes, apricots and low-fat cookies.

    Finally, we were offered a choice of tea or specialty coffee — we went with a cappuccino — while getting our nails trimmed and polished to perfection in the Macau spa’s salon.
  • On January 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the relaxation lounge like at The Spa at Wynn Macau?

    Dimly lit, furnished with cushioned lounge chairs and featuring a wall fashioned from different shades of squared marble, the relaxation lounge at The Spa at Wynn Macau is a cozy, masculine space in which to kick up your feet and unwind before your treatments. Located within this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa’s communal wet areas — there’s one for men and a separate one for women — this comfortable area is stocked with local newspapers and such magazines as Golf, Men’s Health and GQ if you care to do some light reading, or you can browse a variety of local and international cable channels on a huge flat-screen television. Snacks and beverages provided in this luxury Macau spa’s relaxation lounge include cookies, dried and fresh fruits and four types of tea.
  • On January 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the robes and slippers like at The Spa at Wynn Macau?

    Wear whatever you’d like to The Spa at Wynn Macau because shortly after checking in, you’ll be slipping out of your street clothes and into a plush robe and comfortable pair of sandals in the locker room. This Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa, located on the second floor of the Wynn Macau hotel, provides cozy robes fashioned from silky polyester and rayon on the outside, while the terry-lined inside is made from cotton and polyester. Our sandals featured a leather strap and heavy-duty rubber soles ideal for safely moving about the luxury Macau spa’s wet areas, which include a sauna, steam room and whirlpool. The robes and sandals are both custom made for Wynn Macau and branded with the Five-Star hotel’s logo.
  • On January 27, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the waiting area like at The Spa at Wynn Macau?

    You won’t spend much time in the beautifully designed waiting area at The Spa at Wynn Macau, but it’s sure to leave a positive — and lasting — first impression as you’re escorted from the reception area to either the men’s or women’s locker room. Plush flower-patterned carpeting, textured golden walls and elegant koi pond paintings highlight the décor of this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa’s central corridor, which is also lined on both sides by chic brass lanterns set within beds of smooth white stones. Peaceful, Oriental-style ambient music played in the luxury Macau spa’s waiting area and locker rooms adds to the soothing ambience, while in the gender-separated relaxation lounges you’ll wait for your therapist while sinking into a cushioned lounge chair and snacking on cookies and fruits.
  • On January 26, 2014
  • On January 24, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester located?

    One of the newest luxury hotels in the area, The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester is located in the heart of downtown White Plains in Westchester County. The Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel is just over 30 minutes from New York City, and a short walk to the commuter-friendly Metro-North rail station. The Westchester County Airport is just 15 minutes away from the hotel, and LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport are less than an hour’s drive. 
     
    The luxury hotel’s downtown location provides easy access to a slew of local activities, including the Hudson River Museum and its six art galleries, the White Plains Performing Arts Center, numerous parks and The Westchester mall.
  • On January 24, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the cancellation policy at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester?

    The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester is all about convenience — it’s located just 30 minutes north of New York City and has a lenient cancellation policy. Should your plans change before your stay at the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel, you’ll be able to cancel up until 6 p.m. the day before your arrival with no penalty. If you stray past that hour, canceling will cost you one night’s room plus a tax fee. Other hotel policies to keep in mind: Check-in is as at 3 p.m., and check-out is at noon. If you’re driving, you can drop your car off with the luxury hotel’s valet for $30 a night.
  • On January 24, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What restaurants does The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester have?

    You won’t have to book a table at a restaurant in New York City when you stay at The Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, as the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star hotel has four unique dining options as sophisticated as any in the Big Apple.
     
    At the airy and bright BLT Steak, Chef Laurent Tourondel set out to blend the warmth of a traditional French bistro with a cool, boîte-like atmosphere. With signature popovers, fresh seafood and, of course, select steaks, BLT Steak treats patrons to a high-dining experience with no need to leave the hotel.
     
    The Lounge, is a dimly lit, contemporary space ideal for a fireside cocktail and a light dinner. With different themes Thursday through Sunday, from Friday's "Sinful Chocolate and Champagne" to "Single Malt Sunday," you can stop in for something unique.
     
    Atop the 42nd floor, 42 combines high design and the cuisine of chef Anthony Goncalves. Goncalves melds his Portuguese heritage with fresh fare from the Hudson Valley. And at Bellota at 42 (also on the 42nd floor), you can get an intimate, candle-lit dinner. Small Spanish-influenced plates are the main focus here — try the pork meatballs with fresh tomato and Manchego cheese or the crab croquettes with honey Dijon-jalapeno and pepper aioli.
  • On January 22, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What’s the latest treatment offered at Woodlands Spa?

    Though Woodlands Spa at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort already offers around 100 different treatments on its nearly book-length services menu, from a unique Moonstone Facial to the signature Ejuvenate Manicure, this spa and its highly trained staff of professional therapists regularly add new treatments to give you more options for achieving total body bliss.
     
