-- Lovers of U.S. luxury hotels should go West.
For 2009, three of six lodgings added to AAA's prestigious Five Diamond list are in California: The Beverly Hills Hotel and Bungalows; Montage Laguna Beach; and Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village. (The other new Five Diamonds for 2009 are The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, Manalapan, Fla.; InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta; and Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.
California has the most five diamonds (19), almost double the number for the No. 2 state, Florida (10). Georgia has six.
A record 103 hotels plus 59 restaurants achieved Five Diamond status. The four restaurant additions are Addison, San Diego; Chef Mavro, Honolulu; Restaurant Guy Savoy, Las Vegas; and The Pavilion Antigua, New Winthorpes, Antigua. Antigua scored its first-ever Five Diamond restaurant.
Three Five Diamond veterans remained for 2009. The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs; The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.; and Camelback Inn, a JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., have held a Five Diamond Rating for 33 consecutive years — since the hotel Diamond Ratings were first published in AAA TourBook guides.
The Inn at Little Washington dining room in Washington, Va., is the sole eatery to maintain Five Diamond status for 21 straight years — since the ratings were extended to restaurants.
Lodgings slipping from Five Diamonds to four: The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, Carefree, Ariz., and The St. Regis, New York City. The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel), which garnered five stars in last year's ratings, is undergoing renovation and is unrated for 2009.
The non-profit travel organization, which anointed 100 five-diamond lodgings last year, does unannounced inspections of properties and rates them on a scale of one to five diamonds based on hundreds of criteria, including public areas, rooms, amenities and service.
The complete list of winners will be available at AAA.com/news on Friday morning.