AAA unveiled on Thursday its annual list of upper-echelon hotels in North America to earn its coveted Five- and Four-Diamond ratings.
And while there isn't a change this year in the number of Charlotte hotels to notch honors as an AAA Five-Diamond hotel, with the The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte in uptown remaining the sole award recipient in that most-exclusive category, there are two newcomers to the Four-Diamond hotel list.
Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel, at the corner of South Tryon and Third streets in Third Ward, and the nearby Omni Charlotte Hotel, at East Trade and College streets, both were awarded by AAA as Four-Diamond hotels this year. The long-anticipated, 217-room Kimpton hotel — Charlotte's first — opened in November 2017, while the 14-floor, 374-room Omni wrapped up a $30 million renovation in April 2018.
The addition of those two hotels — joining the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark, Renaissance Charlotte SouthPark, The Ballantyne and The Duke Mansion — makes for a total of six local establishments receiving the Four-Diamond rating.
AAA, an organization that offers its members auto, travel and other related services, evaluates hotels after in-person inspections, anonymous overnight stays and a review by an expert panel to determine its list of Five- and Four-Diamond hotels.
Michael Petrone, director of AAA Inspections & Diamond Ratings, says hotels at the Five-Diamond level boast "extraordinary physical qualities, extensive amenities and impeccable standards of excellence in delivering a highly personalized experience." There were only 121 such properties to fall under that category — about 0.4% of the more than 27,000 hotels across North America rated by AAA.
AAA listed 1,722 Four-Diamond hotels, described as being "refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail." That represents 6.3% of AAA-inspected hotels.