Five Santa Ynez Valley hotels continued their individual unbroken strings of appearances on the American Automobile Association’s annual list of Four Diamond Award winners.

In fact, the Santa Ynez Valley accounts for half the Santa Barbara County hotels that made the 2019 list.

Santa Ynez Valley hotels earning the Four Diamond Award include the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa on Grand Avenue in Los Olivos, the Santa Ynez Inn on Sagunto Street in Santa Ynez and the Ballard Inn & Gathering Table on Baseline Avenue in Ballard.

The Chumash Casino Resort Hotel on Highway 246 in Santa Ynez and Hotel Corque on Alisal Road in Solvang, both owned by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, also made AAA’s annual list.

The Ballard Inn has the longest unbroken string of Four Diamond Awards with 26, while Santa Ynez Inn is second with 17-straight awards and Chumash Casino Resort Hotel is third with 15 consecutive awards.

Hotel Corque is on the list for the eighth straight year, while the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa now has seven consecutive years on the list.

The five Santa Ynez Valley hotels are among just 10 properties in Santa Barbara County that earned the award of excellence during inspections conducted in 2018.

The remaining five are all in Santa Barbara — the Harbor View Inn on West Cabrillo Boulevard, Simpson House on East Arrellaga Street, the Ritz-Carlton Bacara on Hollister Avenue, the Hilton Santa Barbara Beachfront Resort and the Santa Barbara Inn, both on East Cabrillo Boulevard.

A total of 1,722 hotels — only 6.3 percent of the more than 27,000 hotels inspected by AAA throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean — received the Four Diamond rating in the past 12 months.

AAA has used professional inspectors for 80 years to conduct unannounced in-person inspections of hotels to evaluate them for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, a AAA spokesman said.

If the establishments meet published standards, they are designated AAA Inspected & Approved.

After hotels earn that designation, inspectors review lists of attributes and assign ratings based on the extensiveness of services, facilities and amenities at each location.

Four Diamond hotels are described by AAA as “refined and stylish, providing upscale physical attributes, extensive amenities and a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.”

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News Editor

Mike Hodgson is news editor at the Santa Ynez Valley News, where he writes about local government, special events and the people who live in the Valley. He has been a photographer, writer, news editor and managing editor at weekly newspapers since 1972

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