Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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January 18, 2013

W.Va's Greenbrier no longer has AAA top rating

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — For the first time in 36 years, the Greenbrier resort is not among AAA's top-rated hotels.

AAA released its national Five Diamond Award list on Friday, and the historic West Virginia resort wasn't on it. Instead, The Greenbrier received four diamonds.

The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the only hotel in the nation to earn AAA's Five Diamond Award every year since the rating system's inception in 1976. The Greenbrier and JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz., enjoyed that status until this year.

The Mobile Travel Guide removed the Greenbrier's five-star rating in 2000. The guide is now known as the Forbes Travel Guide.

Greenbrier President Jeff Kmiec didn't immediately return a telephone message Friday. He told USA Today (http://usat.ly/VaomIa) the resort plans to work with AAA this year to get the top rating back.

Kmiec said AAA took issue with the smaller size of rooms and bathrooms in about 10 percent of the resort's 710 guest rooms.

"It's like someone saying you need to change the face of Mt. Rushmore to meet a new standard," Kmiec says.

The ratings are based on unannounced on-site property evaluations by AAA inspectors.

AAA spokeswoman Heather Hunter said AAA doesn't discuss individual ratings or property inspections.

"The Greenbrier is one of the nation's most historic and notable hotels and we are proud to have it as AAA Approved and Four Diamond Rated hotel," Hunter said.

AAA awards five diamonds to properties that provide meticulous service, exceed guest expectations and maintain standards of excellence. Hunter defined four-diamond hotels as being "refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail."

Joining The Greenbrier resort on the four-diamond hotel list in West Virginia is Stonewall Resort in Roanoke and the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown.

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