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Travel & Leisure

Asia's best hotels: 7 newcomers join Forbes' most exclusive list

2021 winners teased early to whet appetite for post-pandemic getaways

Seven hotels in Asia were newly awarded five stars by Forbes Travel Guide, which released some of this year's winners early to stoke travelers' excitement for post-quarantine tourism. (Photo courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing Beijing)

NEW YORK -- Seven hotels in Asia have snagged their first five-star ratings from Forbes Travel Guide as the region's hospitality industry looks ahead to better times after COVID-19 is under control.

Thursday's sneak peek at the 2021 list included four five-star newcomers from Tokyo, one from Beijing and two from Bali. Asia accounted for more than a quarter of the 83 hotels worldwide receiving five-star ratings on the new list.

Four Seasons has gained an early lead in the region, with four of its hotels there boasting five-star status for 2021. It remained the brand with the most five-star ratings globally, including spas and restaurants.

In Tokyo, the Ritz-Carlton, the Capitol Hotel Tokyu, the Takanawa Hanakohro and the Prince Gallery Tokyo Kioicho make their five-star debuts with the 2021 rankings. The Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing in Beijing, the Mulia - Nusa Dua in Bali, and the St. Regis Bali Resort also joined the club.

Hotel New Otani Tokyo, whose Executive House Zen section marks a second straight five-star year in 2021, announced Friday a special offer to celebrate. Zen guests will receive a $100 restaurant credit for staying at least two consecutive nights at the best available rate.

Forbes Travel Guide had released its 2020 list back in February but now has revealed select 2021 winners early "to provide getaway inspiration as travel picks up post-quarantine," it said. The full new list will come out next spring.

(Photo courtesy of Capitol Hotel Tokyo)

Many Asian countries still have travel restrictions in place as the pandemic rages on. Malaysia may turn away tourists until the second quarter of 2021, a top official recently told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Japan, home to the most five-star-hotel newcomers in Asia for 2021, still bans travel from more than 100 countries, including neighbor China.

Asia-Pacific hotel occupancy has been slowly climbing back from its 28% low of April, hitting 46.3% in July, according to industry data provider STR. But even that still represents a 36.5% plunge from a year earlier and was "the lowest for any July on record in the region," it said.

Mainland China, where the new coronavirus originated, had one of the higher hotel occupancy rates at 57.9% in July, according to STR. The country has kept its doors closed to most foreigners but is enjoying a boom in domestic tourism.

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