Area establishments earn diamond honors
by Sherrie Norris
For the 17th year, the Lovill House Inn of Boone received top honors, as did the Lodges at Eagles Nest, operated by Ashemore Luxury Rentals in Banner Elk, for the third year.
Recognized for its seventh year as a four-diamond restaurant was the Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar of Boone.
The three establishments were among the 13 hotels and two restaurants receiving awards during a ceremony at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville on Feb. 18.
Other Western North Carolina winners are:
• 1889 WhiteGate Inn & Cottage (three years).• Biltmore Village Inn (three years). • Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park (four years).• 1900 Inn on Montford (five years).• Grand Bohemian Hotel, Autograph Collection (five years).• Albemarle Inn (11 years).• Inn on Biltmore Estate (13 years).• The Grove Park Inn (13 years).
• Innisfree Bed & Breakfast By-The-Lake (20 years).
• Old Edwards Inn and Spa (nine years). • Madison's Restaurant and Wine Garden (five years).
• Greystone Inn (28 years).
According to David E. Parsons, president and CEO of AAA Carolinas, AAA's requirements for a Four Diamond rating are rigorous, and those that achieve this designation are among the finest hotels and restaurants in the world.
"Only 3.4 percent of the more than 59,000 annual inspections conducted nationally result in a Four Diamond rating," Parsons said.
The AAA Four Diamond awards are presented during three separate ceremonies across the state. The Charlotte Area Four Diamond Awards ceremony was held on Jan. 14; the Central and Eastern North Carolina Four Diamond Awards were held on Feb. 6.
A total of 35 hotels and 15 restaurants throughout North Carolina have achieved this rating.
AAA gives the Four Diamond awards annually to qualified hotels and restaurants in North America. More than 2,000 properties nationally earn the Four Diamond ratings after specially trained evaluators conduct anonymous overnight stays or dine incognito.
Lodgings include eight different classifications, such as bed and breakfast, hotel, cottage and country inn with four sub-classifications such as historic, classic, resort and casino.
Restaurants have varying cuisines and ambiances, with more than 100 different categories.
Each restaurant and lodging that receives any level of diamond rating from AAA is listed in AAA's "TourBooks," which are distributed for free to any of the organization's 53 million members nationwide.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a nonprofit organization that serves more than 1.9 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services, while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Learn more about AAA Carolinas on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AAAcarolinas and follow on Twitter at AAAcarolinas.