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Travel gurus award diamonds to Savannah hotels

Submitted by Adam Van Brimmer on Mon, 02/25/2013 - 9:08am

Nine of Savannah’s finest hotels scored “Four Diamond” ratings from travel organization AAA.

The “Five Diamond” ranking – AAA’s crème de la crème -- remains elusive locally, though.

Five Diamond hotels are “refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes,” according to AAA. Only seven Georgia hotels achieved the ranking, five of those in Atlanta. The Lodge at Sea Island and the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynolds Plantation were the 5-stars beyond Atlanta.

Savannah’s Four Diamonders are a mix of old and new hotels and reflect the city’s evolution toward becoming a more upscale destination. Newer properties include the Andaz (formerly AVIA), the Bohemian, the Mansion on Forsyth Park and the Westin Savannah Harbor. More seasoned Four Diamond accommodations were the Ballastone Inn, Foley House Inn, Hamilton-Turner Inn, Kehoe House and the Gastonian.

AAA is pretty persnickety about awarding Five Diamonds. One of the hotels that lost the award this year was the legendary Greenbrier in the West Virginia mountains. The resort’s president said it was penalized for the small size of rooms and bathrooms in 10 percent of the rooms. The historic hotel is 235 years old.

So when will Savannah get a Five Diamond hotel? Maybe once the city gets a Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons or St. Regis, brands the regularly score top honors. Or maybe one of the hotels Kessler is planning for the Plant Riverside site will get one, although it’s hard to imagine anything being nicer than the hotels on the Four Diamond list.

Plus, there’s no shame in failing to get Five Diamonds. Only 125 hotels nationwide (0.3 percent) earned the award this year. The average daily rate among luxury hotels according to Smith Travel Research was $275. The average rate for luxury hotels in Savannah is $100 cheaper.


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