Hotel ratings within the UK are not
easy to understand. It would be very easy to see a hotel rating and
assume that its an official rating and gives an accurate reflection of
what to expect at the hotel. However the UK has no official system of
ratings and there is no requirement within law to have a hotel
independently assessed. The most respected independent body for
hotel assessments are the AA (automobile association) and the
VisitBritain (also known as enoyengland.com and the result of a merger
of British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council in 2003). These two bodies now use identical
criteria (since January 2007) when assessing establishments (which was not always the case).
The new ratings criteria is called the 'National Quality Assurance
Standards' and is also used by Visitwales and Visitscotland. Along with
the new scheme came a new classification of 'Metro', which signifies a
full service hotel within a town or city centre but that does not
provide dinner onsite.
However a hotel is required to signup to the AA or VisitBritain, requiring a fee
payment, to be assessed. This leaves the door open for hotels to self
assess, with the obvious bias involved. So why do hotels still volunteer
for the scheme? Being part of the scheme means you will have your hotel
promoted on the AA and visitbritain websites, you can use their name in
promotional literature and you can show their sign on a plaque inside
and outside your hotel with their rating. Several major brands are all
self-assessed such as the Hilton
and Holiday Inn
Things have become even more
muddy with star ratings now given to both hotels and guest houses.
Previously guest houses were given a separate diamond rating but these
are no longer given. So we now have a situation where the meaning of
each classification depends on whether the establishment is a hotel or a
The criteria generally accepted
guidelines for ratings are as follows:
Most rooms are en-suite. Dedicated area for breakfast each day
and dinner most days. Staff should be courteous and offer and an
informal but efficient service.
Every room must have private bathroom
facilities. Dedicated area for breakfast each day and dinner most days.
Every room must have private bathroom
facilities. Staff are expected to project a professional appearance.
Dining room/restaurant expected to be open to both residents and
Staff should be of a highly professional
level with a uniformed appearance. Hotels interior areas should be well
appointed. Dining room/restaurant expected to be open to both residents
and non-residents and serves lunch along with a wine list.
Interior areas and bedrooms are expected
to be luxurious, have superior services and staff are expected to be
multilingual. Hotel is expected to have doormen and dedicated concierge
Guest House Accommodation
Minimum requirement for cleanliness,
maintenance, staff services and hotel facilities. A cooked or
substantial continental breakfast is available as an option to guests.
Staff should provide a courteous service.
Hotel should have well maintained beds and serve a decent breakfast.
Warm welcoming staff. Hotel should
have well maintained beds and furnishings. Breakfast should be of
a good quality, there should be a range of options which should include
freshly prepared and cooked offerings.
Staff should provide a more intimate
level of service. A minimum of 50% of bedrooms must have private
bathroom facilities. Bedrooms should be well furnished and beds of a
good quality. Breakfast should be of a good quality, there should
be a range of options which should include freshly prepared and cooked
Top levels of service where nothing is
too much trouble when it comes to guests requirements. Every bedroom
should have its own private bathroom facilities. Highest quality beds
and furnishings. Breakfast should include
specials/home-made dishes, high quality ingredients, and fresh local