Hotel rating systems

Hotel ratings are often used to classify hotels according to their quality. From the initial purpose of informing travellers on basic facilities that can be expected, the objectives of hotel rating have expanded into a focus on the hotel experience as a whole. Today the terms ‘grading’, ‘rating’, and ‘classification’ are used to generally refer to the same concept, that is to categorize hotels.

There is a wide variety of rating schemes used by different organizations around the world. Many have a system involving stars, with a greater number of stars indicating greater luxury. Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide, launched its star rating system in 1958. The AAA and their affiliated bodies use diamonds instead of stars to express hotel and restaurant ratings levels.

Food services, entertainment, view, room variations such as size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers, ease of access and location may be considered in establishing a standard. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and rest heavily on the facilities provided. Some consider this disadvantageous to smaller hotels whose quality of accommodation could fall into one class but the lack of an item such as an elevator would prevent it from reaching a higher categorization.

A vast array of incompatible rating systems purport to evaluate restaurants, hotels and travel accommodation in individual countries or worldwide. The value of these systems, much like the criteria used to generate the ratings, varies widely.

In their original format, establishments were visited by professional reviewers on behalf of guide book publishers; an establishment which met a reviewer’s minimum expectations under established criteria received a very brief printed description and a shorthand rating as a number of stars (some automobile associations use diamonds). In most reputable guides, an establishment of poor quality simply didn’t get listed at all. The latter is also (for the most part) policy here at Wikivoyage.

The original star ratings were introduced by the Michelin Guides for restaurants in 1933. There were only three levels, defined in terms of how a driver might reach them since Michelin is a tire company:

one star: worth a visit; you should eat there if you are in the area
two star: worth a detour; consider going out of your way to eat there
three star: worth a special trip just to eat there.
As of 2009 there were only 81 Michelin-rated three star restaurants in the world.

Later, the ratings were applied to hotels and attractions as well as restaurants, and other guides started using more than 3 star levels. While criteria varied, most respected printed guides set a high bar before awarding multiple, additional stars. The Mobil Travel Guide (now the Forbes Guide) awarded five stars in 2006 to 32 hotels in all of North America (US, Canada & Mexico); more recent editions award “five stars” to just a handful of US hotels (10 in CA, 7 in NY, 2 each in HI and IL, 1 each in TX and DC, many states zero).

The ratings are a shorthand intended to accompany (not replace) the short textual commentary on each venue in a printed guidebook.

As anyone can publish their own ratings or even their own guidebooks, reviewing based on any arbitrary criteria, the use of a “star rating” on its own has substantial limitations:
Marketers began to dilute these terms, with dozens of hotels claiming to be “five star” even if most merely met Mobil’s definition of three star “Well-appointed establishment, with full services and amenities” or (at best) four star “Outstanding-worth a special trip”.
Rating systems designed for traditional restaurants and hotels performed poorly when assessing bed and breakfasts or non-conventional properties. The availability of each item from a check-list of desired amenities is easily quantified; the quality of the provided services and the hosts themselves is subjective and difficult to assess in a repeatable manner. At most, a professional reviewer might be afforded discretion to award an additional half-star (★+) if a property is better than others in its class.
Travel organisations (agencies, tour operators and transportation services) fell through the cracks; there are either no ratings or ratings based primarily on a self-selected sample of user-supplied reviews. The little-used TripCook rates travel companies on multiple criteria, but quite clearly brands itself a “travel business promotion agency”.
Some rating systems were operated by organisations representing travel industry vendors. One star in le guide Michelin means a property is not only one of the select few good enough to be listed by le bonhomme Michelin at all but also one of the even fewer to receive such an imprimatur. One star in a guidebook which lists every member of the local innkeeper’s association, conversely, doesn’t mean “actually good enough to join this very select list” but instead “possibly the worst hotel in the city”.
On-line reviews are prone to inconsistent standards and vulnerable to manipulation. Instead of employing professional reviewers using established criteria, websites opened the floodgates for a self-selected sample of users to submit their own subjective reviews. As those who felt most strongly were the most eager reviewers, most lauded (five stars) or scathingly despised (one star) any given venue. Website owners routinely exercised heavy-handed control over which reviews were published, despite an inherent conflict of interest: many sites were funded by adverts from the very vendors they purported to objectively review.
The status of the rating organization is often unclear, or the ratings vague or non-descriptive. There is a virtual jungle of rating systems in the world. Even where an official system rates properties on a clear, published set of criteria, its ratings co-exist alongside multiple other “star” ratings, everything from le guide Michelin to some random Yelp user. As all use differing criteria, direct comparison of ratings between systems is meaningless.
Unless the voyager knows why and how a specific rating is given under specific criteria, a star rating on its own is just a number.

