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What Do AAA Diamond Ratings Mean?

In all of Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, just 18 hotels and restaurants earned a AAA five Diamond rating for 2015.

Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, Utah, image
Photo caption
Stein Eriksen Lodge is a AAA five Diamond property in Park City, Utah.


In early December at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City, Utah, AAA honored an exclusive group of hotels and restaurants: those that earned a AAA five Diamond rating for 2015. In all of Northern California, Nevada, and Utah, just 18 hotels and restaurants achieved this prestigious rank.

To qualify for the highest AAA rating, hotels must offer a range of guest room refinements from lushly upholstered armchairs to multiple showerheads. At five Diamond restaurants, napkins must be fashioned from natural fabrics and every dish is required to be made from scratch.

Five Diamonds signify the best of the best, but you might be surprised by the exacting standards at every Diamond level. At a one Diamond property, for example, you can expect more than just a place to lay your head. Guest rooms at one Diamond hotels must include cable TV, seasonal air-conditioning, and a workspace with Internet access. Not every budget motel qualifies.

The list of required amenities gets longer (and more luxurious) as Diamond ratings rise. At higher levels, hotels must offer on-site restaurants, poolside service, nightly turndown, and a dedicated concierge. Think of the rating as a snapshot of the range of facilities and the level of hospitality offered by a property.

AAA dispatched its first hotel inspectors in 1937 and added ratings to AAA travel guides in 1963. Starting in 1976, hotels were given Diamond ratings; restaurants were added in 1986. Diamond ratings now cover more than 29,000 hotels in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, as well as thousands of res- taurants, from simple to spectacular.

You can pick up AAA TourBook guides—which list properties with Diamond ratings by destination—from any AAA branch. Or download guides for your e-reader or smartphone at

Photography by Mark Maziarz


This article was first published in January 2015. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.