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What do hotel stars mean? – LifeSavvy



  Dmitry Kalinovsky / Shutterstock </span></figcaption></figure>
<p>  I am living tonight in a 400 year old Spanish castle that has been converted into a hotel. Luxurious, right? Well, here's the thing: It's a two star hotel. </p>
<p>  Hotel stars probably do not mean what you think they mean. In most cases, this is not a quality assessment. They are a measure of the facilities offered. A one star hotel is not a dirty dive. It is just a basic no frills place. And while a three star hotel is theoretically more luxurious, your stay there could be a lot worse if the cleaners do not do their job properly or it has not been refurbished in a couple of decades. </p>
<p>  Let's go diving a bit deeper. </p>
<h2>  The Starry Mess </h2>
<figure id=  Two Star Hotel
A classic two star castle.

There is no universal hotel star system worldwide. In the US, various groups like the AAA Rate Hotels. In Europe and Asia, the tourism authority or another government agency usually decides on the rating of a hotel. Sometimes, however, the recording is voluntary. And of course, there is not even a standard number of stars: in France, hotels are rated four out of four. There is no guarantee that three-star hotels in Paris, New York, London and Rome will offer the same experience.

Also, online booking sites like Expedia are active and use their own star system – unless they are forced to be used.

Put simply:

  • Hotel star systems are a measure of the equipment and not a subjective quality of experience. The hotel I stay in today is a two star hotel, as it is a small, 400 year old, protected building. Without coring the interior, it could not be endowed with "luxury" such as large rooms, bathtubs or a swimming pool. But it's a fucking castle.
  • Hotels with more stars offer more facilities such as bathtubs, 24-hour receptions and minibars than hotels with fewer stars, but the overall experience may not be better. It's often better to stay in a nice three-star hotel than in a four-star hotel, as long as you do not mind having no on-site bar or 24-hour room service.
  • International rating agencies such as Michelin or booking sites such as Expedia vary from country to country. The assessment criteria are not the same. A good French four-star hotel is more akin to a five-star AAA American hotel.

A General Guide

  Five Star Hotel
Anyone can at least agree that the Ritz is a five star hotel. [19659009] Although hotel star systems are a total mess, some general statements can be made about them as a whole – though there will be many differences within each category.

One-star hotels (and motels / guesthouses) offer basic, no-frills accommodation. The rooms are usually small. A 24-hour front desk, daily housekeeping and private bathroom are not guaranteed. You will have a place to sleep, but not much else.

Two star hotels are one step ahead of one star hotels. You will probably get a 24-hour front desk, daily housekeeping and a private bathroom – possibly with a shower only. Your room will probably have a TV and a telephone. You may receive a continental breakfast and a lobby bar, but this is not guaranteed. These are your basic hotels, though in old cities they can only be old buildings that can not be renovated.

Three-star hotels are what most people consider "standard" hotels. There is a 24-hour reception, room service, daily maid service, private bathrooms (possibly with actual bathrooms), a bar and some sort of restaurants. Your room will likely have a place to sit, such as a desk or table, and Wi-Fi will probably be available. If you want to enjoy the hotel experience, you should not be lower than three stars.

Four-star hotels are like three-star hotels, but nicer. You could have a swimming pool or a gym. The lobby is likely to be large with a bar, café and restaurant. Valet parking, concierge and luggage storage are likely to be available. Fast Internet is as good as guaranteed. Most beautiful hotels have four stars.

Five star hotels are the luxury option. Expect a high-end experience with highly qualified staff. The bar and restaurants will be first class. The beds will be very comfortable. The bathrooms will be big and glamorous. It could even be a spa. These are the hotels where you reenact your movie star fantasies.

Navigating the Stars

Since hotel stars only really tell you which basic criteria a hotel fulfills, you'll have to dig a bit more if you want to find something they really are.

If you want to stay in a nice hotel, it's best to look at user reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. Take everything with a pinch of salt and remember that the type of people who write reviews online may not be looking for the same things you are – but they are a good place to start.

If you want to compare hotels Use a website like Expedia, which has a consistent rating system between countries and hotels and also displays user ratings. You can also usually find the rating criteria or how to assign stars with a little googling. For example, Expedia awards stars.

If a particular facility, such as a hotel bar or in-room safe, is a must for you, contact the hotel directly (or visit the hotel website). Do not assume that you lived in a three-star hotel with a nice bar before all the three-star hotels have a nice bar. Correcting steps by assigning half-stars, silver stars, gold stars, quality ratings and the like to better properties within same category. Keep an eye out for them.


Although the star system of the hotel is chaotic, it is not bad if you understand what the stars really mean. Then you can work with it instead of being surprised when you check in to a dingy 4-star hotel or spend a great stay in a rural 2-star hotel.


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