Guide to AA ratings and awards

Guide to AA ratings and awards

Common standards for hotel and guest accommodation

Hotels or guest accommodation assessed by the AA are rated under a set of common quality standards agreed by the AA and the UK tourist authorities (VisitBritain, VisitScotland and VisitWales).

The common standards make types of accommodation easy to understand and give you confidence that establishments can meet the standards you require.

Accommodation is assessed under three broad categories: Hotel, Guest Accommodation and Budget Hotel.

Hotel categories

Hotel A formal accommodation offering full hotel service
Country House Hotel A hotel with ample grounds or gardens set in a rural or semi-rural situation; the property has an emphasis on peace and quiet.
Small Hotel Smaller establishments having a maximum of 20 bedrooms, and personally run by the proprietor
Town House Hotel A high-quality property of distinctive style with a maximum of 50 bedrooms, set in a town or city centre; possibly no dinner but room service is available instead.
Metro Hotel A town or city property providing full hotel services except dinner, close to a range of places to eat.

Guest accommodation categories

B&B Accommodation provided in a private house by the owner for up to six paying guests.
Guest House Accommodation for more than six paying guests, with the owner and staff providing more services, eg dinner.
Farmhouse B&B or Guest House accommodation provided on a working farm.
Inn Accommodation provided in a fully licensed establishment. The bar will be open to non-residents and provide food in the evenings.
Restaurant with Rooms A restaurant offering a maximum of 12 bedrooms
Guest Accommodation Any establishment that meets the minimum entry requirements can choose to use this general category.

Self catering and serviced apartments

These are living accommodation for fixed term rental for holiday and business purposes. The normal letting term is one week; however shorter and longer periods may be arranged.

To be appointed by the AA, properties are required to undergo a quality based assessment and must achieve the minimum entry requirements as detailed in the AA's self catering quality standards. Appointed self catering properties are awarded classification on a scale to one to five stars.

Accommodation star ratings

Star ratings, from one to five, show the standard of quality for hotels, guest accommodation and self catering. The following brief summary gives the main standards within their ratings.

Hotel star ratings

Star ratingDescription
One Star Courteous staff provide an informal yet competent service. All rooms are ensuite or have private facilities, and a designated eating area serves breakfast daily and dinner most evenings.
Two Star A restaurant or dining room serves breakfast daily and dinner most evenings.
Three Star Staff are smartly and professionally presented. The restaurant or dining room is open to residents and non-residents.
Four Star Professional, uniformed staff respond to your needs or requests, and there usually are well-appointed public areas. The restaurant or dining room is open to residents and non-residents, and lunch is available in a designated eating area.
Five Star Luxurious accommodation and public areas, with a range of extra facilities and a multilingual service available. Guests are greeted at the hotel entrance. High quality menu and wine list.

Guest accommodation star ratings

Star ratingDescription
One Star Minimum quality requirements for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, facilities and services. A cooked or substantial continental breakfast is served in a dining room or eating area, or bedroom only.
Two Star Courteous service, well-maintained beds, and breakfast prepared with a good level of care.
Three Star Friendly welcome, and good-quality, well-presented beds and furniture. A choice of good-quality, freshly cooked food is available at breakfast.
Four Star Attentive, more personalised service. At least half of the bedrooms are en suite or have private bathrooms. Very good beds and high quality furniture. Breakfast offers a greater choice, and fresh ingredients are cooked and presented with a high level of care.
Five Star Awareness of each guest's needs with nothing being too much trouble. All bedrooms are en suite or have a private bathroom. Excellent quality beds and furnishings. Breakfast includes specials/home-made items, high quality ingredients, and fresh local produce.

Self catering and serviced apartments star ratings

Star ratingDescription
One Star Minimum quality requirements for cleanliness, maintenance, fixtures, fittings, and furnishings. Items provided are adequate and functional, all in working order, and are fit for the purpose intended.
Two Star A good standard of quality overall is required, with improved coordination and use of space, and a wider range of items provided.
Three Star Detailed evidence of care and external maintenance. A good provision of local information and additional recreational items; well-finished fittings and decor and a kitchen well-stocked with cookware, crockery, cutlery and utensils.
Four Star Very good to excellent standards throughout, with high quality coordinated furniture, fixtures and fittings. Ample space with well-planned layout of furniture; high quality and very good range of kitchen equipment.
Five Star Exceptional and outstanding levels of comfort throughout, with an excellent range of items. High quality furniture with striking interior design; an excellent range of kitchen appliances, cookware, crockery, cutlery and utensils, all in pristine condition.

