Archive for the ‘AAA Diamond Program’ Category

Five Diamond establishments are noted for world-class luxury and extraordinary service

Additional Resources

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2020) – With the addition of six hotels and five restaurants, AAA has unveiled the 2020 Five Diamond list, comprising just 119 hotels and 67 restaurants. This exclusive group represents less than 1% of the nearly 60,000 AAA Diamond establishments across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

“AAA Five Diamond hotels and restaurants represent the best of AAA’s transformed Diamond Program,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content. “These hotels and restaurants consistently exceed expectations by providing their guests highly personalized, memorable experiences. They truly represent the upper echelon of the hospitality industry.”

Hotels

Five Diamond hotels, which include just 0.4% of the nearly 27,000 AAA Diamond lodgings, are noted for world-class luxury, amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

  • 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)

Restaurants

Five Diamond restaurants, just 0.2% of more than 30,000 AAA Diamond restaurant listings, feature leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings.

  • Ha’ (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – Guests will discover themselves surrounded by flowing water as they enter the dining room. The ever-changing, contemporary, seven-course tasting menu reflects a variety of regional influences, paired with fine Mexican wines. (New listing)
  • Le Baccara (Gatineau, Canada) – Nestled atop Casino du Lac-Leamy, this adults-only dining room has a bank of oversize windows, which afford views of the Ottawa skyline. Custom table settings, fine crystal stemware, an impressive art collection and distinctive service make this a favorite place for special occasions. (Upgraded from Four Diamonds)
  • Providence (Los Angeles, CA) – Prepare for a thrilling culinary adventure, and, for an optimum experience, select the multicourse chef’s tasting menu. It changes seasonally, but count on unusual and exotic choices like local Santa Barbara sea urchin, Pacific geoduck (a large saltwater clam native to the West Coast) and Australian spanner crab. (New listing)
  • SingleThread Farm – Restaurant – Inn (Healdsburg, CA) – Enjoy an amazing 11-course dinner that is expertly served using ingredients from the chef/owner’s nearby farm and artisan items from around the world. Dishes may include Santa Barbara abalone, smoked trout and braised lamb, each artfully presented. (New listing)
  • Smyth (Chicago, IL) – This remarkable restaurant partners with an Illinois farm to supply its creative kitchen with fresh products. Choose between three prix-fixe menus, each offered with a variety of wine pairings. Every dish emerges as a work of art in both its appearance and amazing flavor. (New listing)

To earn the coveted AAA Five Diamond designation, hotels and restaurants must pass a rigorous evaluation that includes unannounced, in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays for hotels, and, finally, review by a panel of experts as an additional step to ensure credibility. All AAA Diamond Program hotels and restaurants are re-evaluated annually to ensure they provide the best experience for travelers and diners.

AAA Four Diamond hotels and restaurants, which represent just 4.2% of the total, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,718 Four Diamond hotels and 682 Four Diamond restaurants, including 125 new hotels and 62 new restaurants.

To see the complete lists of 2020 AAA Four and Five Diamond hotels and restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four Diamond and Five Diamond facts.

In January, AAA unveiled a contemporized version of its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program, modernized to meet the needs of today’s travelers. A new Diamond designation reflecting AAA’s professional inspector reviews using updated guidelines sets the program apart from services that rely on unverified hotel and restaurant ratings. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

About the AAA Diamond Program

For more than 80 years, AAA’s professional inspectors have conducted in-person property evaluations. AAA is the only entity using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. AAA’s inventory includes some 60,000 Diamond hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find AAA Diamond hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides, TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

  • Posted in AAA Diamond Program
  • Comments Off on Six Hotels and Five Restaurants Earn AAA’s Coveted Five Diamond Designation

Program backed by professional travel experts using member-driven criteria recommends only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels and restaurants

Additional Resources

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 27, 2020) – AAA is unveiling a transformed, contemporized version of its highly acclaimed AAA Diamond Program. The program will remain backed by professionally trained inspectors using member-driven criteria to recommend only clean, comfortable, hospitable hotels and restaurants. What is new? Replacing ratings with designations. A Diamond designation reflects AAA’s professional inspector reviews using updated, member-centric guidelines, setting the program apart from services that leverage unverified, often biased hotel and restaurant ratings.

“We’ve transformed the AAA Diamond Program to help travelers better understand the overall quality, range of facilities and level of services offered by a property,” said Stacey Barber, executive director, AAA Travel Information & Content. “Unlike ratings from unknown users sharing their opinions, the Diamond designations are provided by experienced professionals using consistent guidelines to tell travelers what a property offers.”

Under the new system, previously One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the Approved designation while Three, Four and Five Diamond establishments will retain their designations. However, the 2020 inspection cycle will be the determining factor for all properties’ future designation.

The modernized AAA Diamond Program guidelines for hotels and restaurants reflect the latest in traveler expectations and industry trends. AAA has removed outdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. For example, AAA inspectors will now look for sufficient storage space and shelving for clothes and personal belongings in guest rooms, and not for ironing boards or printed guest information, to reflect modern guest expectations.