    One of the most recent additions to the spa's menu, the Shellac Manicure, provides some serious love for your fingers. This 50-minute treatment features a classic manicure followed by a hypoallergenic polish that has no drying time, lasts up to 14 days without chipping and can be removed in minutes. The Salon at the Woodlands Spa will also soon be offering a new signature line of oil-based hair colors that will include a Loreal system that uses no ammonia.
  • On January 22, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What kind of Internet and wireless access is offered throughout Chateau Lafayette?

    Chateau Lafayette may be traditional, but it’s not stuck in the past. Wi-Fi is available in all of the guest rooms at the luxury hotel, as well as in the public areas. No log-in is required to connect to the network and there is no extra charge. Wi-Fi is covered by the hotel’s $15 daily resort fee, along with valet parking and other perks.

    Desktop computers with wired Internet are also available at the business center in the connected Lodge hotel. The room is also stocked with other things you might need to get your work done-there are fax machines, copiers and staff on call to help if you need it.
  • On January 21, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are some of the specialty cocktails at The Restaurant?

    While there are no specialty cocktails at The Restaurant itself, signature drinks are served at The Bar & Courtyard at The Setai. These drinks often change seasonally and almost always have an Asian influence, reflecting the overall ambience of the hotel.

    Specialties include the Saigon Gimlet with chili-infused Russian Standard Vodka, ginger liquor, citrus, simple syrup and basil; and the Yen Rose, a concoction of rose petal-infused sake, peach-infused Russian Standard Vodka, rose syrup, rose champagne, and grains of desire herbs. If you’re looking for a refreshing summer drink, the Chili Passion Martini, made with chili-infused vodka, passion fruit-infused rum, ginger syrup and chili flakes, is a good one to try. If you’re in the mood for champagne, there’s an extensive list ranging from $100 to $6,500 a bottle, and the bar also offers a selection of cigars.

    There are seasonal sips to choose from, too, such as The Setai Apple with apple and lemon-infused Russian Standard Vodka, apple juice, simple syrup, fresh rosemary and fresh mint with an Absinthe rinse, as well as menu mainstays such as the Tokyo Rose with fresh raspberry, Milagro tequila, Domaine de Canton, lemongrass chili syrup and citrus.

    We loved the fresh, seasonal ingredients and unique cocktails at The Setai. Plus the mother-of-pearl bar is a beauty — the perfect setting to sip your delicious signature drink while in Miami.
  • On January 21, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the cheese course like at The Restaurant?

    You won’t find a cheese course at The Restaurant at The Setai, as the menu is focused on light Mediterranean cuisine. You can fill up on an appetizer of panzanella — a salad composed of diced baby vegetables, housemade croutons and burratini cheese before your entrée if you’re looking for something savory. There’s also a dedicated section of the menu for the caviar selections. If you can save room, end the meal with a treat from the dessert menu. There’s even a popcorn ice cream if you’d like salty to go with your sweet.
  • On January 21, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to order at The Restaurant?

    Although The Restaurant at The Setai, Miami Beach offers a menu filled with a variety of Mediterranean options, we recommend the best things to order at the establishment:

    1. The beef. An appetizer of densely marbled Wagyu beef carpaccio with olive oil and aioli accented by capers, micro arugula and Parmigiano-Reggiano is simply delicious.

    2. Foie gras. Butter-roasted and glazed with spices, this traditional French dish is served alongside a grilled Florida mango and garnished with bits of amaretti cookies (think almond macarons) and mint oil.

    3. Sunday jazz brunch. You’ll find a bountiful station titled Flavors of Côte d’Azur (the region from which executive chef Mathias Gervais hails), a much-buzzed about buffet of Indian dishes, traditional favorites with fine accompaniments such as Belgian waffles with huckleberry compote or vanilla crème fraîche and a top-shelf raw seafood bar along with free-flowing champagne and bloody Marys.

    4. Jamón ibérico de bellota. This classic ham from southern Spain is distinguished as the highest quality as it comes from free-range pigs that roam the forest eating a steady diet of acorns. It’s served with toast and a concassé of diced tomatoes and fresh basil.

    5. A dessert from pastry chef Jon Gladson. Please your palate with grapefruit mousse, fruit salad with mint, a daily soufflé and ice cream flavors such as mango, lychee and raspberry. For chocolate lovers, try the classic opera cake — a multitiered confection of after-dinner varieties: almond, coffee and chocolate.
  • On January 21, 2014
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What’s the best table at Jaya?

    The best tables at The Restaurant are the ones with a view of the action. The four-person tables arranged around the open theater kitchen in the middle of the dining room are the most in demand at this elegant restaurant inside The Setai. From these tables, you can watch the cooks prepare some of the a la plancha — or grilled — dishes from the Mediterranean menu and even talk to them about the food. And don’t worry about fumes or strong odors headed your way — all the heavy cooking is done in a regular, closed kitchen. If intimacy is what you’re after, head to the end of the dining room. To the right, a couple tables are hidden from the rest of the space.