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5 Star Hotels

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‘Stars’ are the designations given to hotels, spas and restaurants by the Forbes Travel Guide (formerly the Mobil Travel Guide) since 1958, longer than any other service. Prospective guests use the star designations as a tool for selecting hotel accommodations. Hotels are awarded stars (from 1-5) based on quality and service. Out of the nearly 50,000 hotels in North America and China, only 8,000 hotels have received a 1-5 star designation. The most recent list awarded a mere 53 hotels in North America and China with the top 5 star designation.

What do the star levels mean?

According to the Forbes Travel Guide, this is how to read their rating system:

1 Star – Hotels which provide basic amenities/services, are clean, comfortable and affordable.

2 Stars – Hotels provide the basics with an on-site full-service restaurant.The décor, grounds and rooms will be of higher quality.

3 Stars – Hotels provide consistent service, are comfortable, and contain expanded amenities like pools, hot-tubs, room service and fitness centers.

4 Stars – Hotels are sophisticated with exemplary service and offer a luxurious feel with 24-hour room service, valet parking, and spas.

5 Stars – Hotels catering to each guest as if they were the only guest and anticipating their guests’ needs. Luxurious personalized service, culinary expertise and elegant rooms with every amenity imaginable on-premises, or the ability to procure it if/when requested.

The 5 Star Hotel Process

In order for hotels to make the cut, they undergo rigorous incognito inspections over a period of three days and two nights by Forbes Travel Guide inspectors. Each hotel is evaluated based on more than 750 criteria, with 75% of the score being determined by facility service performance and the remaining 25% on facility inspection. Thus, hotels receiving this classification are the utmost in travel experience.

Hotel staff are graded on their:

  • courtesy and manners
  • graciousness and thoughtfulness
  • the provision of a sense of personalized service
  • efficiency
  • guest comfort
  • convenience
  • technical execution, skill and knowledge
  • appearance
  • food quality
  • cleanliness
  • luxury
  • condition

In the areas of:

  • Reservations
  • Arrival
  • Departure
  • Communications (PBX Operator)
  • Room Service (Dinner)
  • Breakfast Service (in Restaurant)
  • Bar/Lounge Service
  • Housekeeping Daily Service
  • Housekeeping Request and Turndown Service
  • Laundry Service
  • Guest Services/Concierge - in-person and by telephone
  • Guest Room Conditions
  • Public Area Conditions

If applicable, the following areas are included:

  • Business Center
  • Fitness Room
  • Pool/Beach Service
  • Casino

Inspectors use stop watches, tape recorders, and copious notes. Hotel staff is timed on arrival and departure processes, presentation of services, speed in the execution of tasks, and overall knowledge their function, any questions the guests may have about the location, or any other desires, to name a scant few scenarios.

Keep in mind, 5 star hotels are the most expensive of the bunch and while providing personalized service, will probably belong to one of the hotel chains, as they can best provide that level of attention to each guest. The Forbes Travel Guide helps travelers make the best selections for their travel needs from a huge pool of prospects. Whether a hotel receives a single star or five star status, rest-assured they are the cream of the crop from their level of service. Beware of hotels that have designations of more than five stars. Forbes only awards five stars, any hotels or resorts boasting more than five stars were probably self-awarded and completely biased.

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