Many people are confused by the star rating system used for hotels. To make matters worse, there is no consistent rating system from country to country. While it’s best to do a little bit of research about a particular hotel, there are some standards that should be expected for a hotel to obtain a four- or five-star rating. If a hotel has reached three-star status, you can expect valet parking and help with your bags. Four- and five-star hotels offer all that you’ll find at a three-star hotel, and a lot more.
Exceptional service is a must at a four-star hotel. You can expect a speedy check-in. Room service is usually offered 24 hours daily, and delivered quickly. You should also receive turn-down service, personalized wake-up calls (if requested), one-hour pressing, and same-day laundry services. Most four-star hotels have a separate concierge desk to help with guest inquiries. Internet is available, though often not included in the room rate.
A five-star hotel includes the same amenities as a four-star, and more. Staff is knowledgeable and will go out of their way to make sure your questions are answered. Check-in and check-out are quick and flawless. Twenty-four-hour room service is always available and includes hot food. At least two complimentary papers are delivered each morning. Five-star hotels have excellent concierges, who can scare up almost any service for their guests, and book hard-to-get theater tickets and dinner reservations.
Rooms at four-star hotels are elegant. The comfortable beds are covered with pillows and the bedspread is stylish. Rooms are equipped with a safe. There might be living plants in the room. Premium channels are included in the cable television line-up. The bathroom is large, neat, clean, and includes a lighted mirror for shaving. Art is upscale—canvases or sculptures instead of generic framed posters.
A hotel must be unique to obtain a five-star rating, and nowhere does it show more than in the guest rooms. Luxurious details are everywhere. Rooms are large and comfortable, and often have fresh flowers. There is a telephone in the bathroom, and at least two others in the room. The bathroom has a shower and a tub. Five-star rooms excel in any category—they may be in historical buildings and have appropriate elements like pricey antiques, or they may embrace modernity and have every technical bell and whistle you could possibly think of. Art in the rooms is unique and valuable. All materials, from wood finishes to wall paint to carpeting, are of the highest quality.
Four-star hotels usually have small but well-equipped fitness centers. If there's a pool, it may be a small lap pool with an adjacent hot tub. If there is a spa, appointments are on time and handled by experts; in-room treatments may be available. Most hotels will have a restaurant or lounge onsite, though the quality of these may vary. Four-stars will have some sort of business center with Internet and fax capabilities.
Five Star Facilities
A five-star hotel’s facilities are a step above a four-star. There are fresh flowers in the public restrooms. Pools are larger, sometimes impressively so, and complimentary drinks are sometimes offered at plush poolside chaises. The hotel restaurant serves full breakfast and full dinner daily, and is often a destination in itself. Casinos, if present, offer complimentary drinks if a guest has played for a certain amount of time. Five-stars will also usually have town car or limousine service, not just to the airport but around town as well. Most five-stars have spas or will arrange for in-room treatments. Business centers will be as carefully decorated as guest rooms and be staffed by professionals who can offer secretarial help.
Mobil Travel Guide is considered by many to have the most reliable rating system. The American Automobile Association, also known as AAA, uses diamonds instead of stars, but its rating system is similar to Mobil's. Most other commercial travel guides use their own rating systems, which may include stars or other designations.