Some countries have carefully implemented one standard, established rating system with well-defined criteria. In this system, an official guidebook issued by a province or state will consistently use one rating system across all listed properties. While this does not eliminate the inherent loss of data when reducing observations like “good room service, but badly dated décor” to one arbitrary number rating the hotel as a whole, it at least allows comparison between properties in the same market.

A travel rating system that is impartial, contains no marketing affiliations and uses well-constructed algorithms paired with customer reviews could certainly make the travel industry more efficient, caring and responsible.

Conversely, an innkeeper giving themselves five stars (or six, or seven…) is completely meaningless.

Standards of hotel classification

The more common classification systems include “star” rating, letter grading, from “A” to “F”, such as hotels and motels. Systems using terms such as Deluxe/Luxury, First Class/Superior, Tourist Class/Standard, and Budget Class/Economy are more widely accepted as hotel types, rather than hotel standard.[by whom?] Some countries have rating by a single public standard—Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Hungary have laws defining the hotel rating. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the rating is defined by the respective hotel industry association using a five-star system—the German classifications are Tourist (*), Standard (**), Comfort (***), First Class (****) and Luxury (*****), with the mark “Superior” to flag extras beyond the minimum defined in the standard, but not enough to move the hotel up to the next tier ranking. The Swiss hotel rating was the first non-government formal hotel classification beginning in 1979. It influenced the hotel classification in Austria and Germany. The formal hotel classification of the DEHOGA (German Hotel and Restaurant Association) started on 1 August 1996 and proved successful with 80% of guests citing the hotel stars as the main criteria in hotel selection. This implementation influenced the creation of a common European Hotelstars rating system that started in 2010 (see below). In France, the rating is defined by the public tourist board Atout France using a four-star system (plus “L” for Luxus) which has changed to a five-star system from 2009 on. In South Africa, the Tourist Grading Council of South Africa has strict rules for a hotel types granting up to 5 stars. In India, the classification of hotels is based on two categories such as “Star” and “Heritage”. Hotels in India are classified by Hotel and Restaurant Association Classification Committee (HRACC), Ministry of Tourism, India. In New Zealand, hotels and other tourism services are graded by Qualmark, which is owned by Tourism New Zealand, a government organisation. Hotel classifications by country


In Australia, the independent accommodation rating scheme and Star Rating trademarks (the ‘stars’) are owned by the Australian Auto Clubs – the NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT. A Star Rating represents the quality and condition of guest facilities and is determined by more than 200 criteria that have been ranked by Australian travellers according to what’s important to them. Star Ratings are awarded to properties across six accommodation types – hotels, motels, serviced apartments, self-catering, hosted accommodation and caravan-holiday parks – following a physical inspection by qualified reviewers. In 2015 Star Ratings Australia became one of the first independent accommodation classification systems in the world to incorporate a consumer ‘voice’. An exclusive Travellers’ Rating is presented in parallel to the independent Star Rating and is an aggregate of past guest ratings and reviews from more than 100 websites in 45 different languages. A property must have a minimum of 25 reviews (across all sites) to produce an aggregate Travellers’ Rating. Weighting applies to the popularity of the source site and the date of the last guest review. The William Angliss Institute in Melbourne has developed an independent benchmarking framework to show if a property has met or exceeded guest expectations. Star Ratings in Australia stand for independently reviewed quality standards and are easily defined:

On 28 February 2017, Michael Reed, CEO of Australian Motoring Services, advised clients via email of the closure of Star Ratings Australia effective from mid-2017.[citation needed] Australia’s star ratings have been operating since the 1950s, first with the state based automobile clubs, then with AAA Tourism as a peak body. However, the booking service in the motoring clubs was not continued and later the annual accommodation guide book ceased to be printed with the accommodation guide going online. AAA Tourism closed, and Star Ratings Australia continued the inspection and star rating service only, as well as the accommodation website. Reed asked clients to remove star rating and automobile club logos from their accommodation and promotional information by mid-year. Competition from international websites led to its demise. Star Ratings Australia is a 1-5 star system operated by Australian Motoring Services, which is owned by the state-level automobile associations (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RACWA, RAA and RACT). There are separate criteria for hotel, motel, serviced apartment, self-catering, hosted accommodation and caravan-holiday park (so a “five-star motel” can’t be compared directly to a “five-star hotel”). The hotel criteria are about fifty-six pages; each category of accommodation is rated on three groups of criteria (“Quality and Condition”, “Cleanliness” and “Facilities and Services”) and inspected at roughly three-year intervals. Half-stars may be awarded.

