Few travel industry honors reach the prestige of the AAA Diamond Awards Program. Designed to call attention to the industry’s best and brightest, this revolutionary program highlights hotels and restaurants that not only pass a rigorous inspection, but also provide exceptional comfort and luxury.
AAA ratings are designed to simplify venue selection. A simple diamond count can provide extensive insight into quality and customer service. No matter the number of diamonds, all AAA-rated venues are clean, comfortable, and hospitable.
The AAA Diamond Rating System
AAA maintains a detailed rating system to ensure travelers know exactly what to expect from various hotels and restaurants. A low rating doesn’t necessarily imply that an establishment is ‘bad’ — it simply indicates a budget experience, in which few luxuries should be expected. With restaurants, AAA defines One Diamond as “grab it and go,” while a One Diamond hotel offers “a bed, a pillow, and a bargain.”
At the Four and Five Diamond level, professional inspectors highlight stellar quality and constant pampering. These ratings are reserved for true gems, in which guests will enjoy a level of luxury rarely seen elsewhere. It’s a tough standard to live up to, but many establishments go above and beyond. For example, Banyan Tree Mayakoba and Nizuc Resort & Spa recently earned the AAA Five Diamond Award. Banyan Tree Mayakoba has achieved notoriety for its unique blend of Mexican culture and Asian hospitality, while Nizuc is known for its luxurious villas and distinctive black mosaic pools. Maritur DMC has also been selected by both properties as their in-house DMC, having offices on site open in a daily basis in order to attend all the hotel guests and programs.
How Diamond Awards Work
AAA honors Four and Five Diamond establishments on an annual basis. These awards are limited to restaurants and hotels located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Establishments cannot be diamond rated if they fall below acceptable standards for cleanliness and quality. If a hotel or restaurant fails to meet stringent AAA standards, it’s not merely downgraded — it’s kicked off the list.
Professional inspectors are thoroughly trained to discern markers of quality in a diverse field. Inspectors incorporate a variety of unique elements into their reviews without compromising hygiene and other critical standards.
Among the 27,000 hotels inspected by AAA, just 6.1 percent make the Four Diamond list. The Five Diamond list is extraordinarily exclusive; just 0.4 percent of reviewed hotels make the cut.
Four and Five Diamond ratings are, if possible, even more difficult to come by for restaurants than they are for hotels. Of the over 31,000 restaurants reviewed by AAA every year, a mere 2.1 percent are included on the official AAA Four Diamond list — and just 0.2 percent receive Five Diamonds.
Because it’s so difficult to reach the Four or Five Diamond mark, hotels and restaurants take pride in this accomplishment. Many display their AAA Diamonds prominently on their webpages or onsite signage. Even if Four or Five Diamonds are not achieved, AAA approved status is viewed as a point of pride in and of itself.
The AAA Diamond Awards Program is just one of several valuable resources available for discerning quality and luxury in the hospitality industry. Four or Five Diamond ratings indicate special qualities rarely found in other hospitality establishments. It’s a point of pride for business owners and an important tool for would-be patrons.
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