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Malaysia prepares to implement new hotel rating system

Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa guestroom, Langkawi, Malaysia (Malaysia's hotel groups accept what they are calling fairer and more representative rating criteria. )

Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism and Culture will launch a new hotel classification and rating system on June 1. According to TTG Asia, Malaysia-based hotel groups generally believe the new system is fairer and more representative than the current star-rating system. 

The new system contains categories for city hotels, highlands hotels, island/beach/lake/river resorts, innovative hotels and boutique hotels. Shaharuddin M. Saaid, executive director of the Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners and committee member to review the classification criteria, said that the old rating system put island and hill resorts at a disadvantage. “Based on the old system, a hotel needed an executive floor and lounge to be rated five stars," Shaharuddin said in a statement. "This was alright for a city hotel which received business travelers, but not necessarily for island and hill resorts where guests were holidaymakers.”

Shaharuddin added that in order to be considered four-star rated or higher, under the old system, hotels also needed to have a pool. However, this criterion was not as important in beachfront hotels and hill resorts.

Anthony Wong, managing director at the Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa, offered another example. “In the past, hotels must have two restaurants to be classified as a four-star property," Wong said. "We only had one and were classified as three-star under the local rating although TripAdvisor and travel agents rated us as a four-star. We didn’t see a need to have more than one restaurant as there were many restaurants outside our hotel, giving visitors plenty of choices.”

Ganneesh Ramaa, manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia, similarly concluded that the new classification will provide a more accurate picture to agents and partners. “Based on the old system, Cameron Highlands only has two properties that fit the five-star category, when, in reality, there are many more hotels that provide the services of a five-star," Ramaa said in a statement. "The old system of one-shoe-fits-all simply cannot be applied.”