Today the Mining Exchange, downtown's biggest symbol of resurgence, announced it had received a Four Diamond rating (on a Five Diamond scale) from AAA. Here's what the rating means: "These establishments are upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish. The physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout ..."
In an e-mail response to the Indy's questions, general manager Shelby Pywell Yarbrough writes, "The surprise inspection came about a month ago when I was called down to the front desk ... [We] walked around the property in all meeting spaces and public areas with the inspector. We randomly picked 5 rooms to show the inspector. We went through the rooms and she had several questions regarding the services and amenities. Cleanliness and maintenance checks were made. It was quite a process as she made notes of every room and the overall property."
And despite not achieving the very highest rating possible, hotel owner Perry Sanders was ecstatic.
"Gettin’ four diamonds when we’re missing a couple key things that we have going in was really fine," Sanders says in a phone interview. "We have a spa we’re putting in that we would like to have up and running by the middle of the summer. And we of course have the Gold Room next door going in — and the Mining Exchange Club going in with it — so it’s got a real private, club component that’s like the House of Blues; that will be beginning of summer."
On top of that, Sanders says that thus far the hotel's occupancy rate has exceeded his business goals. "It beat my projections for occupancy in January, and it's also going to beat ’em for Februray," he says. "So, so far, so good."