[Infographic] The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Star Ratings

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Guest Contributor

Last updated 27 July, 2015
<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >[Infographic] The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Star Ratings</span>

Have you ever wondered how hotel star ratings are awarded? This handy guide will show you what to look out for the next time you book your hotel room.

Typically ranked on a scale of one to five, hotel star ratings are a useful shorthand for setting world-class comfort apart from mediocre accommodations. Learn more about what the star rating system really means when it comes to your travels.

INFOGRAPHIC: The Ultimate Guide to Hotel Star Ratings

Who decides how many stars a hotel gets?

The truth is that there's no one universally-recognized body that assigns star ratings. Instead, hotels may receive ratings from a number of different sources, each with highly subjective standards that change from place to place. Some examples include:

  • Government agencies and tourism boards
  • The AA (Automobile Association), UK and Europe
  • Hotelstars Union, Europe
  • Forbes Travel Guide (formerly the Mobil Travel Guide), US
  • Country-specific travel associations
  • Travel websites both with and without user ratings

A Helpful Hint

If a hotel bills itself as a three-, four-, or even five-star, don't take the claim at face value. Do your research on exactly where that rating comes from, and whether the criteria used is rigorous enough to meet your needs.

One Star Hotels

"One-star" does not always equal "awful." These hotels are usually small businesses run by sole proprietors or families. Expect only the most basic amenities such as:

  • Small to medium-sized rooms
  • Beds
  • Communal or ensuite (private) bathrooms
  • Daily room cleaning
  • Front desk reception

Two Stars Hotels

Just a step up from one-star hotels, these are ideal for travellers on a budget. Aside from the basics, expect a handful of extra features such as:

  • Beds
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Small closets or clothes racks
  • Soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other toiletries
  • Colour TV
  • Telephone
  • Saily housekeeping
  • 24-hour front desk reception

Three Stars Hotels

Now we're talking. These hotels are where we venture into the territory of international chains and business hotels with deluxe facilities. Look for additional features such as:

  • Flat-screen color TV with cable
  • Larger ensuite bathrooms with bathtub
  • Room service
  • Laundry service
  • Baggage assistance
  • Daily housekeeping
  • 24-hour front desk reception
  • Lobby and/or guest lounge
  • On-site restaurant with bar
  • Swimming pool
  • Fitness center or gym
  • Business facilities (internet access, fax machine, etc.)
  • Conference rooms
  • Valet parking

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

One alternative version of the star rating is the diamond system used by the American Automobile Association (AAA). Out of over 28,000 hotels reviewed by the AAA annually, 5.4% make the Four Diamond list while only 0.4% attain the elusive Five Diamond rating.

Four Stars Hotels

The highest possible ranking for most hotels in Europe. This is where we graduate from comfortable rooms to upscale interiors with that added luxury "it" factor. Look for high-end amenities such as:

  • Prime location at city center
  • Spacious rooms with minibar
  • Upholstered seats with side table
  • In-room safe
  • Luxury furnishings and toiletries
  • Complimentary bathrobe and slippers
  • On-site restaurants with hotel bar and fine dining options
  • Swimming pools and hot tubs
  • Fitness center or gym
  • Day spa and massage services
  • 24-hour front desk reception
  • Concierge
  • Bellhop service
  • Valet parking
  • Limousine or private car service

Five Stars Hotels

The highest possible ranking for hotels in the United States and elsewhere. The realm of A-list celebrities and high-ranking diplomats, these are the hotels where luxury can reach atmospheric levels. Expect the usual four-star amenities plus:

  • Permanent luxury suites
  • Large rooms with cutting-edge interiors and minibar
  • Oversized bathrooms with personal Jacuzzi
  • Large-screen TV with DVD player
  • High-speed internet
  • 24-hour room service and attentive staff
  • Personal butler and turnover service
  • On-site restaurants and bars with gourmet dining
  • Heated swimming pools
  • State-of-the-art fitness centers and health clubs with personal trainers
  • Day spa and massage services
  • Golf course access
  • Multilingual staff at front desk and concierge
  • Year-round service

Do Seven-Star Hotels Exist?

Officially, no. Most hotel ranking bodies assign a default top rating of 5 stars. "Star inflation" may occur when a hotel receives six to seven stars in either marketing materials or overenthusiastic customer reviews. This often applies to ultra-luxurious hotels such as Dubai's Burj Al Arab and Milan's Town House Galleria.

The Top 5 Hotels in Singapore

  1. AMOY by Far East Hospitality
  2. Capella Singapore
  3. Raffles Hotel Singapore
  4. The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore
  5. Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

Going hotel-hunting for your next vacation? Don't rely on the star rating alone! Be a smart traveller and do your homework on the best hotel options for your budget.

Use SingSaver.com.sg's free comparison tools to find a travel credit card that will get you hotel discounts!

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