The AAA Diamond Program comprises nearly 60,000 properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including nearly 27,000 hotels and more than 30,000 restaurants. To be included in the AAA Diamond Program, properties must pass an unannounced, on-site evaluation. Hotels must provide acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and restaurants must meet requirements for cleanliness, food preparation and service.

“Only the best hotels and restaurants are included in AAA’s Diamond Program – professional inspectors eliminate substandard places from consideration as a service to our members. For more than 80 years, travelers have relied on AAA’s trusted recommendations, and these latest changes only strengthen AAA as a go-to source for relevant information and advice for all trip planning needs,” added Barber.

While AAA recommends only good options for its members and travelers, additional Diamonds indicate more elaborate surroundings and attention from service staff. Here is a breakdown of what travelers can expect at each Diamond designation.

Diamond Hotels

AAA Diamond designations for hotels represent the overall quality, range of facilities and level of hospitality offered.

Approved – 28% Noteworthy by meeting the industry-leading standards of AAA inspections
Three Diamond – 63% Comprehensive amenities, style and comfort level

 

Four Diamond – 6.5% Upscale style and amenities enhanced with the right touch of service
Five Diamond – 0.4% World-class luxury, amenities and indulgence for a once-in-a-lifetime experience
Diamond Restaurants

AAA Diamond designations for restaurants represent the overall food, service and vibe offered.

Approved – 71% Noteworthy by meeting the industry-leading standards of AAA inspections
Three Diamond – 26% Trendy food skillfully presented in a remarkable setting

 

Four Diamond – 2.3% Distinctive fine dining, well-served amid upscale ambience

 

Five Diamond – 0.2% Leading-edge cuisine, ingredients and preparation with extraordinary service and surroundings

*Percentages also include FYI listings that offer value to members and travelers but are not regularly inspected by AAA.

Travelers can learn more about the new AAA Diamond Program at AAA.com/Diamonds and search the AAA Travel Guides for their next great hotel or dining experience.

For hotels and restaurants looking for more information on the AAA Diamond Program and opportunities to market the designation to potential guests and customers, visit AAA.biz/Approved.

More about the AAA Diamond Program

For more than 80 years, AAA’s professional inspectors have conducted in-person property evaluations. AAA is the only entity using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. AAA’s inventory includes some 60,000 Diamond hotels and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find AAA Diamond hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: AAA Mobile app, AAA Travel Guides, TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices. For more information, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 60 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and more than 1,000 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

 

  • Posted in AAA Diamond Program
  • Comments Off on Diamonds are the Clear Choice for Travelers: New AAA Diamond Program Revealed

AAA Honors Top Hotels for Cleanliness and Condition

July 31st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Award Showcases the Best and Brightest Among 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved Hotels

Julie Hall
ORLANDO, Fla. (July 31, 2019) – AAA’s new Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award recognizes AAA Inspected & Approved hotels that receive the highest possible cleanliness and condition scores, giving travelers another important indication of what it means to be a AAA top-rated hotel in North America.

Additional Resources

While every hotel must meet expected standards of cleanliness and condition to qualify as AAA Inspected & Approved and receive a Diamond Rating, hotels awarded the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping designation significantly surpass expectations, as measured during a comprehensive, on-site inspection. All areas of the property must reflect this very high standard as AAA inspectors review for evidence of dirt, dust, pests, equipment performance and more.

“AAA has found that cleanliness and physical condition are consistently among the most important components travelers consider when looking for a hotel. This new designation identifies hotels with exceptional practices,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “The vast majority of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels fall in the midscale, Three Diamond range, so those that earn the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping badge are a step above in a way that matters to today’s discerning traveler.”

A hotel’s housekeeping and maintenance attributes are among the most rigorous components analyzed during the unannounced evaluation conducted annually by AAA’s professionally trained inspectors. All AAA Inspected & Approved hotels at all Diamond Rating levels, throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, may qualify for the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping designation.

“In addition to passing AAA’s rigorous on-site inspection, the properties that have received the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to keeping their property in top condition – whether that be a small inn or bed-and-breakfast, a sprawling resort or a skyscraping city hotel – at all times for our members and their guests,” continued Petrone.

Properties must demonstrate housekeeping excellence for two consecutive inspections and be free of AAA member complaints to meet the criteria for this award, which puts them in the top 25% of all 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels.

AAA’s professional inspectors evaluate and rate properties year-round, so the total number of properties to achieve the Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award varies throughout the year. (All figures listed below are as of July 19, 2019.)

