The Caterer

Grades also reassures customers

05 October 2006
Grades also reassures customers

The AA has many creative, individual hoteliers among the 8,000 hotels and guest accommodations we recommend across the UK in our paper guides and website. Their creativity and initiative are not stifled or limited by their participation in the AA quality standards.

The standards themselves act as a core, a bedrock of good hotelkeeping - a clean bedroom, somewhere to hang clothes, a bedside light, a comfortable chair, a meal cooked with care, someone to help with luggage - do these sound unreasonable? These are simple things, they are not "sexy", but our research tells us that guests expect them. Provision of these basics does not in itself mean uniformity; it does not prevent individuality and imagination of style.

The AA has always applied its standards with flexibility and an appreciation of the hotel's market. It has not allowed the presence or absence of minor items (eg, a bow tie) to affect the decision regarding the overall grading. I do not believe that attention to detail and creativity in design or style are mutually exclusive.

Peter Birnie
Chief hotel and restaurant inspector, AA Hotel Services, Basingstoke

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