Never has quality meant so much
The national assessing bodies assess hotels and guest accommodation (including B&Bs) to the same criteria and award one to five stars. The star rating reflects the overall quality of the experience. Assessors visit the accommodation every year, carrying out a day visit or overnight stay in the case of serviced accommodation. They book in as a normal guest and test all the facilities and services. A quality score is awarded for every aspect of the experience, including the comfort of the bed, the quality of the breakfast and dinner and, most importantly, cleanliness. They also score the warmth of welcome.
Places that "go the extra mile" to make your stay a special one, will be awarded a high star rating and hotels and guest accommodation may achieve a Gold or Silver award.
Ratings made easy
* Simple, practical, no frills
** Well presented and well run
*** Good level of quality and comfort
**** Excellent standard throughout
***** Exceptional with a degree of luxury
For self-catering accommodation the layout and design of the accommodation and the range and quality of the kitchen equipment is assessed, as well as the quality and comfort of the bedrooms and bathrooms and the cleanliness.
Hotels have a minimum of six bedrooms, but are more likely to have over 20 rooms. Small hotels have a maximum of 20 bedrooms and are likely to be more personally run. Country House Hotels have ample grounds or gardens, in a rural or semi-rural location, with emphasis on peace and quiet.
* Dinner served 5 nights a week
** Dinner available every night of the week
*** All bedrooms en suite (i.e no private bathrooms). Room Service available. Permanently staffed reception
Guest accommodation categories
Guest accommodation encompasses anything from one room bed and breakfasts to the larger places found in coastal resorts, which may offer dinner and may be licensed. Sometimes access to guest accommodation will be restricted during the day, but you will be advised on booking. Guest accommodation tends to be personally run by the owners.
Bed and Breakfasts accommodate no more than six people. It's like staying as a special guest in someone's home. Farmhouses offer bed and breakfast and sometimes dinner, always on a farm. Guest houses tend to have more than three rooms and may offer dinner to their guests. Some may be licensed. Restaurants with rooms are just that. The restaurant is the main business and they will be licensed. They generally offer a small number of bedrooms with all the facilites you would expect and breakfast. Inns are pubs with rooms. They serve food in the evenings as well as breakfast.
Guest accommodation owners have to provide certain additional facilities and services at the higher star levels. These include:
*** Bathroom/shower rooms cannot be shared with the owners. If bedrooms are not en suite there must be a wash basin in each bedroom.
**** At least 50% of bedrooms have en suite or private bathrooms.
***** All bedrooms have en suite or private bathroom.
Gold and silver awards
Silver awards recognise exceptional quality at all levels. Gold awards are given to the very "best of the best".
If you have any issues which have not been resolved by the proprietor or manager, please write to:
Quality in Tourism (for VisitBritain ratings)