Sixteen Lodgings Join AAA’s Exclusive List of Five Diamond Award Winners

Orlando, Fla., November 6, 2009

New Mexico gains first-ever Five Diamond property, restaurants more affected by economic downturn

AAA today announced the 2010 AAA/CAA Five Diamond Award® winners. Sixteen lodgings have been added for a total of 113 hotels and 52 restaurants that
have achieved Five Diamond status, the travel authority’s highest rating for hotels and restaurants.
The overall number of Five Diamond Award winners this year grew to 165 establishments, compared to 162 in 2009. Even in the current economic climate, there continues to be strong competition in the travel industry to achieve the highest rating and provide the most discriminating travelers with luxurious accommodations and upscale dining options. Most notably, the state of New Mexico has gained its first-ever Five Diamond Award winner, Encantado, An Auberge Resort in Santa Fe.
For 2010, no restaurants were added to the list, and seven were removed, six of which closed in the past year. AAA has noticed a decrease in the number of new restaurants opening in the past year.

Lodging expansion and construction plans are often multi-year projects and do not appear to have been as immediately affected by the economic downturn, as indicated by the addition of 16 new Five Diamond lodgings.

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“The past year has presented many challenges for the travel industry. To achieve and maintain the highest level of hospitality during these difficult economic times is a significant accomplishment,” said Michael Petrone, director of AAA Tourism Information Development. “AAA is pleased to present these establishments with the Five Diamond Award designation in recognition of top-quality service and facilities that consistently exceed guest expectations.”

Travelers will have the opportunity to interact with one of AAA’s professional inspectors at AAA’s Best and Biggest Virtual Travel Show on Tuesday, November 10 at 6 p.m. EST. During this session the inspector will discuss recipients of the coveted AAA Five Diamond Award, the qualifications needed to earn the award, and also what travelers can expect to find at One, Two, Three and Four Diamond restaurants and lodgings. To register for the show and learn about deals and discounts available only from AAA visit

New Five Diamond Award Winners:

Florida and Nevada top the list for new winners this year, each with three additional Five Diamond lodgings. In Florida: The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale; The Four Seasons Resort, Palm Beach; and Acqualina Resort and Spa on the Beach in Sunny Isles Beach. In Nevada: The Ritz-Carlton Lake Las Vegas in Henderson and both Encore Las Vegas and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas.

Mexico gained three Five Diamond lodgings: The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort in Punta Mita and both Rosewood Mayakoba and the Mandarin Oriental Riviera Maya in Playa Del Carmen.

California and New York each gained two new winners. In California: The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast and The Grand Del Mar in San Diego. In New York: The Plaza Hotel and The Pierre New York-A Taj Hotel, both in New York City.

Massachusetts, New Mexico and Texas each gained one additional Five Diamond lodging: Mandarin Oriental, Boston; Encantado, An Auberge Resort in Sante Fe, N.M.; and The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas.

Noteworthy for 2010:

  • New Mexico has gained its first ever Five Diamond Award winner: Encantado, An Auberge Resort.
  • Florida and Nevada gained more Five Diamond properties than other states, each gaining three lodgings.
  • The American Club in Kohler, Wis., celebrates a quarter-century as a AAA Five Diamond Award Winner.
  • The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va., and Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., have maintained a Five Diamond Rating for 34 consecutive years – since the hotel Diamond Ratings were first published in the AAA TourBook® guides.
  • The Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Washington, Va., is the only restaurant to maintain Five Diamond status for 22 consecutive years.

Representing the upper echelon of the hospitality industry, AAA Five Diamond Award winners make up just 0.28 percent of the 58,000 Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

The assignment of a AAA rating of One to Five Diamonds marks the completion of a successful annual evaluation by one of AAA’s professional inspectors. AAA’s professional inspectors evaluate and rate more than 58,000 lodgings and restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean using a scale of One to Five Diamonds. They conduct an average of more than 1,100 property evaluations per year and have a combined total of 700 years experience. The average tenure is 12 years, with the longest being 28 years. AAA inspectors work remotely and bring significant prior industry experience to the association.

AAA’s Diamond Rating System is the only ratings system that covers all of North America and one of only two that conducts physical, on-site evaluations. It is the only system that uses full-time, professionally trained evaluators to inspect each property using guidelines made available to all establishments. AAA evaluates more properties than any other rating entity. Information about AAA Diamond Ratings and the complete 2010 Five Diamond Award winners lists are accessible at

AAA Diamond ratings are published in AAA TourBook® travel guides, which are available free to AAA members. Ratings are also accessible through AAA’s popular online mapping tool, the TripTik® Travel Planner, available free at One click on the handy map icons opens AAA listings, many with photos, from AAA’s database of 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants.

AAA approves and rates properties on an individual basis and, often, the ratings are reflective of several years of inspection and analysis by AAA’s professional inspectors. Although market fluctuations can and do impact properties, AAA does not use this as a reference when assessing ratings. AAA relies on a set of published criteria, the Diamond Rating Guidelines, which is based on member expectations and common industry practices.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at


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