The Rigid Hotel Classification in France

Quite often when looking for a hotel you look at its star rating, hoping that will give you some idea of what standard you can expect during your stay. Sadly, in many places in the world, that star rating means absolutely nothing, as hotels rate themselves, or pay online booking sites to upgrade their ratings.

In France, however, where tourism accounts for 6% of the economy and there are strict rules regarding restaurants, wine, cheeses and many things to do with lifestyle, it should come as no surprise to learn that the hotel classification system is one that can actually be relied upon to supply you with standards you would expect.

Phil Chavanne, Senior Editor with the Paris tourist website Paris Eiffel Tower News explains the French hotel classification system in great detail, but here is a précis of what Phil describes:

The French hotel rating system uses a total set a 22 criteria and sub-criteria to measure the presence or absence of certain features in the hotel, and the square footage it devotes to various spaces.

Based on these objective measurements, the hotel is given its stars by the authorities.

Ratings are based firstly on a minimum square footage for the size of the rooms.

Doubles for one star rooms should be at least 9 sqm, which does not include a bathroom because in a one star bathrooms can be shared. For two star the room size is the same as for one star, but reception staff must be able to speak at least one European language besides French. For three star the room size, including bathroom, must be a minimum of 13.5sqm, there is the same reception language requirement, and reception must be open for at least ten hours each day.

Four star hotels have a minimum room size of 16sqm, including bathrooms, whilst 5 star room must be a minimum of 24sqm in size. Additionally, with four and five star hotels with more than 30 rooms there are extra requirements, which include the reception desk being open 24 hrs a day. 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 regulations also dictate which kind of window and floor coverings the hotels must have, soundproofing of rooms (less for one star and much better for 5 star), the type of sanitary equipment provided in bathrooms and rooms, minimum number of lights and wattage in rooms, workable phones and public phone booths and catering facilities, which are mandatory for four and five star hotels, but not for the lesser star hotels.

So, if you do book a hotel anywhere in France, the classification is national and all hotels across the country must comply to the standards, you can be pretty sure of what you will get for your money.

The only aspect that is not legislated for is quality of service, and for that you need to do your own research.

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