Hotels Star Rating Systems Explained

The star rating system most usually affiliated with hotels is a one to five star system, and although there is not a strict guideline as to what amenities and prices ranges businesses have to meet in order to receive a certain number of stars, the system can help you narrow down your choices of places to stay, and while it is safe to say that one star rated places will be less expensive than four star places across the board, the prices of places that are rated more closely on the spectrum may rival and compete with each other. To get a general idea of what kind of stay you are anticipating in choosing a place, use the following guide.


One Star

One star inns are your basic budget friendly simple amenity places that are meant for those who want a place for crash for the night. These places will be equipped with a bed, a shower, a vanity, possibly a hairdryer, and maybe an iron and ironing board. Truth be told, the one star hotel is designed for the budget traveler, one who is only interested in a place to sleep, or one who doesn’t intend to spend much time in their room. They are not always the cleanest or most well decorated, and have no luxuries, just the bare bones basics. But, they do have a reasonable price that can’t be beat. While there is an assumption that one star places are affiliated with less safe areas of a city, the star rating system is meant only to give the consumer a general idea of what to expect upon arrival, and the place indeed can be in a perfectly safe area of a city even next to a ritzy hotel.


Two Star

This will include all the basic amenities of the previously described, but sometimes will include a traditional continental breakfast, and nowadays, some form of free internet access whether it is via wi-fi in all rooms or through an internet café in the lobby.

To put in better perspective, the two star hotels get down to basics. You get a restful night’s rest, but without bells and whistles. You just get the basics – a clean place to sleep, at a rate that you should be able to afford. None of the luxurious extras will be offered.


Three Star

This type of lodging is rated with the business traveler in mind. Those landing in a three star joint are going to find kitchenettes, laundry facilities, large work spaces incorporated into the quarters, and perhaps an indoor pool and workout room.

Furthermore, three star hotels means you are at the top of the basic, what most people strive for. The amenities are slightly below that of the four and five-star, but are still quite adequate. Things are clean and new. Though there may be a few missing luxuries such as no chocolate on the pillow, no scent on the pillowcase, and not quite as much catering. Still, you will get a comfortable, restful night of rest at a reasonable price.


Four Star

These generally higher end places begin to focus less on conveniences, although they will have all of the things you need at hand, and more on services and luxury of the amenities that are provided. High thread count linens, round the clock room service, laundry service rather than just a laundry facility, and dedication to customer service can be found at four and even higher end three star places.

There is very little difference between the four star and the five-star ones. They are still luxury establishments, and have everything the normal person would want. Linens have a slightly lower thread count and the shampoo is slightly less luxuriant. The major difference is in the price.


Five Star

While some of these places may be competitive in price with four star rated joints, five star places aim to please. Without any further ado, the four factors that make five star vacation hotels to be regarded as being special include:

1. The quality of accommodation offered: the people behind most of these hotels are known to go to great lengths, to ensure that they offer top class accommodation to their guests. You actually have to keep it in mind that it is not the hotels that rate themselves as being ‘five star.’ Rather, it is reviewers who get to stay in them for a while who may form the opinion that they are worth of the five star rating, and go on to accord it.

2. The quality of guest services offered: these five star hotels tend, for instance, to have fantastic restaurants accommodated inside of them. You find value-added services inside: things like swimming pools, Jacuzzi and so on. These are services you can’t find in lower rated vacation hotels. These are services which, when fully leveraged upon, can help you to have a truly fantastic vacation experience. And these are services you, of course, have to pay for: hence the typically higher rates associated with five star vacation hotels. More often than not, when you compare what you pay at a five star vacation hotel with what you get in terms of actual services, you realize that you are actually getting great value for your money.

3. Their locations: many of these five star vacation hotels are usually very strategically located. In coastal locations, you will tend to find them located on beaches with very nice (and relaxing) views of the seas. In urban areas, you will tend to find them located near the popular haunts for vacationers. The people behind them, of course, have to pay considerable sums of money to get these prime-location plots. Subsequently, they have to charge higher rates, if they are to recoup their investments and actually make profits.

4. Their exclusivity: another very special thing about five star vacation hotels is in that they tend to be very exclusive. Thanks to their rates, not just anybody can get in. This translates into greater privacy, as well as the satisfaction (to many of the clients at least), that their money is buying them a level of comfort that ‘ordinary folk’ can’t afford. Now we know it as a very well established that the subconscious motivation for many of us to work hard and smart in life is so that we can get to afford experiences that others can’t afford. If that is the case, then the opportunity to stay at these five star vacation hotels, which the masses can’t afford, is one of the rewards you get for financial success. They are special to the extent that not everybody can afford to stay in them.


