Classification of accommodation in Ireland

From cheap and cheerful to luxurious castle living, Ireland has accommodation to suit everyone.

Ever slept in a lighthouse? Or how about a medieval castle? Ireland’s accommodation is extremely varied – you’ll find a warm welcome and a tasty meal wherever your adventures take you. But what should you expect from those stars next to the hotel name? We’ve got the lowdown on Ireland’s accommodation rating scheme, so you know what's going on in terms of service and quality (naturally, a warm welcome is guaranteed).

Hotels

Hotels on the island of Ireland are rated on a one to five Star scale.

***** (5 Star)

The very best of the best in comfort and service. Hotels of this standard range from stately castles, country club hotels and luxury city hotels. Accommodation in 5-star hotels is luxurious and spacious; suites are available, and they also boast some of Ireland’s top restaurants – it’s really more than just a hotel, it’s a real treat.

**** (4 Star)

4-star accommodation includes contemporary hotels and charming period houses to the highest standards with all modern comforts. Guest accommodation is luxurious, with suites and half-suites available. These hotels also house restaurants that dish out excellent food and service.

*** (3 Star)

3-star accommodation ranges from small family-run hotels to larger city hotels. Every guest room will have a private bathroom with a bath and/or shower. 3-star hotel restaurants prepare food to high standards in a relaxed atmosphere.

** (2 Star)

A 2-star hotel is likely to be family-run premises with charm and character. Guest rooms will have a telephone, private bathroom and dining facilities will also be available. You may not be able to order a margarita at three in the morning, but the service will still be great.

* (1 Star)

With 1-star hotels you can expect all the mandatory services and comforts to a good standard. Some guest rooms may have private bathrooms.

Guesthouse classification

Guesthouses on the island of Ireland are rated on a one to four scale.

**** (4 Star)

These are the cream of the guesthouse crop. Guest accommodation includes half suites and every room will have a private bathroom with a bath and/or shower. Direct telephone, TV with remote control and room service are also available. Other services you can expect include dinner service, safety deposit boxes, newspapers and, in some cases, a babysitting service.

*** (3 Star)

3-star guesthouses come with cosiness as standard. Guest rooms have a private bathroom and a direct telephone. You can expect a TV lounge area, and at least two major credit cards are accepted. Some guesthouses will have restaurant services, too.

** (2 Star)

Most guest bedrooms in 2-star guesthouses have a private bathroom. There will be a reading/ TV lounge area and, in some cases, a restaurant.

* (1 Star)

Though simple, 1-star guesthouses meet all the mandatory requirements and perform their services to a good standard. Some of these guesthouses will have restaurant facilities.

Self-catering classification in Northern Ireland

Self-catering accommodation in Northern Ireland is rated on a one to five scale.

***** (5 Star)

You can expect a really high standard of comfort and facilities, including TV, washing machine and tumble dryer, fresh linen, controlled heating and telephone.

**** (4 Star)

4-star accommodation should include all the mandatory facilities and a washing machine and tumble dryer.

*** (3 Star)

3 star self-catering properties should be self-contained with the mandatory facilities including fresh linens and colur TV.

** (2 Star)

2-star self-catering properties will include extras such as TV and linens. Though simple, these properties will have a good level of comfort.

* (1 Star)

Though on the bottom rung, 1-star self-catering properties will have adequate facilities and services, bear in mind that accommodation will be basic.

Self-catering classification in the Republic of Ireland

Self-catering accommodation in the Republic of Ireland is rated on a one to four scale.

**** (4 Star)

4-star accommodation should include all the mandatory facilities and a washing machine and tumble dryer.

*** (3 Star)

3 star self-catering properties should be self-contained with the mandatory facilities including fresh linens and TV.

** (2 Star)

2-star self-catering properties will include extras, such as TV and linens. Though simple, these properties will have a good level of comfort.

* (1 Star)

All 1-star self-catering properties will have adequate facilities and services, however, bear in mind that accommodation will be basic.

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B&B types and classification in the Republic of Ireland

All B&B homes provide convenient and comfortable accommodation in a personal and homely atmosphere. You will find homes relaxing and ideal for getting to know your host, without losing any of the privacy you’re accustomed to in other accommodation types. 