★ or ★+

Offers budget facilities without compromising cleanliness or guest security. Guests may access fee-based services or facilities upon request.

★★ or ★★+

Focusses on the needs of price conscious travellers. Services and guest facilities are typically limited to keep room rates affordable and competitive but may be available upon request or fee-based.


Delivers a broad range of amenities that exceed above-average accommodation needs. Good quality service, design and physical attributes are typically fit for purpose to match guest expectations.


Achieves a deluxe guest experience. A wide range of facilities and superior design qualities is typically complemented by service standards that reflect the varied and discerning needs of the guest.


Typifies luxury across all areas of operation. Guests will enjoy an extensive range of facilities and comprehensive or highly personalised service relevant to the accommodation type. Properties at this level will display excellent design quality and attention to detail.

Innkeepers are under no obligation to participate in the scheme; many choose not to do so due to the fees involved. A star rating may be upgraded if a property is renovated or revoked entirely in response to consumer complaints. New Zealand

Qualmark, owned by Tourism New Zealand, a government organisation, provides the official rating system and uses a 1–5 star system; half-stars may be awarded for properties better than the others in their class. ★ or ★+

Acceptable. Meets customers’ minimum requirements. Basic, clean, and comfortable accommodation.

★★ or ★★+

Good. Exceeds customers’ minimum requirements with some additional facilities and services.


Very good. Provides a range of facilities and services and achieves good to very good quality standards.


Excellent. Consistently achieves high quality levels with a wide range of facilities and services.


Exceptional. Among the best available in New Zealand.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom hotels are rated from one-star to five stars. The RAC pulled out of accommodation grading in 2008 so the only grading schemes in operation are those operated by the AA (Automobile Association) and the national tourist boards: Visit England, Visit Wales, the Scottish Tourist Board and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The schemes were all ‘harmonised’ to ensure consistency between the schemes. This applies to all accommodation types apart from self-catering that the AA started offering in 2009. The AA criteria are available on its website. In addition to the usual black stars (ranging from one (the lowest) to five (the highest), the AA awards red stars to the highest-rated, which are deemed ‘Inspectors’ Choice’. Each of the national tourist boards have grading explanations on their web sites. The primary organizations for rating are the Automobile Association (AA) and tourist boards (VisitBritain, Visit Wales and Visit Scotland). Royal Automobile Club (RAC) inspectors provided their own ratings from 1905-2006. The various organisations cooperate when it comes to rating, which makes it easier for the traveller. There is a consistent set of standards; as of 2011:

Every hotel, from one star up, must generally be open daily during its operating season, providing the level of service and facilities appropriate to its star rating seven days a week. The proprietor or staff are available during the day and evening to receive guests and provide information/services such as hot drinks and light refreshments; they are on site all day and on call to resident guests at night. Resident guests, once registered, have access to the hotel at all times. The hotel meets all current statutory obligations, carries liability insurance and provides a minimum of 15 double en suite bedrooms, a clearly designated reception facility and a bar or sitting area with a liquor licence. A dining room/restaurant or similar eating area serves a cooked or continental breakfast seven days a week, as well as evening meals seven days a week.


Additionally, for two stars, all areas of operation should meet the Two Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, quality of physical facilities and delivery of services.


Additionally, for three stars, all areas of operation should meet the Three Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, quality of physical facilities and delivery of services. All bedrooms have en suite bathrooms. An in-room telephone system provides, at minimum, the ability to phone from bedroom to reception and vice versa. Once registered, residents have access at all times during the day and evening (e.g. from 7 am until 11 pm) without use of a key. Access is available outside these times. Wi-Fi is available in public areas. Dinner is served six evenings a week with bar snacks or equivalent available on seventh evening. Room service offers a minimum of hot and cold drinks and light snacks (e.g. sandwiches) during the daytime and evening. Guests should be made aware of this service provision via room information and made aware of prices before ordering.


