AAA Adds 6 Hotels to Exclusive Five Diamond List for 2020

AAA has published their new list of approved Five Diamond Hotels for 2020.  AAA has added 3 new US hotels and 3 international hotels.  The new hotels added are the following:

  • Boston Harbor Hotel (Boston, MA) – Gracious hospitality is prevalent at this luxury hotel, which merges modernity and classic décor. The guest rooms offer a supremely luxurious experience with a view of marina activity and local marine life from Boston Harbor’s Rowes Wharf. (Upgraded from Four Diamonds)
  • Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North (Scottsdale, AZ) – Well-designed landscaping seamlessly blends with the desert surroundings, allowing for striking views from the territorial-style casitas, each with a fireplace and terrace. (Upgraded from Four Diamonds)
  • Hotel Bel Air (Los Angeles, CA) – This classical establishment was brought into the 21st century with contemporary, elegant and high-quality décor. The location is the perfect backdrop in which to enjoy the meticulously manicured gardens and the lovely pond, home to graceful swans. (Upgraded from Four Diamonds)
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – This all-inclusive resort is packed with activities, including eight theme parks, many pools, three exercise rooms, and a private island. Many of the modern rooms open up to pools or the river. (New listing)
  • Mandarin Oriental, Canouan (Canouan, St. Vincent and the Grenadines) – This world-class property, unique for its remote location, offers just 26 large suites and 13 villas, as well as a private beach, impressive marble work throughout, and leading-edge technology enhancements. (New listing)
  • UNICO 20°N 87°W Hotel Riviera Maya (Akumal, Mexico) – This unique property features guest rooms with spacious balconies offering an oversize seating area and large oval-shaped hot tubs. Each guest room is assigned a local host who is tasked with ensuring that guests have a pleasurable stay to maximize their valuable vacation time. (Upgraded from Four Diamonds)

Congratulations to the new award-winning hotels and restaurants!  From the AAA press release:

AAA Adds 7 Hotels to Exclusive Five Diamond List for 2017

AAA has published their new list of approved Five Diamond Hotels for 2017.  After years of shrinking the list, AAA has finally increased the total 5 Diamond hotel list to 120 hotels.  The new hotels added are the following:


Congratulations to the new award-winning hotels and restaurants!  From the AAA press release:

“Five Diamond establishments represent the upper echelon of hospitality, redefining personalized service, using creativity to enhance guest comfort and providing memorable experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections and Diamond Ratings. “Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment and is a point of great pride for these top hotels and restaurants.”

Also of note among the new additions to the list is the first Five Diamond Rated property in Grenada, Spice Island Beach Resort. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs remains the only hotel that has maintained the Five Diamond Rating for 41 consecutive years – since 1976 when AAA first introduced the Diamond Ratings for accommodations. The Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Virginia remains the longest tenured Five Diamond restaurant, the only one to maintain the coveted status for 29 consecutive years, since 1988.

“These leading edge properties are well-positioned to meet the needs of discerning travelers. Their noted attributes include contemporary design trends and the highest quality food and amenities. Personalized, attentive service is foremost, delivered in ways that offer guests inspiring and memorable local experiences,” said Petrone.

Candidates for the Five Diamond Rating undergo multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts. Using guidelines weighted by member priorities, inspectors meticulously evaluate guest services and physical attributes to assess the level of competence, refinement and hospitality and assign a corresponding rating of One to Five Diamonds.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete lists of Four and Five Diamond hotels and restaurants, visit

Currently, only .3% of all AAA-rated hotels achieved the Five Diamond Rating.  AAA rated 59,000 hotels for 2017.

Here is the full list of 2017 AAA Five Diamond Rated Hotels: Continue reading

AAA Adds 6 Hotels to Exclusive Five Diamond List for 2016

aaa-five-diamond-awardAAA has published their new list of approved Five Diamond Hotels for 2016.  Continuing the recent trend, the number of approved hotels has dropped again this year, from 121 to only 118.  AAA added 6 new or returning hotels this year, and removed 9 hotels that were approved in 2015.  The new hotels added are the following:

  • Hotel Mousai – Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  • Park Hyatt New York – New York, N.Y.
  • St. Regis Deer Valley – Park City, Utah
  • The Cloister – Sea Island, Ga.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain – Marana, Ariz.
  • Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto – Toronto, Ontario

Congratulations to the new award-winning hotels!  For a full list of 5 Diamond award winners, click here. 


