Daytona Beach, FL - Even though it's a racing-themed hotel, it goes way beyond expectations of checkered flags and car hoods hanging on the wall.
And that's just one reason why it's one of AAA's newest Four Diamond hotels
Anchored in Victory Circle at One Daytona, The Daytona hotel joins 15 other hotels in the state of Florida as AAA's newest Four Diamond establishments.
“The AAA Diamond Program helps travelers better understand the overall quality, range of facilities and level of services offered by a property,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman for AAA. “Unlike ratings from unknown users sharing their opinions, the Diamond designations are provided by experienced professionals using consistent guidelines to tell travelers what a property offers.”
The hotel, which is part of the Autograph Collection of Hotels by Marriott, hasn't even been open for a full year before receiving the accolade from AAA.
According to AAA, Florida has the second-most Four Diamond properties in the nation, and the fifth-most Five Diamond properties, which is AAA's highest designation for a hotel or restaurant. There are a total of 1,718 Four Diamond hotels and 682 Four Diamond restaurants in the nation and Florida holds 125 and 62 of them, respectively.
In order to be considered for a Four Diamond designation, AAA says that a hotel must be refined and stylish with upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.
And to the hotel's manager, Michael "Mickey" Melendez, it's quite an honor to have that kind of designation bestowed on your hotel. But, there's more to it than just the designation. According to Melendez, the Daytona is the first Four Diamond in the state not at a beach.
"To be the first AAA Four Diamond hotel that's non-beachfront I think is even more honorable," said Melendez to News Daytona Beach. "It brings a whole new destination to Daytona Beach."
Melendez also said what helps the hotel stay unique is the collection's approach to lodging. The hotel is part of the Autograph Collection by Marriott, which, unbeknownst to some, does not make the hotel a Marriott Hotel. Each hotel is independently owned and operated or licensed under the name.
Every hotel in the collection offers a unique theme or construction that can't be found at any other Autograph Collection hotel. For example, the Daytona is heavily inspired by racing and features an overall theme that goes beyond racing souvenirs and tchotchkes.
"We have a thing we call 'the mark,' where a guest can know the full story of the hotel and how the design came about without asking any questions," said Melendez.
Some examples Melendez gave include a display featuring one of Sir Malcolm Campbell's Blue Bird, bar menus styled as vehicle owner's manuals, the Sir Malcolm restaurant (which was also highlighted as a Four Diamond restaurant) and much more that gives visitors something to look for.
"There wasn't a nook and cranny that wasn't missed," said Melendez. "I think that's one of the things that makes us probably one of the best Autographs in the world."
The Daytona will celebrate its first full year in Daytona Beach on June 27th of this year.
For a full list of other establishments given one of AAA's diamond awards, click here.