On January 17, AAA released its annual lists of Four and Five Diamond hotels. A total of 90 hotels across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean have been added to this year's lists.

AAA's Diamond Rating is one of the few hotel appraisal systems that rely on physical on-site inspections. Members of AAA's inspection team evaluate each of the 29,000 eligible properties based on comfort, cleanliness, security and available services and amenities. Each property is then given a Diamond Rating between one and five, with five being the best.

Out of the 29,000 hotels that were assessed, only 124 hotels have been awarded the prestigious Five Diamond rating. Six of those hotels are newcomers, including the Château du Sureau in Oakhurst, Calif., the Wynn Tower Suites in Las Vegas, the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto, the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques in Acapulco, Mexico, and Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun in Playa del Carmen.

These newcomers join the ranks among numerous distinguished properties, but they have a long way to go before they can claim a lasting Five Diamond legacy. Only eight hotels have managed to hold on to all five diamonds for at least 25 consecutive years. The properties are: the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta, The American Club in Kohler, Wis., the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C., The Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va., The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif., and The Ritz-Carlton, Naples in Naples, Fla. But 25 years pales in comparison to the 38 years racked up by the The Broadmoor. This Colorado Springs, Colo., hotel has maintained its place on the Five Diamond list since AAA first implemented the Diamond system in 1976.

"Attaining the Five Diamond rating is not an easy undertaking," said Michael Petrone, director of AAA's Tourism Information Development. "Establishments at this level must consistently provide an unparalleled guest environment and experience."

The AAA Four Diamond list is not quite as exclusive as the Five Diamond list. This year, 84 hotels attained their first Four Diamond award, including Solage Calistoga in Napa Valley, Calif., The James Royal Palm Miami in Miami Beach, Fla., L'Hermitage Hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, and Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico. These new properties will strive to live up to the legacies held by Tu Tu' Tun Lodge in Gold Beach, Ore., and The Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, two of just 12 hotels that have retained their place on the Four Diamond list for 38 consecutive years — since the inaugural year of AAA's Diamond ratings.

This year, New York City captured the highest number of diamond awards, boasting eight Five Diamond and 47 Four Diamond hotels. Las Vegas is home to the highest number of Five Diamond winners with nine properties making the list. (Only 14 Las Vegas hotels earned Four Diamond awards this year.) But neither New York state nor Nevada topped the list of states with the highest number of diamonds: California took home the most awards again this year, featuring a total of 19 Five Diamond properties and 190 Four Diamond hotels.  

To learn more about the Diamond Ratings or to view all of the Four and Five Diamond award recipients, visit AAA's website

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