Forbes Travel Guide Releases 2015 Star Award Winners

ForbesTravelGuideLast month AAA published their list of the newest Five Diamond hotels.  Now, it is Forbes’ turn.  Forbes has continued to inspect and add hotels to their last at a rapid speed.  There are now 115 Five Star Hotels, up from just 76 two years ago!  From the press release:

Forbes Travel Guide revealed its 57th list of Star Rating winners, which include our first star-rated properties in Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Japan and Thailand. For the past year, our team of professional incognito inspectors has traveled the world in search of the best hotels, restaurants and spas to add to your must-visit list.

The Forbes Travel Guide Star Rating list now includes 115 Five-Star hotels, 55 Five-Star restaurants and 48 Five-Star spas. It also has a total of 336 Four-Star hotels, 192 Four-Star restaurants and 163 Four-Star spas, along with 100 Recommended hotels and 60 Recommended restaurants.

There are 18 Hotels that made the Forbes list for the first time.  From the press release:

Among our 2015 award recipients are 18 new Five-Star hotels, 10 new Five-Star restaurants and seven new spas capturing the top honor. In Mexico, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Nayarit andRosewood Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen snagged Five-Stars, while the Caribbean saw Jumby Bay, A Rosewood Resort in Antigua, andCheval Blanc St-Barth Isle de France and Eden Rock – St. Barths in St. Barts earning the coveted distinction. Guangzhou debuted on the list with two Five-Stars, Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou and The Ritz-Carlton, Guangzhou. Bangkok’s grande dame, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, grabbed Thailand’s first Five-Star hotel award, and Tokyo landed a Five-Star with Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo. The Langham, Hong Kong and Conrad Macao, Cotai Central scored first-time Five-Star awards for their respective brands.

Stateside, new Five-Stars went out to Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad, California; Keswick Hall and Golf Club in Keswick;Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, California; The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana, Arizona; The Setai, Miami Beach in Miami Beach;Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk in Honolulu; and Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts.

AAA Adds 8 Hotels and 6 Restaurants to Exclusive Five Diamond List for 2015

aaa-five-diamond-awardAAA has published their new list of approved Five Diamond Hotels for 2015.  Continuing the recent trend, the number of approved hotels has dropped again this year, from 124 to only 121.  AAA added 8 new or returning hotels this year, and removed 11 hotels that were approved in 2014.  The new hotels added are the following:

  • Four Seasons Hotel Denver – Denver, Colo.
  • Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
  • Grand Luxxe – Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico
  • One&Only Palmilla – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico
  • Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa – Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
  • Shangri-La Hotel – Toronto, Ontario
  • The Langham, Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands

The new Five Diamond Restaurants are the following:

  • Le Chique – Puerto Morelos, Mexico
  • Orchids at Palm Court – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Palme d’Or – Coral Gables, Fla.
  • Passion by Martin Berasategui – Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Saison – San Francisco, Calif.
  • Twist – Las Vegas, Nev.

Congratulations to the new award-winning hotels and restaurants!  From the AAA press release:

2015_HotelDiamondlRatings_infographicAAA has unveiled 121 hotels and 63 restaurants that have earned the AAA/CAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for the 2015 Five Diamond Award lists. This exclusive group represents just 0.3 percent of the more than 58,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants.

AAA inspectors collectively visit approximately 1,200 hotels and restaurants each week, allowing them to identify emerging trends in the industry. “At the ultra-luxury level we’re seeing an increasing number of hotels offering guests the choice of high-end service by white glove or touch screen — in person or electronically,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “They’re complementing personal delivery with technology options such as in-room iPads and TV menus for ordering and scheduling services, apps for accessing newspapers and local reservations, mobile check-in and text alerts when their room is ready. Some Five Diamond hotels even place a TV within the bathroom mirror to complete guests’ high-tech stay.”

