5 star hotels – what exactly makes them better than a 4 or 3 star hotel? Who decides the rating? How do I find the best on offer? Are they really worth the money? Those are just some of the questions I will answer for you in this article.
Despite some attempts to bring the classification of star ratings for hotels under one worldwide system, so far this has proved impossible. There is a World Hotel Rating (WHR) project which is trying to set international classification standards but so far their aim has not been achieved. One day this might be a reality but for now it has been left to individual countries or groups of countries to offer different criteria rating systems. This means that what are classified as 5 star hotels in Thailand, Mexico or Kenya, may not be considered 5 star in the UK, USA or South Africa. Of course this can work both ways.
The European Hotelstars Union uses a star rating system based on a “catalogue of criteria” which allots points for certain facilities and management practices. This is a pretty complex affair but it does use the one to five stars notation with additional half stages of “S” for Superior. Thus their 5 star hotels equate to a “luxury” standard by having a large number of listed facilities and management systems in place, but they also have a higher “5 star S” – which stands for superior category with even higher standards.
The United Kingdom has a similar 1 to 5 star hotels UK rating system in operation. Until a few years ago there were several different bodies operating similar schemes but now the remaining five main classifiers (the Automobile Association and the four various National Tourist Boards – of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have harmonized their gradings so that there is greater consistency between the schemes. All of them now use Common Quality Standards for inspecting and rating hotels and other guest accommodation. Each body makes their classifications clear on their respective websites.
You may occasionally see some hotels (usually abroad, perhaps in places like Dubai) where they are termed 6 or 7 star – just ignore this type of rating and presume them to be in the upper 5 star hotels category.
5 Star Hotels: What To Expect In The UK
The Automobile Association (AA) website has very clear quality standards set out for each of the one to 5 star hotels ratings it uses and what key requirements are needed to qualify for their grading. These reflect the top service you can expect and the excellent facilities on offer. Some qualifications needed to be classified on a 5 star hotel ratings list is to be open 7 days a week, all year round with 24 hour reception and room service. Also all bedrooms must have en suite WC, bath and thermostatically controlled shower. The online guide gives great detail for each star grade – with the 5 star hotels rating having all the facilities that 4 star hotels must have plus those little extras that add up to real top quality service.
However, 5 star hotels do come with a 5 star price equivalent. If you are to be paying up to several hundred pounds per night for your room – is the price good value to you? The individual can only decide this of course but do shop around and you will find 5 star service is available in more than just 5 star hotels. Very often the quality of service to be found in 3 or 4 star hotels can be quite adequate for even the most demanding of people – so perhaps if you can do without 24 hour room service and just need a good night of sleep in pleasant surroundings, 5 star hotels may be a waste of money for you.
5 Star Hotels: The Best The UK Can Offer
When it comes to five star luxury, the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have some of the world’s greatest luxury hotels. This is just a small selection.
4141 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0PS, England
Of all England’s 5 Star Hotels London has the majority, including this wonderful boutique hotel within spitting distance of Buckingham Palace. Expect striking architecture with a black and white themed interior, housing such luxury treats as an honesty bar and 24-hour informal dining, including a pantry filled with tasty home-made treats that can be accessed for a midnight feast. All suites and bedrooms come with black leather and hand-carved mahogany with beds featuring hand-stitched British mattresses. The iPod docking station in every occupancy provides a wide choice of music, movies, music. Free WiFi throughout the hotel.
Balmoral Hotel1 Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2EQ, Scotland
The Rocco Forte Collection’s Balmoral Hotel is a brilliant luxury hotel in the heart of the Scottish capital, Edinburgh. The Balmoral, with its amazing clock tower and a style that manages to fuse the contemporary with luxury, is genuinely unique and a hotel to come and see as much for its beauty as for its functionality as one of the UK’s finest 5 star hotels.
There are 188 opulent bedrooms and suites, many offering truly magnificent vistas of the Old Town and Edinburgh’s historic Castle. All the bedrooms are individually styled, with ideas taken from a powerful Scottish heritage. The Balmoral’s Palm Court is the place for traditional afternoon tea, and the choice of restaurants and bars is wide. Chef Jeff Bland has set up shop in in Number One, which offers Michelin-starred gastronomic international food. Then there is Hadrian’s, more of a bistro in style, and two bars – one featuring champagne, the other specializing in whiskies.
Chewton Glen Country House HotelChewton Glen Country House Hotel & Spa Resort, New Milton, Hampshire, BH25 6QS, England
Set in 130 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside, Chewton Glen lies on the very edge of the New Forest National Park and just a short stroll from the sea. Head Gardener Darren and his green-fingered team specialize in creating stunning seasonal displays and absolutely beautiful gardens and parkland. The hotel has its own 9 hole golf course (par 3, no less), a practice range, putting green, a croquet lawn, an outdoor swimming pool, and two outdoor plus two indoor tennis courts. Every one of the hotel’s 58 bedrooms and suites are individually decorated, with a luxurious mix of stunning fabrics, modern and traditional textiles with antique furnishings puts the Chewton Glen top of the list for 5 Star Hotels on England’s south coast.
Claridge’sBrook Street, Mayfair, London W1A 2JQ, England
Lovers of the Art Deco style, will love this opulent hotel, famous for its afternoon tea, the elegance of the rooms (decorated by famous designers), the original Ladies lift, with the feeling of a palace in the centre of London’s Mayfair. The food in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant is to die for.
The DorchesterPark Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QA, England
Situated on Park Lane – which runs between Marble Arch and Hyde Park Corner and overlooking Hyde Park – The Dorchester is one of the world’s most desirable hotels. Expect the highest of traditional values, as you can see from the spacious suites and other rooms, the wonderful dining experience and one of the world’s most luxurious spas.
Other Recommended 5 Star Hotels UK include:
Bovey Castle, North Bovey, England | The Butler’s Hotel, Leeds, England | Cameron House Hotel, Loch Lomond, Scotland | The Connaught, London | Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane | Glenapp Castle Hotel, Ayrshire, Scotland | Hyatt Regency London, The Churchill | The Lanesborough, London | The Lowry, Manchester | Mellington Hall Hotel, Powys, Wales | Royal Horseguards, London | The Savoy, London | South Lodge Hotel, Horsham, England
With the online bargains that are available, it is often as cheap to stay in 5 Star hotels as it is to stay in a 3 star or 4 star hotel. If you feel like a bit of luxury for a change, why not treat yourself to the experience that you only get with real quality 5 star hotels.