States with the Most AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Hotels

  1. California (982)
  2. Florida (485)
  3. Texas (468)
  4. North Carolina (458)
  5. New York (406)
  6. Virginia (328)
  7. Pennsylvania (281)
  8. Tennessee (268)
  9. Maryland (238)
  10. Massachusetts (215)

Cities with the Most AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping Hotels

  1. New York, New York (161)
  2. Houston, Texas (90)
  3. Washington, D.C. (78)
  4. Orlando, Florida (69)
  5. Charlotte, North Carolina (68)
  6. Austin, Texas (63)
  7. Nashville, Tennessee (61)
  8. San Diego, California (60)
  9. Anaheim, California (50)
  10. San Antonio, Texas (49)

To find AAA Inspected & Approved hotels that have earned the 2019 AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping award, visit the AAA Travel Guides or TripTik Travel Planner.

Hotels that receive the award are eligible to license the 2019 AAA Inspector’s Best Of Housekeeping badge and market the accolade everywhere they promote their hotel. For more information, properties can visit AAA.biz/Housekeeping.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and TripTik Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Three Restaurants Added as AAA Five Diamond Honorees

February 14th, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Just 67 restaurants in North America meet AAA’s rigorous Five Diamond expectations

Julie Hall

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 14, 2019) – Only 67 restaurants in North America currently have what it takes to hold AAA’s distinctive Five Diamond Rating, including three restaurants added this year – Atera, COAST and Oriole. The coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award restaurant list makes up just 0.2 percent of the nearly 32,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Additional Resources

Among the exclusive number of high-end establishments that have attained the Five Diamond Rating, AAA’s inspectors note many are adopting a much more casual environment in response to evolving guest preferences for a more relaxed experience. High-end restaurants are adopting simple, streamlined décor and, thanks in part to the popularity of cooking shows and competitions, some continue to highlight lively open kitchen designs that allow guests to watch and even interact with culinary staff.

“Attaining the Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “To be considered leading edge, chefs must incorporate a laser-focused approach using innovative concepts and menus featuring the finest ingredients. Diners want to be wowed on multiple levels, so exceptional service is also important, but they’re not necessarily looking for all the formalities that were once synonymous with fine dining.”

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes anonymous dining by an experienced AAA inspector and review by a panel of experts, these restaurants earned Five Diamonds for the first time this past year.

  • Atera (New York, New York) – A treat for all the senses, the tasting menu slowly builds and excels with never-before-seen visual presentations and combinations. In a small dining room with a chef’s table open to the kitchen and a lone side dining table for a party of four, it does not get much more exclusive than this.
  • COAST (Watch Hill, Rhode Island) – Located within a stately seaside inn with dramatic views of the ocean, this restaurant prides itself on using local Rhode Island and Atlantic Coast farm-to-table ingredients. The menu changes daily to incorporate the freshest items from local farmers and fishmongers.
  • Oriole (Chicago, Illinois) – The classy dining room is made more interesting by the brightly illuminated display kitchen that allows diners to watch the artful assembly of each plate. A multi-course menu is designed to be a surprise for guests.

Atera and Oriole both debut as AAA Five Diamond restaurants, while COAST—Rhode Island’s first Five Diamond restaurant—was upgraded from Four Diamonds.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, are also an exclusive group. They offer a distinctive fine-dining experience, employing creative preparations that are skillfully served amid upscale ambience. This year, there are 656 Four Diamond restaurants located across North America, including 39 additions this year.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts. The 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Award-winning hotels were announced in January.

About AAA Diamond Ratings  

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant inspections guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. AAA conducts these inspections as the trusted source of nearly 60 million members, guiding them to have memorable travel and dining experiences.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Ten Hotels Join AAA’s Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2019

January 31st, 2019 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallFive Diamond properties are noted for ultimate luxury, sophistication and comfort

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 31, 2019) – With the addition of 10 new properties, AAA has unveiled the coveted 2019 Five Diamond Award list totaling 121 hotels. This exclusive group represents just 0.4 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels across North America.

Additional Resources

“The Five Diamond Rating is an impressive accomplishment that recognizes the upper echelon of hotels. These properties have extraordinary physical qualities, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence in delivering a highly personalized experience,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings.

Following a rigorous evaluation that includes in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and, finally, review by a panel of experts as an additional step to ensure credibility, 10 hotels have been added as Five Diamond honorees throughout the past year.

