Print Friendly, PDF & Email

There’s a new way to recognize outstanding hotels across the globe. Launched in 2024, Michelin Keys mirror the Michelin Star system for restaurants, offering a reliable benchmark for travelers seeking exceptional hospitality experiences. We share the details of this new program as well as the criteria used by their team of anonymous reviewers.

The Origin & Purpose of Michelin Keys

A breathtaking amenity at the Setai Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, winner of two Keys.
A breathtaking amenity at the Setai Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, winner of two Keys. (Photo courtesy of the Setai Hotel.)

The Michelin Guide has recommended hotels alongside restaurants for decades, but lacked a dedicated award system. Key awards were established to address this gap, providing a clear and consistent indicator of hotel quality within the Guide’s selection. Although many of their awarded hotels are places most of us could only dream about, there are options for every budget and style. Over 5,000 hotels were selected as Key winners based on their location, design, consistent quality, value, and personality.

How Hotels Are Rated

The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, Colorado was awarded one Key. This destination provides European elegance in the heart of the Rocky Mountains.
The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail, Colorado was awarded one Key. This destination provides European elegance in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. (Photo courtesy of the Sonnenalp Hotel.)

Similar to Michelin Stars, Keys are awarded based on rigorous, anonymous inspections conducted by Michelin’s team of experts. The Michelin Guide’s evaluations go beyond simply listing amenities. To illustrate, hotels are evaluated on these five core elements:

  • Prime Location: Does the hotel offer an exceptional location that serves as a gateway to the destination, enhancing the overall travel experience?
  • Exceptional Interior Design and Architecture: Does the hotel boast a unique and aesthetically pleasing design that contributes to the guest experience?
  • Quality and Consistency in Service: Does the hotel deliver exceptional service throughout the guest journey, with a focus on personalized attention and exceeding expectations?
  • Value for Price: Does the overall experience justify the price point? Is there a harmonious balance between cost and the quality of the stay?
  • Personality and Character: Does the hotel possess a distinct character and personality, offering a unique ambiance that sets it apart from competitors?

The Difference Between One, Two, & Three Keys

The exquisitely detailed Candler Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, awarded with one Key. The Candler Hotel is part of Hilton's Curio Collection which is a global portfolio of remarkable hotels with one-of-a-kind stories to share.
The exquisitely detailed Candler Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, awarded with one Key. The Candler Hotel is part of Hilton’s Curio Collection which is a global portfolio of remarkable hotels with one-of-a-kind stories to share. (Photo courtesy of Hilton.)

Michelin Keys are awarded in three tiers, signifying the level of excellence achieved. Specifically:

One Key: This signifies a “very special stay.” These hotels offer a high level of comfort, character, and personality, standing out within their category.

Two Keys: This denotes an “exceptional stay.” Two Key hotels deliver exceptional service, design, and location, creating a truly memorable guest experience.

Three Keys: This is the pinnacle of hotel recognition, awarded to those offering an “extraordinary stay.” Three Key hotels represent the absolute best in hospitality. These hotels offer unparalleled service, design, location, and a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

Michelin Key Hotels

A view of the Sculpture Garden at the artful Crosby Street Hotel in New York City. This establishment was awarded three Keys.
A view of the Sculpture Garden at the artful Crosby Street Hotel in New York City. This establishment was awarded three Keys. (Photo courtesy of the Crosby Street Hotel.)

With options for various budgets and a focus on both luxurious experiences and personality, Michelin Keys are poised to become a leading indicator of hotel quality. Do you think Keys will have as much influence as Michelin Star restaurant ratings? Tell us why or why not in the comment section!

Comments

Reply comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *