The Grand America Hotel today announced that the property has been named as a recipient of the prestigious 2005 American Automobile Association (AAA) Five Diamond Award for 2005. It is one of only four properties added to an elite group of 68 Five Diamond hotels holding that distinction nationwide. With 775 rooms, it also is the largest urban hotel to be so recognized in 2005. “The hotel was built as Salt Lake City’s premier luxury hotel for the 2002 Winter Olympics,” said Bruce Fery, general manager. “Our physical plant is equal to any world-class hotel in terms of its facilities and furnishings, and we deliver a level of personal service that matches the quality of our facilities. To win the award in only 33 months for a hotel of this size and complexity is unprecedented. The credit for this accomplishment goes to our staff. The Five Diamond Award is the hotel industry’s equivalent of an Olympic medal.”
According to AAA data, the Grand America is the largest urban hotel targeting the meetings and conventions segments to receive the Five Diamond Award. At 775 rooms, the hotel can host groups as large as 2,400, but is equally adept at handling meetings of 10 people. Only 72 U.S. hotels, approximately one out of every 400 hotels inspected nationwide, earned the AAA Five Diamond Award this year.
Plans for the Grand America grew out of the Olympic Committee’s insistence on world-class hotel accommodations in the host city for Olympic spectators. The hotel’s design and finishes include chandeliers from Murano and Milan, French cherry-wood furniture, English wool carpets and Italian marble bathrooms. The hotel features over-sized hotel rooms, which at 700 square feet to 880 square feet, are more than twice the size of conventional hotel rooms.
The Grand America provides more than 74,000 total square feet of meeting space, comprised of 31 different meeting and board rooms. The hotel’s 24,000 square foot ballroom has been the site of major new automobile introductions, national banking conventions and international pharmaceutical meetings.
“We believe we won the award by treating every guest as a unique individual,” Fery said. “While many luxury hotels provide great service, few have gone to the lengths we have, including hiring a master English butler to assist in training our staff to anticipate guest needs.”
With prices starting at $245 per room night, the luxury hotel would be considered an incredible price-value in large coastal cities, where room rates typically are more than double that rate for comparable facilities. “We have certain cost advantages that allow us to provide an extraordinary hotel value,” Fery said. “We are located in the heart of Salt Lake City, but are a short distance from year-round leisure activities ranging from Olympic skiing to golf, white water rafting to fly-fishing. The hotel is a unique destination like no other for meetings, as well as business and leisure travelers.”
The Diamond rating criteria include six key areas: management and staff; housekeeping and maintenance; exterior, grounds and public areas; room decor, ambiance and amenities; bathrooms; and guest services. To compile final scores, AAA Tourism Editors conduct an unannounced personal visit to each property and also interview ownership and management.
AAA’s Five Diamond criteria states: “Establishments reflect the characteristics of the ultimate in luxury and sophistication. Accommodations are first class. The physical attributes are extraordinary in every manner. The fundamental hallmarks at this level are to meticulously serve and exceed all guest expectations while maintaining an impeccable standard of excellence. Many personalized services and amenities enhance an unmatched level of comfort.”