Photo tour: 18 hotels earn Five Star status for 2013
Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY1:37p.m. EST March 1, 2013
The crop of newly crowned ForbesTravel Guide Five Star hotels for 2013 includes a pink-stucco retreat in a tony Los Angeles neighborhood and one of Macau’s gleaming, glass-wrapped skyscrapers.
PHOTO GALLERY: See the 18 newly minted Five Star hotels
Besides a prime location, guests at Five Star-status hotels can expect top-notch service. Odds are high that employees will know your name before you introduce yourself.
At Rhode Island’s 49-room Ocean House, which opened three years ago with the goal of earning Five Star status, guests are called 10 days before their arrival “so we can get as much information from them as possible so when they come here, they can disconnect without having to worry about anything,” says the Ocean House’s resort manager, Edward Villafane.
If it’s raining and you’re about to leave one of these hotels, you’ll likely be offered a hotel umbrella. If you need to get to a nearby restaurant or shopping destination, at many of these properties, you’ll be offered a ride in the chauffeur-driven house car, which might be a new Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Rolls-Royce.
It also is not unusual for a staffer to discover a guest’s special anniversary or occasion that they hadn’t revealed at booking time, says Denise Flanders, general manager of the Hotel Bel-Air. When this happens, it’s common for the staffer to spread the word and, ultimately, for the guests to receive a complimentary amenity such as a bucket of iced Champagne delivered to their door.
FIVE DIAMOND HOTELS: AAA reveals ‘best of the best’ for 2013
Many Five Star properties offer the latest technology, such as in-room iPads that you can use to order room service or a couples massage.
And whether set on the ocean or in a city, these properties also pride themselves in giving high-paying guests “experiences” — the biggest buzzword among luxury properties these days.
The Ocean House, for example, has a “food forager” on staff who can take foodie guests to local farms. Once there, they can learn about cheesemaking or select ingredients for their lunch or dinner. Last week, Villafane says the staffer took guests to century-old Schartner Farms, where they were able to pick local produce.