As the holidays are quickly approaching, many people may be getting ready to take to the skies and roads to celebrate with family and friends. While some travelers may prefer to bunk with family during the holidays, others seek the privacy and roominess of hotel accommodations.

Selecting the right place to stay can often prove confusing and exhausting, only adding to the stress many experience during the busy holiday season. How can travelers pick the perfect place to stay, without spending hours researching options?

For nearly 80 years, AAA has set the standard when it comes to unbiased hotel and restaurant ratings.

Unlike review sites that post unreliable or even false reviews by casual travelers with subjective tastes, the AAA Diamond evaluations are conducted by trained experts who remain current on the latest hospitality trends and member expectations.

Each year, 65 full-time AAA inspectors evaluate more than 65,000 lodging establishments and restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and rate their overall quality and hospitality on a scale of one to five diamonds.

After a thorough inspection is conducted that evaluates nearly 400 guest touch points, establishments that meet AAA’s strict criteria become AAA approved.

One and Two Diamond properties appeal to the budget-minded traveler, providing clean, essential, no-frills accommodations.

Three Diamond properties feature many upgrades and an enhanced level of amenities and comfort. Travelers staying at a Four Diamond experience upscale accommodations and amenities, and a superior level of service.

AAA Five Diamond properties provide an unmatched level of luxury and sophistication. These properties offer unparalleled service and the finest accommodations and personalized amenities.

How rigorous is this inspection process? Less than 4 percent evaluated earn the prestigious Four Diamond, and less than one-half of 1 percent earn the coveted Five Diamond Award.

Regardless of where you travel, you can expect consistency among the various Diamond levels.

The rating system remains an indispensable travel tool for more than 53 million AAA members and countless travelers. In addition to the ratings themselves, these properties offer exclusive AAA member rates and packages.

In Arizona, nearly 70 properties have earned the coveted Four or Five Diamond status. Four properties in the Ahwatukee area have garnered AAA’s Four Diamond designation: Arizona Grand Resort & Spa, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa and Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino. Kai, which is located at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa, is the only restaurant in the state to earn a Five Diamond distinction from AAA.

For more information on AAA’s Diamond rating system, or to find a Diamond-rated property, visit

• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or

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