In Elin Hilderbrand’s bestselling novel, an internationally acclaimed incognito hotel critic rates hotels by the number of keys she awards them. One being the lowest score, and five being the highest score. That fictional grading system in The Hotel Nantucket created by Elin Hilderbrand will soon become a reality for Michelin guide devotees.
The Michelin Star is the most highly coveted recognition in the restaurant world, barely more significant than the equally competitive James Beard Award. The first Michelin Key recipients will be announced in 2024, creating a new distinguisher in the hotel industry.
History of the Michelin Guide
The highly trusted guide was first established in 1900 France as a travel guide to promote the sale of automobiles, and therefore Michelin tires. The guide catalogued hotels, restaurants, gas stations, and local mechanics. 35,000 copies were hand delivered for free to motorists.
Michelin began charging for guides in 1920 and the star system was introduced in 1926. The multi-star system was later introduced in 1931 to further distinguish restaurants. The first American Michelin Guide was published in 2005 after proving extremely popular in other countries.
Introducing the Michelin Key
The Michelin Key will operate similar to the Michelin Star. One key signifies a good hotel, two keys an excellent hotel, and three keys an outstanding bucket-list hotel. The first batch includes over 5,000 hotels to be introduced in mid-2024.
For over four years the Michelin team studied hotels in 120 countries. The hotels are assessed on the five criteria:
- Destination and local experience
- Architecture and interior design
- Unique character of the hotel
- Quality vs. price
Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Michelin Guide, states:
The Michelin Key is a clear, reliable indication for travelers. Just as the Michelin Star distinguishes those restaurants that are at the peak of their art, the Michelin Key recognizes the most exceptional hotels throughout the world. It is also an acknowledgment of the teamwork of committed enthusiastic hospitality professionals.”
The goal of the Michelin Key is to promote consumers to use the Michelin booking platform for hotel travel. The filter options will distinguish hotels by their number of keys in addition to reviews from guests.