Additionally, for four stars, there is an expectation for higher quality of service levels in all departments and in general higher staffing levels, as well as a serious approach and clear focus to the food and beverage offering. Once registered, residents should have 24 hour access, facilitated by on-duty staff. All bedrooms include a Wi-Fi or Internet connection, as well as en suite bathrooms with WC and thermostatically controlled showers. At least one restaurant is open to residents and non-residents for breakfast and dinner seven days a week. The 24 hour room service includes cooked breakfast and full dinner during restaurant opening hours. All areas of operation should meet the Four Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, quality of physical facilities and delivery of services. Enhanced services are offered, such as afternoon tea, offer of luggage assistance, meals at lunchtime or table service on request at breakfast.


Additionally, for five stars (the highest rating), a hotel must offer exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care, providing excellent staffing levels with well-structured and dedicated teams with depth in management levels. All areas of operation should meet the Five Star level of quality for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, and for the quality of physical facilities and delivery of services. The five-star hotel must be open seven days a week all year, with additional facilities (e.g. secondary dining, leisure, business centre, spa) and enhanced services offered (e.g. valet parking, escort to bedrooms, proactive table service in bars and lounges and at breakfast, ‘concierge’ service, 24-hour reception, 24-hour room service, full afternoon tea). At least 80% of bedrooms have an en suite bathroom with WC, bath and a thermostatically controlled shower; 20% may be shower only. A number of permanent luxury suites are available. There is at least one restaurant open to residents and non-residents for all meals seven days a week. A choice of environments in public areas (of sufficient relevant size) provides generous personal space.

The VisitBritain Silver & Gold Awards are awarded to establishments with the highest levels of quality within their rating. While the overall rating (in stars) is based on a combination of the range of facilities, the level of the offered services and the general quality, the gold and silver awards focus solely on the quality of service. Different (typically less restrictive) criteria apply to guest accommodation, self-catering and serviced apartments, parks, holiday villages and hostels. Restaurants

The Automobile Association uses rosettes to evaluate eateries ranked in the top 10% of all British restaurants. The higher levels (three or four rosettes) are difficult to obtain; when a restaurant at these levels changes to another chef, it is re-evaluated. The AA typically adds only one restaurant a year at the four rosette level. Philippines

In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism has an accreditation system for hotels, apartment hotels and resorts. The current system which uses a “star system” which rates establishments from 1 to 5 stars was adopted in 2012. The rating of the aforementioned facilities are determined through a points system. Hotels, apartment hotels, and resorts are graded according to their service, facility quality and condition, and business practices. The Department of Tourism classifies the criteria used into seven dimensions or “business area” namely: Arrival & Departure, Public Areas, Bedrooms, Food & Beverage, Lounge Area, Kitchen Area, Amenities, and Business Practices, all common to the three categories except Kitchen and Lounge Area which is only applicable to apartment hotels. 1,000 points is the maximum number of points an establishment can attain. Department of Tourism (DOT) star grading system For hotels, resorts and apartment hotels


Corresponding points






Has limited facilities and services. Appeals to “budget minded” tourists.



Appeals to tourists looking for more than basic accommodation. Has expanded facilities and “higher level” of comfort.



Accommodation is deemed “very good”. More spacious public areas and higher quality facilities and a greater variety of services.



“Up-scale in all areas” and accommodation is “refined and stylish”. Service is deemed responsive, and has an extensive array of facilities.



Reflects characteristics of “luxury and sophistication”. Facilities are deemed “world class in every manner” and services are deemed meticulous and “exceeding all guests’ expectations”.

European Hotelstars Union

The HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe) is an umbrella organization for 39 associations from 24 European countries. At a conference in Bergen in 2004, the partners drafted a hotel classification system in order to harmonize their national standards. In 2007 HOTREC launched the European Hospitality Quality scheme (EHQ) which has since accredited the existing national inspection bodies for hotel rating. Under the patronage of HOTREC, the hotel associations of Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland created the Hotelstars Union. On 14 September 2009, the Hotelstars Union classification system was established at a conference in Prague. This system became effective in these countries in January 2010, with the exception of Hungary, Switzerland and the Netherlands, who have chosen later dates for the change. Later more countries have joined the HOTREC hotelstars system: Estonia (2011), Latvia (2011), Lithuania (2011), Luxembourg (2011), Malta (2012), Belgium (2013), Denmark (2013), Greece (2013), Liechtenstein (2015) and Slovenia (2017). The European Hotelstars Union system is based on the earlier German hotelstars system that had widely influenced the hotel classifications in central Europe, with five stars and a Superior mark to flag extras. Instead of a strict minimum in room size and required shower facilities (e.g. a bath tub in a four-star hotel) there is a catalogue of criteria with 21 qualifications encompassing 270 elements, where some are mandatory for a star and others optional. The main criteria are in quality management, wellness and sleeping accommodation. In the catalogue of criteria each entry is associated with a number of points – each Hotelstars level requires a minimal sum of points besides some criteria being obligatory for the level. The minimum requirement for the Superior flag requires the same sum of points as for the next Hotelstars level which however was not awarded due to at least one obligatory requirement being left out.

