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AAA’s New ‘Best Of’ Designation Helps Travelers Find Top Rated Hotels And Restaurants

On-Site Inspections Reveal The Best Of One, Two And Three Diamonds

Best of AAA diamonds

With 59,000 Diamond Rated establishments from which to choose, AAA has unveiled a new ‘Best Of’ designation to give travelers another way to find great options for any trip or budget. Currently just seven percent of AAA Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants have earned the “Best Of” distinction. These establishments have overall ratings in the top 20 percent for their Diamond Rating level, no member complaints in the past 12 months and, for hotels only, A Rated cleanliness and condition.


“When travelers are choosing a Diamond Rated hotel or restaurant, they should think of each additional Diamond as an indicator of more extensive services offered. AAA doesn’t approve substandard properties, which separates our ratings from the rest,” said Michael Petrone, director, AAA Inspections and Diamond Ratings. “Whether an establishment offers a simple environment or extensive luxury, it provides members with a good choice for the type of experience provided.”


The vast majority of AAA’s Diamond Rated establishments ‒ 90 percent of hotels and 97 percent of restaurants ‒ earn a rating of One, Two or Three Diamonds. Undergoing evaluation from one of AAA’s professional inspectors, these hotels and restaurants meet AAA’s rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. They can offer travelers more casual and affordable options that are often just as charming and memorable as their higher rated counterparts.


“Every AAA Diamond Rated establishment must consistently meet and exceed the expectations of the most discriminating traveler — the AAA inspector,” said AAA Inspector 63 of the Automobile Club of Southern California.  “It’s a great accomplishment for any property to be listed as AAA Inspected & Approved. Those at the One, Two and Three Diamond levels are the most common and frequently visited by AAA members. This new Best Of designation highlights those at the top of their rating level.”


Here is a sampling of the diverse One, Two and Three Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants across Southern California and North America that earned a Best Of designation. Travelers can find more selections at  Of the 3,571 properties and restaurants listed on the web site, more than 150 are located in Southern California.


Best of One, Two and Three Diamond Hotels


Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel – San Diego, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: This establishment lies close to the harbor’s edge with many of the units on the higher floors offering great vistas of the harbor and surrounding area.  


Candy Cane Inn – Anaheim, Calif., (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Beautifully landscaped grounds with intricate wrought-iron accents adorn the exterior. 


Grand Legacy at the Park – Anaheim, Calif., (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes:  This is a great option for those looking for a hotel near the (Disneyland) parks.  Take a relaxing dip or let the kids burn some energy in the pool. For those who need extra room, check out the kid suites.


Colt’s Lodge -- Palm Springs, Calif., (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Uniquely decorated rooms and beautifully landscaped grounds are two reasons you’ll want to make this lodging your home away from home. Unwind and relax at the pool or around the stone fire pit.


Cowboy Village Resort – Jackson, Wyoming (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Located near dining and specialty retailers, the village offers a wonderful selection of studio and one-bedroom log cabins. All cabins have a picnic table, seating on a covered porch and a sofa bed as an added bonus. In the main building, the upscale lobby features an impressive floor-to-ceiling fireplace, the perfect spot to sit and relax.


Inn at Cape Cod – Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts (AAA Three Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Massive, iconic columns define the front porch of this Colonial-style mansion with grounds shaded by stately trees leading to a 100-acre nature reserve. Rooms are outfitted with rich furnishings, pillow top mattresses, soft triple sheeting and high-end bath amenities. A 24-hour coffee and tea station is available on each floor and complimentary homemade cookies are offered every afternoon.


Ocean Place Resort & Spa – Long Branch, New Jersey (AAA Three Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: A great option for a sunny escape, this hotel features sleek, modern rooms (some with ocean views); a luxury spa; beach club access; and a laid-back tiki bar. The hotel features dozens of mature palm trees brought in from the Gulf Coast to give the resort a distinctly Floridian feel.


The LA Hotel Downtown – Los Angeles (AAA Three Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes:  A spacious and upscale lobby, ample meeting and banquet space that rival the upscale décor found throughout. Chic guest units are available at this conveniently-located downtown property.


Best of One, Two and Three Diamond Restaurants


Austen’s – Ventura (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Family owned since 1928, this restaurant at the Pierpont Inn is a great spot for ocean view dining.  (Request a west-facing window table for the best views.) The menu includes seafood, as well as dishes drawn from Italian and American cuisines with a California influence.  A dinner favorite is the habanero lime seabass with herb potatoes and seasonal vegetables. 


La Costa Mariscos - Bakersfield, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Located in a historic brick building known as the Ice House, this colorful festive Mexica eatery serve hacienda-style meals. As its name suggests, the restaurant menu is heavy on fish and seafood.  The staff is friendly and attentive.


Outpost – Goleta, California (AAA Three Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: This restaurant offers retro California style with original artwork and a lively atmosphere. The covered patio area features views of the fire pit and pool at AAA Three Diamond The Goodland hotel. For a tasty alternative, try the duck tacos paired with a local wine from the surrounding area.


Pie ‘N Burger – Pasadena, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: This noisy, pricey 1950-style coffee shop is the real thing with waitresses that don’t take any guff. But hold on, it’s all worth it because you’ll experience the best hamburgers and pies you’ve ever tasted, trust me. 


Rockwell Table & Stage – Los Angeles, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: High ceilings and some exposed brick lend an airy yet warm feeling to the comfortable little restaurant. Friendly, efficient servers and well-presented California fare keep the spot busy.


Rosine’s Mediterranean Rotisserie & Grill – Anaheim Hills, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes – This family owned and operated establishment is a favorite of the locals in this eastern Orange County community. Popular starters include hummus, tabbouleh, and Armenian pizza which are all great for sharing.


The Stinking Rose – Beverly Hills (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: California Cuisine reflects Italian influences. Pungent entrees include two lbs. of whole garlic-roasted Dungeness crab; 40-clove garlic chicken; garlic-encrusted baby-back ribs; and varied pasta dishes (heavy on the garlic, of course.)


The Tea House on Los Rios - San Juan Capistrano, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Located in the historic district and close to the depot, this somewhat noisy but cozy and distinctive house is the setting for traditional tea service.  English fare is provided with selections that include finger sandwiches and the Queen Mum’s spring salad. Delectable desserts and specialty teas are, of course, on the menu as well. Quaint décor.   


Rodeo Goat – Dallas, Texas (AAA One Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: This is the place for diners who have ever thought their burger needed grilled peaches, a fried egg or blackberry compote on top. Those and other creative ingredients are combined to make a distinctive burger menu. Get there early; the place fills up quickly, especially at lunchtime.


Wildwood Kitchen – Santa Barbara, Calif. (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: This hip contemporary café has an open kitchen and walls perked up with whitewashed bricks and restored wood planks.  If you find it difficult to choose among smoked brisket, sausage or ribs, order the signature Wildwood Triple Chop sandwich and you can try all three.  My favorite dishes are the homemade chili with green onions and the Prime Beef burger on a brioche bun.  


Tupelo Honey Café – Chattanooga, Tennessee (AAA Two Diamond)

AAA Inspector Notes: Traditional Low Country favorites such as fried green tomatoes and shrimp and grits are served in heaping portions. The menu features twists on Southern staples, such as nutty fried chicken served with smashed sweet potatoes, asparagus and a side of goat cheese grits.

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The Automobile Club of Southern California is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the following California counties: Inyo, Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare, and Ventura.