Top Honor, Time Three: Triple Forbes 5-Star Rating is a Rarity

By Gabe Saglie   |   May 28, 2024
The property features 153 stylish, luxury accommodations – a mix of guestrooms, beachfront rooms, signature suites, and multi-bedroom bungalows (courtesy photo)

The latest industry win for the Rosewood Miramar Beach, Montecito’s only (open) luxury oceanfront resort, is a rare triumph, and on a global scale.

The striking 16-acre property has been awarded a triple five-star rating by Forbes. The listing in Forbes’ 2024 Travel Guide includes the coveted top-of-the-list five stars for the hotel, another five stars for Sense, its spa, and yet another five stars for Caruso’s, its luxe oceanfront restaurant. This rare sweep places the Rosewood Miramar in a league with only four other resorts in the country, and only 14 others in the world.

The accolade “is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication from our best-in-class team,” says Corinne Verdery, CEO of Caruso, the L.A.-based group founded by developer Rick Caruso that operates myriad retail properties and resorts in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. “We have been committed from day one to creating one of the most exceptional resorts in the world.”

The Forbes Travel Guide launched in 1958 and has been an authority in the travel space ever since, doling out stars, from one to five, to hotels, restaurants and spas. Professional inspectors visit properties anonymously and evaluate them based on no fewer than 900 criteria. The ratings create an industry standard that has become highly trusted by consumers.

The Miramar’s Managing Director, Rick Fidel, also attributes the resort’s success to its staff. “Training, of course, is important, but we start with hiring a team that is passionate and shows a genuine desire to make others feel really special,” he tells the Journal. “We take a lot of pride in hearing the ways the team surprises and delights guests, and always tries to go above and beyond their high expectations.”

The property features 153 stylish, luxury accommodations – a mix of guestrooms, beachfront rooms, signature suites, and multi-bedroom bungalows. The well-heeled clientele that invests top dollar to stay here come “from all over the world,” but are also “repeat guests from our drive-to markets,” adds Mr. Fidel. “It’s about servicing everyone personally and ensuring that when guests leave, they feel like they’ve been taken care of in all respects.”

This marks the fourth Forbes 5-Star win for Sense, the resort’s posh spa, where treatments are inspired by the seasons and by the local surroundings, as well as evolving consumer needs and industry trends. Mr. Fidel is partial to the Montecito Sage Purification experience, based on the benefits of wild sage, which has long been tapped to cleanse energy and soothe skin. “Earthly salt minerals are combined with indigenous sage, pine and juniper in a rejuvenating body scrub and a warm cocooning wrap,” he says. “Following is a full-body massage with a balancing organic sage oil and warm healing stones to leave muscles renewed and the spirit connected to the earth.”

For Caruso’s, the Forbes 5-Star win is a first (courtesy photo)

Other current offerings prioritize sleep as part of guests’ overall wellness: a special massage incorporates sleep aromatherapies while a special percussion release massage features CBD.

For Caruso’s, the Forbes 5-Star win is a first. The waterfront restaurant has built its repute on a seasonally-driven menu and high-quality regional ingredients, all with a nod to the bold flavors of southern Italy, as inspired by Executive Chef Massimo Falsini. He tips his hat to “the talented contributions and hard work of our team… and our remarkable purveyors.” And he adds, “I am beyond proud to be included among the state’s best restaurants and want to thank Forbes for continuing to promote California’s culinary excellence.”

This latest recognition comes on the heels of acknowledgement from Michelin, which recently awarded Caruso’s a coveted One Star, along with a Green Star for its sustainability practices. Those include a compost program in partnership with the Montecito community to support local farms’ soil regeneration and with global seafood industry nonprofits like Ocean Wise, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch program. 

Winning three Forbes 5-Star honors is certainly a testament to each division’s accomplishments – hotel, spa, and restaurant – but also an acknowledgement of successful cohesion across all of Rosewood Miramar Beach’s teams. “Consistent communication and transparency,” touts Mr. Fidel for the resort-wide recognition. “We are meeting and discussing ways to improve each facet of the resort on a regular basis. It’s a team effort, and we learn from each other.”

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Among the other 14 global winners of this year’s triple Forbes 5-Star status are the 340-acre Salamander Middleburg Resort & Spa in Virginia, an hour west of Washington, D.C., and the 144-acre Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman, the first Caribbean property to receive the recognition.


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