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Accommodation Ratings

The following descriptions have all been taken from the relevant Tourist Board web pages. All trademarks are acknowledged.

English Tourism Council ~ Scottish Tourist Board ~ Wales Tourist Board

English Tourism Council/RAC/AA

Hotels and Guest Accommodation

In response to consumer demand, the Automobile Association, English Tourism Council and Royal Automobile Club have joined forces to create one new overall rating scheme for serviced accommodation, using Stars to represent Hotels and Diamonds for Guest Accommodation (guesthouses, inns, farmhouses, bed & breakfasts). The new scheme puts greater emphasis on quality in Hotels and Guest Accommodation particularly in areas of cleanliness and guest care.

The new ETC, AA and RAC grading scheme will apply to inspections undertaken throughout the UK by the AA and RAC.

Automobile Association, English Tourism Council and Royal Automobile Club grading scheme

Serviced Accommodation: Stars

Star ratings symbolise the level of service, range of facilities and quality of guest care that you can expect. Hotels are required to meet progressively higher standards as they move up the scale from one to five Stars.

The gradings are:

One star

Practical accommodation with a limited range of facilities and services, but a high standard of cleanliness throughout. Restaurant/eating area. 75% of bedrooms will have en-suite or private facilities.

Two stars

Better equipped bedrooms, all with ensuite/private bathroom and a colour TV. A lift is normally available.

Three stars

Higher standard of services and facilities including larger public areas and bedrooms, a receptionist, room service, laundry.

Four stars

Accommodation offering superior comfort and quality; all bedrooms with en-suite bath, fitted overhead shower and WC. Spacious and well appointed public areas. More emphasis on food and drink. Room service of all meals and 24 hour drinks, refreshments and snacks. Dry cleaning service available. Excellent customer service.

Five stars

A spacious, luxurious establishment offering you the highest international quality of accommodation, facilities, services and cuisine. There will be a range of extra facilities. You will feel very well cared for by professional, attentive staff providing flawless guest services.


Serviced Accommodation: Diamonds

Diamond ratings for Guest Accommodation reflect visitor expectations of this sector, where quality is seen as more important than facilities and services. As a result Guest Accommodation is required to meet progressively higher standards of quality and guest care as they move up the scale from one to five Diamonds.

One Diamond Guest Accommodation

Clean and comfortable accommodation, providing breakfast and helpful service.

Two Diamond Guest Accommodation

An increased level of quality and comfort, with greater emphasis on guest care.

Three Diamond Guest Accommodation

Well maintained, practical decor, a good choice of breakfast dishes, a higher degree of customer care and at least 40% of the bedrooms will have private or ensuite bathrooms.

Four Diamond Guest Accommodation

An even higher level of quality and comfort. Good level of customer care.

Five Diamond Guest Accommodation

Excellent quality in furnishing and rooms. At least 80% of bedrooms will have ensuite/private bathrooms. Excellent levels of customer care.

Self-catering accommodation

N.B. These classifications are no longer valid will gradually disappear. They have been included here as some properties have yet to be re-graded under the new scheme and therefore still display their old rating.

Every year the English Tourism Council inspects more than 11,000 self-catering units under the Grading and Classification scheme.

Quality Grading

Establishments are graded for quality - including the standard of furnishings and equipment.


Properties have an acceptable standard of quality.


Properties have a good overall standard of quality.

Highly Commended

Properties have a very good overall standard of quality.


Properties have an excellent overall standard of quality


In addition the tourist board gives you an indication of the range of facilities and equipment that are offered. The classifications range from 'One Key' to 'Five Key'. The more Keys, the wider the range of facilities and equipment available.

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The Scottish Tourist Board

The Scottish Tourist Board Quality Assurance Scheme

A trained Scottish Tourist Board inspector grades properties of the following types on a yearly basis: Guest House, Bed and Breakfast, Hotel, International Hotel Resort, Lodge, Inn, Restaurant with Rooms, Campus Accommodation, Self-Catering, Serviced Apartments.

These properties are graded using a Star quality grading system.

The gradings are:

One star

Fair and acceptable quality, adequate service and guest care.

Two stars

Good quality, comfortable furnishings and good service.

Three stars

Very good quality, commendable standard of furnishings and service.

Four stars

Excellent quality, high standard of guest care. All rooms with ensuite/private bathroom. A restaurant.

Five stars

Exceptional quality, with the highest standard of furnishings, flawless service, all rooms with ensuite/private bathroom, 24 hour room service and a restaurant.

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Wales Tourist Board

Serviced Accommodation - Star Classification Scheme

It’s important to bear in mind that the Star Grade takes into account the nature of the property and expectation of the guests - so a farmhouse is just as entitled to Five Stars as a country hotel, as long as what it offers is of the highest quality.

1 star

Fair to good quality, with an acceptable standard of furnishings and adequate service and guest care

2 star

Good quality, with a comfortable standard of furnishings, service and guest care

3 star

Very good quality, with a commendable standard of furnishings, service and guest care

4 star

Excellent quality, with a high standard of furnishings, service and guest care

5 star

Exceptional quality, with the highest standard of furnishings, flawless service, meticulous guest care and exemplary provision and presentation of all aspects of the business

Self Catering - Dragon Classification Scheme

All self-catering accommodation participating in the WTB quality assurance scheme will have achieved the minimum standards (as laid down by the Wales Tourist Board). For example,

  • Must be thoroughly cleaned and checked before each letting

  • Exterior and interior decorations, furnishings, floor coverings and fittings must be maintained in a good condition

  • Any gardens must be maintained in good order

  • The following is to be provided:-

    • Television

    • Wardrobe, dressing table and drawer space

    • Adequate heating

    • Bath or shower and washbasin

    • Gas or electric cooker

    • Refrigerator

    • Continuous supply of hot and cold water

It will also have been quality graded. There are 5 Dragon grades for this type of accommodation: from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest level.

Aspects that are covered by quality grading include beds and bedding, heating, cleanliness, lighting and electrical appliances etc. Credit is also given for provision of facilities and services over and above those which are traditionally associated with self-catering, e.g. automatic washing machine, freezer, microwave etc.

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