Jan/Feb 2008 Issue
AAA Diamonds designate sparkling hotels, restaurants

The luxurious lobby of Louisiana’s Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. Hotel Monteleone photo
When AAA tourism editors visit hotels and restaurants, they’re looking for properties that speak the language of customer satisfaction, and those that earn four Diamonds express it clearly and convincingly.

AAA recently assigned its Four Diamond Award rating to 24 hotels and 10 restaurants in the South for 2008.
The ratings, from one to five Diamonds, show where establishments fit in the spectrum
from basic to luxury and guide members in selecting establishments appropriately matched to their needs.

Each year, AAA tourism editors conduct unannounced evaluations at facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. They scrutinize areas such as cleanliness, ambiance and service.

To earn four Diamonds, lodgings must offer impressive surroundings with a high degree of service, hospitality and attention to detail. The guest rooms must be spacious and well-appointed.

Likewise, four Diamond-rated restaurants must feature luxurious fine dining with excellent service and upscale ambiance. Menus typically reflect a high degree of creativity and complexity.

Only an estimated 3 percent of the 32,000 AAA-rated lodgings and 3 percent of the 28,000 AAA-rated restaurants were awarded the prestigious four Diamond designation for 2008.

AAA is proud to salute the following Four Diamond Award recipients in our area. The number in parentheses represents the number of consecutive years the facility has received the AAA Four Diamond Award:

• Eureka Springs hotel: Angel at Rose Hall (9).
• Little Rock hotel: The Peabody Little Rock (6).
• Johnson restaurant: James at the Mill (10).

• French Quarter hotels: Hotel Monteleone (5); Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (13); Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans (4); The Iberville Suites (6); and The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (3).
• New Orleans hotels: Elysian Fields Inn (4); Harrah’s Hotel New Orleans (1); InterContinental New Orleans (5); JW Marriott New Orleans (23); Le Pavillon (12); Loews New Orleans Hotel (4); Renaissance Arts Hotel New Orleans (4); Renaissance Pere Marquette Hotel (6); The Sheraton New Orleans Hotel (5); W New Orleans (7); and Windsor Court Hotel (9).
• French Quarter restaurants: Begue’s (13); Stella! (1).
• New Orleans restaurants: Commander’s Palace (5); Emeril’s Delmonico Restaurant & Bar (7); New Orleans Grill (7); and Restaurant August (4).

• Biloxi hotels: Beau Rivage Resort & Casino (6); IP Casino Resort Spa (1); and Palace Casino Resort Hotel (5).
• Biloxi restaurant: thirty-two (1).
• Greenwood hotel: The Alluvian Hotel (2).
• Jackson hotel: Fairview Inn (13).
• Natchez hotel: Monmouth Plantation (27).
• Cleveland restaurant: K.C.’s (7).
• Philadelphia restaurant: Phillip M’s Restaurant (3).

To find other AAA four Diamond properties across the country, visit www.AAA.com and click on the TourBook® section.

AAA members get lowest online hotel rates at AAA.com

When AAA members visit www.AAA.com to book a room with one of AAA’s hotel partners, they are more likely to find a better rate than on other leading Web sites, a recent survey found.

In a review of several online travel booking sites, AAA.com offered AAA members the best daily hotel rate on partner hotels 64 percent of the time. The quarterly survey of AAA member lodging rates, conducted by Harris Interactive for several years, compares rates on AAA.com to Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity and AARP. AAA’s Web site has consistently been more likely to have the best overall hotel rates.

The most recent online audit found AAA.com offered the lowest rate on AAA partner hotels in the top 30 travel markets 64 percent of the time, followed by AARP, 17 percent; Expedia, 10 percent; Travelocity, 5 percent and Orbitz, 2 percent.

Members enjoy many other benefits at AAA.com, including:

• searchable TourBook® guides featuring AAA Diamond rated hotels and restaurants, plus thousands of attractions;

• AAA.com TripTik® mapping and trip planning tool;

• discounted airline tickets, cruises, car rentals, vacation packages and more.

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