Other accommodation symbols used on this website

AA Merit % Score
In addition to the Star rating, we give each hotel an AA Merit Score as a percentage. This indicates the level of quality achieved within each Star rating, which helps you to compare hotels with the same number of Stars.

Red Star  AA Inspectors' Choice in Britain & Ireland
The AA's supreme accolade for hotels, regardless of size or type of operation. This hotel has been selected by the AA as one of the best hotels in the British Isles, offering excellent levels of quality throughout, outstanding levels of hospitality and service.

Silver Star Hotel Silver Star Award
Highly recommended hotels offering a superior level of quality within their star rating, high standards of hotel keeping in particular hospitality, service and cleanliness and hold an AA Rosette award for the quality of their food.

Gold star symbol Gold Star Award
The AA's supreme accolade for guest accommodation, regardless of size or type of operation. AA Gold Stars are awarded to the very best properties offering excellent levels of quality throughout and outstanding levels of hospitality and service. The AA's supreme accolade for Self Catering offering excellent levels of quality and facilities.

Silver Star Guest Accommodation Silver Star Award
Highly recommended guest accommodation offering a superior level of quality within their star rating, high standards of hospitality, service and cleanliness.

Breakfast and Dinner awards symbols Breakfast and Dinner awards symbols Breakfast and Dinner awards
For guest accommodation, the eggcup and pie symbols indicate a very special breakfast or dinner, with an emphasis on freshly prepared local ingredients.

Unconfirmed rating symbol Unconfirmed rating
Hotel, guest accommodation or self catering may have an 'Unconfirmed' symbol because their Star rating has not been confirmed. This may be due to a change of ownership, or the establishment has only recently joined the AA rating scheme, or we are working with the management / owners whilst works and changes take place to achieve an AA star rating.

AA Associate symbol AA Associate recognition
Establishments inspected and rated by VisitBritain, VisitScotland or VisitWales can pay to belong to the AA Associate Hotel/Guest Accommodation Scheme. You can be confident that all AA Associate-recognised establishments have Star ratings that meet the common quality standards.

AA Advertised Advertised
These establishments are not rated or inspected by the AA but are displayed for purely advertising reasons only.

Pennant ratings for campsites and caravan parks

Campsites and caravan parks are rated by AA inspectors on a five-point scale. The Pennant ratings increase with the quality and variety of facilities a park offers.

The AA Pennant rating is only based on the touring pitches and the facilities at campsites and caravan parks. AA inspectors do not visit or report on rented static caravans or chalets.

There is also a separate category for Holiday Centres (below), which offer touring facilities of equal importance to the on-site statics.

Tent and man

Pennant ratings

Pennant ratingDescription
One Pennant symbol One-Pennant parks
One-Pennant parks offer a simple standard of facilities. You can expect to find no more than 30 pitches per acre, with at least 10% of the pitches allocated to tourers. There will be an adequate drinking water supply and reasonable drainage, plus a washroom with flush toilets (if there are no toilet facilities this should be clearly stated). Chemical disposal arrangements are provided, ideally with running water and clearly signed refuse disposal arrangements. The ground will be well-drained with some level pitches, and entrance and access roads will be of an adequate width and surface.
Two Pennant symbol Two-Pennant parks
These parks offer a better level of facilities, services, customer care and ground maintenance. You should find separate washrooms, including at least two WCs and two washbasins, with hot and cold water, per gender for every 30 pitches. Toilet blocks will be externally lit and a warden will be available, at times indicated, during the day. Covered and lit dishwashing facilities are provided and you can expect to find a park reception area.
Three Pennant symbol Three-Pennant parks
Three-Pennant parks are of a very good standard with well-maintained facilities and grounds, and attention to customer care and security. You can expect to find modern toilet blocks and also modern shower cubicles (one per gender for every 35 pitches). The parks offer some electric-hook-ups, hardstandings, wheel runs and/or firm level ground. A laundry with at least one washing machine and drying facilities will be available, and you can expect to find a children's playground.
Four Pennant symbol Four-Pennant parks These parks have achieved an extremely high standard in all areas. You can expect fully tiled shower cubicles and some combined toilet-washing cubicles. A warden is available at all times, and there is a good level of security and supervision. At least half of the pitches will have an electric hook-up and there will be a maximum of 25 pitches per camping acre. There will also be a shop on site or nearby, and the park will have a reception area and a late-arrivals enclosure.
Five Pennant symbol Five-Pennant Premier parks
Premier Parks are of an extremely high standard, set in attractive surroundings with mature landscaping. Facilities, security and customer care are exceptional. You can expect to find electric hook-ups at most pitches, and first-class toilet facilities, including several self-contained cubicles ideally with a WC, washbasin and shower. At many Premier Parks you will find a well-equipped shop, a heated swimming pool, and a cafe, restaurant and/or bar.

