Hotel ratings are often used to classify hotels according to their quality. The development of the concept of hotel rating and its associated definitions display strong parallels. From the initial purpose of informing travellers on basic facilities that can be expected, the objectives of hotel rating has expanded into a focus on the hotel experience as a whole. Today the terms ‘grading’, ‘rating’, and ‘classification’ are used to generally refer to the same concept, that is to categorize hotels.
There are a wide variety of rating schemes used by different organizations around the world. Many have a system involving stars, with a greater number of stars indicating greater luxury. Forbes Travel Guide, formerly Mobil Travel Guide, launched its star rating system in 1958. The AAA and their affiliated bodies use diamonds instead of stars to express hotel and restaurant ratings levels.
Food services, entertainment, view, room variations such as size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers, ease of access and location may be considered in establishing a standard. Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and rest heavily on the facilities provided. Some consider this disadvantageous to smaller hotels whose quality of accommodation could fall into one class but the lack of an item such as an elevator would prevent it from reaching a higher categorization.
In recent years hotel rating systems have also been criticised by some who argue that the rating criteria for such systems are overly complex and difficult for laypersons to understand. It has been suggested that the lack of a unified global system for rating hotels may also undermine the usability of such schemes.
Five Star: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
These are hotels that offer only the highest level of accommodations and services. The properties offer a high degree of personal service. Although most five star hotels are large properties, sometimes the small independent (non-chain) property offers an elegant intimacy that can not be achieved in the larger setting. The hotel locations can vary from the very exclusive locations of a suburban area, to the heart of downtown. The hotel lobbies are sumptuous, the rooms complete with stylish furnishing and quality linens. The amenities often include: VCRs, CD stereos, garden tubs or Jacuzzis, in-room video library, heated pools and more. The hotels feature up to three restaurants all with exquisite menus. Room service is usually available 24 hours a day. Fitness Centers and valet and/or garage parking are typically available. A concierge is also available to assist you.
Four Star: ★ ★ ★ ★
Mostly large, formal hotels with smart reception areas, front desk service and bellhop service. The hotels are most often located near other hotels of the same caliber and are usually found near shopping, dining and other major attractions. The level of service is well above average and the rooms are well lit and well furnished. Restaurant dining is usually available and may include more than one choice. Some properties will offer continental breakfast and/or happy hour delicacies. Room service is usually available during most hours. Valet parking and/or garage service is also usually available. Concierge services, fitness centers and one or more pools are often provided.
Three Star: ★ ★ ★
Typically these hotels offer more spacious accommodations that include well appointed rooms and decorated lobbies. Bellhop service is usually not available. They are often located near major expressways or business areas, convenient to shopping and moderate to high priced attractions. The hotels usually feature medium-sized restaurants that typically offer service breakfast through dinner. Room service availability may vary. Valet parking, fitness centers and pools are often provided.
Two Star: ★ ★
Typically smaller hotels managed by the proprietor. The hotel is often 2 – 4 stories high and usually has a more personal atmosphere. It’s usually located near affordable attractions, major intersections and convenient to public transportation. Furnishings and facilities are clean but basic. Most will not have a restaurant on site but are usually within walking distance to some good low-priced dining. Public access, past certain hours, may be restricted.
One Star: ★
Usually denotes independent and name brand hotel chains with a reputation for offering consistent quality amenities. The hotel is usually small to medium-sized and conveniently located to moderately priced attractions. The facilities typically include telephones and TVs in the bedroom. Some hotels offer limited restaurant service; however, room service and bellhop service is usually not provided.