Forbes Travel Guide's annual list of five-star honorees listed Maldives for the first time, in what was dubbed a "splashy debut", taking home six of the highest awards.
This year, for the 62nd edition, the collection was expanded to include 107 new properties and 16 new countries.
Forbes Travel Guide accorded awards to a total of 15 resorts in Maldives.
In Maldives, the properties that earned the prestigious Forbes' Five Star Award in hotel category were Velaa Private Island, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa, Cheval Blanc Randheli, The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort, Kanuhura Maldives and One&Only Reethi Rah.
The top-tier crop was praised for their " beyond the ordinary" offerings such as Velaa's nine-hole golf course designed by Masters champion José María Olazábal, and Four Seasons' Explorer, a three-deck catamaran with 11 guest cabins, docked at the property.
Forbes highlighted the exquisite design that "shines" across the resorts, noting The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort's "sleek architecture of its villas and the whale-shark-shaped Whale Bar", as well as three-island Kanuhura Maldives' "bohemian feel, featuring whitewashed villas adorned with funky art" and One&Only Reethi Rah's scenery first approach.
Other destinations with first-time Five-Star accolades include Bora Bora, Cambodia, South Africa (Cape Town, Johannesburg), the Cayman Islands, Qatar (Doha), Fiji, Ireland, Mauritius, Monaco (Monte Carlo), Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg), Czech Republic (Prague), the Seychelles and Tahiti.
Placing in the Four-Star category were Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru, Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, Joali Maldives, Jumeirah Vittaveli, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa and Taj Exotica Maldives.
Other special mentions included Amilla Fushi Resort, Six Senses Laamu Resort and Taj Coral Reef Resort.
Forbes Travel Guide formulates its exclusive, highly-coveted collection of the most luxurious properties around the world by sending a 'mystery guest' to check hotels for a minimum of two nights. Resorts are not made aware of the inspection as the Forbes 'testers' pose as ordinary travellers, on paid vacations. Winners are determined based on the sheer excellence of their performance across 900 objective, exacting standards.
The Star Rating system is the first of its kind and was founded in 1958, as Mobil Travel Guide, a guidebook for US motorists. Forbes is widely regarded as being the sole independent, global rating agency for luxury hospitality.