Posts Tagged ‘75 Years’

A total of 125 luxurious hotels and 53 world-class restaurants across North America begin the new year with the travel authority’s highest property rating

ORLANDO, Fla., (Jan. 18, 2013) – AAA announced today the 178 select establishments that earned the AAA/CAA Five Diamond Rating in the past 12 months, qualifying them for the 2013 Five Diamond Award® list. Representing just 0.3 percent of the total 59,000 AAA/CAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants, this exclusive group provides unique experiences chock full of leading-edge creativity and highly personalized hospitality to satisfy even the most savvy traveler.

Of note among the 13 new additions are the only AAA Five Diamond hotels in Puerto Rico and Nevis. New York and Florida each added three new Five Diamond establishments: New York added one hotel and two restaurants, while Florida added two hotels and one restaurant. Florida’s additions include the only new Five Diamond pair: The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and its on-site restaurant, Salt.

 

Additional Resources

New Five Diamond Hotels (9):

Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, Calif.

St. Regis Bal Harbour, Bal Harbour, Fla.

The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Trump SoHo New York, New York, N.Y.

Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

The Ritz-Carlton Montréal, Québec, Canada

Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies, Charlestown, Nevis

St. Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Capella Pedregal Resort and Spa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

 

New Five Diamond Restaurants (4):

Benu, San Francisco, Calif.

Salt (in The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island), Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Eleven Madison Park, New York, N.Y.

Le Bernardin, New York, N.Y.

 

“AAA Five Diamond hotels offer guests a meticulous degree of personalized attention and extensive amenities in a luxurious setting, and Five Diamond restaurants feature world-class service and imaginative menus using the finest ingredients,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Tourism Information Development.  “These establishments consistently exceed the expectations of the most discriminating traveler – the AAA inspector — and AAA is pleased to recognize them with a Five Diamond Rating.”

Collectively visiting some 1,200 hotels and restaurants every week, AAA inspectors are in a unique position to identify emerging trends in the hospitality industry. Inspectors have observed hotels and restaurants using increasingly personalized approaches to enhance guest comfort and satisfaction. “The definition of Five Diamond luxury continues to evolve as guests seek unique experiences with intrinsic value,” said Petrone.

Experienced, highly qualified staff are required to provide the custom service today’s luxury hotel guest expects. Larger hotels, faced with the difficulties of responding to individual needs, often restructure their approach. Many use the immediacy of social media to augment the experience as luxury travelers research, purchase, engage in and reflect on their stay. Imagine tweeting your desire for a rare vintage wine and having it arrive moments later at your guestroom door.

Restaurants employ an artisanal touch to provide an individualized culinary experience in a non-obtrusive manner. Menu offerings, once complex and highly orchestrated, are now often simple concepts meticulously executed. Meals and beverages are handcrafted using seasonal, organic ingredients from local sources. Distilled or flavored ice may be one of several original effects added to an already enchanting homemade cocktail mix.

The path to a Five Diamond Rating is rigorous. Properties identified by AAA as potential candidates for the Five Diamond Rating undergo multiple unannounced evaluations by a AAA inspector and final decision by a panel of experts. In addition to the evaluation of physical attributes, potential Five Diamond establishments are subject to thorough onsite assessments of all guest services from the initial reservation through checkout for hotels and from seating to  presentation for restaurants. Each area is evaluated based on level of competence, refinement and hospitality.

 

Noteworthy for 2013:

  • The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the only hotel that has maintained the Five Diamond Rating for 37 consecutive years – since 1976 when AAA first introduced the Diamond Ratings for accommodations.
  • The Inn at Little Washington Dining Room in Washington, Va., has the longest Five Diamond restaurant tenure, 25 consecutive years, since 1988.
  • With two restaurant additions, Eleven Madison Park and Le Bernardin, New York now ties with California for the most AAA Five Diamond Restaurants: seven in each state.
  • The only new AAA Five Diamond hotel and restaurant pair is The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island and its on-site restaurant Salt, in Fernandina Beach, Fla.
  • The number of Five Diamond hotels in Canada doubled to four with the addition of the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver and The Ritz-Carlton Montréal. The country is also home to five Five Diamond Restaurants, representing nearly 10 percent of the total.

For more information about Diamond Ratings and the complete Five Diamond hotel and restaurant lists, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com.

 

About AAA Inspections

AAA is the only rating system that conducts on-site professional evaluations guided by member priorities. And, with more properties than any other rating entity, AAA is the only rating system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. For 77 years AAA has used professional inspectors to conduct in-person property inspections and publish the results, on a system of One to Five Diamonds, to guide member travel decisions.

Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants are listed in AAA trip planning products: the eTourBook® guides and AAA Mobile® app for tablets and smartphones, the TripTik® Travel Planner and Travel Guides on AAA.com, and AAA TourBook® guides available at AAA/CAA offices. Travelers can learn about AAA inspections and Diamond Ratings at AAA.com/Diamonds.

