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What do hotel star ratings mean?

By stglobe

More stars in a hotel’s rating is better, we all know that. But is that certain? What does it mean when we compare a 1-star hotel and a 5-star hotel?

First, we need to make something clear. A lower rating does not mean bad service and it does not mean that a hotel should be avoided. In fact, there are thousands of 1-star establishments around the world that will offer you a very pleasant and memorable stay, with owners that will go out of their way to help you even more than they are expected to. In that sense, internet ratings of hotels (on Yelp, Google and elsewhere) are not the same thing as a star rating. Hotel star ratings are all about what kind of services and amenities you should expect and at what price.

Second, while there are some regional standards about what a star rating means (the EU, for example, has its own system), it is definitely not the same around the world and here we will only talk about some of the most common services and amenities you can expect from hotels of various ratings. Read on, to see what hotel star ratings mean!

1-star hotels: This rating is reserved for budget hotels. While they should follow strict standards when it comes to cleanliness (this is a given for every hotel in the world, after all), they offer very few services and amenities and sometimes these carry some extra cost. Expect your room to be cleaned every day, but the hotel may not offer towels and toiletries.


2-star hotels: If you see a breakfast buffet, then you’re probably staying at a 2-star hotel (or above). Towels and toiletries are offered and replaced often. You’ll also notice various little things that are not necessary but make your stay a bit more comfortable, like reading lights in the room. Still, it’s budget-conscious travelers that will choose such an option.


3-star hotels: The guest experience in 3-star hotels is improved by various services that previous ratings may not offer. The reception is accessible throughout the day, even if it is not physically open all the time. The rooms should be more spacious and have a place to put your luggage, the staff is well-trained and most probably bilingual. The reception will try to accommodate any demands that you may have.


4-star hotels: The hotel is starting to look and feel luxurious. The rooms are bigger and better decorated, the materials used are high-end, there is more staff, professionally trained, someone will carry your luggage to your room, the reception will be there to answer your every request, there will probably be a manager for more difficult issues. Also, sometimes not only does a 4-star hotel have room service, but there may also be a restaurant with unique cuisine.


5-star hotels: 5-star hotels are more of a way of life than a hotel. Expect your every need to be met in advance and if they haven’t predicted what you might need, they will make it happen. These hotels are the epitome of luxury living and the services and amenities offered can verify that. You won’t have to lift a finger, everything will be taken care of, from a valet parking your car to having a full office in your room to work from. The chef at the restaurant will be famous around the world (the foodie world, at least), there will be a gym, shops, pools of various sizes, really anything you can imagine a hotel might have.


Even more stars: While some hotels may claim that they have even more stars than five, no organization has ever used this classification. But when it comes to luxury, the sky is the limit, so a hotel can always offer something more to its guests.