Michelin Hotels

Photo: Kenneth SZ Goh

Japan will be the first country in Asia to have its hotels receive the Michelin Key distinction in the beginning of 2024.

This marks the Red Guide’s foray into rating hotels and accommodation options after 123 years of reviewing restaurants based on its world-renowned stars system.

Around 5,300 hotels from 120 countries have been shortlisted by the guide’s famously anonymous inspectors over the past four years but only the “creme de la creme” of the list will make the cut on the annual Key selection.

Speaking in Tokyo at a press event at the historic Okura Hotel, Gwendal Poullennec says that there will be no quota for the number of hotels and accommodation options that will receive the Key distinction next year as the guide pledges to prioritise quality over quantity.

Touching on the natural expansion of the guide beyond rating restaurants, he says: “It has always been the responsibility of the Michelin Guide to help people make good choices for lifestyle experiences.” He adds that the curated selection of hotels will help to provide “authentic and memorable travel experiences”.

The Key selection will mainly be available on Michelin Guide’s website, which will integrate a hotel reservation booking system, a platform for customers to leave hotel reviews and ratings and travel assistance service.

Related: Michelin Guide’s International Director Gwendal Poullennec on helping restaurants in a post-pandemic world

Photo: Kenneth SZ Goh

The hotels in the Key selection will be evaluated based on five criteria. The hotels have to contribute to the local experience, boast excellent interior design and architecture, provide quality and consistency in service, display an individual character and consistency in experience and price. The hotels, which have already been shortlisted and listed alongside restaurants on Michelin Guide website, follows the same set of criteria, but adhere to a different scoring system.

Related: More than food: Michelin to rate hotels in its red guides

Tokyo was selected as the venue to make today’s announcement as Mr Poullennec shares that it was the Guide’s 2007 launch in Tokyo that made it “a truly global reference for dining” and helped shine a spotlight on Japanese chefs worldwide.

There will also be synergy between the inspectors from the guide’s hotel and restaurant teams, which hail from 25 countries.

Mr Poullennec vows that the Key selection will remain independent from any brands and association with “tourism classification”. The Key listing will also be updated regularly and, like the star rating, the Key accolade can also be taken away from hotels.