Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

October 31, 2006

AAA Five-Diamond Hotels/Restaurants

Posted by detroit1051

AAA announced its Five-Diamond awards for Nevada. I'm sure there will be differing reactions here to the addition of the 5th hotel to the list!

1. The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas, Henderson (fourth year)
2. Bellagio, Las Vegas (sixth year)
3. Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas (eighth year)
4. Skylofts at the MGM Grand (first year)
5. Wynn Las Vegas, Las Vegas (first year)
1. Alex, Wynn Las Vegas (second year)
2. Jo�l Robuchon at The Mansion, MGM Grand (first year)
3. Le Cirque, Bellagio (fourth year)
4. Picasso, Bellagio (sixth year)
AAA Five-Diamond Awards for 2007


Read archived comments (33 so far)
October 31, 2006 8:36 AM Posted by Hunter


Wasn't there talk of Tower Suites vs. Resort Rooms being rated separate?

October 31, 2006 9:40 AM Posted by mike_ch

I could believe it as it relates to Tower Suites. Things that aren't Tower Suites though seem to have a larger upkeep problem.

Someday I'm going to have to get a friend who stays at Wynn's tower suites and let's me see the room and suck in the vibe of what the thing is all about so I can understand. Even just walking near the tower suites lobby I feel like I'm in the wrong place and a voice in my head says "Out! OUT, mid-level resort scum! Cheapskate! You'd never stay here!"

October 31, 2006 11:37 AM Posted by detroit1051

"Even just walking near the tower suites lobby I feel like I'm in the wrong place and a voice in my head says "Out! OUT, mid-level resort scum! Cheapskate! You'd never stay here!""

Hey, they let me in! Mike_ch, if all goes well, I may be in the Tower Suites shortly after Thanksgiving. I'll let you know when.

October 31, 2006 1:08 PM Posted by Mike P.

AAA's standards are generally a little looser than Mobil's. The Tower Suites side of Wynn at least is a good solid 4 star property. Of the places I've stayed in Vegas only the Skylofts offer a real 5 star experience comparable to what you'd get at a luxury boutique hotel. Of course you pay for it, and there are only about 50 of them with a huge staff to guest ratio.

Mike P.

October 31, 2006 2:57 PM Posted by Mike E

The separate ratings are for Mobil's rating guide only.

October 31, 2006 5:01 PM Posted by detroit1051

As much as I enjoy Las Vegas, and especially Wynn and Bellagio, it's hard for me to equate any 3,000-5,000 room hotel as Five-Diamond or Five-Star. The sheer volume of guests and walk-through traffic, particularly in a casino hotel, detracts from the superior service one should expect from properties with these high ratings. Out of curiosity, I reviewed AAA's criteria for its different Diamond ratings:

Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio both meet the physical requirements and most of the service criteria (pages 25-30) but not all. For example, in both properties, there have been quite a few times where phones weren't answered in three rings, neither hotel has fax machines in all rooms and nightly turn-down service has been hit and miss . My real concern about Five-Diamond ratings isn't addressed by the criteria and really can't be controlled by AAA or Mobil. It's the nature of the city and the uninhibited behavior of some visitors. Too-mellow guests staggering down the halls, drinks in hand, at all hours of the day and night and obvious hookers plying their trade at Bellagio's Baccarat Bar make it a little difficult to consider these properties creme de la creme. Having said that, I can't wait for my next trip! Next year, I want to experience Skylofts. Reports here from the two Mikes and others I've read make me believe it's the closest thing to perfection in Vegas except perhaps for The Mansion.

October 31, 2006 8:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

I guess I'm the only guy here who considers a regular Wynn room to be fancypants, eh?

I'm hardly CheapoVegas, but you guys all sound like you're set for the next wave of super-luxury resorts while I grumble about increased rates at Treasure Island.

I guess my claim to fame is comps. Among the high-end resorts I've stayed in Bellagio, Venetian, Mandalay Bay (twice), THEhotel, and Wynn (twice) and the only time I've ever had to pay for the room was the two Mandalay Bay visits.

October 31, 2006 8:52 PM Posted by Hunter

For me, part of the fun of staying in Las Vegas in the (in a way) ridiculous rooms is being able critique it and pull it apart.

