Whether you have planned a conference meeting or a much-needed getaway this weekend, we know one thing for sure – Booking a hotel is not all rosy. You want comfort, but some luxury won’t hurt. You want to splurge, but burning a hole in your pocket is not an option. Planning this elaborate trip can bring about endless permutations and combinations. Just like searching for ‘The 50 Best Rock Albums Of All Time’ narrows down the search for great music, hotel star ratings help narrow down excellent hotels, depending on budget, accessibility and a whole lot of factors. They’re usually helpful in determining the caliber and benchmark of a hotel you want to stay in.
A quick history recap: The year is 1933. The Michelin Guides introduce Hotel star ratings. There are only three stars. Life was simpler then! Cut to – 2009. Less than a hundred three-star Michelin restaurants exist.
Somewhere around that time, the Mobil Travel Guide, now known and respected as the Forbes Guide, rate hotels five stars. And here we are.
How To Check Hotel Star Rating In India
Holiday at that one mind-blowing 4-star hotel somewhere in the hills still unchecked on your bucket list? Probably because of the daily internet traffic of a zillion hotels that clouds your ability to decide, making it more challenging to pick the right one. Don’t do yourself a disservice. There’s good news. You can thank the Ministry Of Tourism of the Government Of India since it has made it mandatory for a hotel to display its stars on its official website.
So while you’re on a Lemon Tree Hotel site getting a good deal, you must confirm their rating too. Get a second and definitive confirmation at the hotel reception while checking in. Make sure to inspect the hotel facilities provided according to the country you are in. Hotels abroad can be placed differently for their niceties than the one you live in. Some may even have a spa service free for their guests. But if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. One step closer to that check-in!
Hotel Star Rating Requirements
The prerequisites to give a hotel a star varies for different countries and the system followed by their governments. Since there is no one adaptable rating system, governments, agencies are in charge of the same. Many times, the hotels themselves have a rating system in place.
In India, the authorities have 17 primary categories that they choose from. Within that, there are 108 subcategories to rate distinct facilities.
The rooms are ranked based on fundamental cleanliness, the air conditioning system, phones, hooks in the bathroom and other available facilities for guests. Although the common perception is that a 1-star may not be hygiene friendly, they, too, have to abide by rules like changing the bed covers and bath linen every day, especially between check-ins. Other necessities like cold and hot water must be available for guests. The next time you visit a hotel with basic toiletries, it’s all a part of the rating plan!
On a level up are 3-star hotels that require facilities like a minimum bedroom size of at least 140 sq ft (as compared to 120 sq ft of a 1-star) air-conditioned rooms, parking facilities, and multi-cuisine restaurants, to name a few, for ratings.
In 4 and 5-star restaurants, you need minibars, bathtubs, and 24-hour service, to begin with. The higher the star, the better the in-house hotel facilities.
A hotel’s star rating also depends on exterior spaces like coffee shops, a banquet hall, a swimming pool, a sauna and the parking area. Safety concerns like fire fighting measures and provisions for the differently abled are pertinent too. You will be surprised to know that the view of the room is also a factor for a good rating!
Who Gives Star Ratings To Hotels In World/India
The opening of a new hotel, just like the opening of a movie, brings along a rating for others to judge it by. But who’s doing the rating? Like for a movie, it’s the audience. For hotels, it’s a tad bit different.
A global ranking system doesn’t exist. Every country has its own, dependent on quality. Mostly. The French chose to go with quantity. In India the HRACC (The Hotels And Restaurants Accreditation Committee) tediously ranks hotels based on its necessary guidelines. The committee is said to have the functioning members who are nominees from the Department of Tourism of the State and Central government with tour operators, travel agents and someone who is an expert in the hospitality industry.
Dubai and Australia also rely on their government and tourism boards for rankings.
In the holiday favourite country of Italy, regional governments rate hotels.
The trade association HotelStars Union provides ratings in Germany.
Hotels in Greece and Spain are given stars by the public inspectors of their respective governments.
The USA relies on Forbes Stars ratings and the AAA.
Hotel Rating System Stars And Diamond
The Forbes Rating System is the pioneer of the stars rating system. You can count hotel rating stars on your fingers, literally. They are from one to five stars. To simplify it, the higher a star more elevated the luxury. Although seven isn’t officially a star, you can find a seven-star in Italy. Google it – The Seven Stars Galleria Hotel in Milan.
Hotels rated in diamonds are usually a part of the AAA (American Auto Association) rating system. It’s a 33-point system adhering to the following categories: Cleanliness, public areas, guest rooms, bathrooms and management style of function. One diamond is budget effective and affordable. Two diamonds are for subtle enhancements. Three diamonds mark an upgrade in class and comfort, and four diamonds up the antae with its attention to detail assistance and hospitality. Five diamonds are a luxury of epic proportions. Think of the Taj Falaknuma. With the addition of a diamond, services are improved, distinguished and refined.
The one-diamond or star experience is like a drive-in restaurant or a grab-and-go. On the other hand, the five diamonds or Stars experience is more of an Evening In Paris!
