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AAA Five Diamond Award is the highest level of the AAA Diamond Ratings System for restaurants and lodgings administered by AAA (formally known as the American Automobile Association).
For 2010, just 0.28 percent of the 58,000 AAA/CAA Approved lodgings and restaurants (31,000 lodgings and 27,000 restaurants) received the prestigious designation.
All properties must first meet AAA’s basic requirements before being evaluated by one of AAA’s inspectors. Once evaluated, a rating of One to Five Diamonds is assigned, based on lodging and restaurant published guidelines for facilities, amenities, and service.
AAA began in 1902 as a federation of independent motor clubs. In 1937, the first AAA representatives were hired to inspect lodgings and restaurants, and in 1963, AAA began assigning ratings from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’. In 1977 – AAA’s 75th (diamond) anniversary – the ratings became known as the AAA Diamond Ratings System for lodgings. Restaurants began earning Diamonds in 1989.
The AAA Five Diamond award is similar to a Five Star rating on a hotel. However, AAA chose to use diamonds instead of stars. It is also similar to the International Star Diamond Award that the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences issues to hotels, restaurants, and other industries.
A similar five diamond award, adjudicated by the fictional Royal Review Board, was featured in the 2007 film Ocean's Thirteen. The fictional hotel and casino, The Bank, is expected to win the award. The owner, Willy Bank (played by Al Pacino), claims that all of his hotels have won the award. He also shows the awards as necklaces containing five large diamonds.