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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
JW Marriott at Camelback Inn is a beautiful desert setting, but I think the pool area is too small for the resort.
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).
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is idyllic for sunset views.