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UK Hotel Star Rating System

By 28th January 2013 No Comments

Hotels in the UK star ratings are awarded and managed by four Hotel rating boards: The  AA, Visit Britain, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales.

The Hotel ratings are broken down into categories based on the type of Hotel.

Hotel Categories

Hotel : A formal accommodation offering full hotel service

Country House Hotel : A hotel with ample grounds or gardens set in a rural or semi-rural situation; the property has an emphasis on peace and quiet.

Small Hotel : Smaller establishments having a maximum of 20 bedrooms, and personally run by the proprietor

Town House Hotel : A high-quality property of distinctive style with a maximum of 50 bedrooms, set in a town or city centre; possibly no dinner but room service is available instead.

Metro Hotel : A town or city property providing full hotel services except dinner, close to a range of places to eat.

 

Accommodation Categories

 

B&B :  Accommodation provided in a private house by the owner for up to six paying guests.

Guest House :  Accommodation for more than six paying guests, with the owner and staff providing more services, eg dinner.

Farmhouse :  B&B or Guest House accommodation provided on a working farm.

Inn :  Accommodation provided in a fully licensed establishment. The bar will be open to non-residents and provide food in the evenings.

Restaurant with Rooms :  A restaurant offering a maximum of 12 bedrooms

Guest Accommodation : Any establishment that meets the minimum entry requirements can choose to use this general category.
Luxury Hotels Definition

Luxury comes in many guises and defining a luxury hotel is challenging. As in the past, luxury is constantly evolving and means different things to different people. For some it may be a hotel offering simplicity, privacy and spiritual wellbeing whereas for others it may be 24 hour butler service or a personal shopper. Needs may differ according to the nature and purpose of the trip, the origin of the guest and the location of the hotel.

However, luxury is generally regarded as a combination of facilities and style and something you don’t normally experience at home. Many consumers’ homes are more luxurious than in the past and hence have raised the bar for the luxury hotel. At the same time as consumers have become wealthier, they have also become more aspirational in their outlook. Mid-income individuals also aspire to luxury travel and products. Ironically, some consumers are prepared to pay for luxury on credit.

Unsurprisingly no precise definition of what constitutes a luxury hotels exists, reflecting the fact that many operators have developed their own self-styled luxury product adding luxurious type items and services on the lower end. Some have added epithets such as ‘Collection’ to position themselves in the luxury space. To add to the confusion, some operators have taken to calling themselves ‘7 star’ to imply an über-luxury product. Even at the high end though there are varying degrees of luxury

 

There are slight changes in Hotel Star Rating Criteria, so we have provided the two main rating systems for your information. The AA and Visit Britain

 

The AA One Star Hotel Rating 30-46% Criteria

 

  • A minimum of five letting bedrooms.
  • 100% of bedrooms with en suite or private facilities.
  • Resident guests, once registered, have access to the hotel at all times. Proprietor and/or staff on site all day and as a minimum on call to resident guests at night.
  • A dining room,restaurant or similar eating area serving a cooked or continental breakfast seven days a week.
  • A dining room, restaurant or similar eating area serving evening meals at least five days a week (but hotels that do not offer dinner and are located within easy walking distance of a choice of places to eat dinner, can also be rated under the hotel scheme as a metro or town house hotel, as long as this is made clear to all prospective guests in all marketing and all other hotel requirements are met).
  • A bar or sitting area with a Liquor Licence.
  • Hotel generally open seven days a week during its operating season providing, on every day open, the level of service and facilities appropriate to its star rating.
  • Proprietor and or staff available during the day and evening to receive guests and provide information, services such as hot drinks and light refreshments.
  • A clearly designated reception facility.
  • Meeting all the current statutory obligations and providing Public Liability insurance cover.

The AA Two Star Hotel Rating 47-54% Criteria

 

(In addition to the requirements for One Star)

 

  • All areas of operation should meet the Two Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.

The AA Three Star Hotel Rating 55-69% Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Two Star)

 

  • All areas of operation should meet the Three Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • Once registered, residents have access at all times during the day and evening (e.g. from 7 am until 11 pm) without use of a key.
  • Access available outside these times.
  • Dinner served a minimum of six evenings a week with bar snack or equivalent available on seventh evening (unless hotel does not have a restaurant – i.e. metro or town house hotel, located close to choice of places to eat).
  • Room service as a minimum of hot and cold drinks and light snacks (e.g. sandwiches) during daytime and evening. Option to provide on request only, without need for full menu promoted in bedroom. Guests should be made aware of this service provision via room information and made aware of prices before ordering.
  • All bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.
  • Internal or direct dial telephone system required (minimum is ability to phone from bedroom to reception and vice versa).
  • Wi-Fi available in public areas.