  • Baccarat Hotel New York (New York, New York) – Crystal chandeliers sparkle as they chime overhead and exquisite stemware overflows with champagne in the lounges, creating rich pleasures for the senses at this storybook destination from the fabled French glass company.
  • Banyan Tree Mayakoba (Playa del Carmen, Mexico) – The unique mixture of Asian and Mexican architecture is stunning throughout. This gated resort, located on the famed Riviera Maya coast, blends untouched nature in a carefully maintained ecosystem.
  • Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver, Canada) – Guests are pampered at this luxury tower, which has a beautiful, innovative design. Gorgeous rooms with spectacular views feature an enhanced Pacific Northwest feel.
  • Hotel Emma (San Antonio, Texas) – Guests will be stunned by this chic hotel, the site of the former Pearl’s Brewhouse, built in 1894, including its upscale, beautifully crafted lobby, library and rooftop pool areas.
  • Montage Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas, Mexico) – This upscale property features several infinity-edge pools that blend in with the ocean and overlook the secluded beach. The impressive guest bathrooms feature indoor and outdoor showers.
  • NIZUC Resort & Spa (Cancun, Mexico) – This beautiful and expansive resort features rustic and elegant Mayan-inspired décor. The guest rooms are spacious with many custom furnishings and luxurious features.
  • Rosewood San Miguel de Allende (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico) – This colonial-style hacienda has gorgeous public areas and meticulously maintained gardens. The spacious guest rooms feature a refined colonial décor with a fireplace and terrace.
  • The Dominick Hotel (New York, New York) – With stellar views of the city, this bastion of contemporary luxury features swanky modern Italian furnishings, impressive artworks and marble bathrooms. The SoHo location puts you at the very heart of Manhattan’s fashion culture.
  • The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston (Houston, Texas) – Houston’s premier property offers its guests impeccable service and highest quality amenities. This contemporary hotel is a crown jewel among the city’s accommodations.
  • The St. Regis Mexico City (Mexico City, Mexico) – This gleaming hotel tower offers large rooms complete with high-tech conveniences and a butler. The views are stunning, with many overlooking iconic symbols of Mexico.

Many of this year’s new Five Diamond honorees have received top marks in the past for their physical attributes that, although impressive, were not paired with AAA’s exceptionally high Five Diamond service expectations, until now. After demonstrating notable service enhancements, San Antonio’s first Five Diamond establishment, Hotel Emma, as well as Banyan Tree Mayakoba, NIZUC Resort & Spa, Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, and The St. Regis Mexico City, received the coveted fifth Diamond for the first time.

Others, like Baccarat Hotel, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston and Montage Los Cabos, attained the AAA Five Diamond Rating shortly after opening within the past 12 months. 

Hotel trends observed by AAA inspectors, often appearing first at high-end properties, include continued developments in the use of technology to enhance service. Responding to this trend, AAA recently updated its hotel Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines, which reflect the importance of connective technologies such as availability of in-room tablets, mobile apps, interactive kiosks, mobile key technology and digital messaging services.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 6.3 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,722 Four Diamond hotels.

To see the complete lists of 2019 AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotels, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotel Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

About AAA

AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

AAA Hotel Inspectors Looking for Well Connected Properties

April 9th, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (April 9, 2018) – AAA recently updated its hotel Approval Requirements & Diamond Rating Guidelines, the criteria inspectors use to evaluate more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. The new guidelines, developed with input from AAA inspectors, members and industry professionals, reflect the importance of connective technologies that allow guests and lodging operators to interact on an increasingly personalized basis.

Ratings previously given for the traditional business center have been replaced by a score for connective technology, which reflects the hotel’s overall capability to connect with its guests. This includes not only the availability of free Wi-Fi and USB ports, but also robust mobile apps, interactive kiosks, mobile key technology, and the availability of digital messaging services at high-end properties.

Additional Resources

“AAA members put a high value on the availability and use of convenient, leading-edge technology at hotels. They expect properties to have up-to-date devices and free internet access, but also for the hotel to connect with them via technology,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “Thanks to the proliferation and rapidly increasing sophistication of hotel mobile apps, guests today can do a lot right from their smartphones and tablets.”

This translates to guests being able to book, check in and choose a room from a hotel’s app at a time and place that is convenient for them. While on-site, hotel guests can use these technologies to request more pillows and order breakfast, and increasingly, use their phone as a room key to bypass hotel staff upon check-in if they choose. Some properties are beginning to incorporate robotic bell staff and voice-controlled guest rooms, a peek at the technological possibilities of the near future.

AAA’s inspectors now also review a hotel’s technological capabilities, particularly guest request systems, as part of the anonymous overnight service evaluation conducted at Five Diamond properties. Inspectors use the hotel’s digital systems during their stay, and evaluate responsiveness, communication, presentation and follow-up.

Additional changes to the Diamond Rating guidelines reflect the proliferation of open-concept lobby designs with increased focus on gathering spaces and social seating arrangements; the popularity of shower-only bathrooms; the use of modern materials, especially for flooring; and the trickling down of high-end details—such as plush bedding, large, flat-screen televisions and sleek bathroom lighting—from upscale properties to the midscale and budget categories.

“The updated guidelines reinforce AAA’s longstanding pledge to provide our members with reliable travel information through on-site inspections and accurate ratings for all AAA Inspected & Approved hotels,” continued Petrone. “We include members in the review process to ensure the requirements reflect their expectations and the ratings emphasize their priorities.”

The new guidelines are currently in use by AAA’s professional inspectors and are available to hotels on AAA.biz/Approved.

