What Do Hotel Star Ratings Mean?
Choosing a hotel stay can be challenging when there are so many types of hotels to pick from. Once a traveler selects the type of hotel they are interested in, the next step is navigating the intricacies of hotel ratings and star meanings. We’ve created a guide to discuss the differences between hotel stars, so you can properly market your hotel business to your customers and boost your bottom line.Shop All Hotel Supplies
- What Is a 1 Star Hotel?
- What Is a 2 Star Hotel?
- What Is a 3 Star Hotel?
- What Is a 4 Star Hotel?
- What Is a 5 Star Hotel?
What Do Hotel Stars Mean?
Hotel stars are a rating system that evaluates the features and amenities available at a hotel to help guests choose the best hotel for their stay and budget. Whether a customer is looking for a bed for the night or a luxurious experience, comparing hotels based on their star ratings can narrow down one’s search according to the features they desire and available price points. They also provide an idea of the level of service to expect upon arrival.
Hotels can receive a rating of 1 to 5 stars, with 1 being the most basic and 5 being the most extravagant. However, a universal hotel star ranking system does not exist, so you can find the same hotel rated differently depending on which website you visit. Be sure to check for a star rating guide on the site you are using for a better understanding of how they are ranking the hotels. It is important to note that the star rating that customers may leave in their review of a location is different from a hotel star rating. Customers can review and rate their experience with a star value while hotel stars are an indication of their features and amenities.
American Hotel Rating System vs European Hotel Star Rating System
With the differences that exist between the rating systems of travel websites, there are also differences in hotel ratings between countries. American hotel star rating systems rank hotels out of 5 stars, while European hotel rating systems rank hotels out of 4 stars, with a 4 star hotel being the most luxurious. American hotels are also judged by private companies and websites, whereas European hotels are evaluated by government agencies and independent organizations.
What Is a 1 Star Hotel?
A 1 star hotel is a hotel that only provides the bare necessities for a night’s stay, such as a bed and a bathroom. You can expect limited amenities and minimal service from the staff. Although some may consider 1 star hotels to be dingy and dirty, the single-star rating is just an indication of their basic accommodations and does not reflect cleanliness or safety. One-star hotels offer a place to lay your head for the night, but that is about it. A television or phone may or may not be included in the rooms.
One-star hotels are typically privately owned and not part of a chain of businesses. Most 1 star hotels are situated close to restaurants and fast food locations, but will not have food options available on-site beyond a vending machine. Reception desk hours will also be limited and housekeeping services are generally only performed between guests.
1 Star Hotel Amenities
- Limited (bed and bathroom)
- Lobby or hallway vending machine
1 Star Hotel Benefits
- Comfortable room and bed
- Provide for basic needs
What Is a 2 Star Hotel?
A 2 star hotel offers the basic necessities of a bed and bathroom in each room and may offer some limited amenities, like a television, phone, and closet. Some examples of 2 star hotels include Sleep Inn & Suites, Econo Lodge Inn & Suites, and Comfort Inn. There may also be 24-hour front desk services, along with daily housekeeping and a self-serve dining option at the hotel, such as a continental breakfast.
Two-star hotels are often part of a larger chain and can be located in various cities. These hotels are made for travelers passing through and will be located directly off major expressway exits. They may even offer reward points as part of loyalty programs for those who travel often.
2 Star Hotel Amenities
- In-room television and phone
- Clothing racks or closet
- Self-serve dining and snacks
- Daily housekeeping
- 24-hours reception desk
- Billed Wi-Fi
2 Star Hotel Benefits
- Comfortable lodgings
- Comes with brand recognition
- Dining options
- Loyalty programs
- Quick detour off highways
1 Star vs 2 Star Hotel
The difference between a 1 star hotel and a 2 star hotel is that 2 star hotels are part of a hotel brand chain so they are better known and typically have more customer reviews. They are usually available in multiple locations so customers know what to expect every time they stay at a hotel under that name and can find the same hotel in various convenient parts of the country or around the globe. On the other hand, one-star hotels generally only have one location and are individually owned.
What Is a 3 Star Hotel?
A 3-star hotel offers a balance between affordability and amenities. They are generally the mid-tier option of upscale hotel chains, focusing on style along with comfort. Think Hampton Inn, Hyatt Place, and Courtyard by Marriott Lancaster. Three-star hotels may not be super luxurious but a guest can expect to have their basic needs cared for along with bonus accessories to make their stay more enjoyable.
Rooms are often spacious with a couch or comfy chair, a desk, closet, phone, alarm clock, and flat-screen TV that features extended cable packages. These hotels can also offer on-site amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, a gym, pool, and dining facilities for breakfast.
You’ll usually find 3 star hotels located near restaurants and local attractions, including amusement parks, theaters, and stadiums. They are geared towards business travelers, so they are strategically placed near major cities. They also offer 24-hour front desk assistance, conference rooms, and room service to accommodate business needs.
