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 and guest accommodation are divided into sub-categories or designators that provide more information about the type of establishment.

Hotel categories

A formal accommodation offering full hotel services.

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

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.

B&B or Guest House accommodation provided on a working farm.

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

Self catering accommodation is the provision of 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.

Hotel, guest accommodation and self catering standards
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.

Star rating Hotel Guest Accommodation Self Catering
1 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. 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. 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.
2 Star A restaurant or dining room serves breakfast daily and dinner most evenings. Courteous service, well-maintained beds, and breakfast prepared with a good level of care. A good standard of quality overall is required, with improved coordination and use of space, and a wider range of items provided.
3 Star Staff are smartly and professionally presented. The restaurant or dining room is open to residents and non-residents. Friendly welcome, and good-quality, well-presented beds and furniture. A choice of good-quality, freshly cooked food is available at breakfast. Detailed evidence of care and external maintenance. A good provision of local information and additional recreational items; well-finished fittings and décor and a kitchen well-stocked with cookware, crockery, cutlery and utensils.
4 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. 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. 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.
5 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. 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. 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.