What To Expect On The Star Rating System Across The World

So why the disparity in hotel ratings? The answer lies in the varying criteria used by different agencies. There simply isn’t a standard rating system that is applied universally. Hotel ratings also vary according to each country and/or city. In European countries, the star ratings are usually given by local governments and private agencies and may include such extraneous factors (as far as the customer is concerned anyway) as the amount of tax that a particular hotel pays. In France, the government-sanctioned rating system only gives a maximum of four stars, that’s for a luxury hotel, and a minimum of one star for a modest inn. Hotels are judged according to room size, amenities, plumbing, renovations, elevators, dining options, etc. Germany and other Scandinavian countries adhere to the one- to five-star scale and the ratings are only valid for a period of three years, after which hotels must undergo another round of inspection.

In the United Kingdom, steps were taken to produce a more uniform hotel rating system and a complete standardization launched in 2008. All grading agencies are expected to adhere to the criteria called the National Quality Assurance Standards, which follows the five-star system and further categorizes hotels into full service formal accommodations, country houses, small hotels, town houses, and metro hotels. Some of the basis for scoring the accommodations are cleanliness and housekeeping, service, common rooms, guest rooms, bathrooms, food quality, safety and security, interior and exterior design, and maintenance.

Hotels in Latin America are also rated according to government-sanctioned rankings. The ratings range from zero to five stars although in some countries such as Mexico, six stars may given to ultra-luxury hotels (read: personal butler, private pool, and limousine or even helicopter service). Unfortunately, these government ratings are often not reviewed periodically so a hotel may still retain a four-star grade and yet deteriorate in quality.

Asian hotels are just as diversely rated as in other continents. In China, the government gives the ratings and includes the English-speaking capabilities of hotel staff in its criteria. In Hong Kong, meanwhile, hotels are grouped according to their respective tariff brackets. Singapore also follows the star-rating system while in the Middle East, two hotels defied standard grading and declared themselves as seven-star accommodations. The first one to do so is the Burj Al Arab in Dubai which currently holds the record as the world’s tallest hotel and is constructed on its own private artificial island. The other one is The Centaurus in Islamabad, Pakistan which is still under construction and is scheduled to be completed in 2010. Hotels in Asia generally have a higher staff-to-guest ratio compared with their counterparts in Europe and North America due to lower labor costs.

In the United States, one of the most popular grading body is the American Automobile Association which employs diamonds to express its ratings instead of stars. Its hotel ratings are based on management style, exterior and interior appearance, furnishing and fixtures, security, service and maintenance, ambiance, and supplies. Hotel booking websites and online travel guides also have their own ratings. The more popular ones are, Expedia,,, Travelocity, Priceline, Travelweb, and Orbitz.

Though considerably confusing, hotel ratings still function as a guide for travelers and vacationers. They provide an overview of a hotel’s amenities as well as its price range. When combined with other helpful information and a little common sense, these grading systems enable customers to make intelligent hotel booking decisions.


Still Not Confident With Star Rating Systems For Booking Your Hotel? Then, Explore Self Rated Or Guest Review Ratings!

We have at our fingertips the ability to find out exactly what the room/apartment has to offer through current technology which offer up real-time reviews by people who have actually stayed there, but even those review can be misleading. With the likes of TripAdvisor, Wotif, and the rest, these reviews and subjective based on personal views not on any type of industry standard such as “REAL STAR RATINGS” not “SELF RATED ACCOMMODATION”.

What are “Real Star Ratings”, this is an industry standard much like Michelan Stars for restaurants. Star Ratings are an internationally recognised symbol for quality accommodation standards. They are used in more than 70 countries worldwide and reflect the cleanliness, quality and condition of guest facilities.

“Self Rated Accommodation” are hotels etc that either rate themselves based on reviews from such places as TripAdvisor, Wotif, etc and these ratings are very subjective. If a guest didn’t like the way you looked at them, they add a negative comment and your rating is then lowered. When it comes to a review you are dependent on the standards (or lack thereof) of someone else who is not a professional, who may have lower standards than you etc. If you want to know what the ACTUAL accommodation facility is actually like you should rely on the OFFICIAL STAR RATING used world-wide.

There is a time and a place for “self rated’ reviews and what you should look at is the quality of service they received. Yet again, this is subjective. We have witness guests who are totally unreasonable in requests and threatened to give a bad review. What ever it is you use to ascertain how you pick a hotel, just remember this, the accommodation is only the place you lay your head, not a place you live.

Enjoy your vacation and we hope you are now an expert in hotels star rating systems!

Still unsure? Look no further, we have compiled a traveler guide of where to stay for the rest of holiday destinations around the world just for people like you…..Happy holidays!