Luxury five-star hotels promise an unparalleled experience through stunning amenities and uncompromising service. But just how many official five-star hotels exist across the 50 states?
The quick answer is there are under 150 five-star hotels in the U.S. Concentrated in major cities, California, New York, Florida have the most.
This in-depth guide covers everything you need to know about five-star hotels across America. We’ll look at the ranking systems, geographic distribution, brand breakdowns, and what elevates these elite properties into the highest echelon of luxury and sophistication.
Criteria and Systems for a Five-Star Rating
When it comes to determining the level of luxury and service at a hotel, there are several prestigious organizations that have established criteria and systems for awarding a five-star rating. These ratings are highly regarded in the hospitality industry and can greatly influence a hotel’s reputation and clientele.
Forbes Travel Guide’s Verified Five-Star Rating
Forbes Travel Guide is one of the most well-known and respected organizations that awards five-star ratings to hotels. Their rigorous evaluation process involves anonymous inspections and audits of various aspects of a hotel, including service, amenities, cleanliness, and overall guest experience.
Hotels that receive a five-star rating from Forbes Travel Guide can proudly display the prestigious award, indicating their commitment to providing exceptional quality and luxury.
- As of 2023, there are 95 Five-Star hotels and resorts in the US. Popular locations include New York, California, Las Vegas, Florida and Hawaii.
- Some examples are The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Four Seasons Hotel New York, The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara, and Mandarin Oriental in Miami.
- For restaurants, there are 37 Five-Star recipients in the US as of 2023. Many are located in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles.
- US restaurant examples include Joël Robuchon in Las Vegas, The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, Le Bernardin in New York, and Addison at the Grand Del Mar in San Diego.
- To earn Five-Stars in the US, properties have to meet the highest benchmarks for service, facilities and overall experience compared to competitors in the luxury segment domestically.
So in summary, the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating is a prestigious honor that signifies a pinnacle of luxury and service in the travel industry, awarded to less than 1% of properties globally each year. It aims to guide discerning high-end travelers to the very best experiences around the world.
AAA’s Five Diamond Award
AAA, the American Automobile Association, also provides a highly esteemed five-diamond rating to hotels that meet their stringent criteria. In addition to evaluating the quality of service and facilities, AAA takes into consideration factors such as location, ambiance, and level of luxury.
Only a small percentage of hotels in the United States achieve this prestigious designation, making it a coveted recognition in the industry.
- AAA professional inspectors visit and evaluate establishments anonymously, using criteria similar to Forbes.
- Less than 0.3% of the 31,000 AAA approved hotels and restaurants achieve the Five Diamond distinction each year.
- To qualify, properties must provide an extensive amenities list, flawless service, luxurious surroundings and exquisite decor. Food must be outstanding.
- Of hotels, AAA states “The appearance is extraordinary, attitude is intangible, service is flawless and the experience is unquestionably memorable.”
- For restaurants, “The cuisine is distinguished, ingredients are discerned, presentations are artful and service is superlative.”
- Properties must meet AAA’s expectations every day to maintain the rating. Inspections happen annually.
- As of 2022 there are 65 Five Diamond hotels in the U.S..
- Some Five Diamond examples are Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills – Beverly Hills, CA, Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club – Surfside, FL, Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center – Philadelphia, PA
Number of Five-Star Hotels by State
California Has Over 25 Five-Star Hotels
When it comes to luxury accommodations, California takes the crown with over 25 five-star hotels scattered across the state. From the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles to the stunning coastal resorts of San Diego, California offers a wide range of opulent options for the discerning traveler. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious spa retreat or a lavish beachfront escape, California’s five-star hotels are sure to exceed your expectations.
Forbes Travel Guide:
- California has 14 Five-Star hotels as of 2022.
- Some examples include The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Montage Laguna Beach, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego.
- Other Five-Star resorts in California include Calistoga Ranch, The Resort at Pelican Hill, and San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara.
AAA Five Diamond:
- California has 24 Five Diamond hotels as of 2022.