3 Star Hotel Amenities
- Spacious rooms
- Shower with a tub
- Hotel toiletries in room
- Couch or comfy chair
- Closet and dresser
- Phone and alarm clock
- Flat-screen TV with cable
- Fitness Center
- Business services
3 Star Hotel Benefits
- Quality service for mid-range pricing
- Stylish and comfortable rooms
- Easy to get to tourist attractions
- Exercise options, such as a pool and gym
2 Star vs 3 Star Hotel
The difference between a 2 star hotel and 3 star hotel is the amenities provided. While a 2 star hotel will focus on the basics for a one-night stay, 3 star hotels focus primarily on business travels and multi-night stays. To accommodate these travelers, they offer a variety of on-site amenities, like business centers, a pool, and a fitness center.
What Is a 4 Star Hotel?
A 4 star hotel is an upscale hotel that provides amenities, activities, and extras to create a full experience for multi-night stays. These facilities are often large and located in touristic areas, such as near beaches or major cities. The lobbies are noticeably elegant, and the buildings are fully staffed with reception desk, valets, concierges, housekeeping, and kitchen employees.
Four-star hotels may also have indoor and outdoor pools, spas, tennis and basketball courts, workout classes led by instructors, movie nights, and live music. Hilton Grand Vacation Resorts, Omni Hotels and Resorts, and Westin by Marriott are well-known examples of 4 star hotels.
Rooms in 4-star hotels are spacious and comfortable, with king-sized soft mattresses and lavish hotel bedding. Along with a desk and premium furnishings, they may also include a safe, bathrobes, and slippers. Most rooms will have large flat-screen TVs with DVD rentals available in the lobby. A 4 star hotel may also be gated and feature multiple buildings on its premises, with golf-cart shuttling available from building to building.
4 Star Hotel Amenities
- Spacious rooms
- Large beds with premium bedding
- Shower and separate whirlpool tub
- Room safe
- On-site activities (movie nights, exercise classes, and live music)
- On-site restaurants and room service
- Indoor and outdoor pools
- Fitness center, basketball court, and tennis court
- Hot tubs
- Staff Services (concierge, valet parking, and bellhops)
4 Star Hotel Benefits
- A full upscale experience
- Staff to provide for needs
- Location for rest and relaxation
- Entertainment and food options right on sight making the need to leave the premise minimal
3 Star vs 4 Star Hotel
The difference between a 3 star hotel and 4 star hotel is the availability of activities and level of care from the staff. While 3 star hotels offer some fitness selections like a pool and gym, a 4 star hotel provides options such as multiple pools, spas, and fitness classes. Three-star hotels are about comfort, while four-star hotels are about relaxation. Instead of targeting business travelers, 4 star hotels direct their marketing towards vacationers.
What Is a 5 Star Hotel?
A 5 star hotel is a hotel that provides a luxurious experience and high-end accommodations. Five-star hotels are known to be some of the most glamorous hospitality locations in the world due to the level of service they provide. Some of the services guests may find at a 5 star hotel include a personal butler, doorman, designated concierge, around-the-clock room service, valet parking, spas with trained masseuses, gyms with personal trainers, live entertainment, and even child care.
Guests can choose from an assortment of heated pools and hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms, dance halls, golf courses, and game rooms for their entertainment. These locations may also feature various on-site gourmet restaurant and bar options with top-rated chefs. Five-star hotels boast their attention to detail, catering the experience to each guest, whether that be with personalized menus or by accommodating special room requests.
Five-star hotels are usually architecturally beautiful and located in state-of-the-art facilities. The hotel building and rooms typically have a theme and lean heavily into a particular architectural style, with extravagant lobbies and rooms crafted by interior designers. Each room is spacious, potentially featuring a separate living room, patio, kitchen, and minibar. Guests may have a personal jacuzzi tub, designer bathrobes, and high-end toiletries in their rooms as well. With a five-star hotel, guests are pampered during their stay, with their needs and desires are taken care of.
5 Star Hotel Amenities
- Elegant rooms with living rooms, kitchens, and patios
- In-room jacuzzi tub
- Designer linens and bathrobes
- Golf courses
- Spas with nail and hair salons, massage options, and facials
- Pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, and saunas
- Top-of-the-line fitness center and coaches
- Premium staff service (doorman, butler, personal concierge, valet, child care)
- On-site gourmet restaurants and bars
- Various entertainment options
5 Star Hotel Benefits
- Luxurious and glamorous experience
- Full-service attention and pampering
- Desires catered for
- Highest standard of comfort and relaxation
4 Star vs 5 Star Hotel
The difference between a 4 star hotel and 5 star hotel is the level of pampering and personalized staff attention that guests receive during their stay. While both offer on-site dining and activities, 5 star hotels take their experience above and beyond to make their facility something to brag about. At a 5 star hotel, guests have their needs and desires catered for by dutiful employees that help customize the stay to the customer’s wishes. Five-star hotels are geared toward the rich and famous, while four-star hotels target vacationers.Back to Top
Before you open your own hotel, it is important to consider which star rating you're aiming for. Think about the location of your hotel building and the customers you are looking to target to determine which amenities are going to be essential for you to provide during their stay. When you choose the right hotel star rating for your business, you can then craft your customers’ experience to meet and exceed their expectations and achieve more positive Expedia and Yelp reviews.