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Garden City Hotel earns 2017 four-diamond rating from AAA

The Garden City Hotel, on its 140th anniversary,

The Garden City Hotel, on its 140th anniversary, after recent renovations on July 30, 2014. The hotel has been awarded AAA's Four Diamond rating for 2017, one of three Long Island lodgings with that ranking. Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

The Garden City Hotel has been awarded AAA’s four-diamond rating for 2017, one of three Long Island lodgings with that ranking.

The hotel, which was unranked by the motorist group in 2016, will hold an invitation-only celebration on Thursday, at which the award will be presented by actress Susan Lucci, whose first job was as a waitress there.

On Long Island, the two four-diamond lodgings besides the Garden City Hotel for 2017 are Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton and Oheka Castle & Estate in Huntington, said Robert Sinclair, manager of media relations for AAA Northeast.

Out of the 1,072 hotels in New York State rated by AAA for 2016, 75 received four diamonds. There were nine five-diamond hotels — the top rating — in the state, all in New York City.

Hotels request ratings from AAA, and “the inspections are done undercover or anonymously,” Sinclair said. Hotels are rated on factors such as “cleanliness and condition, comfort, management and style of operations, hospitality and guest services, public areas and exterior as well as on a number of critical guest interaction points.”

The Garden City Hotel received four-diamond ratings for 10 consecutive years between 1983 and 1992, AAA said. The group didn’t have information on the whether the hotel was rated during other periods.

The hotel, where Charles Lindbergh slept the night before his historic trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, was bought in 2012 by Morris Moinian, the founder and president of Fortuna Realty Group in New York, for $42 million, plus the assumption of a $25 million mortgage. In 2014, the hotel underwent a $35 million renovation of its 269 guest rooms and suites. Room prices range from $209 a night for a deluxe standard room to $2,100 for a penthouse suite.

Moinian said in an email that the AAA rating still matters in an era when online raters such as TripAdvisor and Yelp abound. Both types “have relevance, but the seasoned traveler and corporate planner know the unbiased value and integrity of an AAA rating.”

Lucci, best known for her portrayal of Erica Kane on the daytime drama “All My Children,” said in an interview Monday that she worked at the hotel “for two summers while I was still in college. I was a waitress one year and a host the next.”

Lucci learned the benefits of drinking hot water with lemon from elderly patrons of the hotel, a tip she used well into her Broadway days, she said.

She met her husband at the hotel. “He was the executive chef at the time,” she said. And her daughter’s wedding reception was there. “So, yes, the hotel has definitely figured prominently in my life.”

When she first worked at the hotel “it had an antique charm, and now it has an international flair with marble interiors and mahogany trim,” Lucci said.


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