With 59,000 Diamond Rated establishments from which to choose, AAA has unveiled a new ‘Best Of’ designation to give travelers another way to find great options for any trip or budget. Currently just seven percent of AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants have earned the “Best Of” distinction. These establishments have overall ratings in the top 20 percent for their Diamond Rating level, no member complaints in the past 12 months and, for hotels only, A Rated cleanliness and condition.
“When travelers are choosing a Diamond Rated hotel or restaurant, they should think of each additional Diamond as an indicator of more extensive services offered. AAA doesn’t approve substandard properties, which separates our ratings from the rest,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections and Diamond Ratings. “Whether an establishment offers a simple environment or extensive luxury, it provides members with a good choice for the type of experience provided.”
The vast majority of AAA’s Diamond Rated establishments ‒ 90 percent of hotels and 97 percent of restaurants ‒ earn a rating of One, Two or Three Diamonds. Undergoing evaluation from one of AAA’s professional inspectors, these hotels and restaurants meet AAA’s rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and they offer travelers more casual and affordable options that are often just as charming and memorable as their higher rated counterparts.
“Every AAA Diamond Rated establishment must consistently meet and exceed the expectations of the most discriminating traveler — the AAA inspector,” said Liane Sumida of AAA Hawaii. “It’s a great accomplishment for any property to be listed as AAA Inspected & Approved. Those at the One, Two and Three Diamond levels are the most common and frequently visited by AAA members. This new Best Of designation highlights those at the top of their rating level.”
Here is a sampling of the diverse One, Two and Three Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants across North America that earned a Best Of designation. Travelers can find more selections at www.AAA.com/123Diamonds There are 3,571 properties and restaurants listed on the web site, approximately 40 are located in Hawaii.
Best of One, Two and Three Diamond Hotels
Ramada Plaza Waikiki -- Honolulu (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Look no further if you want an inexpensive, clean room that’s close to the beach, Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Moana Shopping Center. Guest rooms, some with a balcony are well-maintained and offer cell phone charging connections built into the guest room phone.
Cowboy Village Resort – Jackson, Wyoming (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Located near dining and specialty retailers, the village offers a wonderful selection of studio and one-bedroom log cabins. All cabins have a picnic table, seating on a covered porch and a sofa bed as an added bonus. In the main building, the upscale lobby features an impressive floor-to-ceiling fireplace, the perfect spot to sit and relax.
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort – Lake Buena Vista, Florida (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Giant football helmets, hockey sticks and baseball bats decorate this sports-themed property. Abundant recreational amenities include dive-in movies and play areas with ping-pong, corn hole and foosball games. Guests can easily quell their hunger pangs at the food court and purchase souvenirs at the convenient on-site Disney store.
Hokulani Waikiki by Hilton Grand Vacations Club – Honolulu (AAA Three Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: In the heart of Waikiki, this property is surrounded by many restaurants and shops. The upscale one-bedroom suites feature modern decor and deep soaking tubs. It's just one block to the beach. Take the outside escalators up to the second floor to check in. The rooftop pool offers spectacular views of the city, the ocean and Diamond Head, not to mention complimentary cabanas. A manager's reception is held each Monday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and includes refreshments.
Inn at Cape Cod – Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts (AAA Three Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Massive, iconic columns define the front porch of this Colonial-style mansion with grounds shaded by stately trees leading to a 100-acre nature reserve. Rooms are outfitted with rich furnishings, pillow top mattresses, soft triple sheeting and high-end bath amenities. A 24-hour coffee and tea station is available on each floor and complimentary homemade cookies are offered every afternoon.
Mountain Waters Resort – Portland Creek, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada (AAA One Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: These cozy, well-kept cabins with decks are located in a quiet and picturesque wooded setting. Fishing is popular here as the renowned Salmon River and Portland Creek Pond border the property. Guests can immerse themselves in the outstanding natural surroundings thanks to the lack of internet and cell phone reception.
Ocean Place Resort & Spa – Long Branch, New Jersey (AAA Three Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: A great option for a sunny escape, this hotel features sleek, modern rooms (some with ocean views); a luxury spa; beach club access; and a laid-back tiki bar. The hotel features dozens of mature palm trees brought in from the Gulf Coast to give the resort a distinctly Floridian feel.
Best of One, Two and Three Diamond Restaurants
Bouchon – Las Vegas (AAA Three Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Another amazing culinary vision of renowned chef Thomas Keller. This restaurant is modeled after the original Bouchon in Lyon, France. Diners can savor classic bistro dishes, items from the oyster bar and selections from an advanced wine and cocktail list.
Bix – San Francisco (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: This high-end supper club brings guests down an alley and back to the 1930s. Dishes are elegant and flavorful.
Blue Bottle Café – San Francisco (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Modern, minimalist décor is the perfect backdrop to showcase he fantastical coffee-making apparatus – the sky-high Kyoto-style iced coffee drip and the five-light siphon bar. Perfect brew should be accompanied by perfect morsels of food and they do not disappoint.
Canonita – Las Vegas (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: This isn’t your typical Mexican restaurant, since the menu items put a modern twist on traditional flavors. The cornmeal crusted salmon over a plantain cake was great. The service is basic but the exhibition kitchen and food make up for it.
Duke’s Beach House -- Kaanapali (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Pictures and memorabilia of the famous Hawaiian surfer Duke Kahanamoku fill the fun and casual beachfront restaurant. The staff carries out relaxed service. The Ohia bar serves a lighter casual menu, while the dining room offers a full menu with fresh fish, steaks and a braised pork shank. Live music offered most evenings.
Five50 Pizza Bar – Las Vegas (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: According to Chef Shawn McClain, Five50 is the temperature to cook the perfect pizza. It is hard to argue with the chef after tasting the amazing ingredients such as truffles, farm eggs, pancetta and prosciutto. There is a pizza-by-the-slice bar for guests in a hurry.
Fog Harbor Fish House – San Francisco (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: With large windows, guests can look out over the marina and bay while dining at this fish house. Dinner and lighter fare are served all day in the contemporary dining room.
Rockwell Table & Stage – Los Angeles (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: High ceilings and some exposed brick lend an airy yet warm feeling to the comfortable little restaurant. Friendly, efficient servers and well-presented California fare keep the spot busy.
Tiki’s Grill & Bar Waikiki – (AAA Two Diamond)
AAA Inspector Notes: Overlooking Waikiki Beach, this restaurant’s second floor location is perfect for evening sunsets or simply people-watching. The menu features a mix of local seafood entrees as well as steaks, duck, ribs and a nice selection of pupus. The large outdoor patio bar has live music nightly.