When I were a lad, hotels only went up to five stars. Not that I stayed in any of 'em of course. I were too busy sleeping in t' cardboard box on t' railway track, and waking up before I'd gone to bed to work 25-hour days as a dishwasher in the Cossie Club.
So how did we go from five stars being the measure of excellence to seven? And where does it end? The hospitality trade is in danger of tipping over into Weimar Republic star-inflation, with hotel managers having to carry their stars about in wheelbarrows merely to show they offer a cooked breakfast and lice-free sheets.
The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, in Dubai, is billed as an eight-star hotel. I've had lunch there and a bit of a look around and, yep, it's stunning.
But five stars should be the pinnacle, not the mid-range. Trouble is nobody wants to be one star, and there's no universally accepted code.
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Different places are rated under different systems, creating a grey area in which some operators feel free to claim whatever star rating they can think up. Blame the two-star motels that claim to be four-star boutique accommodation.
The classless, shameless rush of basic accommodation providers to cloak themselves in unwarranted stars has driven the top of the market into an inflationary scramble.
What's next? A nine-star hotel in Paris? A five-star motel in Mosgiel? Everybody needs to step back from the stars and calm down.