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Providence, Hotel Bel-Air win 5 diamonds. No one got 1 or 2 diamonds. Here’s why

Chef Michael Cimarusti at Providence restaurant in Los Angeles.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

For the first time, the Hotel Bel-Air and the Los Angeles restaurant Providence have been awarded five diamonds in AAA’s round of annual ratings, which also saw plenty of movement among Southern California hotels and restaurants.

The results were announced Wednesday morning, along with diamond ratings for hundreds of businesses throughout North America.

The Hotel Bel-Air dates to 1946, Providence to 2005. Both have received their share of attention from customers and ratings organizations.

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Among the Southern California hotels to move up to four diamonds, in the estimation of inspectors from the Automobile Club: The Inn at Death Valley; Sycuan Casino Resort in El Cajon; Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach; InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown; the Huntley Santa Monica Beach; and InterContinental San Diego.

Among the Southern California restaurants that earned four diamonds for the first time: 71Above Restaurant & Skylounge, Los Angeles; Marche Moderne, Newport Beach; Market Restaurant + Bar, Del Mar; and Bull and Bourbon Steakhouse, El Cajon.

Meanwhile, here’s the answer to the question of which establishments received only one diamond. The answer: no one. The club changed its system, dropping one- and two-diamond ratings. Instead those properties will get an “approved” designation.

In general, the auto club said in a release, “more diamonds indicate more elaborate surroundings and attention from service staff.”
The club website notes that nearly 2,000 establishments fail to meet AAA’s basic requirements each year.

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Among about 60,000 hotels and restaurants covered by the AAA diamond program nationwide, about 4.2% earn four diamonds. Of 27,000 hotels, about 0.4% earn five diamonds.

The auto club has been inspecting lodgings since 1937. Participating hotels and restaurants pay an $800 application fee, but get no guarantee of results. Some high-end lodgings and restaurants do not participate in the AAA program.


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