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How the AA rates hotels

How is a hotel assessed for stars?

First introduced in 1912, the AA’s hotel-rating scheme was the first of its kind in the UK.

How does an AA hotel inspection take place?

Any hotel applying for AA recognition receives an unannounced visit from an AA inspector to check standards. Although AA inspectors do not stay overnight at budget hotels, they do carry out regular visits to verify standards and procedures.

General expectations for each star classification is as follows:

One star
  • Polite, courteous staff providing a relatively informal yet competent style of service, available during the day and evening to receive guests.
  • At least one designated eating area open to residents for breakfast.
  • If dinner is offered it should be available at least five days a week, with last orders no earlier than 6.30pm.
  • TV in the bedroom.
  • All rooms en suite, or private facilities with bath or shower room available at all times.
Two stars

As for one star, plus:

  • At least one restaurant or dining room open to residents for breakfast (and for dinner at least five days a week).
  • Last orders for dinner no earlier than 7pm.
  • Easy access to both sides of beds for double occupancy.
Three stars
  • Management and staff smartly and professionally presented and usually uniformed.
  • A dedicated receptionist on duty at peak times.
  • At least one restaurant or dining room open to residents and non-residents for breakfast and dinner whenever the hotel is open.
  • Last orders for dinner no earlier than 8pm.
  • Remote-control TV, direct-dial telephone.
  • En suite bath or shower and WC.
Four stars
  • A formal, professional staffing structure with smartly presented, uniformed.
  • Staff, anticipating and responding to your needs or requests.
  • Usually spacious, well-appointed public areas.
  • Reception staffed 24 hours by well-trained staff.
  • Express checkout facilities where appropriate.
  • Porterage available on request.
  • Night porter available.
  • At least one restaurant open to residents and non-residents for breakfast and dinner seven days per week, and lunch to be available in a designated eating area.
  • Last orders for dinner no earlier than 9pm.
  • En suite bath with fixed overhead shower and WC
  • Luxurious accommodation and public areas with a range of extra facilities.
Five stars
  • First time guests shown to their bedroom.
  • Multilingual service.
  • Guest accounts well explained and presented.
  • Porterage offered.
  • Guests greeted at hotel entrance, full concierge service provided.
  • At least one restaurant open to residents and non-residents for all meals seven days per week.
  • Last orders for dinner no earlier than 10pm.
  • High-quality menu and wine list.
  • Evening service to turn down the beds. Remote-control television, direct-dial telephone at bedside and desk, a range of luxury toiletries, bath sheets and robes.
  • En suite bathroom incorporating fixed overhead shower and WC.
Red stars – Inspector’s Choice

Each year we select the best hotels in each rating and award them red stars. These hotels stand out as the very best in the UK, regardless of style.

Silver stars – Highly Recommended

Hotels with silver stars have been selected for their superior levels of quality, high standards of hotel keeping and for the quality of food within their star rating.

Hotel types

Every hotel is given a designator or hotel type, which you can see alongside the star rating when you search for a place to stay.

Town House Hotel: a small, individual city or town centre property, which provides a high degree of personal service and privacy.

Country House Hotel: quietly located in a rural area.

Small Hotel: has fewer than 20 bedrooms and is owner-managed.

Metro Hotel: a hotel in an urban location that does not offer an evening meal.

Budget Hotel: These are usually purpose-built modern properties offering inexpensive accommodation. Often located near motorways and in town or city centres.

Annual awards

The AA also presents several awards within the scheme, including Hotel of the Year awards, presented to establishments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and Eco Hotel of the Year.

Establishments are also given food awards at the time of assessment, which include:

Rosettes: the AA's food award.

Breakfast award: for an exceptional breakfast with an emphasis on freshly prepared local ingredients.