When Is A 5 Star Hotel Not A 5 Star Hotel?

The title of this post may be a bit of a tongue-twister, but it is a fair question that I’ve heard many people ask.  I even wondered the same thing.

When I was younger, I used to think that all hotels that had a star rating (1 to 5) were directly comparable to each other.  What I have learned from my adult life and traveling to different hotels in different countries is that this is simply not the case.

How Are Hotels Rated?

Hotels originally were rated in terms of their quality to let guests know the kind of facilities and amenities they could expect from their stay.  However, hotel ratings eventually began to expand rather than just focusing on the facilities and quality because ratings are based on the overall experience of staying at hotels.

What Is Considered As Standards For Ratings?

There is a wide variety of criteria that are usually considered when one of the orating organizations assesses a hotel and decides on its rating.  Room variations, views, entertainment, and food services are all considered as well as additional features, extras and amenities, ease of access, location, and whether there are spa and fitness centers on-site or not.

This is where a lot of hotel owners, particularly smaller, budgeted places, have a problem with the rating system.  As hotels are rated based on their facilities, it could mean that a hotel has a particular quality of accommodation, say a 3-star level, but because it doesn’t have an elevator, its rating could suffer as a result.

There has also been a lot of criticism of late regarding rating systems as they are often too complex for people who are not in the hospitality industry to understand.  This leads me nicely to the question in the title of this post.

One Rating That Doesn’t Apply To All

You may have had a similar experience to the one I had when I recently traveled to Greece.  The hotel I stayed in there was rated as being 5 stars; however, my experience of the hotel would have rated it as 1 or 2 stars maximum.  The problem with hotel ratings, particularly the star system, is that although most people think that a place in Dubai has a star rating and a place in Whitby has a star rating, they are comparable.  The reality is that they are not.

There is no unified international classification system that has been adopted throughout the world with all hotels.  Attempts in the past to establish a one rating system for all hotels have failed and been abandoned in the past.  This really explains why I booked a 5-star hotel in Greece thinking it would be the same as other 5-star hotels I have stayed at in the past when really it was not as good.

That is not necessarily the hotel’s fault, and probably my own fault a little for just thinking that they were all rated to the same standards.

My word of warning would be to anyone that you should always check the reviews and see if you can check the official body that awarded a star rating and why to avoid any disappointment.

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