Forbes Travel Guide

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(Redirected from Mobil Guide)
Forbes Travel Guide
Type of businessPrivate
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia, United States
CEOHermann Elger
IndustryTravel & Hospitality

Forbes Travel Guide (formerly known as Mobil Guide or Mobil Travel Guide) is a star rating service and online travel guide for hotels, restaurants and spas.[1] In 2011, Forbes Travel Guide published its last set of guidebooks and on November 15, 2011, launched its new online home,,[2] which covers numerous international destinations, including Hong Kong, Macau, Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Japan, Thailand and London. combines Forbes Travel Guide's Five-Star travel ratings system with insights and perspectives from Forbes Travel Guide's own inspectors.


Founded by Mobil and Simon & Schuster in 1958, Forbes Travel Guide is the oldest travel guide in the United States.[3] Ratings are given by anonymous, paid staff members in stars (Five-Star, Four-Star or Recommended ratings), based on objective criteria. A Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating is a considerable honor, with only 323 hotels, 102 spas and 74 restaurants receiving the top honor in 2022.[4] The ratings serve as a Certification mark, in that Mobil had registered trademarks for the phrases and designs indicating each star rating level, and allowed only rated establishments to display them.

Initially, guides were regional and limited to the United States and Canada. The first, issued in 1958, covered five states in the Southwest and South Central United States. In 1960, this guide was revised and volumes covering the Northeastern States, the Great Lakes, and California and the West were introduced. Guides covering the Middle Atlantic States and the Northwestern states were introduced in 1962. In 1965, a guide for the Southeastern States was introduced, although only one state covered by this volume, Tennessee, had any Mobil service stations.

Five-star restaurants in the United States:

Restaurant Chef(s) City Year(s)
21 Yves Ploneis[5] New York 1966[5]
Perino's Attilio Balzano[5] Los Angeles 1966[5]
Ernie's Paul Quiaud[5] San Francisco 1966[5]
The Maisonette Pierre Adrian[5] Cincinnati 1966[5]
Pigall's Maurice Gorodesky[5] Cincinnati 1966[5]
Maxim's Daniel Bouche[5] Chicago 1966[5]
Brennan's Paul Blange[5] New Orleans 1966[5]
Cafe Chauveron Albert Heintz[5] New York 1966-[5]
Gourmet Room Vito Lacaputo[6] Cincinnati 1970-[7]

Later, the number of volumes was expanded, as regions covered by the guide shrank. For instance, California was covered by two volumes, one for the north and one for the south. City guides also followed.

By 1975 Rand McNally began publishing the Mobil Travel Guides.[3] In 1988, Simon & Schuster's Prentice Hall division acquired the travel books division of Rand McNally.[8] Fodor's, a division of Random House, began publishing the guides in 1995.[9] In 2001, Mobil Travel Guide was spun off as a separate company, with ExxonMobil and publisher Publications International as an investor.[10][11]

In 2008, Forbes Travel Guide launched the international star ratings program for hotels and spas with the release of the inaugural Forbes Travel Guide Beijing and Forbes Travel Guide Hong Kong and Macau. Published in print by ExxonMobil Travel Publications, until 2011, the guide was published online by

|In October 2009, ExxonMobil licensed the brand to the Five Star Ratings Corporation, which is owned by internet entrepreneur and WebMD founder Jeff Arnold. Five Star Travel Corporation entered into a licensing agreement with Forbes Media, and renamed the Star Awards and guidebook series, Forbes Travel Guide.[12][13] Forbes Travel Guide's new online home,, was launched in 2011, which marked the last year of publication of the traditional printed guidebook series.

In 2019, Forbes Travel Guide formed an exclusive partnership with Jet Linx Aviation, becoming the guide's first partner in the private aviation industry. [14]

Star Ratings[edit]

The Mobil Travel Guide Star Ratings provided ratings and reviews of hotels, restaurants and spas on a scale of one star (average to good) to five stars (one of the best in the country) starting in 1958. Forbes Travel Guide has continued the Five-Star ratings with ratings categories of Five-Star, Four-Star and Recommended, and has a team of inspectors who anonymously evaluate properties against proprietary standards.[2]

Forbes Travel Guide - 2019 Star Award Winners by country[15]
5-Star 4-Star Recommended Total
 United States 151  United States 444  United States 213  United States 808
 China 77  China 105  China 33  China 215
 United Kingdom 16  Canada 36  Italy 19  United Kingdom 58
 France 13  United Kingdom 29  United Kingdom 13  Canada 53
 Mexico 12  Mexico 27  Canada 11  Italy 52
 Italy 10  Japan 26  France 10  Mexico 49
 Japan 7  Italy 23  Mexico 10  France 42
 Singapore 7  United Arab Emirates 23  Japan 9  Japan 42
 Canada 6  Indonesia 21  Spain 8  United Arab Emirates 33
  Switzerland 5  France 19  Portugal 7  Indonesia 30
Others 39 Others 150 Others 115 Others 312
Total 343 Total 903 Total 448 Total 1694


  1. ^ "About Forbes Travel Guide". Retrieved 2014-01-31.
  2. ^ a b "Startle". Retrieved 2011-12-22. The online home of Forbes Travel Guide, the creators of the original Five-Star ratings system and the leading travel authority since 1958.
  3. ^ a b Scarbrough, Linda (1975-01-12). "AAA and Mobil: A Traveler's Guide to the Travel Guides". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  4. ^ "FORBES TRAVEL GUIDE ANNOUNCES 2022 STAR AWARDS". Retrieved 8 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mosby, Aline (1966-05-26). "Nation's Greatest Chefs Feted at Gourmet Dinner". The Belleville News-Democrat. p. 15. Retrieved 2022-12-29.
  6. ^ Woellert, Dann (2015). Historic restaurants of Cincinnati : the Queen City's tasty history. pp. 84–85. ISBN 978-1-4671-1764-7. OCLC 910530663.
  7. ^ Murtha, Lisa (2011-03-11). "Room With a View". Cincinnati Magazine. Retrieved 2023-01-05.
  8. ^ "McNally Unit Acquired By Simon & Schuster". The New York Times. 1988-03-01. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  9. ^ "Stars Rise and Fall in New Mobil Guides". The New York Times. 1996-01-10. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  10. ^ "Mobil Travel Guides Try Fresh Approach". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  11. ^ "Mobil Guides Takes a Detour". Retrieved 2019-11-10.
  12. ^ "Mobil Travel Guide to become Forbes Travel Guide". Associated Press. 2009-08-04. Archived from the original on August 7, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2021.
  13. ^ Carly Zinderman (2009-12-03). "Hotel Rankings: Forbes Merges with Mobil". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2009-12-17.
  14. ^ "StackPath". Retrieved 2022-05-13.
  15. ^ "Forbes Travel Guide - 2019 Star Award Winners". Forbes.

External links[edit]