It's nitpicking to the n-th degree, no question, but I do enjoy it (I realize that others might say I was crazy or perhaps being elitist).

On the other side of the argument, if I am paying big bucks for a suite, I want to get the best possible service and experience that I can.

mike_ch - I think the standard Wynn rooms are quite nice indeed, no question.

November 1, 2006 1:06 PM Posted by Chris

With all the attention on the new 5-Diamond ratings for Wynn and Skylofts (which were arguably no-brainers but still worth discussing), the new 4-Diamond ratings have gone unnoticed. MGM Grand and, surprisngly, Monte Carlo each received their first-ever 4-Diamond ratings for 2007. This seems to be a recent trend by MGM-Mirage to reinvest in and raise the service level of it's existing resorts to keep up with the market while CityCenter is under construction. Indications seem to be that their next goal is to get Luxor to the 4-Diamond level for 2008, along with their ongoing attempts for THEhotel and Signature to break into the 5-Diamond club.

November 1, 2006 5:08 PM Posted by David F.

OK I will preface this that I have not stayed in the Tower Suites themselves, but I have checked out all of the Public Areas on that side.

As I understand the difference between the Standard Tower Suite Room itself and the Resort/Panoramic Room is maybe a different wall color and a Leather Shoe Horn, the rest of the difference is the "convenience" of the tower suites i.e., the separate small pool, everything being "Steps Away" and you that don�t have to haul yourself through the Casino unless you want to.

Yes the T.S. can be considered a "Hotel within a Hotel" and the design concept is excellent, the question is the Standard T.S. Room worth and $90 a night over the resort side?

Well as I always say, not in my opinion, but the Standard Tower Suite rooms are always sold out, so what do I know?

From a Design/Business Standpoint I do think Wynn was clever to put all the suites there, so limiting the effectiveness of the "$20 Trick" on the resort side to nothing more than a Higher Floor.

However I think the whole of Wynn was Definitely Deserving of the 5 Diamond Rating, not just the T.S. side, (doesn�t the Wynn have a Fax Machine in every Room?) and the addition of the Skylofts was a No-Brainer, looking forward to going back there in just under three weeks time. Personally I am not so sure that it is still applicable to the Bellagio, but that�s JMO.

November 2, 2006 12:46 AM Posted by Hunter

First off, the concept that MGM MIRAGE has basically put the majority of the other properties onto 'maintenance mode' is an interesting one. I think, as a sweeping analysis of the pre-merger industry including record labels, EMI, especially in the UK, there isn't a lot of forward pressure from these conglomerates. Some are clearly more invested than others with larger infrastructures to support and more interested parties

MGM is clearly pouring most of the resources into CityCenter at this point... But that doesn't mean everything else has to be on pause.

Your question about Wynn's Resort vs. Tower, the rooms themselves are almost (or simply are) identical. They're selling you on proximity to elevators (really damn close but to be honest, those for the suites and villas are always pretty close), and a higher level of service. This last bit is a question mark. When you call downstairs for anything, the know what type of room you're in and what I've seen between Resort and Tower service levels are prerp.

November 2, 2006 2:37 AM Posted by motoman

mike_ch, you're not the only one, I'm w/ you completely.
Our first stay at Wynn three months after opening was, however sad this may sound, a life-changing experience. Our previous Vegas experiences had involved clowns, castles, and a pyramid. We haven't stayed anywhere but Wynn since.

OTOH, my brother did schmooze us into the Tower Suites via COSTCO's travel service (on that first trip, when presumably they were trying to drum up business). The standard Tower room is indeed identical in floor plan to a standard room with brown instead of orange wallpaper. And you do get a little tube of the best shaving cream in the world. I've been able to sweet talk the maids for a "spare" on every subsequent trip (and I do tip them for it).

Had a friendly chat w/ a security person near the Tower lobby so they are friendly enough. (If you just want to peek, the doors separating the Tower and standard areas on the floors seem never to be locked.) For those that say there are "no riff-raff at a place like Wynn" (as a travel agent jokingly said), imagine our surprise upon entering the Tower lobby to see a teen in basketball shorts, high-tops, and a sideways baseball cap lying with feet over back of a white sofa. They're there, they are just Rich riff-raff.... ;-)

November 2, 2006 2:40 AM Posted by motoman

Here's a note about an upcoming "six-star hotel" in Macau, The Park Hyatt to be built by Stanley Ho. Judging by the copyright on this story (12/04), it sounds like it was a preemptive publicity strike against the "invading Americans." Wonder if it'll happen.

