European hotel star rating system
The European hotel star rating system can seem confusing at first. In reality it’s a fairly simple system based on a pass or fail system. The higher a hotel scores the higher the star rating. Like most things understanding what is being offered is important to understand if you are getting value or if you would be better off making a different choice. Do not assume a higher starred hotel will be more better just because of the star rating. When you look at the requirements you will see it’s possible for a hotel to fail on an issue you don’t find important while a less comfortable hotel achieves a higher star rating.
Italian hotel star rating system
The Italian system to a certain extent differs between regions but in general
Facilities: 1 star hotel: change sheets once a week, one common bathroom every 8 rooms,
one common area with TV. 2 star hotel: change sheets twice a week, at least 60% of rooms
must have private bathroom, breakfast service. 3 star hotel: change sheets every other day,
provide a bath and shower gel, each room supplied with a phone for external calls 4 star hotel:
change sheets every day, every room with a private bathroom, including hairdryer, laundry service.
5 star hotel: reception service 24/24 h, baggage transport service, suites 9at least 10% of
the total number of the rooms), free transfer service for clients and baggage.
There are also standards for room sizes. The higher the star rating the larger the minimum room size. You can still find a lower starred hotels with larger rooms but if room size is an important criteria for you check the hotel website. Room sizes are normally given in square metres. One square metre is roughly ten square feet.
French hotel star rating system
France on the other hand has a national standard system.
In a 0 star hotel: A minimum of 5 rooms, a lobby, heating installation on air conditioning,
sanitary facilities, telephone, breakfast, acoustic isolation, shades, kitchen corner, restrooms,
handicapped accessible facilities. In a 1 star hotel: in addition to the above criteria, at least 7 rooms,
more demanding rules concerning restrooms enhanced reception conditions. In a 2 star hotel: in addition
to the above criteria, the staff should speak a foreign language, tougher conditions concerning
restroom equipment and enhanced reception conditions. In a 3 star hotel: at least 10 rooms and in
addition to the criteria mentioned above, breakfast should be served in the rooms, and staff should
speak English as well as another language. In a 4 star hotel: Significant enhancement of all the criteria
mentioned above concerning the place’s surfaces and the quality of service.
Spanish hotel star ratings
Spain like Italy has a set of regional standards. You may see slight differences between regions. But the following will give you an idea.
Double room 12 m2 minimum, single room 7 m2 minimum, bathroom (bath or shower) 3,5 m2, central heating, lift.
Double room 14 m2 minimum, single room 7 m2 minimum, bathroom (bath or shower) 3,5 m2, telephone in room, central heating, lift, safety deposit box service.
Double room 15 m2 minimum, single room 8 m2 minimum, bathroom (bath and shower) 4 m2 minimum, telephone in room, central heating, air conditioning of common zones, lift, bar, safety deposit box service.
Double room 16 m2 minimum, single room 9 m2 minimum, bathroom (bath and shower) 4,5 m2 minimum, telephone in room, central heating, air conditioning in room, lift, bar, safety deposit box in room.
Double room 17 m2 minimum, single room 10 m2 minimum, bathroom (bath and shower) 5 m2 minimum, telephone in room, central heating, air conditioning in room, lift, bar, safety deposit box in room.
UK hotel star ratings explained
The UK has a national standard.
• 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.
(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.
(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 snacks 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.
(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
• 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 7am to 11pm.
• All bedrooms with en suite bathrooms and all with WC and thermostatically
• Wi-Fi or internet connection provided in bedrooms.
(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.
European hotel star rating system
What is hopefully obvious from each countries list of requirements is that the process is formulaic. From the travelers point of view you may find some of the choices strange. If for example you are staying in a large city known for it’s world class restaurants the lack of a hotel restaurant is unlikely to be a drawback. In fact you are likely planning on not using the hotel restaurant. Similarly if you are planning a short trip things like sheet changing frequency is unlikely an issue. Sheets are always changed between guests meaning if your trip is shorter than the normal change schedule you will have clean sheets either way.
The basic method for finding value is almost always the same. Decide what is important for you. Ignore the things that don’t add value to your holiday. The European hotel star rating system is a good example of this principle. You may value things differently then the standard setters. A hotel with a good location being far more valuable than staff uniforms. If you don’t expect to lounge around the hotel lobby it’s unlikely to add value to your vacation. Think about the things you will actually use and value those items.
Some clarification on the European hotel star rating system
The above lists only apply to “hotels”. In every country you’ll find many other classes of lodging. Ranging from stately country homes to simple B&Bs. Youth hostels. Camp sites. Each of these non hotels are governed by different standards.
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