Grand Del Mar regains Forbes' highest rating

The Fairmont Grand Del Mar is once again among the world's most prestigious resorts, regaining its Forbes triple five-star rating after it was missing from the 2016 list.

The 2017 ranking, announced by the Forbes Travel Guide Feb. 22, awarded five stars to the hotels at the Grand Del Mar in Carmel Valley, Park Hyatt Aviara in Carlsbad and Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe. 

The Grand Del Mar also scored five stars for its fine-dining restaurant, Addison, and its spa, putting it among only 10 other elite properties in the United States to earn the highest rating across the board.

"The expression that good things come in threes certainly rings true for us today," Christof Luedi, the resort's general manager, said in a statement. Luedi also noted the Grand Del Mar's recent AAA Five Diamond designation and the rating of "Top Luxury Hotel in the U.S." in the 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards.

After a string of Forbes triple five-star honors for the Grand Del Mar, the resort's hotel was noticeably absent from the annual list last year, following the property's sale to Fairmont.

On Wednesday, Amanda Frasier, senior vice president for ratings with Forbes Travel Guide, said through a spokeswoman: "We have a long-standing policy that does not allow for a Rating to be 'adopted' when there is a brand change. We do this to guarantee a verified rating. The hotel did not 'lose' the rating due to a change in service levels. Rather, we withdrew the rating and then made plans after a period of settlement to re-inspect the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in its own right."

Grand Del Mar spokesman Claire Kunzman said resort staff was thrilled to have its five-star ranking again. "This year we are delighted to be among only 11 properties to receive the Forbes triple five-star rating for our resort, spa and Addison restaurant."

The 2017 awards marked the fourth consecutive year the Rancho Valencia hotel earned five stars; it was the third year in a row for the Park Hyatt Aviara. 

 The two luxury resorts were recognized for their amenities as well. Both of their spas were awarded four stars, as did Rancho Valencia's restaurant, Veladora. Vivace, at Aviara, was named a Forbes Recommended Restaurant.
"These honorable accolades speak volumes to the hard work and dedication of our entire staff to ensure the highest level of excellence is carried throughout the resort," Ulrich Samietz, the general manager for Park Hyatt Aviara, said in a release. 

The Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla also got across-the-board recognition, garnering four stars for its hotel, restaurant (A.R. Valentien) and its spa.

Other hotels achieving Forbes' four-star rating were The US Grant in downtown San Diego and Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine. Viejas is the only San Diego County casino hotel to make the list. The Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa in La Jolla got a Recommended Rating Award for its hotel. 

Considered one of the more prestigious and selective rankings, the Forbes star awards are highly coveted in the hospitality industry. The 2017 list includes properties rated in 42 countries, the most in Forbes' history, with international destinations ranging from Monte Carlo to Manila. 
Twitter: @sdeditgirlmichele.parente@sduniontribune.com

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