A St. Regis property in Puerto Rico and a Four Seasons outpost on a little-known island in the West Indies have become the first of their kind to be inducted into the American Automobile Association’s exclusive Five Diamond club.
Of the nine new hotels to obtain a Five Diamond rating, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Puerto Rico in Rio Grande is the only property to represent Puerto Rico.
Likewise, a Four Seasons property in Nevis, set on a little-known island west of Antigua just 11 km long and 8 km wide and distinguishable by its conical volcano Nevis Peak, made the Five Diamond club for the first time.
Accessible either by private boat or private plane, the Four Seasons Resort Nevis offers guests a range of land and water activities including golf, tennis, spa treatments, and even monkey excursions led by a resort guide.
Guests stay in one of four villa estates, characterized either by their proximity to amenities like the golf course or their setting, be it tucked away in the mountains for extra privacy or set among lush greenery.
Meanwhile, like the Michelin system, inspectors from AAA make anonymous and unannounced visits to properties across the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean using a five-diamond scale.
In total, 178 hotels and restaurants made the Five Diamond cut over the last year, representing 0.3 percent of the total 59,000 establishments rated by the AAA’s army of inspectors.
In addition to US hotels, inspectors also gave Five Diamond ratings to the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver, and The Ritz-Carlton Montreal in Canada.
Among some of the trends noted by inspectors at luxury resorts is the increasing use of social media to connect and respond directly to guests’ needs, and simplified menus that focus on execution rather than complex, “highly orchestrated” dishes, the report points out.
For example, Twitter is being used as a form of direct communication between guests and the hotel.
“Imagine tweeting your desire for a rare vintage wine and having it arrive moments later at your guestroom door,” authors note.
The new additions will qualify for the 2013 Five Diamond Award list.