How are Stars Awarded to Hotels?

The hospitality industry has always been known for the prestige of being a ‘Five-Star Hotel’ but nobody ever wonders how these companies earn the prestigious title of being named a Five or Four-Star Hotel. Learn more about how stars are awarded to hotels. In the Hospitality Industry, the mention of “star” will always be correlated to the quality of the property. But have any of you wondered how hotels are awarded with these stars? What’s the criteria prior to awarding them? And who awards them?

The original star-rating system was started by Forbes Travel Guide in the 1950s. Since then, several different evaluating bodies have assigned stars, so it's important to check who the evaluator is and what its system entails. For instance, in the U.S., Forbes is still one of the leading star-assigning bodies, as is AAA.

It's important to also note that even in terms of official star ratings, what's considered five stars in one country might be considered three stars in another. Even though the star-rating system is somewhat diluted, in general, each system uses a set of criteria to evaluate hotels.

Let’s look at the criteria many companies and ratings programs worldwide use:

One-Star Hotel

A one star hotel offers basic rooms that could only have a bed and a side table. Bathrooms are typically shared on your floor with others, and any refreshments are generally found in a vending machine. A one-star hotel will likely have no facilities on-site, and the hotel's reception desk will probably not be open 24 hours a day. Don't expect a television, a telephone or even regular housekeeping.

Two-Star Hotel

A two-star hotel is definitely an upgrade from a one-star hotel but not by much. The reception desk at a two-star hotel is usually open 24 hours a day. Rooms probably have clothing racks and closets, telephones and televisions, though the television may be quite old. You’ll have a private bathroom, but with only a shower and not a tub. The hotel won’t offer a lot of services, but you might get a continental breakfast.

Three-Star Hotel

A three-star hotel is not too cheap or too fancy, it's ok. The owners want to make guests feel relaxed and comfortable in their rooms, without spending too much money. There are typically on-site restaurants and bars, as well as assistance in getting your luggage into your room. The rooms are generally bigger, more comfortable and more furnished.

Four-Star Hotel

Four-star hotels are extremely nice, and as soon as you walk into the lobby and see the decor, you will notice the difference. The rooms are often bigger and more fancy, with a big bed, a minibar, a safe, a workstation, bathrobes and a modern TV. The hotel normally provides valet parking, salon, gymnasium, pool and the like.

Five-Star Hotel

A five-star hotel has all the amenities that you’d hope to find in a hotel, and more. Usually, five-star hotels have luxurious spas and gigantic lobbies, and offer welcome gifts and butler service. A typical room has a spacious bathroom lined with marble floors, and a large vanity laden with toiletries of high quality. Most of the five-star resorts have golf courses, tennis courts, personal-trainer health clubs and even child-care services.

And there it is! These are how hotels are awarded stars. Despite the pandemic, the hospitality industry is still remaining strong and are even helping our frontliners. 

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