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, which evolved into the Diamond Ratings for hotels in 1976. The assignment of a rating of One to Five Diamonds marks the completion of a successful on-site evaluation by a professional AAA inspector. To learn more about AAA Diamond Ratings, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

Julie HallORLANDO, Fla. (March 26, 2018) – Consumers can now look beyond their fingertips to find a AAA Diamond Rated restaurant. AAA has made it as simple as asking Amazon Alexa or Google Home for suggestions. With access to 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants, the voice-based technologies can help consumers pinpoint a restaurant locally or find the perfect place to dine while traveling on a vacation.

Additional Resources

  • Amazon Alexa: 1 | 2
  • Google Home: 1 | 2

“Consumers want information instantly and easily. Voice-based technologies, like Alexa and Google Home, are driving this trend,” said Ramon Millan, vice president, chief technology and digital officer at AAA’s national office. “AAA continues to innovate and promote these exciting new approaches and, in so doing, is meeting and exceeding the needs of AAA members and other consumers alike while providing the most convenient access to Diamond Rated restaurants.”

Using the technology, consumers can interact in an instant with the trusted information from AAA’s TourBook guides to find local restaurants and even get an explanation on the AAA Diamond Rating system. To find a AAA Diamond Rated restaurant, use these commands and tips:

  • “Alexa, tell AAA to find me a restaurant.”
  • “Okay Google, tell AAA Restaurants to find me a restaurant.”
  • Be sure to pronounce AAA as “Triple A.”
  • Alexa users must enable the skill before they can access Diamond Rated restaurants.

AAA is working to apply the technology to be compatible with other voice-based devices and expand the capabilities. To learn more about AAA’s Diamond Ratings, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Five Diamond dining establishments are noted for specialty ingredients, advanced culinary techniques

ORLANDO, Fla. (February 21, 2018) – AAA has unveiled 68 restaurants that earned the AAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for this year’s Five Diamond Restaurants list. The eight new honorees feature a range of culinary trends from frequently changing tasting menus to open kitchens with counter seating.

Just 0.2 percent of the more than 31,000 AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants are Five Diamond Rated. To qualify for the rating, a restaurant will consistently provide leading-edge cuisine of the finest ingredients, uniquely prepared by an acclaimed chef and served by expert service staff in extraordinary surroundings.

Additional Resources

“Attaining a Five Diamond Rating is an exceptional accomplishment that signifies meticulous attention to detail, creativity in enhancing comfort, outstanding service and memorable guest experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “And as more mid-scale and even budget properties are adding amenities for comfort and convenience, hotels that aim for a Five Diamond Rating must stay far ahead of the curve to differentiate themselves through advanced design concepts, highest quality furnishings and scrupulous attention to guests’ expectations.”

“Five Diamond restaurants have evolved over the years to meet the changing expectations of restaurant enthusiasts who are increasingly sophisticated about cuisine,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “Guests want to learn about cooking techniques, ingredient sourcing and the latest trends. They are looking for a wide-ranging dining experience that includes being educated and entertained. No longer does world-class necessarily mean formal attire and opulent surroundings. And that’s where AAA’s Diamond Ratings can help guide the discerning diner.”

While some Five Diamond restaurants still have lavish surroundings, others feature counter seating or chef’s tables overlooking or surrounding the cooking area. And many Five Diamond restaurants, including most of those new to the list this year, have tasting menus offering a frequently changing array of intricate small dishes prepared from the finest ingredients and presented in an interactive environment.

Of note about the eight honorees added to the Five Diamond list this year:

  • Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare – New York City. Prepaid guests enter this “hidden restaurant” in Hell’s Kitchen through an unmarked passageway in the back of a grocery store. From the 18-seat chef’s table or one of a few side tables, patrons watch as an extravagant tasting menu is artistically prepared before their eyes, offering nearly three hours of culinary bliss.
  • Manresa – Los Gatos, California. This elegant restaurant offers a creative, artistic menu filled with local and global influences. Fresh dishes from a menu likely to change daily may include rack of veal, spring lamb or abalone. The wine pairing is highly recommended.
  • McCrady’s – Charleston, South Carolina. This is half of a dual-concept eatery, shared with a tavern that has a more casual menu and is a good spot for a pre-dinner cocktail. McCrady’s offers a 10- to 12-course menu of small dishes in a relaxed atmosphere. Diners sit at a black walnut counter in front of a gleaming open kitchen. The set menu may include sea urchin, local clams, Magwood shrimp, fresh cobia, aged beef, Ossabaw Island pork or foie gras.
  • Pineapple and Pearls – Washington, D.C. At this unassuming storefront restaurant, guests are greeted with a glass of champagne. The welcoming, expert staff guides patrons through a set tasting menu of courses. The all-inclusive experience is prepaid, including wine pairings or mock cocktails, so don’t expect a bill after the meal.
  • TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui – Cancun, Mexico. Dishes may include red tuna tartar, roasted butterfish, lobster, Kobe beef and rabbit. Options include an eight-course tasting menu that changes regularly. Guests enjoy professional, attentive service and excellent wine selection assistance. Business-casual attire and closed-toe shoes are required.
  • The Catbird Seat – Nashville, Tennessee. This intimate, sleekly designed restaurant features super-local ingredients including produce grown seasonally in the restaurant’s patio garden. Counter seating surrounds the open kitchen. The multi-course tasting menu changes often but is always a highly interactive and adventurous experience, with chefs describing every course.
  • Topper’s Nantucket, Massachusetts. This charming waterfront restaurant, inside an elegant beach inn, can be reached by complimentary water taxi service, a scenic one-hour cruise along the bay with pre-dinner cocktail service. The changing prix-fixe menu may include fine caviar, black truffles, lobster, rack of lamb, tender sirloin or oysters farmed right off the docks. Beautiful sculptures separate linen-covered tables, and the wine list includes 1,500 different labels and 25,000 bottles.
  • VetriPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania. This namesake restaurant of Chef Marc Vetri offers a multi-course culinary symphony led by knowledgeable servers. The menu varies to include fresh seasonal ingredients, but the Swiss chard gnocchi is a staple that melts in the mouth. Fresh breads, pasta and pastries are made from sustainable, house-milled grains. Vegetarians and guests with dietary restrictions are easily accommodated. Cooking classes are offered, ranging from bread and pastry baking to wine courses.