The AA Four Star Hotel Rating 70-84% Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Three Star)

 

  • Expectation is for higher quality of service levels in all departments and in general higher staffing levels; as well as a serious approach and clear focus to the food and beverage offering.
  • All areas of operation should meet the Four Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • 24 hour room service, including cooked breakfast and full dinner during restaurant opening hours.
  • Once registered, residents should have 24 hour access, facilitated by on-duty staff.
  • Enhanced services offered, e.g. Afternoon tea, offer of luggage assistance, meals at lunchtime, table service on request at breakfast.
  • At least one restaurant, open to residents and nonresidents, for breakfast and dinner seven days a week. Hotels without restaurants located within easy walking distance of a range of places to eat are required to serve as a minimum snacks, light refreshments in public areas, bedrooms, at least in core hours between 7am to 11pm.
  • All bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and all with WC and thermostatically controlled showers.
  • Wi-Fi or internet connection provided in bedrooms.

The AA Five Star rating 85-100% Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Four Star)

 

  • Excellent staffing levels with well-structured and dedicated teams with depth in management levels.
  • Exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care.
  • All areas of operation should meet the Five Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • Hotel open seven days a week all year.
  • Enhanced services offered e.g. valet parking, escort to bedrooms, proactive table service in bars and lounges and at breakfast, ‘concierge’ service, 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, full afternoon tea.
  • At least one restaurant, open to residents and non-residents for all meals seven days a week.
  • A minimum of 80% of bedrooms with en suite bathroom with WC, bath and thermostatically controlled shower, 20% may be shower only.
  • A choice of environments in public areas of sufficient relevant size to provide generous personal space.
  • Additional facilities e.g. secondary dining, leisure, business centre, spa, etc.
  •  At least one permanent luxury suite available comprising of three separate rooms -bedroom, lounge and bathroom.

Visit Britain One Star Rating Critera

  • A minimum of five letting bedrooms.
  • 100% of bedrooms with en suite or private facilities.
  • Resident guests, once registered, have access to the hotel at all times. Proprietor and/or staff on site all day and as a minimum on call to resident guests at night.
  • A dining room/restaurant or similar eating area serving a cooked or continental breakfast seven days a week.
  • A dining room / restaurant or similar eating area serving evening meals at least five days a week (but hotels that do not offer dinner and are located within easy walking distance of a choice of places to eat dinner, can also be rated under the hotel scheme as a Metro or Town House hotel, as long as this is made clear to all prospective guests in all marketing and all other hotel requirements are met).
  • A bar or sitting area with a Liquor Licence.
  • Hotel generally open seven days a week during its operating season providing, on every day open, the level of service and facilities appropriate to its star rating.
  • Proprietor and or staff available during the day and evening to receive guests and provide information services such as hot drinks and light refreshments.
  • A clearly designated reception facility.
  • Meeting all the current statutory obligations and providing Public Liability insurance cover.

Visit Britain Two Star Hotel Rating Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for One Star)
  • All areas of operation should meet the Two Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.

Visit Britain Three Star Hotel Rating Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Two Star)

  • All areas of operation should meet the Three Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • Once registered, residents have access at all times during the day and evening (e.g. from 7 am until 11 pm) without use of a key.
  • Access available outside these times.
  • Dinner served a minimum of six evenings a week with bar snack or equivalent available on seventh evening (unless hotel does not have a restaurant – i.e. metro or town house hotel, located close to choice of places to eat).
  • Room service as a minimum of hot and cold drinks and light snacks (e.g. sandwiches) during daytime and evening. Option to provide on request only, without need for full menu promoted in bedroom. Guests should be made aware of this service provision via room information and made aware of prices before ordering.
  • All bedrooms with en suite bathrooms.
  • Internal or direct dial telephone system required (minimum is ability to phone from bedroom to reception and vice versa).
  • Wi-Fi available in public areas.

Visit Britain Four Star Hotel Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Three Star)

  • Expectation is for higher quality of service levels in all departments and in general higher staffing levels; as well as a serious approach and clear focus to the food and beverage offering.
  • All areas of operation should meet the Four Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance and hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • Once registered, residents should have 24 hour access, facilitated by on-duty staff.
  • 24 hour room service, including cooked breakfast and full dinner during restaurant opening hours
  • Enhanced services offered, e.g. afternoon tea, offer of luggage assistance, meals at lunchtime, table service on request at breakfast.
  • At least one restaurant, open to residents and non-residents, for breakfast and dinner seven days a week. Hotels without restaurants, located within easy walking distance of a range of places to eat, are required to serve as a minimum snacks/light refreshments in public areas/bedrooms, at least in core hours of between 7 am to 11 pm.
  • All bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and all with WC and thermostatically controlled showers.
  • Wi-Fi or internet connection provided in bedrooms.

