Hotel grades made easy

The English Tourist Board yesterday announced the adoption of a single five-star ratings system for hotels in a move aimed at ending years of confusion over the quality of rooms and services. The system, using the internationally recognised five stars, will cover all hotels with a similar scheme for bed-and-breakfasts, guesthouses, farmhouses and inns. It takes into account the quality of accommodation, yet emphasises the facilities provided, offering a single integrated star rating, and is due to be launched in 2000,

The Wales Tourist Board is expected to adopt a similar system, but the Scottish Tourist Board is continuing with its own scheme, which already covers four-fifths of hotels north of the border, stresses quality over facilities such as room service and whether rooms have televisions.

The English scheme was agreed with the Automobile Association and the Royal Automobile Club, which have been running rival ratings schemes offering different types of gradings based on varying criteria.