Five historic Florida inns were among about 1,500 accommodations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean to earn AAA’s 2015 Four Diamond Award on Jan. 16, based on the level of service, comfort, cleanliness and security provided to guests last year.
The Sabal Palm House, a 1936 bed-and-breakfast across from the Intracoastal Waterway in Lake Worth, south of Palm Beach, won the award for the 17th consecutive year.
The other inns chosen were the Port D’Hiver Bed and Breakfast, in Melbourne Beach, a winner every year since 2009; the Casa Grandview West Palm Beach, since 2011; and the SeaGlass Inn, in Melbourne Beach, and Black Dolphin Inn, in New Smyrna Beach, which both won their first Four Diamond Award in 2014.
AAA’s Diamond Ratings of one to five are based on inspectors’ on-site evaluations of more than 28,000 properties. Only 121 earned the top rating, the Five Diamond Award, in 2015. None of Florida’s B&Bs made that list.
The Four Diamond-rated establishments – while not meeting the standards of, say, the Inn at Little Washington, in Virginia, or The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota – definitely rise above the crowd. In 2015, only 5.4 percent of the lodgings won Four Diamonds from AAA and the Canadian Automobile Association.
The Port D’Hiver B&B, circa 1916, is located on a half-mile barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon, in the historic small town of Melbourne Beach. The SeaGlass Inn was built as a boarding house in the same small town a year earlier.
The Black Dolphin Inn, a Spanish-style property built in 1947 on the Intracoastal in New Smyrna Beach, opened in 2013 after top-to-bottom renovations. In West Palm Beach, the Casa Grandview offers three choices: Rooms in a 1925 historic inn, suites in a 1948 Art Deco building and cottages built from 1911 to 1930.
Along with singling out top accommodations, AAA on Friday named the restaurants chosen for Five Diamond and Four Diamond Awards.
Among the 52 Florida restaurants earning Four Diamonds were Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, in Destin; Matthew’s Restaurant, Jacksonville; Maritana Grille, St. Pete Beach; Luma on Park, Winter Park; and Sale e Pepe, Marco Island. You’ll find a link to the full list of restaurants in the AAA story below.