Take Advantage of Hotel Star Ratings
Hotel star ratings have been around since the 1950s, as the interstate highway system was rapidly expanding and more and more hotels were opening throughout the country. The system of rating hotels by assigning 1 to 5 stars was begun by Mobil Oil Company, and reviews and ratings were include in its Mobil Travel Guides. Since that time, a number of other companies, such as the American Automobile Association, Forbes Travel Guide and Travelocity, have compiled their own hotel star ratings.
How Hotel Star Ratings Work
Depending on the rating service you choose, each system is a little different. The Mobil Travel Guide, for example, sets out to physically inspect more than 25,000 hotels and restaurants and has assigned more than 3 stars to only 3,000 properties. Mobil, like other travel services, established a point system based on amenities and features that are used for each hotel or restaurant. The goal for every hotel star rating service is to grade each hotel with a uniform system in an effort to come up with a consistent, objective rating. Most of the rating systems include pictures, descriptions and other pertinent information so someone visiting their website can decide on hotels to visit on a trip, and then rely on that information to map the location, choose a day for a visit and call and make a reservation, if necessary.
What Hotel Star Ratings Mean
On the simplest level, the more stars, the better the hotel. However, most travel guides offer a detailed explanation of what their individual hotel star ratings mean in their publication and on their website. Generally speaking, however, a consumer can expect the following of hotels rated with between one and five stars:
- One star hotel. Most one star hotels are small and have individual owners. Amenities and features are generally limited and prices are on the lower end of the scale.
- Two star hotel. This is usually the category that includes chain hotels that have locations throughout the country and are owned by larger corporations. There may or may not be room service, but other amenities, such as a restaurant on site, might be included. Rooms will include certain comfort basics, such as television sets and phones.
- Three star hotel. One of the basic amenities in all three star hotels is the location, which will be in the business center of a town or within close access to major interstates. Rooms may be larger and the lobby and front desk area will usually be significant, perhaps ornate in some case. Expect amenities including a restaurant, room service, a pool and fitness center.
- Four-star hotel. At the four-star level, the hotels have the reputation as among the finest in town and will feature the same amenities as three star hotels, often on a grander scale, along with valet parking and concierge service. Service will be above-average in all areas and rooms are designed to be larger and impressive. Expect a four star hotel to be close to the major shopping, dining and entertainment options in town.
- Five star hotel. The very best in the hotel star ratings list, with many rating services requiring hotels to offer certain features and services that go beyond what can be found in a four star hotel. Expect an elegant living experience with gourmet food, 24-hour room service and features such as large, flat-screen TV’s, VCR’s, Jacuzzi tubs and bathrooms the size of rooms offered in one-star hotels. The opulence of a five star hotel will be reflected in its prices.