Who We Are

Forbes Travel Guide is the only independent, global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas and cruise ships. A Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating is considered the hospitality industry’s most prestigious achievement.Integrity is key to Forbes Travel Guide's rating system:

  • We do not require any fee, business relationship, nor commission from the properties we rate. No one can buy a rating.
  • Our professional inspectors don't just drop in; we stay anonymously for multiple nights and dine or spa in person, evaluating based on hundreds of exacting standards.
  • Every Star Rating is earned through our objective, independent process based on scores, not opinions.
Our 2024 Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended awards honor more than 2,000 properties in 85 countries. See the full list here.


How Star Ratings Are Determined

Forbes Travel Guide’s highly trained inspectors visit every property we rate, evaluating based on up to 900 standards. While we assess both service and facility, our system emphasizes service, because exceptional service is what sets the best hospitality experiences apart.

The standards cover every touchpoint of the guest experience, from making a reservation through departure – encompassing topics including cleanliness, efficiency, staff knowledge, gracious service, sense of luxury, guest comfort and more. A property’s commitments to wellness and sustainability also factor into the final rating score. Properties are regularly reassessed and must maintain their scores to retain their Star Rating.

Our Standards and Ratings group independently refines the standards annually, ensuring the requirements always reflect current luxury guest expectations and evolving industry trends. This rigorous process includes reviewing observations collected during the evaluations as well as input from our Standards Advisory Committee, a panel of highly regarded executives from throughout the hospitality industry.

To achieve at any of the Rating levels is an accomplishment that indicates a property is among the very best in its destination. View all Award winners.


Our History

Forbes Travel Guide began as Mobil Travel Guide in 1958, founded by the Mobil Oil Corporation to encourage travel (and gas station fill-ups, of course) on the United States’ rapidly growing interstate highway system.

As Mobil, the company created the world’s first Five-Star rating for hospitality in 1960.

In 2005, Mobil Travel Guide was acquired and became Forbes Travel Guide. In 2011, we discontinued the printed guidebooks and transitioned the Star Ratings online to forbestravelguide.com, with a dedicated focus on luxury.

In 2023, Forbes Travel Guide introduced the Star Ratings for ocean cruise ships, the first new rating category since spas were added in 2009.
Forbes Travel Guide is a licensee of the Forbes name, not a subsidiary of Forbes Media. (On second reference, we kindly request you call us "The Travel Guide" or "FTG" rather than "Forbes.")

Key Dates


Mobil Travel Guide founded for US motorists


Created world's first Five-Star Rating for hospitality


Became Forbes Travel Guide with luxury focus


Luxury spa ratings join hotels and restaurants


Ended printed guides and became all digital


Added luxury ocean cruise ratings

Meet the President of Standards & Ratings
Recent News
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Our Award Winners
View our full list of annual Star Rating Award recipients

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