Awards bestow a glimmer of glitter

The march of luxury along the Strip continued unabated Friday, as Las Vegas added to its cadre of AAA Five Diamond Award winners.

When travel club AAA unveiled the local honorees who snagged its highest accolade for quality service and atmosphere, the winners’ list had a new entrant: Restaurant Guy Savoy inside Caesars Palace.

With that addition, Las Vegas boasts five AAA Five Diamond Award-winning restaurants — making it second in the country to Chicago, which has seven.

Restaurant Guy Savoy joins Picasso and Le Cirque, both at Bellagio, which earned their eighth and sixth Five Diamond awards, respectively, plus Alex at Wynn Las Vegas, which has won four times, and Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand, three.

The city’s five hotel winners were all repeats. The Venetian landed its second Five Diamond Award, while Skylofts at the MGM Grand captured its third award. Wynn Las Vegas also won for the third time. Bellagio has its eighth Five Diamond Award, and the Four Seasons took its 10th award.

The Four Seasons has earned Five Diamonds every year since it opened in 1999.

General Manager Mark Hellrung said the property’s consistent excellence comes from hiring the right people. The hotel’s managers interview applicants five times to make sure a job candidate will fit the property’s service-oriented culture. Managers also treat guests and employees as the managers would like to be treated, Hellrung said. The hotel’s employees give every guest individual attention. And standards for both the Five Diamond Award and the Four Seasons platform resemble each other, he said, so meeting Four Seasons standards means achieving Five Diamond goals as well.

"People do make buying decisions based on quality, particularly in this economy," Hellrung said. "People want to be sure they’re going to get a great value for their dollar. The Five Diamond Award is a third-party acknowledgement of our effort to provide a superior level of service to the discerning traveler and put a high-quality stamp on our hotel."

John Unwin, Caesars Palace’s general manager, said the award for Restaurant Guy Savoy is "something we were hoping for and thought we were qualified for, but there are so few of these Five Diamond Awards that are awarded that we were really thrilled."

Indeed, the current roster of Five Diamond Award-winning restaurants lists 59 in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, representing just 0.28 percent of AAA-rated establishments.

"To get five diamonds means you have to be cranking on every cylinder," Unwin said. "You can’t have one aspect of the restaurant that doesn’t deliver, from valet parking to departure."

"Without this beautiful team around us, this would never have happened," said Franck Savoy, general manager of the restaurant and son of founder Guy Savoy.

"This is the award of everyone" at Caesars Palace, said Guy Savoy in French, as translated by his son.

Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at or 702-383-0474. Review-Journal writer Jennifer Robison contributed to this report.

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