- Overlapping with Forbes, this includes The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Montage Laguna Beach, and The Lodge at Torrey Pines.
- Additional Five Diamond resorts are The Broadmoor in San Francisco, The Beverly Hills Hotel, and The Village at Laguna Beach.
So in total, combining both ratings, there are over 25 luxury hotels and resorts in California that have achieved the pinnacle Five-Star or Five Diamond distinction.
This concentration of top-tier properties reinforces California’s reputation as a premier vacation destination and speaks to the exceptional quality of hospitality available in the state. For affluent travelers seeking the utmost in service, amenities and overall experience, California has some of the best options in the world.
New York and Florida Tied for Second Most
Not far behind California, both New York and Florida boast a considerable number of five-star hotels, tying for the second most in the country. In the vibrant city of New York, you can indulge in the lap of luxury at iconic hotels like The Plaza and The Ritz-Carlton.
Meanwhile, in the sunshine state of Florida, you’ll find exquisite resorts in popular destinations such as Miami and Palm Beach. Whether you prefer the bustling city life or the tranquil beachfront, both of these states offer a high concentration of top-notch accommodations.
Forbes Travel Guide:
- New York has 9 Five-Star hotels. This includes The Peninsula New York, Mandarin Oriental New York, and Four Seasons Hotel New York.
- Florida also has 9 Five-Star hotels. Examples are Acqualina Resort & Residences in Miami, Mandarin Oriental in Miami, and Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach.
AAA Five Diamond:
- New York has 13 AAA Five Diamond hotels. There is some overlap with the Forbes list.
- Florida has 17 AAA Five Diamond hotels, including The Breakers in Palm Beach.
- New York has approximately 18 Five-Star/Five Diamond hotels.
- Florida has around 20 of the top-tier luxury hotels.
So both destinations are essentially tied for having the second greatest concentration of Five-Star/Five Diamond hotels in the United States, behind California. This speaks to New York and Florida’s strength as luxury hospitality and vacation hotspots for affluent travelers seeking the finest accommodations and service.
Hawaii, Nevada, Massachusetts Round Out Top Five
While California, New York, and Florida take the top spots, other states also have their fair share of five-star hotels.
- Has 10 Five-Star hotels according to Forbes Travel Guide, including Four Seasons Resort Hualalai and Four Seasons Resort Lanai.
- AAA lists 7 Five Diamond hotels in Hawaii.
- Total of approximately 15 top-tier luxury hotels.
- Forbes awards 9 Five-Star ratings to Las Vegas hotels such as Wynn, Encore, and The Palazzo.
- AAA shows 14 Five Diamond hotels in Nevada, most in Las Vegas.
- Total of around 16 luxury hotels.
- Forbes has 6 Five-Star hotels, concentrated in Boston.
- AAA lists 4 Five Diamond hotels in Massachusetts.
- Total of about 8 top-tier hotels.
So by combining both ratings, Hawaii, Nevada, and Massachusetts round out the top five US states for total Five-Star/Five Diamond luxury hotels behind California, New York and Florida. This indicates these destinations are also leading high-end tourism and hospitality markets catering to affluent travelers in America.
Brand Breakdown of Five-Star Hotels
When it comes to luxury accommodations, five-star hotels are the epitome of opulence and extravagance. In the United States, there is a wide range of these high-end establishments that cater to the discerning traveler. Let’s take a closer look at the brand breakdown of five-star hotels in the country.
Mandarin Oriental Has Most Five-Star Hotels
When it comes to the number of five-star hotels, Mandarin Oriental takes the lead. With its impeccable service, stunning architecture, and luxurious amenities, Mandarin Oriental has established itself as a top choice for travelers seeking the ultimate luxury experience.
From the bustling streets of New York City to the serene beaches of Hawaii, Mandarin Oriental has a presence in some of the most desirable locations across the United States.
- Mandarin Oriental has 24 Five-Star hotels worldwide as of 2022.
