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Forbes Travel Guide to bring star ratings to Mexico and Caribbean

Want to find a five-star hotel in Mexico? The Forbes Travel Guide will roll out its rankings in coming months

Want to know where to find a real five-star hotel in Mexico? Soon you'll be able to.

Forbes Travel Guide announced last week that it would add destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean, and expand further into Latin America too. The first list of five-star properties in the regions will be rolled out as early as next year. 

"We're taking our integrity and our standards and making it a global standard," says Jerry Inzerillo, the guide's chief executive officer. The guide currently ranks hotels, restaurants and spas in the U.S. and Canada as well as Britain, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

In case you didn't know, the guide sends trained inspectors out — more than once for four- and five-star hotels — with a big checklist to evaluate service, appearance and lots of other criteria. And they return every year to check up on the property.

The guide has been rating places this way since 1958, when it was known as the Mobil Travel Guide.

The new ratings could be a boost for Mexico. The U.S. State Department a few years ago issued a state-by-state travel warning for Mexico that cautioned Americans about everything from drug cartel violence to personal safety. It remains in effect today.

Inzerillo explained that security does have a place in the guide's rankings. If a city has a problem with violence or crime, that might not affect an individual hotel that's performing exceedingly well, but it would depress the reputation of the destination, he said.

Might the Forbes guide move toward crowd-sourced rankings a la the travel site TripAdvisor? Inzerillo says the company is working on a system that would allow users to view comments from people about the hotels and restaurants it highlights. But none of that would factor into the star rating.

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