|By Donna Hogan, The Tribune, Mesa,
Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Oct. 29, 2008 - Camelback Inn earned its 33rd consecutive AAA five-diamond rating, The Boulders lost a sparkler, and for the second year in a row The Phoenician got two fistfuls of jewels.
AAA, which annually rates North American hotels and their restaurants for its popular travel guides, doled out diamonds Tuesday at the Fairmont Scottsdale Resort, which has earned five gems for the past 18 years.
The Phoenician picked up five diamonds each for the main hotel and Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, the ultra-upscale resort within the resort.
The auto club bestowed its top ratings on five Arizona hotels, all of them in or near the East Valley. Besides Camelback Inn, the Fairmont and the double-dosed Phoenician, Four Seasons Scottsdale earned the highest AAA honors for the 2009 guides.
The Boulders at Carefree is the only former five-diamond hotel to slip a tier, snagging only four sparklers.
Two Arizona restaurants earned five diamonds. Kai at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort on the Gila River Indian Community is the only Valley eatery with the top rating.
AAA handed out four gems each to 39 Arizona hotels and 28 restaurants.
Raters checked out more than 31,000 hotels and 27,000 restaurants across the continent, and only 100 earned five diamonds, the organization said.
With five hotels and two restaurants in the top tier, Arizona earned far more than its share.
"Arizona residents often don't think about the jewels right here in our midst when they plan their vacations and holidays," said Jim Prueter, senior vice president of AAA Arizona. "Our fourand five-diamond winners are the top echelon of resorts and restaurants, and we can enjoy these local gems without incurring additional travel costs."
--Camelback Inn, Paradise Valley
--Four Seasons Resort, Scottsdale
--Canyon Suites at The Phoenician, Phoenix
--The Fairmont Scottsdale Resort, Scottsdale
--The Phoenician, Phoenix
--Kai, Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Gila River Indian Community
--Arizona Biltmore Resort, Phoenix
--Arizona Grand Resort, Ahwatukee Foothills
--The Boulders Resort, Carefree
--CopperWynd Resort, Fountain Hills
--Doubletree Paradise Valley Resort, Paradise Valley
--FireSky Resort, Scottsdale
--Hilton Scottsdale Resort, Scottsdale
--Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale
--Hyatt Regency Resort, Scottsdale
--JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort, Phoenix
--Radisson Fort McDowell Resort, Fort McDowell Indian Community
--Royal Palms Resort, Phoenix
--Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, Paradise Valley
--Scottsdale Marriott at McDowell Mountain, Scottsdale
--Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center, Scottsdale
--Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort, Gila River Indian Community
--Westin Kierland Resort, Phoenix
--Alchemy, CopperWynd, Fountain Hills
--Asia de Cuba, Mondrian, Scottsdale
--Bourbon Steak, Fairmont, Scottsdale
--Deseo, Westin Kierland, Phoenix
--Elements, Sanctuary, Paradise Valley
--La Hacienda, Fairmont, Scottsdale
--Latilla Dining Room, Boulders, Carefree
--Lon's, Hermosa Inn, Paradise Valley
--Palm Court, Scottsdale Resort & Conference Center
--Ristorante Tuscany, JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Phoenix
--Talavera, Four Seasons, Scottsdale
--T Cook's, Royal Palms, Phoenix
--Il Terrazzo, The Phoenician, Phoenix
--Windows on the Green, The Phoenician, Phoenix
--Wright's, Arizona Biltmore, Phoenix
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