- This is the highest number for any hotel brand.
- Some examples include Mandarin Oriental hotels in New York, Miami, Boston, Las Vegas, Singapore, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
- Mandarin Oriental hotels are known for their luxurious, Oriental-inspired designs and exceptional service.
- Their spas also frequently achieve Five-Star status from Forbes for outstanding wellness experiences.
So in summary, yes, Mandarin Oriental has more Five-Star hotels than any other hotel brand in the world, underscoring its reputation as one of the premier names in luxury hospitality. It offers discerning travelers exceptional facilities and service in top global destinations.
Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Waldorf Astoria
Following closely behind Mandarin Oriental, other renowned luxury hotel brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Waldorf Astoria also have a significant presence in the five-star hotel market.
These brands are known for their exceptional attention to detail, world-class dining options, and breathtaking views. Whether you’re looking for a city escape or a secluded resort experience, these brands offer a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs.
Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, and Waldorf Astoria are also standout luxury hotel brands with numerous Five-Star/Five Diamond accredited properties:
- 21 Forbes Five-Star hotels globally
- 24 AAA Five Diamond hotels in USA and Canada
Some stellar examples are Four Seasons Resort Hualalai in Hawaii, Four Seasons Hotel New York, and Four Seasons Hotel Macao.
- 14 Forbes Five-Star hotels worldwide
- 15 AAA Five Diamond hotels in US and Canada
Illustrious Ritz-Carlton properties include ones in Hong Kong, Bachelor Gulch in Colorado, and Half Moon Bay in California.
- 8 Forbes Five-Star hotels globally
- 7 AAA Five Diamond US hotels
Legendary Waldorf Astoria examples are Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and Waldorf Astoria Chicago.
So in summary, these iconic luxury brands definitely stand out for their numerous Five-Star and Five Diamond classified hotels, cementing their reputations for providing guests with memorable, world-class service and unparalleled sophistication. They represent the pinnacle of elite accommodations.
Boutique Brands like Auberge Resorts Also Featured
In addition to the well-established luxury hotel brands, boutique hotel chains like Auberge Resorts have also made their mark in the five-star hotel sector. These smaller, more intimate properties offer a unique and personalized experience, often blending luxurious amenities with a distinct sense of charm and character. With properties in scenic locations such as Napa Valley and Aspen, these boutique brands have gained a loyal following among travelers seeking a bespoke luxury experience.
While larger luxury chains dominate the Five-Star and Five Diamond ratings, boutique high-end brands like Auberge Resorts also have properties featured:
- Auberge Resorts has 5 Forbes Five-Star hotels & resorts in the US.
- Their top properties include:
- Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
- Hotel Jerome in Aspen, Colorado
- Calistoga Ranch in Napa Valley, California
- They focus on intimate, upscale accommodations with exceptional service.
Some other boutique/smaller brands with Five-Star/Five Diamond awards:
- Montage Hotels & Resorts – 5 Five-Star resorts on Forbes list, including Montage Laguna Beach.
- The Leading Hotels of the World collection – 21 Five-Star hotels globally on Forbes list.
- Oetker Collection – 4 Five-Star hotels in Forbes guide, like L’Apogée Courchevel in France.
So you definitely don’t need to be a giant chain to achieve Five-Star or Five Diamond status. Boutique luxury hotel brands can also offer guests incredible tailored experiences worthy of top honors from rating organizations like Forbes and AAA. They highlight attention to detail and quality.
Also Read: Are 5-Star Hotels Worth It?
Noteworthy Five-Star Hotel Examples
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
The Peninsula Beverly Hills is a luxurious five-star hotel located in the heart of Beverly Hills, California. Known for its opulent decor and world-class service, this hotel offers guests a truly unforgettable experience.
With its elegant rooms and suites, stunning rooftop pool, and exquisite dining options, The Peninsula Beverly Hills is a favorite among celebrities and discerning travelers alike. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore the vibrant city of Los Angeles, this hotel is the perfect choice.
