The editorial team took a pretty big blow during covid and never recovered since then, you can really see it in the long time it takes to get a place checked and by how they rarely reply to emails anymore. Sadly they are letting their community fall apart while chasing book deals, overpriced vacations for the upper class and other quick cash grabs. I have places pending from december that have not even been okayed yet, so I absolutely get your frustration.
However, I do have to point out that they are trying with the resources that they are given, and you can get a hold of them on the Discord (sometimes). If you want to try one more time, that would be where to do it. (They all but abandoned the forums, so don’t expect a reply here any time soon.)
You could also share the places if you want some feedback, I’ve noticed that usually its not at all the writing style or quality, just the first few sentences that makes them decide if it’s ‘cool’ or not. (I’ve had a few places that got declined and later accepted and even featured after I reuploaded them with minimal edits to the first paragraph.)
Other then that, I personally don’t know any good AO-like sites that accept writers. Wikipedia comes to mind, but that place is also quite toxic sadly. Google maps has some room for adding places and trip advisor could be used. Either way, good luck!