Why do you only have 1 star?
People have asked us this question since we got the official Hotel Star plaque on the wall next to our door
In 2009 we left Copenhagen with a business plan for a small hotel which we had been working on since our return from a year-around-the-world in 2001.
We had no experience at all in the hotel business. But after staying in around 2,000 hotels we knew what we liked. Like Helga’s Foley in Kandy, Sri Lanka, Xavier’s place in Chulamani in Bolivia, Chez Silvie in Yangon, Myanmar and a few other cosy gems that had found their ways to our favorite-places-to-stay-around-the-world list because of their charm, ambiance and the basic services that we find relevant.
And most important because of all the fantastic people we have met there.
The charm from these places combined with the most important conveniences from the Five stars hotels we’ve stayed in during our business travels was – and still is – what we want to create. And with a small kitchen where long-term traveling food lovers like ourselves can cook their meals 😊 when they get inspired by the food at the marked.
But don’t expect bide in the bathroom, TV, hair dryers, mini fridges, laundry service etc. and similar service that generate the points you need to get Stars in the Portuguese Hotel Category System.
We have many of the ‘star’ services, just ask for them. But that doesn’t count.
Neither do our own optical fast fiber internet connection that give our guest access to their preferred streaming services, all the sockets we have for their mobile gadgets, our common kitchen, our special made 100% cotton bed linen, down duvet, or our home-made bread.
Category and stars – who cares?
it’s important to note that even in terms of official star ratings, what’s considered five stars in one country might be considered three stars in another.
There is no universal system when it comes to star ratings, which also weakens the system’s credibility.
When we arrived in Kathmandu we thought about calling our place Tings Guest House. But the Ministry of Tourism only allowed foreigners to run hotels. We knew that people eventually would call us Tings so we didn’t care.
When we asked industry people in Lisbon for their advice they all said forget about Hotel License – too complicated, too much bureaucracy. Instead they recommended us to get a Hostel or an Alojamento Local (AL) license which are both easy and fast to get.
Since we hate sleeping in Bunk Beds with 6 – 12 other people Hostels were out of the questions. And since AL only allows for 9 rooms and we didn’t want ‘fake’ up a solution by making 2 separate entrances, getting a hotel license was our only solution – so that’s why we are a hotel. Then getting a hotel license means getting stars.
To get stars you need specific facilities and as many of the official tourist office’s services as possible… But we find the system and many of these services useless.
First of all because the system varies from country to country.
In the US commercial companies are behind the star system, in Australia it’s run by The Australian Auto Club, in the UK it’s the Automobile Association and in Europe its The European Hotel stars Union, who runs the system etc. Nepal is so chaotic that you just giver yourself your own stars, so don’t bother.
The rating criteria are not known by the public. As survey respondents reveal, “the travelling public has little or no knowledge of what is required to achieve different quality ratings”.
Moreover, the self-supplied star ratings on third-party websites are inconsistent and misleading.
Second. Many of the services you need to get stars belong to the past. And in our case a lift is a MUST to get more than one star, when your property – like ours – is more than 2 levels. And we didn’t want a lift because our house is a historical house in a protected area, and because we are located on Lisbon’s highest hill: If our guests can make to the top – we expect that they can manage the last 2 – 3 floors to their rooms – and we help with their luggage 😊
So thats why Tings Lisbon only have one star – and we love it