Visit Britain Five Star Hotel Criteria

(In addition to the requirements for Four Star)

  • Excellent staffing levels with wellstructured and dedicated teams with depth in management levels.
  • Exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care.
  • All areas of operation should meet the Five Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.
  • Hotel open seven days a week all year.
  • Enhanced services offered e.g. valet parking, escort to bedrooms, proactive table service in bars and lounges and at breakfast, ‘concierge’ service, 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, full afternoon tea.
  • At least one restaurant, open to residents and non-residents for all meals seven days a week.
  • Minimum 80% bedrooms with en suite bathroom with WC, bath and thermostatically controlled shower. 20% may be shower only.
  • A choice of environments in public areas of sufficient relevant size to provide generous personal space.
  • Additional facilities e.g. secondary dining, leisure, business centre, spa, etc.
  • At least one permanent luxury suite available (comprising three separate rooms – bedroom, lounge and bathroom).

 

Additional Five Star Hotel Rating Criteria and Service

  • A well-structured team of staff with management presence.
  • The restaurant always staffed.
  • Unobtrusive, polite and courteous staff providing an excellent standard of customer care. Highly trained, professional and proactive staff.
  • Guests welcomed and escorted to their table at all meals and in all areas where food and drinks are served.
  • Prompt table service in public areas where guests seat themselves.
  • Staff demonstrating excellent levels of food, beverage and wine product knowledge and service skills. An extensive choice of food.
  • A broad range of dishes of outstanding quality. Immaculately presented menus.
  • Room service ordered, delivered and cleared in a highly professional and efficient manner and without impacting on other services.
  • Full room service of lunch and dinner during restaurant hours, even if hotel has no restaurant. Service delivery allows each course to be eaten at the correct temperature. All meals served on a dining table or heated trolley, or each hot course delivered separately. Presentation of the highest standard. Bed linen changed frequently in accordance with the hotel’s own policy and for each new guest.
  • Rooms prepared in advance of the guest’s arrival – possibly including setting an appropriate ambient temperature for the time of year, airing the room well, closing curtains and putting on a light during the hours of darkness.
  • An evening housekeeping service provided and advertised – possibly including some of the following services: bed turn-down, bins emptied, curtains drawn, towels tidied, room service trays removed.
  • The significant majority of bedrooms very spacious, allowing generous ease of use for movement, comfort, dining and relaxation.
  • All bedrooms with a well planned layout relative to the needs of the guest i.e. business or leisure use.
  • Room size, layout and delivery method ensures the highest guest dining experience for room service.
  • Beds for single occupancy to exceed 90 cm (3 ft.) width.
  • Beds for double occupancy to be at least 153 cm (5 ft.) in width.
  • Several beds to exceed this size. Bunk beds are not acceptable.
  • Beds and headboards of excellent quality.
  • Generous access to both sides of beds for double occupancy.
  • Décor showing attention to detail and co-ordination of design, as well as finished toa professional standard. Wall coverings and paintwork of an excellent intrinsic quality and condition. High quality paintings and prints in evidence.
  • All furniture, soft furnishings, and fittings providing excellent ease of use and of an excellent quality and condition.
  • A substantial writing table with excellent free space.
  • Multiple power sockets often with international sockets/adaptors according to market need.
  • Single – one substantial easy chair plus an additional chair providing comfortable use at the writing table.
  • Double / twin – two substantial easy chairs plus an additional chair providing comfortable use at the writing table
  • A minimum of two direct dial telephones if fixed – one at the bedside and one on the desk/writing table. Single cordless phone acceptable.
  • Guests able to call individual hotel departments directly.
  • Wi-Fi and/or internet connection provided. If chargeable, this must be clearly advertised prior to booking. Excellent in-room communication technology with best available connectivity and good support to resolve any problems.
  • All bathrooms of excellent quality and condition, and providing excellent ease of use with a luxurious standard of fittings, flooring and décor.
  • Spacious bathrooms with generously-sized bath, basin and shower.
  • Separate walk-in shower often seen at this level.
  • The environment of all sitting areas of excellent quality and condition, and of sufficient size and with well-designed layout to provide generous personal space and privacy for guests.
  • A variety of seating styles expected.
  • Sitting areas not necessarily all lounges but certainly offering a range of environments.
  • Restaurant tables should have sufficient space around them to allow a high degree of privacy and freedom of movement.
  • Corridors and staircases wide and spacious allowing freedom of movement for guests and service trolleys.
  • A serviced coat storage cloakroom provided. Receipts given.
  • Corridors and staircases permanently lit.
  • It is expected that a lift will be provided to all floors in the main building.
  • The expectation at Five Star is a separate lift for hotel services such as luggage, laundry and room service.
  • Spacious, luxurious and numerous toilet facilities and with refinements such as individual hand towels, high quality toiletries and accessories, serviced very regularly during the day.
  • Access to any accommodation separate to the main building to be under cover. This could include chauffeured transport or escort with umbrella provided.
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