A quick Google search, along with chris's post, makes me think we're in for another round of "ratings inflation," (or should that be "expectation reduction") as there are numerous "six-star" projects underway all over the country. I was looking for the Burj Al Arab, only to find it has now attained "seven-star" status. Gee whiz.

As for MGM raising its bar, I'm of the opinion that "inheriting" all Steve Wynn's former properties (and several key staff) makes 'em think they really are that good. The old joke about landing on third base thinking you've hit a triple comes to mind. (Of course they have to deliver, so that's good for all.)

November 2, 2006 2:49 AM Posted by motoman

Hunter, we love critiquing & nitpicking too, that's why we love this blog! (A certain bitter troll notwithstanding....) Maybe we are crazy tho, because my friends last trip couldn't believe I wanted to take pictures to send here, or that there were others so interested.

And, BTW, I know you've wanted to make this place less Wynn-centric, and websites need to be kept fresh. But why oh why'd you change that lovely picture of Wynn's interior to a generic Strip shot?

November 2, 2006 2:58 AM Posted by motoman

"But why oh why'd you change that lovely picture of Wynn's interior to a generic Strip shot?"

Oops, I missed the other thread on this. Sorry. Rotation's a good idea....

November 2, 2006 12:24 PM Posted by Chris

motoman - don't believe the 6-star and 7-star nonsense. No respected travel authority gives those kinds of ratings. Unfortunately, "star" ratings are not copyrighted like AAA's Diamonds, so literally anyone can denote any property to be any number of stars with no formal evaluation whatsoever. A property owner themself can issue a press release stating their property is any number of stars. However, it is meaningless unless the rating was issued by a respected authority like AAA, Mobil, Michelin, etc. or by the local government agency in some European countries. The Crown Macao does not cite any source for it's claimed 6-star rating and the hotel is not even open to be reviewed. Neither that rating nor Burj's claimed 7-star rating is based on an independent evaluation by a respected travel authority.

November 2, 2006 5:06 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Chris: You happen to be totally misinformed and incorrect regarding the comments contained in your previous post. Currently, the ONLY luxury hotel property in the entire world that has officially been assigned a "7 star rating" is the 'Burj Al Arab' in Dubai. That is not a "claim" on [their] behalf as you indicate, but is indeed actually a confirmed citation. Next time do your research. Unfortunately, for all of you guys here, Burj Al Arab doesn't happen to be a Wynn Resorts property - darn! The day that anything Steve builds which is awarded a 7 star citation, is the day I will eat crow!

November 3, 2006 12:24 AM Posted by Mike E

What authority bestowed Burj its seven star rating and how many are possible? I'm siding with Chris here.

November 3, 2006 4:11 AM Posted by detroit1051

Leonard, you state Burj al Arab's 7-Star rating is a "confirmed citation." Confirmed by whom? Which accredited organization bestowed that designation?
Leonard, I infer you're only happy when you're unhappy.

November 3, 2006 6:58 AM Posted by David F.

Leonard -

Its very interesting that you should say that when the hotels very own website :-

Says that it is a "5 Star Deluxe" Hotel

Given that the Burj Al Arab (Quite rightly) likes to toot its own horn you would think that if there was some sort of 'Official' 7 Star ranking out there it would not be backward in coming forward about it.

And although I know sometimes Wikipedia may not be considered 100% accurate at times this page has a interesting comment on 6 and 7 star classifications.

November 3, 2006 11:06 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

November 3, 2006 2:27 PM Posted by Devon

Isn't Burj owned by the UAE government? If it is, I'd be surprised if it wasn't they who gave it this rating just to lure people there. Leonard, who do you think assigned it this rating?

November 3, 2006 8:58 PM Posted by John


That article asserts nothing more than the commom misconception that the Burj is a "seven-star" hotel (note that the article gives no citation or source of that rating). It is noted as one of the world's most luxurious, by Conde-Nast, but there is no rating system, of a respectable background, that would bestow a seven-star rating. This misconception has grown from that AWFUL Travel Channel special about the Burj, titled "The World's Only Seven-Star Hotel." That program is rubbish, as is most of the travel programming on the Travel Channel.

