Published September 2013

Which Diamond Level Are You?

How to decode hotel ratings and determine the best choice for your next vacation

BYLinda Gorman
Are you a budget-minded traveler looking for a simple hotel with a clean bed and shower? Or perhaps you fancy yourself a hotel connoisseur who’s always looking for the most luxurious amenities? For either scenario, or somewhere in between, there’s an easy way to tell if a hotel will meet your needs long before you check-in: AAA Diamond ratings.
For more than 76 years, AAA has set the standard when it comes to hotel and restaurant ratings. AAA is one of only two rating systems in which field inspectors conduct rigorous onsite evaluations to rate overall quality and hospitality on a scale of One to Five Diamonds, based on a checklist of more than 400 guest interaction points. This dependable rating practice means that regardless of where you travel, you can expect consistency among the various Diamond levels.
With five levels to choose from, how can you be sure to select the level that fits your needs? Use the following traveler profiles to identify your vacation style and the corresponding Diamond level that’s right for you. If you find yourself torn between two levels, you may want to consider selecting the higher rating, as it may be a better overall fit for your needs.
  • Travel Style: No-Frills
You are on a tight budget, or you’d rather spend your vacation funds on activities, so cost is one of the most important factors when selecting a hotel. As such, you consider your hotel room nothing more than a place to sleep after a busy day of sightseeing. You prefer local dining options to room service, so vending and ice machines are all you need on site. A basic property that offers cleanliness and comfort will suit you just fine.
Choose: One or Two Diamond
One Diamond properties appeal to the budget-minded traveler, providing essential, no-frills accommodations that meet the basic requirements of comfort, cleanliness, and hospitality. Two Diamond properties offer basic accommodations at an affordable price; yet provide modest design and amenity upgrades such as coordinated décor and furniture, basic sundries, or a continental breakfast.
  • Travel Style: Comfort and Convenience
You enjoy a comfortable stay with a few convenient extras. While you don’t require upscale dining or a full-service spa, you would like the option of enjoying an onsite swimming pool and restaurant. Also, you prefer a property that has a small gift shop or sundries, in case you forget a few necessities.
Choose: Three Diamond
These properties appeal to the traveler with comprehensive needs, featuring upgrades in the physical attributes, amenities, and level of comfort provided. Hotels in this category feature modern décor and attractive landscaping, as well as upgraded room furniture and bed linens. A full-service restaurant and lounge can typically be found on these properties, as well as a larger swimming pool and an exercise room.