“It is no small feat to be named a AAA Five Diamond restaurant. Receiving this rating is a rare honor that signifies the highest-quality flavors and innovative presentations, with personalized service in memorable surroundings,” added Petrone. Restaurants receiving a Five Diamond Rating undergo a number of checks and balances including multiple unannounced evaluations and a final decision by a panel of experts to ensure credibility.

AAA Four Diamond restaurants are also an exclusive group, offering distinctive, creatively prepared cuisine, skillfully served in a notable environment. Only 2.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved restaurants – 665 – made the Four Diamond list for 2018, including 52 added this year.

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, then went to a formal rating system in 1963 that in 1976 evolved into the Diamond Rating system for lodgings. (The Diamond Ratings for restaurants started in 1985.) The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends. To see the complete lists of 2018 AAA Four and Five Diamond restaurants, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Restaurant Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

Restaurant Images

Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare, New York City

(Photo Credit: AAA, Adriana Rodriguez)

Manresa, Los Gatos, California

(Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger)

McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina

(Photo Credit: Andrew Cebulka)

Pineapple and Pearls, Washington, D.C.

(Photo Credit: AAA)

TEMPO Contemporary Cuisine by Martin Berasategui, Cancun, Mexico

(Photo Credit: AAA)

The Catbird Seat, Nashville, Tennessee

(Photo Credit: Anthony Tahlier)

Topper’s, Nantucket, Massachusetts

(Photo Credit: Topper’s)

 

Vetri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Photo Credit: AAA)

Eight Hotels Join AAA’s Prestigious Five Diamond List for 2018

January 31st, 2018 by AAA Public Affairs

Five Diamond establishments are noted for premier quality, comfort and personalized services

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 31, 2018) –AAA has unveiled 121 hotels that earned the AAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for this year’s Five Diamond Award list. Honorees run the gamut from regal historic inns to sleek high-tech high-rises and sprawling coastal resorts. Eight hotels have been added as Five Diamond honorees throughout the past year.

Additional Resources

“Attaining a Five Diamond Rating is an exceptional accomplishment that signifies meticulous attention to detail, creativity in enhancing comfort, outstanding service and memorable guest experiences,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings. “And as more mid-scale and even budget properties are adding amenities for comfort and convenience, hotels that aim for a Five Diamond Rating must stay far ahead of the curve to differentiate themselves through advanced design concepts, highest quality furnishings and scrupulous attention to guests’ expectations.”

The hotels receiving a Five Diamond Rating undergo a number of checks and balances including in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and, finally, review by a panel of experts to ensure credibility. Fewer than half of 1 percent of the more than 27,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels receive the Five Diamond Rating.

AAA first began inspecting hotels and restaurants in 1937, the same year Virginia’s Williamsburg Inn opened its doors. More than 80 years later, the elegant Regency-style property has attained the exclusive AAA Five Diamond Rating, indicating it has reached the pinnacle of luxury, sophistication and guest comfort. Of additional note about the eight honorees added to the list this year:

  • Esperanza An Auberge Resort – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Guests can enjoy the water many ways at this intimate seaside resort: They can soak in hot tubs in terraces overlooking the ocean, swim in one of several pools or lounge on a private beach.
  • Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown – New York, N.Y. High-tech meets classic comforts with features including an indoor 75-foot lap pool bathed in natural light and surrounded by comfortable chaise lounges.
  • Grand Luxxe Riviera Maya – Playa del Carmen, Mexico. A multi-tiered pool and a theater built for world-class Cirque du Soleil shows are among the unique offerings at this resort.
  • Grand Velas Los Cabos – San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico. This new resort offers oversize, elegant suites with dramatic ocean views. All guest units include terraces, some of which have plunge pools.
  • Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa – Seven Mile Beach, Cayman Islands. This stylish oceanfront resort, named after the jaw-dropping bursts of color guests can view at sunset, includes fully furnished balconies with sofa seating and an 8,500-square-foot spa with a Turkish hammam.
  • The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue – New York, N.Y. Close-up views of the Empire State Building are among the stunning hallmarks of this property, where rooms have fine wood finishes, high-tech accessories and marble bathrooms.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas – Dallas, Texas. Museum-quality artwork, a luxurious club-level lounge and a nationally acclaimed restaurant set this hotel apart.
  • Williamsburg Inn – Williamsburg, Va. Just a few minutes’ walk from the historic area, this opulent inn takes guests back in time, with richly canopied beds, silk drapes and bedding, antiques and fine artwork.

The Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, Grand Velas Los Cabos and the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa attained the AAA Five Diamond Rating shortly after they opened.  

Others like the Williamsburg Inn, with its upgraded outdoor spaces and redesigned signature-themed suites; Esperanza An Auberge Resort; The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue; and The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, underwent renovations in recent years. Then, after attaining top marks for physical attributes, they demonstrated the significant service enhancements required to receive that fifth Diamond. There’s a level of extra-attentive service that must be provided – some sort of wow factor – to edge a lodging into the Five Diamond category.

Those at the Four Diamond level, just 6.1 percent of AAA Inspected & Approved hotels, are also an exclusive group. They must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail. This year, there are 1,676 Four Diamond hotels.

AAA began field inspections of lodgings and restaurants in 1937, then went to a formal rating system in 1963 that in 1976 evolved into the Diamond Rating system for lodgings. (The Diamond Ratings for restaurants started in 1985.) The AAA inspectors who assign these ratings have a wide range of hospitality experience – their resumes include stints as hotel managers and food and beverage experts – that gives them an authoritative perspective. Inspectors provide an unmatched first-person, on-site view of emerging trends, which includes the continuing evolution of technology to elevate the guest experience.

To see the complete lists of 2018 AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotels, visit AAA.com/DiamondAwards. To see which cities and states have the most award winners, see AAA Four and Five Diamond Hotel Facts.

About AAA Inspections

For more than 80 years, AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property evaluations. AAA offers the only rating system using comprehensive, on-site professional hotel and restaurant evaluations guided by member priorities. With a far greater inventory than any other rating entity, AAA’s rating system covers the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Travelers can find Diamond Rated establishments and inspector insight in AAA’s trip planning products: the AAA Mobile app, the online AAA Travel Guides and Travel Planner and the AAA TourBook guides available to members at AAA offices.

AAA provides more than 58 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 36 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.

 

Hotel Images

 Esperanza An Auberge Resor

(Photo Credit: Esperanza An Auberge Resort)

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

(Photo Credit: Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown)

Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa

(Photo Credit: Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa)

The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue

(Photo Credit: The Langham, New York, Fifth Avenue)

The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas

(Photo Credit: The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas)

Williamsburg Inn

(Photo Credit: Williamsburg Inn)

Grand Luxxe Riviera Maya

(Photo Credit: AAA)

Grand Velas Los Cabos

(Photo Credit: AAA)

Experts share favorite Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants for holiday celebrations

ORLANDO, Fla. (October 25, 2017) – As millions of people make plans to travel this holiday season, hotels and restaurants are unpacking decorations and spicing up menus to help their guests get into the holiday spirit. Travelers and diners looking for the comforts of home without the stress of hosting during the holidays can find festive and family-friendly activities, extravagant light displays and décor, sensational seasonal menus and much more at properties across the United States and Canada.

Additional Resources

To help those travelers who are looking for a little extra holiday magic, AAA’s professional inspectors, who conduct annual evaluations of nearly 59,000 AAA Inspected & Approved hotels and restaurants, have selected 12 of their favorite festive Diamond Rated properties to visit this holiday season.

Hotels with Holiday Cheer for the Entire Family – Go ice skating, take a sleigh ride or join in a “reindog” parade. These AAA inspector picks offer visitors hands-on ways to enjoy the holidays away from home throughout the season.

Set at the base of Blackcomb Mountain, this gorgeous property is perfect for skiers. Activities in the nearby village include sleigh rides, ice skating and plenty of options for shopping and dining. Visitors can also enjoy daily holiday arts and crafts and other family-friendly activities, a special Christmas dinner, as well as an adults-only New Year’s Eve gala. –Inspector #450

Northern California’s wine region is open for business – wineries and resorts are ready to welcome visitors this holiday season despite recent wildfires. And one of the best things people can do to support the people of Napa is by spending time in the region, helping local businesses get back on their feet. On weekend afternoons in December, hop aboard a festively decorated trolley playing seasonal music, which runs between destination spots like the Oxbow Market and Historic Napa Mill. This cozy bed and breakfast, near the heart of Napa, has a cheerful holiday environment with a beautifully decorated tree and miniature town. –Inspector #569

