It’s not easy for a hotel to attain a AAA Four Diamond Rating but the Garden City Hotel in Garden City, New York, did just that. The celebration took place on November 17, 2016 with a special award presentation from AAA.
Gathered in the Grand Ballroom, an elegant event space with crystal chandeliers and a gilded ceiling, were the hotel’s owner, Morris Moinian, general manager Grady Colin and numerous members of the hotel staff. From AAA Northeast were John Corlett, Director of Public/Government Affairs and Traffic Safety; Robert Sinclair, Jr., Manager of Media Relations; Gerri DiSalvo, Safety Program Specialist; as well as Kathleen Krawiec, District Director of Branch Sales and Jill Rosenberg, Manager of Group and Executive Travel Services, who had the honor of presenting the diamond award to Moinian.
The Garden City Hotel, which has been in existence since 1874, has long been one of the pillars of this upscale Long Island community. Over the years, it has hosted everyone from Charles Lindbergh (who stayed here before his historic transatlantic flight) and members of the Vanderbilt family to Tony Bennett and Michael Jackson. While always a focal point in Garden City, when Moinian took over the property in 2012, the hotel underwent a meticulous $35 million renovation, bringing the service and amenities up to the exacting standards required of a AAA Four Diamond property. The sprawling building (with its signature cupola) has 269 rooms and suites and numerous function spaces, which can host everything from opulent weddings to private corporate meetings. The in-house restaurant is the stylish Polo Steakhouse and there’s also an indoor heated pool and a flagship Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.
The AAA Four Diamond festivities kicked off at midday with a little star power. Long Island-born, Emmy Award-winning actress Susan Lucci, who memorably played Erica Kane on the soap opera “All My Children” was the guest of honor. The petite brunette, who grew up in Garden City and still lives there, addressed the assembled crowd (which included local business owners, chamber of commerce representatives and members of the media). “The Garden City Hotel is a gem in this community,” Lucci said. “It’s a gem on Long Island and is a gem in this country—and certainly in my life. I was a waitress in the Garden City Hotel and I met my husband Helmet Huber there who was the executive chef at the time. So it worked out for me!”
The next speaker, Kristen Jarnagin, the president of Discover Long Island (Long Island’s tourism arm), spoke of the difficulty of attaining the prestigious AAA Four Diamond Rating and pointed out the Garden City Hotel is one of the few properties on Long Island to achieve this honor, before turning the podium over to AAA’s Jill Rosenberg, who like Lucci, also has great memories of the hotel—in her case, enjoying special mother-daughter breakfasts. “I thought I had died and gone to heaven,” she recalled about her visits to the hotel as a child.
Rosenberg reaffirmed the challenges hotels face when seeking the award. “AAA Diamond reviewers are totally anonymous and totally unannounced so they experience exactly what the guest experiences.” She further went on to praise the Garden City Hotel staff, including the valets, front desk staff, bellboys, captains and chefs. At that point the staff members took the stage to a rousing applause and looked on proudly as Rosenberg awarded the diamond-shaped plaque to Moinian. Rosenberg added, “AAA congratulates and salutes you on this team accomplishment.” And while the guests mingled and enjoyed Champagne and canapes, it was back to work for the team—because at a AAA Four Diamond hotel, the staff never rests on their laurels.
For more information on AAA Diamond Ratings, visit AAA.com/Diamonds.