Of note among the new additions to the 2015 list is the Orlando area’s only Five Diamond hotel, the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, marked by numerous upscale service options. Each room is equipped with an iPad that serves as the radio, resort map, event guide and newspaper, as well as a Bose Bluetooth speaker system and high-tech keypads that control lighting, air temperature and even guests’ request for privacy. For additional custom luxury, guests can create their own fragrance at the spa’s Aroma Design Bar. At the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto, the guest room drapes, bedside lighting and air-conditioning system are all electronically controlled by the guest. In-room iPads are available to order room service, call housekeeping or contact the 24-hour concierge.

The best high-end restaurants are fast becoming international destinations by providing a unique dining experience in which the selection and enjoyment of exceptional food is also an educational event. Typically, Five Diamond restaurants are ahead of trends in farm-to-table and super-local food sourcing.  Directed by artistic whims, the chef creates solid, lifelong relationships with farmers, purveyors and producers who can deliver the finest ingredients, whether it’s coffee, olive oil or artisan cheeses.

At the Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Washington, Va., for example, AAA’s longest tenured Five Diamond restaurant, Chef Patrick O’Connell uses as many local ingredients and foods as possible, along with bounty from his own garden, applying masterful techniques to create captivating results. At Eleven Madison Park in New York City, diners are invited to build their dinner around specific ingredients instead of predetermined recipes. But it’s the service experience that shines brightest as guests are pampered in a manner that is intimate yet relaxed. With personalized service or surprising insight, each staff member adds a special touch to the guest’s dining experience, creating a powerful, memorable event.

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LA Times: What does it take for a hotel to get a five-star Forbes rating?

The LA Times wrote a good article about what it takes to reach a 5 Star rating with Forbes Travel.  According to the LA Times:

los_angeles_times_logoIt may not come as a surprise that California — a sun-splashed magnet for celebrities and big-spending tourists — leads the nation with the number of hotels winning five-star ratings from Forbes Travel Guide.  But winning the coveted rating is no easy feat. Only 58 hotels in the U.S. — 12 in California — were awarded the recognition this year, including, for the first time, the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach.  

The Forbes five-star rating is considered more difficult to land than the five-diamond rating from AAA, which awarded its top ranking to 101 hotels in the U.S. this year.

Hotel owners vie for the Forbes distinction because it enables them to charge much higher rates. For example, the four-star Beverly Hilton recently posted average daily rates of $245 to $325, while the five-star rated Beverly Hills Hotel posted rates of $510 to $540.

The main difference between a 4-star hotel and a 5-star hotel is typically guest service and amenities.  From the article:

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AAA Announces Changes to the Approval Requirements for Hotels


In the second half of 2012, AAA started implementing changes in how they score hotels that are candidates for 5 diamond status.  This was the first time they have made a change to their program since the year 2007.

The new AAA Hotel Rating Guidelines can be found here.  Click on the link halfway through the article to download the PDF.  If you skip to page 30 on the PDF file, you will see the new AAA Hospitality Standards for Five Diamond Hotels. 

Here are a few highlights that we have seen:

  1. It appears to be much harder to pass.  The old program had 391 possible points, the new program has only 345 possible points.  However, it appears the minimum needed to pass is still 268 points.  You used to need only 68.5 percent to pass, now you will need to score 77.7 percent.
  2. Many of the points that were removed were the easiest points.  You no longer get points for having 24-hour reservations, accurate pre-programmed phones, or the ability to post miscellaneous charges to the guest room.  I would estimate that most hotels will lose about 15 to 20 points from their previous score because these standards were removed.
  3. The new scoring is a bit more subjective than the old scoring system.  Instead of ‘attendant addresses guest by name during closing’, the new standard is ‘attendant uses guest’s name as appropriate for the manner of the guest.’  Other standards include ‘attendant provides an appropriate introduction’ and ‘attendant extends an appropriate closing’.
  4. The last question in each section ‘Hospitality, Refinement, and/or Competency’ now can be scored anywhere from 3 points to minus 3 points.  If any employee provides poor service or gives incorrect information, you can now lose 6 points pretty easily.
  5. A few of the very hard-to achieve standards have been eliminated.  For instance, room service no longer has the standard ‘there is additional evidence of personalized services’.

If you need help preparing for your audit, contact us.  The TrueGuest Service Experience Audit is the measurement and feedback tool you need to help you succeed.

Source:  AAA Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines for Lodgings