This property, centrally located in the winter wonderland of Aspen, is lavishly adorned with holiday décor and complete with a mini-gingerbread village. Visitors can enjoy carriage rides through town with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the hotel provides treats for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve. –Inspector #599

This exclusive, luxury resort features a full calendar of family-friendly offerings, including holiday movie screenings, elf tuck-ins, ornament decorating, a “reindog” parade, gingerbread house and ornament decorating, a Christmas Eve yule log ceremony, Christmas Day brunch and much more. –Inspector #43

Bright Lights, Winter Wonderland – Immerse yourself in extravagant light displays and décor that create a magical environment. Decked out with hundreds of thousands of lights, ornaments and garlands, these AAA inspector picks offer a holiday feast for the eyes.

AAA’s inspector recommends planning your visit after the first week in December, when this beautifully restored historic country inn is turned into a holiday wonderland. The public areas and guestrooms are charmingly decorated with decked-out Christmas trees, a not-so-small collection of Santa figurines and a lighted village display. Guests are welcomed with eggnog and holiday-decorated cookies throughout the season. –Inspector #87

Located just steps from Rockefeller Center, this hotel is regally decorated for the holidays with its own 30-foot Christmas tree featuring 30,000 ornaments and more than 70,000 lights. Enjoy a cup of eggnog or spiced cider, go for a spin around the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink, then stroll by the spectacularly decorated department store windows nearby. –Inspector #592

  • AAA Five Diamond Bellagio in Las Vegas, Nevada

With seasonal sculptures created from thousands of fresh flowers and plants, the resort’s 14,000-square-foot conservatory is a floral fairytale. During the holidays, visitors can enjoy the florally crafted enormous polar bears, life-size snow globes and penguins on display. The lobby and shopping areas are also festively decorated. –Inspector #39

This luxurious resort creates a winter dreamscape with nearly 200,000 lights, ribbons, garlands, wreaths and gloriously decorated trees. Guests can take part in myriad activities, 12 days of holiday themed events and Christmas Day brunch or dinner. –Inspector #76

Holiday Delights for Foodies and More – Sensational holiday-themed menus and settings at these Diamond Rated restaurants and hotels offer festive treats for the discerning foodie to the casual diner looking for a flavorful escape from the usual.

Each Sunday and Wednesday in December, the inn offers a Dickens Dinner with roast duck and pheasant accompanied by a reading from Dickens’ novel, “A Christmas Carol.” Guests can go for a stroll along wooded trails adorned with icicles and lovely buildings set among the Hocking Hills. –Inspector #10

The beautiful dining room’s upscale western flair is transformed with festive decorations and seasonal menus for the holiday season. Sleigh rides at night take guests through a winter light display, complete with hot chocolate and blankets for snuggling. –Inspector #450

  • AAA Four Diamond Circa 1886 in Charleston, South Carolina

This renovated carriage house at the historic Wentworth Mansion offers an intimate dining setting. An annual Dickens Dinner includes a retelling of “A Christmas Carol” with a four-course dinner prepared by the award-winning chef. –Inspector #43

This charming Victorian home decorates every square inch with tasteful holiday décor. Diners can warm up and enjoy a holiday-themed tea with options like gingerbread cheesecake and tea sandwiches with roasted turkey and apple cranberry mustard. –Inspector #593

The year-end holiday season is one of the busiest times of year, when millions of travelers take to the roads and air to spend time with family and friends. To help those who will set out on a holiday getaway this year, AAA’s travel experts offer these travel tips:

  • Plan ahead – Book early for the best deals and availability on hotels, airfare, car rentals and more.
  • Work with a travel agent – Travel agents often have access to extra amenities and added benefits to help plan a magical holiday getaway. They can also be a tremendous help in the event something changes or goes wrong on your trip.
  • Be flexible – If your schedule permits, consider traveling on the holiday itself to encounter less congestion and fewer crowds.
  • Safety first – Get plenty of rest before setting out on a holiday trip. If driving, schedule breaks every two hours or 100 miles to remain alert and avoid driving drowsy.
  • Make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – Motorists should check the car battery and windshield wipers, inspect tires and pack a winter emergency kit containing a snow shovel, flashlight, ice scraper, jumper cables, warning devices and extra warm clothing for everyone riding in the vehicle.
  • Pack your patience – The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for traveling. Expect heavy crowds and allow plenty of time to get to your destination safely.

For more information to plan a holiday getaway, visit AAA.com/HolidayDiamonds.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 58 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. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

B-Roll

YouTube Videos

AAA Senior Driver Expos

NewsRoom Video Gallery

Media: Find and Download AAA Videos and B Roll.

images

[flickrpress type="rss" url="https://api.flickr.com/services/feeds/photos_public.gne?id=37347808@N05&lang=en-us&format=rss_200" view="squares" count="6" columns="2"]