 

The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colo.
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Montage Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach, Calif.
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The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Fla.
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Trump SoHo New York, New York, N.Y.
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Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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The Ritz-Carlton Montréal, Québec, Canada
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Capella Pedregal Resort and Spa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
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Benu, San Francisco, Calif.
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Salt (in The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island), Fernandina Beach, Fla.
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Eleven Madison Park, New York, N.Y.
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Le Bernardin, New York, N.Y.

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Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies, Charlestown, Nevis
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ORLANDO, Fla. – August 23, 2011

Early inspection system has evolved into the largest in North America with AAA inspectors evaluating and rating more than 59,000 hotels and restaurants annually.

Heather HunterLong before there were websites, social networks and consumer reviews to help travelers find a clean hotel and a good meal, AAA inspectors were looking under beds and tasting the meatloaf all along North America’s roads. This summer, in fact, marks AAA’s 75th year of conducting on-site evaluations and publishing the results — in the good old printed TourBook® guides and, now, online at AAA.com and on the go through ebooks and apps.

“We personally evaluate all of the properties we list,” explained Inspector 80 (identified numerically to maintain anonymity). “We show up unannounced, we never make appointments and we allocate only a short amount of time from the point of introduction to the point we are in the first room conducting our inspection.”

Even in the wake of the recent technological information explosion, AAA members and the rest of the traveling public still want and trust inspector evaluations. Both traveler generated satisfaction scores and professional quality ratings are important, according to the 2010 PhoCusWright Consumer Technology Survey. A full 68 percent of respondents noted each of these website features as influential in their travel planning decisions.

“When I say what I do for a living,” said Inspector 80, “people ask, ‘How do I get your job?’ I tell them you have to love to travel, eat out in restaurants and see attractions … OK, maybe it does sound like fun. While being an inspector can be very demanding, I wake up every morning absolutely excited to be doing what I do.”

A History of Service

In 1937, to provide better travel information for members, AAA employed its first inspectors, called field reporters, to evaluate and report on hotels and restaurants. Inspection information was offered to members in the three regional TourBook guides published at that time.

In 1963, to further improve its decision-making information, AAA adopted a formal rating system that categorized TourBook listed accommodations as Good, Very Good, Excellent or Outstanding. In 1976 AAA introduced its current Diamond Rating System for hotels, using a diamond in honor of the association’s 75th anniversary and, from 1985 to 1990, rolled out the Diamond Ratings for restaurants.

Today, AAA’s professionally trained inspectors continue this practice as they inspect, approve and rate more than 59,000 hotels and restaurants to help ensure travelers have a positive experience.

“AAA is proud to mark three-quarters of a century of providing members with valuable travel information based on in-person evaluations,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Tourism Information Development. “From the early inspection system to today’s comprehensive Diamond Rating System, AAA has been committed to helping members select quality establishments appropriately matched to their needs and expectations.”

About the Inspectors

Living and working in territories across North America, inspectors bring significant industry experience and expertise to the Association. “Inspectors are well positioned to assess the emerging industry landscape as they regularly talk with hotel staff and review facilities and services on-site,” said Petrone. “Trends are ever evolving. In recent years the pace has accelerated, due primarily to the influence of new technology and social media on guest expectations.Property managers must be savvier than ever and seek to become more engaged with their guests. Consumers are looking for the best value properties that offer a total experience rather than just a comfortable room.”

AAA Ratings

AAA’s comprehensive inspection process makes quality a given for every establishment listed for members. “Properties must be clean and well maintained to be AAA Approved, and only then is the Diamond Rating calculated,” added Inspector 80.“IfAAA receives a member complaint about a property, the details are forwarded to the inspector assigned to that territory.If a property does not maintain our cleanliness and condition standards, the listing is disapproved regardless of the Diamond Rating.Also, AAA’s inspectors and sales representatives are two separate entities, allowing for completely unbiased inspections.”

AAA rates more properties than any other rating entity and is the only system that covers the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. It is one of only two that conduct physical, on-site evaluations. Travelers can learn more about AAA inspections and what the Diamond Ratings mean for hotels and restaurants at AAA.com/Diamonds.

AAA Travel Information

After 75 years, members continue to turn to the AAA TourBook guides to find the trusted Diamond Ratings and inspector notes. In addition, travelers can access this valuable information online and on the go. On AAA.com, searchable listings are accessible through the Travel Guides and TripTik® Travel Planner. Travelers with smartphones can use the free AAA Mobile Web or AAA TripTik Mobile app to find nearby listings using GPS technology. At AAA.com/ebooks, members can download free eTourBook guides for use on their ereaders and smartphones.

AAA inspectors also contribute to the AAA TravelViews blog, an informal forum that allows travelers an inside peek at the glamour and realities of inspecting for a living. Later this year the inspectors will begin sharing real-time information on Twitter (@AAA_Travel).

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 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 AAA.com.

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