How Can I Find The Star Rating Of A Specific Hotel Online?
Gone are the days when you would have to find an address book to call or even travel all the way and visit a hotel to unearth its benefits. Fortunately, hotel star ratings are now available online on the hotel’s websites. Along with their sites, there has been a boom in the hotel booking marketplace.
The most popular sites to check hotel ratings have been Frommer’s, Booking.com, Travel Post, Airbnb, Trip Advisor, Agoda, Trivago Expedia and Hotels.com. However, Priceline, Sidestep and Hotwire are also some lesser-known companies to land your ideal hotel in a destination location.
Additionally, these hotels make a quick buck by having discounted room rates for hotels depending on the season. Along with customer reviews and ratings in the form of stars, smileys, and checks, this can be an overall wholesome booking experience. It is also a valuable exercise in comparing the comforts of diverse hotels to finalise the one that is most appropriate for you.
How Often Are Hotel Star Ratings Reviewed Or Updated?
Most hoteliers will tell you that ranking hotels is an effective exercise to maximise customer satisfaction. The guest always has distinct parameters in mind, and rankings exist to tick these boxes.
The HRACC (Hotel And Restaurant Approval And Classification Committee) has two departments: One that rates 3-star hotels and the other that rates 3 to 5-star hotels. Since hotel facilities are also constantly evolving, it makes sense to update the hotel stars rating similarly. Hence, this functional system is revised every two years. The classification of ratings effectively reduces stress for visitors and updates them about changing benefits.
How does the star rating system differ for luxury hotels compared to budget or economy hotels?
A single-star hotel is the most cost-effective having a restricted number of indulgences. 1-star hotels are rated the same for their most primary services. Go for a one-night stay here since for a fulfilling visit.
Hotels with additional facilities like televisions, clothing racks, phones, and better dining options for their guests are rated a 2-star hotel. With better service and design comes more responsibility. Hence 3-star hotels have broader utilities for your accommodation.
A 4 star will provide a deluxe experience with magnificent design and excellent range of facilities.
The 5-star hotel category, on the other hand, is to be in a league of your own. Case in point – The Burj Al Arab. If you have been here, you’ve seen it all. Another example is Manhattan City’s very own The Plaza Hotel. With luxury bedding that makes you never want to get out of the room (and maybe even increase a day of stay!), swanky bathrooms in marble, expensive artwork on display, private check-ins, splendid spas and the choicest gourmet restaurants, it’s a dream in reality!
Is There A Correlation Between The Cost Of A Hotel And Its Star rating?
Do you recall the last hotel that gave you the most lavish experience? You probably have a good review, too. Most other guests probably had a similar experience and have written rave reviews on the hotel’s website. Owing to this popularity, Hotel X started getting more queries and bookings. It led to the upsurge in room prices and an eventual increase in their hotel star ratings! It’s the undeniable circle of life. And ratings are at the centre of it all.
Luxury hotels often have a higher room rate than cost-effective hotels simply because they offer a world-class experience. You can tell when the bell staff at The Westin Excelsior picks up your luggage at the door. You can tell when the concierge is more than willing to serve you. But if you aren’t looking for a fancy time at the Marriotts and Hyatts of the world and don’t mind picking up your bags, then you may save aplenty by staying at a 2-star with minimal but required essentials.
Do All Hotels Display Their Star Ratings Prominently On Their Websites Or Their Physical Premises?
Remember the good old days you would be on the road and check in to a decent-looking hotel on the highway only to realise it didn’t even have a working shower? Maybe it is best that we don’t remember those days. Not only did that terrible experience eat up some of your cash, but it also wasted effort, energy and a forgettable night on the road!
To avoid these issues, it has now become mandatory for hotels, 2-star or 5-star, to display their ratings on their websites and the physical premises. Whether you’re booking well in advance or in a hurry, a quick look at the ratings on the website can guide you to the stay of your liking.
Significance Of Hotel Star Ratings For Travellers?
They say that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. The wonderful thing about hotels is that it works for both work and play! Multiple characteristics like the location, the price, the services and even the overall aesthetic of a hotel determine the stay someone is looking for. It is where hotel star ratings come in. When you travel to a hotel for the first time, it is possible to determine the quality and hygiene of the lodging via ratings.
Hoteliers looking to impress consumers with the finest services usually have a higher rating. The rating system allows a consumer from any part of the world to weigh the pros of a 2-star with the pros of a 4-star. Your stay is tailor-made to your requirements at that moment in time. Sometimes, the price of a 2-star hotel might be reasonable for you, but the location of a 3-star hotel works best for you.
These ratings are in place to give you the best customer experience based on your expectations.
One thing is for sure, the effort and hard work that goes into making a hotel room available for a guest is unparalleled. A hotel industry insider revealed that back in the day, inspectors would check into a hotel for a few nights to evaluate the hotels for staying purposes. All this allows us to plan our vacations well in advance. Ofcourse, if you’re a visitor at The White Lotus Hotel (the HBO show) because it will surprise you nevertheless.
It’s safe to assume that finding appropriate accommodation can be bewildering but possible if you only follow the *stars*.