The award of the hotel stars is regulated throughout Europe by the Hotelstars Union, to which over 20 European countries belong. However, the procedure is not uniform. While it is voluntary in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, for example, it is required by law in Italy, Spain and Greece, for example. It is based on a catalog with a total of 270 criteria. The Swiss Hotelier Association is still responsible for awarding the stars in Switzerland, the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) in Germany, and the Austrian Chamber of Commerce has taken on this task in Austria. The procedure is similar in all three countries. The following description mainly refers to the DEHOGA. The classification of the hotels is voluntary, it is not done automatically, but only upon request. During the classification process, trained DEHOGA employees check which criteria are met and enter them in a list of points. If the number of points required for the requested stars has been reached, the house may present a bronze plaque with the stars achieved for three years. When the time has elapsed, the procedure must be repeated. The procedure is not free and is therefore not requested by every house. In Germany around 60% of the houses have been certified in recent years, in Switzerland and Austria the percentage is higher. It should also be mentioned that the catalog of criteria changes every 5 years. While color television sets were not required in 3-star hotels around 1980, for example, they are now standard in 1-star hotels.

Stars and equipment




Single room: 8 m², double room: 12 m²

Shower / toilet or bath / toilet, color TV, room cleaning daily, choice of drinks, breakfast option, a telephone accessible to the guest, receptionist, soap or washing lotion, free socket in the room, wake-up service


Single room 12 m², double room 16 m²

Shower / toilet or bath / toilet in the room, seating, laundry compartments, bedside lamp, bath towels, hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, disposable razor), cashless payment,


Single room 14 m², double room 18 m²

Luggage rack, safe available, hairdryer, heating facilities in the bathroom, non-smoking rooms available, additional blankets and pillows, drinks in the room, internet connection, sewing kit and shoe polishing kit available, house reception open 14 hours or 24 hours, luggage service, bilingual staff


Single room 16 m², double room 22 m²

Armchair / couch, side table, minibar or 24-hour room service, bathrobe, slippers, lobby with seating, hotel bar, restaurant, breakfast buffet, room service. Reception open 6pm or 24/7, internet terminal available,


Single room 18 m², double room 26 m²

Ironing service 1 hour, Mystery Men Checks, personal care items, choice of pillows, 24-hour reception, lobby, car driver service, qualified IT support, ironing service, shoe shine service, turndown service

A total of 270 criteria are checked and given scores. A safe in the room counts 6 points, an iron with ironing board 3 points. A coat hook is worth 1 point and is standard for all categories. Explanation of the graphic: A three-star hotel must achieve at least 250 points out of 83 specific criteria. If up to 130 points are added from any criteria, the hotel can add the addition Superior. Hoteliers who do not participate in this classification can classify their house themselves. Remarks: 1-star: up to 15% of the rooms can have WC / shower on the same floor. The guest must be informed of this prior to the conclusion of the accommodation contract.

Room size: there is no longer an exact regulation, but the room size is increasingly included in the assessment

Mystery Men Check: Checking the standards by anonymous guests

Turndown: preparation of the room for the night: bedspread off, night lights on,…

A new catalog of criteria is due again in Germany in 2015. Then the presence of charging sockets has 3 points. Internet access is then standard from 3 stars.

