All the accommodation featured in this guide has been quality assessed by either VisitEngland* or the AA, or has recently applied for a rating and is awaiting assessment.
Please be aware that ratings may change throughout the year.
For AA ratings, visit www.theAA.com
or telephone: 01256 844455 or email: customer.services@theAA.com
All the national assessing bodies (VisitEngland*, VisitScotland, Visit Wales and the AA) now assess hotels and guest accommodation (including B&Bs) to the same criteria and award one to five stars. The star ratings reflect the overall quality of the experience.
When choosing your accommodation look for the Quality Rose, the official marque of the Enjoy England national tourist board rating scheme.
The VisitEngland professional assessors visit every year, carrying out a routine day visit or an overnight stay in the case of serviced accommodation. On these occasions, they book in as you would, 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, the 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 may achieve a Gold or Silver Award for Guest Accommodation and Hotels, or a Gold Award for Self-catering.
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 most importantly, the cleanliness. Higher star-rated accommodation tends to have more spacious bedrooms and bathrooms, and in hotels a higher staff to guest ratio, so service should be very attentive. At five star, you can really expect to be pampered in luxurious surroundings!
New for 2010 – given to hotels and B&Bs with high scores for breakfast.
For serviced accommodation, there are two separate schemes – one for Hotels and one for Guest Accommodation.
Hotels have a minimum of six bedrooms, but more likely to have 20+ rooms.
Small Hotels have a maximum of 20 bedrooms and likely to be more personally run.
Country House Hotels have ample grounds or gardens, in a rural or semirural location, with emphasis on peace and quiet.
Town House Hotels are in a city/town centre location and are of high quality with a distinctive style. High ratio of staff to guests.
Metro Hotels are found in city/town centres, offering full hotel services, but no dinner. Will be within easy walking distance of a range of places to eat.
Budget Hotels are part of a chain of branded hotels offering clean and comfortable en suite facilities, 24 hour reservations and a consistent level of facilities. They are not awarded a star rating.
Hotels have to provide certain additional facilities and services at the higher star levels. These include:
– Dinner served five 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.
– 24-hour room service. 50% of all en suites with bath and shower.
– Some permanent luxury suites. Enhanced services such as concierge.
Of course, many lower star-rated hotels may offer some of the above, but just do not meet all of the expectations for the higher star ratings. Sometimes a hotel has exceptional bedrooms and bathrooms and offers its guests a very special welcome, but cannot achieve a higher star rating because, for example, it does not offer dinner every evening (two star), room service (three star) or does not have the minimum 50% of bathrooms with bath and shower (four star).
Guest Accommodation categories:
Guest Accommodation is the category which encompasses anything from one-room bed and breakfasts to the larger places found in our coastal resorts, which may offer dinner and may be licensed.
Bed and Breakfasts generally 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 facilities you would expect and breakfast.
Inns are pubs with rooms which serve food in the evenings, as well as breakfast. Sometimes access to guest accommodation may be restricted during the day, but you will be advised on booking.
Room Only may or may not offer breakfast. Accommodation may be annexed and is likely to be fully en suite. If breakfast is offered this may be in the form of a tray placed in the room in the fridge, a breakfast pack available for separate purchase or a continental self-service option.
Guest accommodation tends to be personally run by the owners.
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 bedroom not en suite, then wash basin in bedroom
– At least 50% of bedrooms en suite or private bathroom
– All bedrooms en suite or private bathroom
Sometimes a bed and breakfast or guest house has exceptional bedrooms and bathrooms and offers guests a very special welcome, but cannot achieve a higher star rating because, for example, they do not have any en suite bedrooms, nor can they easily put wash basins in the bedrooms (three star). This is sometimes the case with period properties. They might not have the minimum 50% of bathrooms with bath and shower (four star).
Of course, you will find accommodation with 100% en suite bedrooms at all the star ratings, so refer to the descriptions in this guide to help you make your choice.
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 most importantly, the cleanliness.
VisitEngland’s campus scheme covers the universities and colleges that are able to accommodate visitors during the vacation periods on a bed and breakfast basis. Generally the rooms are en suite and there will be plenty of single rooms, so large groups will not present a problem. Campus accommodation is star-rated one to five, reflecting the quality of the accommodation or ‘approved’, which means that the accommodation and facilities meet minimum standards.
Hostels provide safe, budget-priced accommodation for young people, families and larger groups and are star-rated. Higher rated accommodation often provides en suite rooms.
Holiday, touring, and camping parks and holiday villages:
VisitEngland awards star ratings reflecting the overall quality of the park from one to five stars – five stars being reserved for parks of exceptional quality.
If you choose to stay in any of VisitEngland’s quality-assessed accommodation, you can be confident that it has been checked out before you check in. For more information on the VisitEngland Quality assessment schemes and the star ratings, go to www.enjoyEngland.com.
*VisitEngland is the official tourism body for England. Its role is to work in partnership with government and industry creating a national tourism strategy, optimising marketing investment, and developing the visitor experience across England. Enjoy England is the consumer-facing brand used in the domestic market. VisitEngland assesses more than 23,000 accommodation businesses across nine different VisitEngland schemes. These assesssments are provided by Quality in Tourism on VisitEngland’s behalf.