Few additions to AAA Five Diamond ranks

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

Underscoring its long-standing, strict standards that are based on professional inspections rather than consumer reviews and social media, AAA this week announced that only six hotels have been added to its list of Five Diamond award winners this year.

Joining the coveted ranking are the Boston Harbor Hotel in Boston, the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North in Arizona, the Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles, the Hotel Xcaret Mexico in Playa del Carmen, the Mandarin Oriental Canouan in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Unico 20N 87W Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico.

With the new winners, AAA's 2020 Five Diamond list stands at just 119 hotels and 67 restaurants, or less than 1% of the nearly 60,000 establishments across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean that are part of the 44-year-old rating program.

"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."

Additionally, AAA said, 125 new hotels and 62 new restaurants earned Four Diamond rankings, representing just 4.2% of program participants.

The rankings come a week after Forbes Travel Group released its annual list of hotel, spa and restaurant rankings.
While the two have for decades been the main independent grading agencies for hotels, using inspectors that make anonymous visits, Forbes added a record 107 five-star awards this year as it continues to expand its network around the globe. This year's winners included properties in 73 countries, 16 of which were new for 2020.

AAA, meanwhile, has remained focused on North America and the Caribbean.

A noteable standout on both: the Broadmoor in Colorado, which remains the only hotel to win the top rankings from both agencies every year since their inceptions. AAA has been grading hotels for 44 years, Forbes for 60.

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