Official grading of the quality of Britainís accommodation standards is purported to be the same regardless of who grades it: the Automobile Association (AA), Royal Automobile Club (RAC), VisitBritain, VisitScotland or the Wales Tourist Board. Although the common set of criteria used to assess and rate accommodation by all organisations is the same, we have found the people doing the ratings have different reactions to properties.
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VisitBritain only promotes accommodation that has been quality assessed by one of these bodies. For example, a two-star hotel or 4-diamond bed and breakfast will offer the same standards no matter who it has been inspected by. (Our take on this is that it is not so, it depends on who did the ratings and what part of the country they are in--and we have stayed in many places throughout the UK.)
Serviced accommodation is divided into three categories: Hotel, Guest Accommodation and Budget Hotel, each with its own set of criteria, and rated between one and five stars or diamonds (except in the budget category). Self-catering properties, hostels and holiday, touring and caravan parks are also rated from one- to five-stars, using differing criteria.
This is what the star/diamond ratings mean:
One Star/diamond: Simple, practical, no frills.
Two Star/diamond: Well presented and well run.
Three Star/diamond: Good level of quality and comfort.
Four Star/diamond: Excellent standard throughout.
Five Star/diamond: Exceptional with a degree of luxury.
This award is given to Hotels and Guest Accommodation. It reflects a high level of quality, comfort and cleanliness in bedrooms and bathrooms with very good levels of customer care and food provision.
This award is given Hotels and Guest Accommodation. It reflects a very high level of quality. Properties achieving the Gold Award have exceptional levels of quality, comfort and cleanliness in bedrooms and bathrooms, and outstanding levels of customer care and food.