Nov072009

AAA 5-Diamond Hotels and Resorts 2010 List

AAA has released their 2010 list of 5-Diamond hotels and resorts. (AAA 2010 list pdf link) As usual the list is dominated by Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. One great thing about Ritz-Carlton hotels is the ability to use Marriott Reward points for stays. Marriott Rewards offers great deals for multiple night stays with discounts starting at 2 nights. Fortunately for the luxury guest these award nights did not change to a 5th night free system with the January 2009 changes to Marriott Rewards redmption tables. And while Marriott Rewards lets you spend points for Ritz-Carlton, you don’t earn Marriott Rewards points for paid stays. Four Seasons does not offer a points-based hotel loyalty program. Cash and credit cards are accepted for nights at Four Seasons hotels.

Four Seasons Hotel logo is an appealing design

Four Seasons Hotel logo is an appealing design

 

 

 

The first hotel from the AAA 5-Diamond 2010 list  to catch my attention is the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco being the only hotel in the city to make the grade. The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco has always struck me as the hotel staff most aware of their environment and their guests for the hotels I hang around in San Francisco. And I absolutely love the old bank building entrance with the marble columns.

Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

 

 

 

I have to get around to more luxury hotels on the west coast. I’ve been to just 14 of 34 hotels in the west with this year’s AAA 5-Diamond rating and most of those were in Nevada, Arizona, and Washington. I need a good, long road trip through California this winter to check out more of these luxury establishments when hotel rates are typically at their annual lows.

Kelley and I dined at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay last January. That was a solemn day after her tests confirmed cancer. The drive down California Highway 1 was beautiful and warm that day. Standing on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific takes the mind to a better place.

Looking north from the bluffs or Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

Looking north from the bluffs or Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

 

 

 

I raved about the St. Regis Monarch Beach from my stay in September after the end of Kelley’s nine months of cancer treatment. She could finally swim again.

Spa Gaucin lap pool at St. Regis Monarch Beach

Spa Gaucin lap pool at St. Regis Monarch Beach

 

 

 

My parents stayed at the Starwood Hotels Luxury Collection hotel, The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Arizona using their free nights from the SPG summer promotion based on my recommendation.

The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona

The Phoenician, Scottsdale, Arizona

 

 

 

 

The Fairmont Scottsdale had rates around $100 per night several times this year.  Just goes to show luxury does not have to empty the bank account.

Fairmont Scottsdale

Fairmont Scottsdale

 

 

 

JW Marriott at Camelback Inn is a beautiful desert setting, but I think the pool area is too small for the resort.

Camelback Inn pool, JW Marriott, Scottsdale, Arizona

Camelback Inn pool, JW Marriott, Scottsdale, Arizona

Las Vegas has beautiful hotels, but if swimming is your thing then Las Vegas is not the place to be. Gambling revenue enhancement means pools in this desert oasis are closed early in the evening (5 pm to 8 pm at most casino hotels).

 

 

 

 

Wynn Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is idyllic for sunset views.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California

 

 

 

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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