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Wishing upon a star: On July 23rd, the whole hotel classification system will change.


For best or worse, but for now only one third of all French hotels are ready…

In a few days, the usual « Hotel de Tourisme » sign that proudly stand by each hotel door will be gone. For some hotels, it will be replaced. For most, it will be gone for a few years. That sign displays the number of stars of each hotel, which is both crucial information for the hotel and for the tourist. But until July 23rd, the rationale to get the stars was rather unclear. That is now changed: there a are no less than 246 fields to answer to, to know wether a hotel, a camping or any other tourist housing place is a 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars.

All in all, that’s good news. From now on, you will know that a 1or 2 star hotel room has a minimum of 9m2 while a 3 stars has a minimum of 13,5m2, 16m2 for a 4 stars and 20m2 for a 5 stars. A 1 star may only speak French, unlike the others. And so on for the food, the common rooms, the concierge, etc.

The problem is that this new rationale brings out new concepts, like sustainable development or fire prevention, which requires the Hotel owners to spend thousands on works. Which is the reason why a majority of owners have dropped the idea of being ready on time.

Of course, the logic is understandeable, yet the loss of the star system, even for a few month, can be disastrous for a hotel, as it will not be able to advertise anything related to stars, and we all know that when booking a hotel in one precise location, without any insider information, we all tend to select with two criterias: money and stars. And it will be harder on smaller hotels, since they are the ones that have a hard time paying for the works. But sometimes they are the ones we like the most…

A common issue is also that absence of communication from the Government. It’s good to change a 30 year old system, but it’s sad that no advertising at all was made to explain it to the people. In fact, I might be the one breaking that news out to you…

Again, I think it will be for the best, but the next few month might a be a time of turmoil (and good opportunities) for hotel bookings in France. And I wouldn’t mind a star system for tour guides too!