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Struggle for the stars: what the status of hotels is downscaled for and who will be able to host a casino

Photo: bottlein/Pixabay

Photo: bottlein/Pixabay

Ukrainian hotels continue to struggle for stars hoping to host gambling establishments on their territory. But many are denied even three stars—the minimum status for implementing such a project. The Page has been figuring out what are the most common reasons for rejection, and how hotels could improve their service to get into the necessary categories.


The Commission on Categorization and Star-rating of Ukrainian hotels continues its work. To date, eight meetings have already taken place. The first one took place on March 16, 2021.

Since then, the number of requests submitted by hoteliers is growing steadily. This is not least due to the possibility of hosting gambling establishments on the territory of hotel complexes with the category from "3 stars" and above.

"The number of hotels wishing to obtain a certificate has increased due to the fact that last year the state legalized gambling in Ukraine and allowed gambling establishments to be hosted on the territory of hotels."

Halyna Vertsimakha

Halyna Vertsimakha

head of the advocacy department of the NGO Competition and Consumer Protection Council

So far, 98 applications have been submitted to the Commission for consideration of the category. Based on the results of previous meetings, 89 of them have already been considered. 51 hotels have their star-rating requests confirmed. Ten were denied the requested category. There was also a downgrading of the star-rating for two hotels. The rest of the requests were returned for the documentation revision.

«Each consumer (tourist), coming to vacate, has some idea about a hotel of this or that category. The work of the Commission makes sure that the chosen hotel has proper service, accessibility, safety, and comfort. And also meets all the requirements of the Law "On Tourism" and State Standard 4269 "Tourist Services. Hotel classification." Unfortunately, the Commission cannot immediately make sure of this. Often, the certification authority that is responsible for preparing the relevant documentation does not provide enough of the required papers. Therefore, I would like to once again draw the attention of the certification authorities to the fact that the members of the Commission carefully check each application and wait for a full package of documents, photo and video evidence».

Valentyna Bukhova

Valentyna Bukhova

leading specialist at the Department of Tourism Development of Regions of the Tourism Directorate at Ministry of Culture and Information Policy

According to the results of the penultimate meeting, seven hotels were assigned the following categories:

  • hotel Halytska korona, Lviv region—"3 stars";
  • hotel Panska Gora, Lviv region—"3 stars";
  • hotel Hilton Kyiv, Kyiv—"5 stars";
  • hotel Lybid Plaza, Khmelnytskyi—"4 stars";
  • Hotel Complex Odessa, Odesa—"3 stars";
  • Arcadia, Odesa—"3 stars";
  • Cherkasy PALACE, Cherkasy—"3 stars".

The hotels Mir (Kharkiv) and Black Sea (Odesa) were denied the 4-star category. The refusal was motivated, among other things, by the inadequacy of the hotel infrastructure for persons with disabilities. Zvezda Hotel (Kropyvnytskyi) that claimed the 3-star category was also denied the category.

Some of the most common reasons for hotel category mismatch include:

  • inconvenient or missing ramps, unequipped toilets and bathrooms for people with disabilities;
  • poor quality ventilation and air conditioning systems, non-confirmation of the availability of reserve water supply, emergency lighting, and generator;
  • lack of elevators, fire safety instructions, and separate entrances to the restaurant;
  • lack of left-luggage offices and safes, currency exchange offices, a hairdresser's, a utility room, a storage room;
  • insufficient number of parking spaces and the seating capacity of a restaurant or cafe;
  • lack of most of the documents confirming the availability of the necessary household equipment in the room (hairdryer, iron, sewing kits, etc.).
  • inconsistency between the opening hours of cafes or restaurants in the 4- and 5-star categories.

«If the hotel meets all the requirements for a particular category, it can get the desired "star". At the same time, the main characteristic in assigning "stars" to a hotel is the quality of the documents prepared by the certification authorities that they submit to the Commission. In order to avoid additional questions and clarifications, it is necessary to responsibly assess the hotel and prepare documents, to provide confirmation (photo and video evidence) in accordance with all requirements.»

Halyna Vertsimakha

Halyna Vertsimakha

head of the advocacy department of the NGO Competition and Consumer Protection Council

Recall that the authority to establish categories for hotels since last year was transferred from the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture to the State Agency for Tourism Development. Activities of this Agency are regulated by the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine.

«In many countries categorization is a voluntary matter, and many hotels do not apply for it for various reasons. At the same time, getting a "star" is a sign of service quality and additional opportunities to attract tourists.»

Mariana Oleskiv

Mariana Oleskiv

head of the Commission on Categorization, Chairperson at State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine

Everyone who plans a vacation or a business trip chooses the best option for living—a comfortable hotel with high-quality equipment and service, Halyna Vertsimakha notes.

«An indicator of the quality of a hotel is the presence of a certain number of stars. It is by this method of categorization according to which most tourists choose the place where they want to stay. Therefore, many hotels strive to pass the assessment procedure and receive a "star". After all, the more there are, the more likely the traveler will choose this particular hotel. But let’s not forget that with the increase in the number of "stars" on the hotel facade, the requirements for its equipment and level of service also increase. Therefore, all documents presented to the Commission are studied very carefully. »

Halyna Vertsimakha

Halyna Vertsimakha

head of the advocacy department of the NGO Competition and Consumer Protection Council

The first priority is the safety and comfort of the tourist, Mariana Oleskiv adds.

«As a government agency, we are working on updating accommodation categorization standards and improving control procedures. Unfortunately, the current legal framework for categorizing accommodation facilities is outdated. Today, during the assignment of stars, we must be guided by the 2003 State Standard that even in the early 2000s was not very relevant. Therefore, really ridiculous demands are common, and some of them even run counter to the actual imperatives. For example, in a three-star hotel room there must be an ashtray, and that hints at the permission to smoke indoors—but we all remember the ban on smoking in public places.»

Mariana Oleskiv

Mariana Oleskiv

head of the Commission on Categorization, Chairperson at State Agency for Tourism Development of Ukraine

The agency is now actively working to modernize the relevant regulatory framework.

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