Stars in Europe

The leading umbrella organization for the catering industry is the HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe) with 44 member countries. One task is to set quality standards in the hospitality industry. The Hotelstars Union was founded under his patronage, and its members are responsible for awarding hotel stars in their countries. Within this union there is a comparable catalog of criteria. Members of the Hotelstars Union (as of 2014):






Horeca Vlaanderen



DEHOGA German Hotel and Restaurant Association



HORESTA Association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry in Denmark


EHRA Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association



Finnish Hospitality Association MaRa



FAGIHT Fédération Autonome Générale de l’Industrie Hôtelière Touristique, CPIH Confédération des Professionnels Indépendants de l’Hôtellerie



Greek Chamber for the Hotel Industry



IHF Irish Hotels Federation, RAI Restaurants Association of Ireland



FEDERALBERGHI Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane Alberghi e Turismo FIPE Federazione Italiana Pubblici Esercizi



UPUHH Association of Employers in Hospitality Industry


AHRL Latvian Hotel and Restaurant Association


LVRA Lithuanian Hotel and Restaurant Association



HORESCA National Association of Hotels, Restaurants and Cafés in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg



MHRA Malta Hotels & Restaurant Association



Horeca Nederland Royal Dutch Hotel Association



NHO Reiseliv



Austrian Hotel Industry Association



APHORT Associação Portuguesa de Hotelaria, Restauração e Turismo



Visita Swedish Hospitality Industry



hotelleriesuisse Swiss hotelier association



SAHR The Slovak Association of Hotels and Restaurants (Zväz hotelov a reštaurácií SR)



CEHAT Confederación Española de Hoteles y Alojamientos Turísticos FEHR Federación Española de Hosteleria

Czech Republic

AHRCR Czech Hotel and Restaurant Association



TUROFED Turkish Hotels Federation TUROB Touristic Hotels & Investors Association



HAH Hotel Association Hungary

United Kingdom


BHA British Hospitality Association Queens House BB&PA British Beer & Pub Association



Cyprus Hotel Association

g: statutory regulation, f: voluntary

World hotel rating

There is so far no international classification which has been adopted. There have been attempts at unifying the classification system so that it becomes an internationally recognized and a reliable standard, but they have all failed. It has been considered that, as it has been the case in other areas (e.g. international accounting standards), hotel classification standards should result from a private and independent initiative. This may be the case of the World Hotel Rating (WHR) project, which notably aims to set international classification standards and rating criteria along the lines of a world star-rating system. It will also establish an information platform on the hotel industry which will be multilingual and multicultural. WHR intends to play a key role in the development of quality hotel services, as well as equitable and sustainable tourism, and the protection of the world’s cultural and natural heritage. In addition, WHR will develop labels to promote hotels distinguished by specific features, such as a family and child-friendly disposition. A test period was scheduled for 2010.

More than five stars

Some hotels have been advertised as seven star hotels. The Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai was opened in 1998 with a butler for every room – this has been the first hotel being widely described as a “seven-star” property, but the hotel says the label originates from an unnamed British journalist on a press trip and that they neither encourage its use nor do they use it in their advertising. Similarly the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi (open since 2005) is sometimes described as seven star as well, but the hotel uses only a five star rating. The Galleria in Milan, Italy was opened in 2007 and it claims to have a seven star certificate from SGS Italy2008. However the SGS Italy (not the official tourism agency) only has five stars in the general hotel stars categorization, with the full title of the certificate being left unknown, just as the renewal process is unknown. Overall, as no traditional organization or formal body awards or recognizes any rating over five-star deluxe, such claims are meaningless and predominantly used for advertising purposes. Historically, luxury hotels have used the membership in The Leading Hotels of the World to document regular inspection on an additional level. This organization had been formed in 1928 and it reorganized in 1971 introducing a worldwide inspection service.

Alternative hotel ratings

In recent years, alternative hotel ratings are starting to appear in an effort to promote sustainability or cultural diversity in international tourism.

Green Key International

Green Key International is a voluntary eco-classification awarded to around 2,900 hotels and other establishments in 57 countries by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Green

Key Global

Green Key Global is a voluntary eco-classification awarded to around 1,850 hotels and venues in 15 countries. In 2009, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts joined the Green Key Global program.

Green Globe

Green Globe is the global certification for sustainable tourism. Membership is reserved for companies and organizations who are committed to making positive contributions to the planet. The Green Building Initiative (GBI) acquired the U.S. rights to the Canadian Green Globes building assessment and certification for the program in 2004 and adapted it for the U.S. market.

Salam Standard

Salam Standard is a classification system for Muslim-friendly hotels. Hotels can get certified based on certain Muslim-friendly criteria such as offering prayer mats, removing alcohol from the room and offering halal restaurant recommendations and is divided into 4 tiers (bronze, silver, gold and platinum). Archipelago Hotels, Indonesia’s biggest hospitality firm, is a prominent member of the Salam Standard system.