Percentage Score

AA Pennant-rated parks and Holiday Centres achieve an overall quality score as a percentage, which helps to differentiate parks with the same Pennant rating.

1 AA Gold Pennant AA Gold Pennants
AA Gold Pennants are awarded to the very best camping parks with a Quality Score of 90% and above within the 2, 3, 4 and 5 Pennant ratings.

Holiday Centres

Holiday Centres cater for all holiday needs, including entertainment and catering facilities. They provide:

  • a wide range of on-site sports, leisure and recreational facilities
  • exceptional supervision and security
  • a choice of eating outlets
  • touring facilities of equal importance to statics
  • a maximum density of 25 pitches per acre
  • clubhouse with entertainment provided
  • automatic laundry

Rosette awards for restaurants

The long-established Rosette scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK. Success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant. Essentially the visit is a snapshot, whereby the entire meal, including ancillary items (when served), is assessed.

About 10% of restaurants nationwide are of a standard that is worthy of One Rosette and above. This is indeed a huge achievement, and not to be underestimated.

We recommend you don't chase awards, rather see them as something to celebrate when that they come along. While we endeavour to work with the industry and promote great cooking across the UK, it is paramount to always serve your market first.

Where the winning of Rosettes is an aspiration, the simple guidelines below provide helpful information. AA food tastings, enhanced food tasting, or signing up to one of the AA Rosette Academies also give further insight and guidance, but they are separate from the awards process and do not influence any assessments.

AA Rosettes are solely awarded by AA Hotel and Restaurant Inspectors. External influences from hotels, restaurants or other guides are not taken into account when awarding Rosettes.

Establishements feel pride is the most important aspect of being awards an AA Rosette

A Rosette survey was sent out to all establishments with an AA Rosette/s.

Establishments were canvassed for their views on the benefits of the AA Rosette scheme, the survey showed the following results:

90% stated Pride was the most important factor

84% felt Motivation was the most important factor

42% felt is helped deliver extra revenue and covers

40% felt is helped with staff retention

31% felt it helped withy staff recruitment

30% felt it helped increased sales overall

Waiter with platter

Rosette award descriptions

One Rosette These restaurants achieve standards that stand out in their local area. They serve food prepared with care, understanding and skill, using good quality ingredients. The same expectations apply to hotel restaurants, where guests can eat in with confidence and a sense of anticipation. Around 50% of restaurants/hotels within our AA Restaurant Guide have One Rosette.
Two Rosettes Excellent restaurants that aim for and achieve higher standards and better consistency. A greater precision is apparent in the cooking, and there will be obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients. Around 40% of restaurants/hotels within our AA Restaurant Guide have Two Rosettes.
Three Rosettes Outstanding restaurants that achieve standards that demand recognition well beyond their local area. The cooking is underpinned by the selection and sympathetic treatment of the highest quality ingredients. Timing, seasoning and the judgment of flavour combinations will consistently be excellent. These virtues tend to be supported by other elements, such as intuitive service and a well-chosen wine list. Around 10% of the restaurants/hotels within the AA Restaurant Guide have Three Rosettes and above.
Four Rosettes Among the top restaurants in the UK, where the cooking demands national recognition. These restaurants exhibit intense ambition, a passion for excellence, superb technical skills, and remarkable consistency. They will combine appreciation of culinary traditions with a passionate desire for further exploration and improvement. There are very few restaurants with Four AA Rosettes.
Five Rosettes The pinnacle, where cooking compares with the best in the world. These restaurants have highly individual voices, exhibit breathtaking culinary skills, and set standards to which others aspire to, yet few achieve.

Announcements of awards

  • One and Two Rosettes are awarded at the time of inspection.
  • Three and Four Rosette awards are announced twice during the year, but never at the time of inspection.
  • Five Rosettes are awarded just the once during a year, and never at the time of inspection.

Suspension of Three, Four and Five Rosettes

When a chef holds Three, Four or Five Rosettes and moves from one establishment to another, the award is suspended at the hotel/restaurant they have just left. The award does not follow the chef either.

We therefore recommend that establishments inform us of a change of chef as soon as possible, in order to schedule a forthcoming inspection.

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