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23 Star-rated Hotels Degraded Under New System

Star-rate plates have been removed from 23 hotels, including two three-star ones, since the star-hotel reevaluation campaign was launched on July 1 this year, source from the Beijing Tourism Administration said. Among the city's former 615 star-rated hotels, 592 have their status retained. 

According to Zhang Wei, an official from the Beijing Tourism Administration, two three-star hotels, eight two-star hotels and 13 one-star ones have had their star-marking plates removed. The main reason of the degrading is that their environment and sanitation failed to reach the new standard.

The Beijing Huaqiao (Overseas Chinese) Hotel, a three-star that has been in operation for over 40 years, was on the degraded list.

Beijing's 32 five-star hotels and 60-plus four-star ones have been granted newly designed star-rate plates after the reevaluation in accordance with the new criteria. 

However, none of Beijing's existing five-star hotels has applied for being listed as "platinum five-star," the top grade in the new evaluation system.

It is clear for people in the hotel business that differences do exist among Beijing's 30-plus five-star hotels, not only in hard wares such as location, facilities and furnishing but also in service and management. So it's reasonable for the very top ones to be rated higher.

On the market, though, some high-grade five-star hotels claim to be "super five-star," or "six-star," while others rate themselves as "five-star-ready" or "five-star-matching." All these announcements have caused confusion in the hotel business. Thereafter, the tourism authorities banned such kind of claims by issuing an official document.

Meanwhile, the "platinum five-star" grade was introduced in the new evaluation system. Accordingly, the standards for "platinum five-star" hotels are much higher than that of ordinary "five-star." For example, it should have a banquet hall with a capacity to entertain 500 guests at a time; its rooms should be at least 36 square meters; and its executive floor should be provided with 24-hour butler service.

In Shanghai, even the two most luxury hotels, Portman Ritz-Carlton and The St. Regis Shanghai, have not yet submitted their "platinum five-star" applications.  

According to the China Tourism Society, it takes some time for businesspeople in the industry to understand and accept the new system.

China carried out the first hotel evaluation and definition system in 1988. The new "Hotel Star-rating Standard " went into force on July 1, 2004. 

(China.org.cn by Wang Zhiyong October 7, 2004)

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