Star ratings explained: What’s the difference?
Most of us use the star rating systems to assist with choosing a hotel for our much anticipated holiday, but did you know that these systems are not based on a standardised criterion? So what that means is a three star hotel in Spain may have a complete different set of standards and facilities to a three star hotel in Croatia, depending on who you ask and where you look.
There is nothing worse than turning up to your hotel, after a long journey spent full with excitement ruminating on what your holiday could bring, to find that your accommodation for your trip is short of your expectations.
But how do you avoid this disappointment? Despite the inconsistencies between the star rating systems across different countries or even different cities, there are general expectations or inferences that can be drawn using these ratings. For a start, the more number of stars, the more luxury and service you can expect in return for a higher cost. Below is a run-down of the key differences:
These would be your 1-2 star hotels, where rooms offered are small to medium sized and are basic in terms of facilities offered. You can expect a TV and a phone but there will unlikely be any room service; restaurant on site is also unlikely.
These would be your 3 star hotels. A step up from the basic accommodation of 1-2 stars, the hotels in this category would offer more spacious and attractive rooms. A small restaurant on site can be expected, providing breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some 3 star hotels will offer additional facilities such as a pool or fitness centre.
These are your 4-5 star hotels. In this category, the hotels are large and formal. Furnished to wow guests, you can expect additional quality services such as valet parking, room service, quality restaurants, concierge and fitness centres. Whilst both 4 to 5 star hotels aim to optimise the customer experience, there are key features that distinguish a 5 star hotel.
A five star hotel is likely to have secondary dining, and will have at least one restaurant that is open for all meals seven days a week. It must have additional facilities, such as a spa or business centre. In terms of the rooms, a five star hotel will have permanent luxury suites with separate rooms (bedroom, lounge room and bathroom) whilst a four star hotel may not have these. There is a higher staff to guest ratio in five star hotels, based on the expectation that guest needs should be anticipated in advance rather than offered as requested.
So what rating do you look for?
It is clearly important to firstly identify your particular needs, such as the level of comfort you seek and if you require additional amenities or services. Then when using the star rating systems, make sure you read the explanation of the star ratings in advance so you can interpret the rating correctly.
Author: Melanie is a travel writer for Hotel La Tour – a 4 star, city centre hotel in the UK.