Choosing a hotel in France is now an easier task because of the new French hotel rating system. France, with over 78 million foreign visitors each year, is the worlds leading tourist destination. In fact, tourism accounts for approximately 6% of France’s income, so it is no wonder that the French government has taken the lead in developing a consistent hotel rating system to assist travelers in selecting a hotel.
Although the system retains the 1-star to 4-star ratings, it has added a fifth star for outstanding properties and a Palace designation for the finest hotels in France. The rating system is based on room-size and lobby size. Hotels have until July 2012 to complete the required modernization process, pass inspections and apply for their stars. From then on, two new signs will appear on officially accredited hotels: a red one for 1-star to 4-star establishments and a gold one for 5-star hotels.
Here is a run-down of what you can expect from hotels in this new French hotel rating system:
1- Star Hotels
1-star hotels are economy properties. Double rooms must be at least 9 square meters, (equivalent to about 96 square feet or a 10 x 9.6 foot room) not including the bathroom which my be en-suite or shared. The reception area must be at least 20 square meters (about 215 square feet or a space equivalent to 15 x 15 feet.)
At the lower end of mid-range hotels, 2-star hotels have the same minimum room size as 1-star, but in these establishments, staff members are required to speak an additional European language (other than French) and the reception desk must be open at least 10 hours per day. The reception area/lounge must be at least 50 square meters (538 square feet or about 24 x 22.5 feet)
Solid mid-range hotels, 3-star hotel rooms, must have a minimum space of 13.5 square meters including bathroom (145 Square feet , equivalent to a 12 x 12 foot room) The reception area/lounge must be at least 50 square meters (538 square feet or about 24 x 22.5 feet.) Staff members are required to speak an additional European language (other than French) and the reception must be open at least 10 hours per day.
4 and 5-Star Hotels
These hotels represent the high end hotels in France. The guestrooms are more spacious: 16 square meters including bathrooms for 4-star hotels (172 square feet, equivalent to a 12 x 14 foot room) and 24 square meters including bathroom for a 5-star hotel ( 258 square feet, equivalent to a 15 x 17 foot room.) For hotels with more than 30 rooms, the reception desk must be open 24 hrs a day. And for 5-star hotels, staff must be able to speak two foreign languages including English. Five-star hotels are also required to provide room service, valet parking, a concierge and, upon check-in, guests must be escorted to their rooms. Air conditioning is required.
The Palace designation can only be awarded to 5-star hotels. It recognizes establishments that are exceptional in several ways, such as having a Michelin starred restaurant, exceptional service by a greater number of employees than are required in 5-star hotels and exceptional amenities such as an on-site spa.
The French hotel rating system has also incorporated a 5-year review of each property for compliance. In the past, once a hotel was rated, the rating could last for 20 years without a review. The new system seeks to offer visitors to France a reliable and up-to-date guide for choosing the right hotel for their wants and needs.
Written by Terri Fogarty for Europeupclose.com