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AAA says these 14 Southern California hotels are Five-Diamond gems

AAA says these 14 Southern California hotels are Five-Diamond gems
The Resort at Pelican Hill in the Newport Beach area received a 2016 Five Diamond rating from AAA. It snagged its first top award in 2009. (Resort at Pelican Hill)

If you want to stay in the best luxury hotels in Southern California, count the diamonds. AAA recently announced that 14 local hotels meet criteria for its top 2016 Five-Diamond Award.

One-hundred eighteen hotels nationwide and in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean have been designated with Five Diamonds in 2016.

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Newcomers to the luxe list include:

— Hotel Mousai in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

— Park Hyatt New York in New York City

— St. Regis Deer Valley (ski-in, ski-out) in Park City, Utah

— The Cloister in Sea Island, Ga.

— The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain in Marana, Ariz. (near Tucson)

In Southern California, hotels that make the Five-Diamond list are:

Peninsula Beverly Hills earned its first AAA Five Diamond rating in 1993.
Peninsula Beverly Hills earned its first AAA Five Diamond rating in 1993. (Ryan Forbes)

— St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point

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— The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla

The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is among 14 hotels in Southern California that are listed by AAA as Five-Diamond properties.
The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is among 14 hotels in Southern California that are listed by AAA as Five-Diamond properties. (Ojai Valley Inn & Spa)

— The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach area

— Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Ojai

— Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa in Rancho Santa Fe

An additional 102 hotels in Southern California this year have received Four-Diamond Awards, including newcomers the Padre Hotel in Bakersfield, Bacara Resort & Spa in the Santa Barbara area, the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey and Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel in Los Angeles.

AAA give hotels and resorts a thorough inspection each year in determining who meets Four- and Five-Diamond status.

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