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Hotel Star Ratings Guide: From Budget Rooms to Luxury Suites

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Hotels come with two types of ratings; a guest rating and a star rating. The guest rating is how people who have stayed there have reviewed their experience, similar to a Yelp score. Star ratings, on the other hand, are a rating given based on the hotel’s amenities and accommodations. This is a useful tool for potential guests to get an at-a-glance look at how luxurious a hotel is when they are shopping around. This system is not perfect though. It can be different from country to country, and it is not always clear what will be included in your stay based only on the star rating. While it is always best to contact your hotel with any question about what is included, we are here to help demystify what the star ratings mean and what you can typically expect from each tier.

1-Star Hotel

A modest hotel room

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A 1-star hotel is going to provide the absolute bare minimum in terms of amenities and comforts. These are for the most pragmatic travelers who are only using their hotel room to sleep and don’t need much to feel comfortable. While this can be a good choice for anyone looking to travel on a budget, there are things to consider beyond amenities. Cleanliness is one concern, as oftentimes these hotels do not hold themselves to the same standards as other hotels, and no one wants to deal with a previous guest’s messes. Furthermore, safety can be a concern. For instance, if you are a woman who is traveling alone, seedy accommodations may make you feel unsafe. 1-Star hotels will typically provide you with the best deal, but they are not without their drawbacks. 

2-Star Hotel

A quaint hotel room with a flat-screen TV

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Much like 1-star hotels, a 2-star hotel is not going to provide very much in the way of amenities. There will likely be some kind of food provided, like a breakfast buffet or on-site restaurant, but don’t expect anything luxurious. Many 2-star hotels are part of a chain, like Red Roof or Holiday Inn, meaning you get the added reassurance of brand recognition. These hotels hit the sweet spot of providing a good deal for those who need only the essentials, while also maintaining a better level of cleanliness with daily housekeeping service. Still, these are for travelers who are really only using the hotel to sleep and not looking to hang out at a pool or pamper themselves in any way. 

3-Star Hotel

A sleek hotel room with comfortable furnishings

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3-Star hotels aren’t necessarily what you would call luxurious, but they do offer a much more broad range of amenities. You can expect rooms to be fully equipped with complimentary toiletries, a TV and phone, as well as possibly appliances like a coffee maker or mini fridge. They will also typically have facilities like a pool, fitness center, and an on-site restaurant. They are also usually more stylishly designed and feature more comfortable furniture than their lower-starred counterparts. While many of these amenities and features are standard for a 3-star hotel, it is important to check with your hotel what they actually have, as they are not all required to qualify for the rating.

4-Star Hotel

A fancy hotel room that is very spacious

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This is where we break away from mere comfort, and enter into the world of luxury. 4-Star hotels offer everything you would get at a 3-star hotel, but with more exceptional service and bigger and better accommodations. Expect things like multiple pools and hot tubs, concierge services, fine dining on site, valet parking, room service, extravagant suites, and more. These are the hotels for people who are looking to pamper themselves while they are at the hotel and want to be waited on every step of the way. Rooms will be bigger and more comfortable, staff will be waiting to help at every turn, and anything you could need during your trip will be available at a moment’s notice. 

5-Star Hotel

A jacuzzi in an upscale bathroom

(Image provided by Adobe Stock)

Finally, we come to the cream of the crop, the most luxurious and expensive hotels in the world. A 5-star hotel will provide the most exceptional service, with bellhops, valet drivers, and concierge attendants ready to cater to your every need. The décor in these hotels will include inventive architecture and fine art, with extravagant lobbies welcoming you into boisterous halls. It is common for these hotels to have multiple fine-dining restaurants, tennis courts, on-site entertainment, and even bigger and better fitness centers and pools. Staying at these hotels can be a worthwhile vacation all on its own, so they are definitely for people who plan on spending a lot of time at their hotel. 

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