Travel: AA and Visit Scotland Ratings Explained.

Bedroom - Roxburghe hotel edinburgh

An explanation of what those stars actually mean officially.

© AA

AA Star Ratings

Star ratings, from one to five, are used to assess guest accommodation.

One Star

Minimum quality requirements for cleanliness, maintenance, hospitality, facilities and service. A cooked or substantial continental breakfast is served in a dining room or eating area, or bedroom only.

Two Star

Courteous service, well-maintained beds, and breakfast prepared with a good level of care.

Three Star

A friendly welcome and good-quality, well-presented beds and furniture. A choice of good-quality, freshly cooked food is available at breakfast.

Four Star

Attentive, more personalised service. At least half of the bedrooms are ensuite or have private bathrooms. Very good beds and high-quality furniture. Breakfast offers a greater choice, and fresh ingredients are cooked and presented with a high level of care.

Five Star

Awareness of each guest needs with nothing being too much trouble. All bedrooms are ensuite or have a private bathroom. Excellent quality beds and furnishings. Breakfast includes specials/home-made items, high-quality ingredients, and fresh local produce.

Highly Commended Guest Accommodation

Yellow Star  Yellow Stars indicate that an accommodation is in the top ten percent of its star rating. Yellow Stars only apply to three, four or five Star establishments.

© Visit Scotland

Visit Scotland Star Ratings

VisitScotland uses a five-level star grading system to indicate the standard of customer care and range of facilities on offer at assessed establishments.

The number of stars awarded to a property indicate that it is:

  1.          Acceptable – 1 star
  2.          Good – 2 stars
  3.          Very good – 3 stars
  4.          Excellent – 4 stars
  5.          Exceptional – 5 stars

Here are links to documents outlining what is required for Hotels and Self Catering accommodation.




I am Emma and with my husband Mark write Foodie Explorers, which is a food and travel website.

I am a member of the Guild of Food Writers and British Guild of Travel Writers.

We have a wide range of judging experience covering products, hotels and have judged, for example, for Great Taste Awards and Scottish Baker of the Year.

Along the way Mark gained WSET Level 2 in Wine and I have WSET Level 2 in Spirits as well as picking up an award with The Scotsman Food and Drink Awards.    

Usually I can be found sleeping beside a cat.

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