AAA Announces Five Diamond Award Winners for 2011

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AAA today granted 124 hotels and 55 restaurants with the Five Diamond Award, one of the most prestigious symbols of excellence in the hospitality industry. Only 0.3 percent of AAA's 59,000 Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants in North America have received the exclusive rating.

Fifteen hotels in the USA, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean were newly awarded the prestigious distinction, including the first high marks for properties in both St. Lucia and the Dominican Republic.

AAA added three Ritz-Carlton locations and two Trump properties to the list. Other winning lodgings include the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and the Elysian in Chicago, as well as Winvian in Morris, Conn. Two lodgings in Mexico also received the award for the first time.

AAA Five Diamond Lodging Additions for 2011:

  • - The Ritz-Carlton, Denver
  • - Winvian, Morris, Conn.
  • - The St. Regis Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta
  • - Elysian, Chicago
  • - Trump International Hotel & Tower, Chicago
  • - The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common, Boston
  • - Aria Resort & Casino, Las Vegas
  • - Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas
  • - Trump International Hotel & Tower, New York
  • - The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, N.C.
  • - Four Seasons Hotel Houston
  • - Tortuga Bay Punta Cana Resort & Club, Dominican Republic
  • - Jade Mountain Resort, Soufriere, St. Lucia
  • - Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun, Mexico
  • - Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
This year, Las Vegas beat out New York as the city with the most hotels receiving Five Diamond ratings. Vegas now has nine hotels with AAA's top honors, compared to New York which has eight.

"AAA is pleased to present these establishments with the Five Diamond Award designation," says Michael Petrone, director of AAA Tourism Information Development in a press release.

"It is truly a significant accomplishment to achieve the highest level of hospitality; however, the ultimate challenge is to continuously exceed guest expectations on a continual basis."

The first AAA evaluators began surveying hotels in 1937, but the Five Diamond Rating system was not introduced until 1976. Three hotels have held on to Five Diamond status since the ratings began: the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Camelback Inn by JW Marriott in Scottsdale, Ariz.; and the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

To conduct the annual awards, AAA employs full-time, professionally trained evaluators who administer physical, on-site evaluations. The inspectors assess properties based on a full range of criteria, from cleanliness, service, and décor to landscaping, ease of access, and amenities.

Diamond Award ratings are published in AAA TourBook travel guides, which are available for free to AAA members.

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