What hotel stars really mean – and why you shouldn’t always trust ones with five

With so much choice online when booking a holiday, it can be difficult to find the hotels that are good.

Many holidaymakers may look at how many stars a hotel has – but experts warn why they might not be trusted after all.

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel has different star ratings depending on the website

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The Marina Bay Sands Hotel has different star ratings depending on the websitePhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

This is because there is no global grading system and instead it is rated differently by tourism boards or independent companies.

For example, a hotel like the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore ranges from three to five stars depending on the website.

In the UK, hotels are awarded stars by the Automobile Association (AA) along with Visit Britain, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales.

According to which? hotels are required to carry out a night inspection and pay a fee of between £624 and £2,123 depending on the rating.

And the Hotelstars rating system has created a system to rate hotels around the world, with 20 countries in Europe that have signed up and more than 20,000 hotels that have already been classified.

Countries include Greece, Malta and the Netherlands, although popular UK hotspots like France, Spain and Portugal have yet to sign up.

But the difference in rankings can make it difficult to figure out if a hotel is worth staying elsewhere in the world.

Tim Hentschel, CEO of travel tech site HotelPlanner, told CNBC that star ratings make a big difference when people book vacations.

He said: “We find that star ratings are quite valuable to our customers. When you go in to choose yours [hotel] Data…usually the first set of filters is star rating.”

In the UK, these are the usual criteria for determining a hotel’s star rating.

A star

  • More than five bedrooms with private bathrooms
  • Open seven days a week
  • reception area
  • The restaurant serves breakfast seven days a week and dinner five times a week
  • Bar on site

Two stars

  • All this and better hospitality and cleanliness

Three stars

  • all of the above
  • Access without a key from 7.00 a.m. to 11.00 p.m. and outside these hours with a key
  • Dinner six times a week, with dinner offered on the seventh
  • Limited room service for drinks and snacks
  • WiFi in public areas
  • phones in the room

four star

  • all of the above
  • 24-hour room service including breakfast and dinner
  • Restaurant serving all meals seven days a week
  • WiFi in the rooms
  • Better ensuite facilities
  • Extras such as afternoon tea, luggage assistance

Five stars

  • all of the above
  • Open all year
  • High level of customer service, with multilingual staff
  • The restaurants are open all day every day
  • Baths in at least 80 percent of en-suites
  • Extras like spas, suites, valet parking, concierges

However, when it comes to six or seven star hotels, which are common in Dubai, Mr Hentschel slammed them as “absurd”.

He explained that this would mean doing something unprecedented like a hotel “on the moon or under water.”

He gave his top tips on how to tell if a hotel really has five stars.

One was the staff’s understanding that guests must be catered for at all levels, with the answer being ‘yes’ as long as it is legally and morally correct.”

He also said the extra perks like butlers, valet parking, fancy restaurants, and health facilities like spas, golf courses, and tennis courts push the star ratings up a bit.

Otherwise, it also required an “emotional connection” for the guests to make the hotel very special, with unique decor and amenities.

NetVoucherCodes experts also advise caution when trusting star ratings, stating, “Have you found a ‘too good to be true’ offer on a 5-star hotel?” The odds are, it is is good to be true.

“Hotel ratings are not standardized globally and many are indicative of amenities rather than quality.”

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They also said that “package tour operators tend to be most generous when offering a star upgrade”.

And that’s why you should never trust a hotel that has too many five-star reviews.

Better service and amenities earn a hotel a five-star rating

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Better service and amenities earn a hotel a five-star ratingPhoto credit: Getty

https://www.the-sun.com/travel/6895635/hotel-stars-explained-five-star/ What hotel stars really mean – and why you shouldn’t always trust ones with five

Emma James

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