How Hotel Stars Work


What The Hotel Stars Mean

When planning your trip, you are likely to look at the various lodging options in the area you intend to visit. In doing so, you will discover a confusing and sometimes misleading star rating system for hotels.

How can it be confusing in a system where accommodations are generally rated from one to five stars? The hotel rating system can be confusing because there is no single rating system that applies to all travel sites, locations or hotels. This means that the same property may appear with a different number of stars on different websites. It also means that hotel ratings in Europe cannot be reliably compared to hotel ratings in the United States.


However, hotel ratings are still a good indicator of what to expect from a hotel if you know the system.

What do Hotel Ratings mean?

In the United States, independent organizations such as AAA typically use a five-star rating system for hotels. One star is the lowest rating and five stars is the highest. While it is useful to know the best and worst ratings, it is much more useful to know what the hotel stars mean.

The following is a general explanation of the hotel star rating system:

  • One star: A one-star rating usually means that the hotel does not offer any extras and has only basic amenities. One star does not necessarily mean that the hotel is dirty, poorly maintained or badly located. It means you have a place to stay and that’s it.
  • Two-star: Like one-star hotels, two-star hotels are usually cheaper than higher category hotels and generally much more comfortable.
  • Three-star: Three-star hotels usually have unique facilities and offer quality services.
  • Four-star: Four-star hotels are usually characterized by high quality and exceptional comfort.
  • Five-star: Five-star hotels offer impeccable guest service in state-of-the-art facilities. Five-star hotels offer their guests excellent dining options and personalized service. No detail is overlooked in these hotels, and guests are often provided with high-end luxury toiletries.

Other indicators of what to expect from a hotel

While the above reviews can help you get an idea of what to expect from a hotel, there are other things you can do to get a better idea of what to expect. One of the smartest things you can do is to contact the hotel you want to stay at. The way the employee who answers your call behaves with you is a clear indication of the kind of service you can expect there.

Also check the various review sites and see what people who have stayed at the hotel have to say about their experience. Even in the most well-known and popular hotels, there are likely to be some unpleasant reviews – no hotel is perfect.

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