B&B hospitality in Ireland means a warm welcome, consideration and willingness to help you during your visit with local knowledge. And there are generally four types of B&B accommodation…

Town Home: 

The choice of town house B&Bs runs from detached, semi-detached to large period houses in a city, town or village. Many are in an ideal location for city visits and shopping, they are often close to train and bus services.

Country Home: 

Country homes are those in a rural setting. They offer a wide selection of premises such as Georgian residences, modern bungalows and traditional Irish homes. All with modern amenities, facilities and adequate garden and green surrounds. 

Farmhouse: 

The Farmhouse B&B is a house on a working farm. It is a traditional or modern farmhouse all with modern amenities and facilities located in rural Ireland. Any home offering a holiday on a farm will allow safe access to the farm to enjoy the countryside setting in a safe environment. 

Historic Houses

Historic Houses are private houses of significant historical and architectural merit and character. They are based in towns and rural settings.

B&Bs in the Republic of Ireland are rated on a two to five scale

***** (5 star)

A 5* property offers excellent levels of comfort, facilities and services. In addition to the Fáilte Ireland minimum standard and the quality provided at 3* and 4* B&Bs, 5* B&Bs will include the following also;

  •  Exceptional and innovative guest service and guests relations displayed
  •  Sufficient staff available to ensure guests needs are provided for at all times
  •  Guests will have the choice to dine alone or in a group setting
  •  Message service available
  •  Linen – high quality cloth tablecloth
  •  Extensive breakfast menu including fresh fish when available and healthy options
  •  Complimentary afternoon tea available to guests
  •  If wine is provided, a well balanced list will be available 
  •  Bedrooms will be a minimum of 18sq.m for double or twin
  •  Private bathrooms will be a minimum of 3.5sq.m 
  •  High quality linen or high grade cotton linen used
  •  A range of quality toiletries available
  •  Packed lunches and picnics can be organised for guests 
  •  Complimentary wi-fi facility 
  •  Assistance with itinerary and day tours available
  •  Homes will use local produce and organic ingredients in preparing foods when available 

**** (4 Star)  

A 4* property offers excellent levels of comfort, facilities and services. In addition to the Fáilte Ireland minimum standard and the quality provided at 2* and 3* B&Bs, 4* B&Bs will include the following also; 

  •  Home baking offered with refreshments on arrival
  •  Selection of teas and herbal teas available 
  •  Guests escorted to bedroom with assistance for luggage
  •  Safe available for storage of valuables 
  •  Information available on restaurant booking, theatre, taxi and bus services
  •  Quality light fittings and furniture 
  •  Linen or excellent quality napkins provided
  •  Excellent cooking with an emphasis on fresh, seasonal, locally sourced produce
  •  Selection of yogurt, cheese, cold meat, juices, homemade bread and herbal tea available for breakfast
  •  Internet connection available
  •  Bedroom will be a minimum of 14sq.m for double or twin
  •  Complimentary drinking water supplied in your bedroom
  •  Furniture and floor covering will be of good quality and be in excellent condition

*** (3 Star)

A 3* property offers good levels of comfort, facilities and service and in addition to the Fáilte Ireland minimum level of standard, will include the following:

  •  The property will be bookable online
  •  Guest satisfaction will be regularly monitored
  •  Attentive, more personalised service with good levels of customer care 
  •  Strong awareness and anticipation of guest needs
  •  There will be a nominated person contactable 24 hours a day should you need assistance
  •  Offer of refreshments on arrival
  •  Early morning call available or alarm clock provided
  •  Directions to property will be available online at the time of booking
  •  Credit card facilities available 
  •  Full Irish breakfast available
  •  Selection of newspapers and magazines available in the sitting room
  •  Tea and coffee making facilities available all day 
  •  Furniture and floor covering of a good standard and well maintained

** (2 Star)

2* B&Bs are considered to meet acceptable levels of service and quality.

B&Bs in Northern Ireland

B&Bs in Northern Ireland are not rated under a star system but are inspected by the Northern Ireland Tourist board and so are of a satisfactory level of comfort and service.

Looking for more information about the B&B experience

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