If you’re trying to plan a trip, you’re probably going to review the various accommodations in the area you are visiting. As you do so, you’re going to encounter a hotel star rating system that is confusing and, sometimes, even misleading.
How can a system that generally involves assigning a property a rating of one star up to five stars be puzzling? A hotel star rating system can be baffling because there is no universal scoring system used across travel-oriented websites, locations or hotels. This means you may see the same property listed with a different number of stars on different websites. It also means you can’t reliably compare the ratings of properties located in Europe to those received by hotels located in the United States.
While that’s the case, hotel star ratings still have plenty of value as a general guideline of what you can reasonably expect from a given hotel — as long as you’re familiar with the system.
WHAT DO HOTEL RATINGS MEAN? In the United States, a five-star rating system is often used by independent organizations like AAA to rate a hotel. One star is the lowest rating, and five stars is the highest score. Although knowing the best and worst scores is helpful, knowing the meaning of hotel star ratings is much more beneficial.
Here is a general interpretation of the hotel star ratings system:
One-Star: A one-star rating often means a property has no frills and only offers basic accommodations. A one-star rating doesn’t necessarily mean a hotel is dirty, unkept or in a bad location. It simply means you’ll have a place to sleep, and that’s pretty much it.
Two-Star: Like one-star hotels, two-star properties are typically more affordable than hotels that have a higher rating — they are also usually quite comfortable.
Three-Star: Three-star hotels ordinarily have some unique amenities and provide quality service.
Four-Star: Four-star hotels are often noted for their upscale quality and extraordinary comfort.
Five-Star: A five-star property provides flawless guest services in a state-of-the-art facility. As a five-star property, such as premium dining options and personalized services to its guests. With no detail being overlooked, these hotels commonly even provides high-end, luxury toiletries for guests.
ALTERNATIVE INDICATORS OF WHAT TO EXPECT AT A HOTEL While the ratings discussed above can certainly help you get an idea of what to expect from a hotel, you can do a few other things to get a better idea of what you should expect. One of the smartest things you can do is contact the hotel you’re thinking of staying at. How the attendant who answers your call and treats you is a strong indication of the type of service you can expect to receive when you’re on site.
You should also check out several review websites to see what people who have actually stayed at a given hotel have to say about their experiences. Even the most well-known, most popular hotels are bound to have a few unpleasant reviews – no hotel is going to be perfect.