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Auburn’s The Laurel Hotel & Spa shines with new AAA Travel’s Five Diamond designation

Auburn University’s The Laurel Hotel and Spa, an on-campus luxury hotel that’s being billed as a “once in a lifetime experience” for guests, has been selected to receive the prestigious Five Diamond designation by AAA Travels in its first year of operation.

In addition to being a highly-rated destination, the extravagant hotel also helps train students studying hospitality management by giving them real world experience in the industry before graduating. The hotel is operated by Ithaka Hospitality Partners and Auburn’s College of Human Sciences.

“I am ecstatic that The Laurel Hotel & Spa has received this fantastic recognition in its very first year of operation,” said Hans van der Reijden, founder and CEO of Ithaka Hospitality Partners. “This is fantastic news for our owners, the hospitality management students and academic team and for our entire hotel team, led by General Manager Josh Head.”

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“We are immensely proud to be the first hotel in the state of Alabama to receive a Five Diamond designation and are excited to share this accolade as part of our larger goal to establish Auburn as a world-class destination for both hospitality and education.”

Martin O’Neill, head of Auburn’s Horst Schulze School of Hospitality Management, was thrilled by the new Five Diamond designation.

“This is tremendous news and a wonderful testament to all of the very hard work invested by faculty, students and industry partners in helping us further live out our vision and mission, which is focused on delivering a very differential form of hospitality education,” O’Neill said.

“No doubt the first of many such accolades to come. Honestly, I could not be prouder!”

The Laurel Hotel & Spa is the first “teaching hotel” in the entire country. Only 89 hotels across the United States carry this prestigious recognition. The property is the first in the state of Alabama to receive the honor.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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