Acqualina Resort and Spa in Miami
If you’re seeking a five-star beachfront getaway, look no further than the Acqualina Resort and Spa in Miami. Situated on the pristine sands of Sunny Isles Beach, this luxurious resort offers unparalleled ocean views and a range of amenities to ensure a truly indulgent stay.
From its world-class spa and fitness center to its gourmet dining options and spacious accommodations, the Acqualina Resort and Spa is a haven of relaxation and sophistication. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or enjoying a rejuvenating spa treatment, this hotel promises to exceed your every expectation.
Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Located in the heart of the famous Las Vegas Strip, the Mandarin Oriental is a five-star hotel that combines luxury and tranquility. With its sleek and contemporary design, this hotel offers a sophisticated retreat from the bustling city.
The spacious rooms and suites are elegantly appointed, providing guests with the ultimate in comfort and style. The Mandarin Oriental also boasts a world-class spa, exceptional dining options, and stunning views of the Las Vegas skyline. Whether you’re in town for business or pleasure, this hotel offers a serene oasis amidst the excitement of Las Vegas.
Four Seasons Hualalai in Hawaii
Nestled on the picturesque Kona-Kohala coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, the Four Seasons Hualalai is a five-star resort that embodies the essence of Hawaiian luxury.
Surrounded by lush tropical gardens and pristine beaches, this hotel offers guests a true Hawaiian paradise. From its spacious and beautifully appointed villas to its award-winning restaurants and championship golf courses, the Four Seasons Hualalai has something for everyone. Whether you’re snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters, indulging in a spa treatment, or simply relaxing on the beach, this hotel provides an unforgettable Hawaiian experience.
These are just a few examples of the many exceptional five-star hotels in the United States. Each of these hotels offers a unique and memorable experience, combining luxurious amenities with unparalleled service. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a business trip, these five-star hotels are sure to provide an unforgettable stay.
Amenities and Services that Define Five-Star
When it comes to five-star hotels, there are certain amenities and services that set them apart from the rest. These luxurious establishments strive to create an unforgettable experience for their guests, offering impeccable service, lavish accommodations, and exquisite dining options. Let’s take a closer look at the key features that define a five-star hotel.
Impeccable and Intuitive Guest Service
One of the hallmarks of a five-star hotel is its commitment to providing impeccable and intuitive guest service. From the moment you step foot in the hotel, you can expect to be greeted with a warm smile and a personalized welcome.
The staff at these hotels are trained to anticipate your needs and provide exceptional service throughout your stay. Whether it’s arranging transportation, making dinner reservations, or attending to any special requests, the staff at a five-star hotel go above and beyond to ensure your comfort and satisfaction.
Luxurious and Well-Appointed Accommodations
When you stay at a five-star hotel, you can expect to be treated to luxurious and well-appointed accommodations. These hotels spare no expense when it comes to providing a comfortable and opulent environment for their guests.
From plush bedding and high-quality linens to state-of-the-art technology and stylish decor, every detail is carefully curated to create a truly exceptional experience. Whether you’re staying in a spacious suite or a deluxe room, you can rest assured that your comfort and relaxation are top priorities.
Fine Dining and Lavish Spa Experiences
Five-star hotels are also known for their fine dining options and lavish spa experiences. These hotels often boast multiple restaurants, each offering a unique culinary experience crafted by world-renowned chefs.
From gourmet cuisine to innovative fusion dishes, the dining options at a five-star hotel are sure to delight even the most discerning palate. Additionally, many five-star hotels feature luxurious spas where guests can indulge in a range of rejuvenating treatments and therapies. From massages and facials to sauna sessions and hydrotherapy, these spas offer the ultimate in relaxation and pampering.
Less than 1% of hotels in the U.S. achieve the coveted five-star ranking, concentrated in major metropolitan areas.
Brands like Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton have multiple five-star properties known for outstanding service and indulgence.
At around 150 nationally, the incredibly upscale five-star hotels provide guests a truly exceptional and memorable experience.