However, the AAA Award is nothing to go crazy over. Most resorts, can "grease a few palms" and get a Five Diamond Award rating. However, as Mike E. has noted before, the Mobil Five Star Award is probably the most prestigious award a hotel can win, and is, in most cases, almost impossible to attain. That doesn't mean that hotels aren't trying, as we have noted in the fact that Tower Suites at Wynn Las Vegas, is being considered as a separate hotel, in the hopes that they can be obtain the award.

November 4, 2006 8:00 AM Posted by Mike P.

This article from the International Herald Tribune states that the Burj al Arab "declared itself" a seven star hotel.

This sounds familiar:

'The classic example is the Burj al Arab hotel, which was commissioned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai. Precise costs aren't public information, but it is widely assumed that the hotel was far too expensive to provide what many investors would consider an acceptable return. "But the goal was not to make a hotel, but instead an emblem for the country, like the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty," Vely says. "It's more like a marketing expense."'

Mike P.

November 9, 2006 1:39 PM Posted by Devon

Wynn Tower Suites is now a Mobil 5 star winner:

November 9, 2006 4:30 PM Posted by detroit1051

After reading Devon's post on Wynn Tower Suites, I checked out the rating on Mobil's website. The header says, "The Gold Standard of Travel Ratings and Reviews." Well, the review of Wynn was interesting, but it was mostly fluff. There are several tabs to click on and read. One reports that Wynn has other properties in Las Vegas. Twice, the report says Tower Suite guests have use of the private fifth floor pool. Was Mobil actually there?

January 13, 2007 5:11 AM Posted by detroit1051

Las Vegas is now second only to NYC in the number of AAA 4-Diamond restaurants:

February 1, 2007 3:08 PM Posted by Todd

Does anyone know where on the internet you can get the Mobil star criteria like the AAA one that listed on this thread?

February 2, 2007 4:49 AM Posted by detroit1051

Todd, Mobil Star criteria are at:

February 2, 2007 11:39 AM Posted by Mike E

Hmm, there used to be a much more detailed set of rules for Mobil on their website. There are some ridiculous little details to achieve the five-star. For example, when someone pulls up at the front of a hotel's entrance, they can't be asked if they need assistance with their bags. The bellhop must automatically beging loading them. Only if the guest insists on handling their own luggage is he/she allowed to.

February 2, 2007 9:17 PM Posted by Chris

AAA Standards indicating the difference between a 4 and 5 Diamond property: (Word format)

General information about AAA Diamond process:

March 24, 2007 12:38 PM Posted by detroit1051

This is slightly OT, but I wondered whether Leonard Stern had seen this column regarding Dubai. Since I don't have his email, I'll link it here. Hunter can delete it if he wants to.

March 24, 2007 4:43 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit: Actually your comments are NOT really 'off topic' at all. I am quite aware of Dubai's consistent Anti-Semitic policy towards Jews, the irony in this whole thing is that the majority of Halliburton's consultants, attorneys + staff advisors, including several board members, who are actually Jewish themselves, (with the exception of former Halliburton CEO Cheney, who of course who was forced to resign his position when he became the V.P. of the United States), but still realized a $40M+ profit by having to unload all of his shares at the tme. Halliburton's decision to relocate their corporate offices from Houston to Dubai represent the tax advantages + business incentives that the U.A.E. are offering major American firms with interests in the Middle East. Just like in Hollywood, [us] Jews still, ultimately, end up laughing all the way to the bank at the end of the day! The Halliburton deal (in Dubai) was actually negotiated by JEWISH lawyers + JEWISH real estate professionals who regularly handle multi-million dollar Dubai lease transactions on behalf of Western concerns on a daily basis in Dubai. The hyprocircy of it all has me somewhat dumbfounded. It is no coincidence whatsoever that Halliburton + their subsidiary, KBR, have been awarded mult-billion dollar contracts in conection with this bogus war in Iraq from the very start, a large amount of these funds are yet to be accounted for. But, let's not get political.