Hotel Rating: What Do All Those Stars Mean?

Have you ever wondered what is behind all the stars next to the hotel names? What we all know is – more stars, better hotel. But did you know that behind all those stars are certain standards that hotels have to meet?

We decided to try to clarify the classification, so you would know what to expect in a particular hotel.
I must admit that I have ever slept in all sorts of hotels. From standard with 2 * in Istanbul to the super luxury hotel with 5 * in the heart of Vegas. The difference is evident at first glance.

Although there is a general list of conditions that a hotel needs to meet in order to obtain a certain star level, every country in the world has retained the right to accept these conditions or set their own. That led to the situation that a 4 * hotel in the US has different standards and offer than a hotel of the same category in China.
The European Union tried to make hotel standardisation that would be accepted in all countries. However, although it is made, it is not accepted but serves only as a guideline to the Member States.

EHU, the European Union Hotelstar, is based on the German system, that had the greatest impact on the classification of hotels in central Europe. This system made a catalogue of criteria that includes as much as 270 elements, some of which are mandatory if a hotel wants to get a certain star. Each of these elements carries a certain number of points that are added together and are awarded stars based on thresholds.

So, what are the conditions?

Tourist or 1 *

Hotels marked with 1 *, mostly called budget hotels, are intended for everyone who does not expect any luxury and a bed too comfortable. But there are conditions that these hotels have to meet. All rooms must have a private bathroom with shower or bath. The rooms need to be cleaned every day, and there should be a desk with a chair, colour TV with a remote, and soap in the bathroom.

The reception of this hotel should work at least 8 hours a day, and at the front desk should have a fax machine and telephone to use. Breakfast must be served at the hotel, and drinks for the guests must be available throughout the day.

Standard or 2 *

The breakfast must have a buffet. The bed should have reading lights and a room must have a closet for storage. In the bathroom, there should be towels, and shower gel instead of soap, and some of the accessories for personal hygiene.

The reception must be equipped with a fax machine and telephone, and the guests should be able to pay with Credit cards.

Comfort or 3 *

All the conditions that apply to hotels with 1* and 2* hotels are valid for 3 * Hotels. The additional conditions are that the reception should be open at least 14 hours a day, and be available 24 hours a day by phone and have staff who speak at least one foreign language. The reception area should have at least 3 sofas and place to leave your luggage.

And for rooms, each should have a mini bar or some beverages, telephone and Internet access. Although the heating in the bathroom is not explicitly stated in previous categories, hotels with 3 * should have a heating facility and hairdryer. The room should have a large mirror and space where you can leave your suitcase. Also sewing kit, shoe cleaning kit and the possibility of sending your clothes for washing and ironing.

The hotel that has been awarded 3 stars should be able to provide to a customer an additional pillow and blanket and a well-developed system for handling complaints.

First class or 4 *

4 star hotel sign

The front desk needs to work a minimum of 18 hours a day. Guests should be available to reach it by phone 24 hours a day.

The lobby, with 3 sofas, should include space where guests can have a drink. The 4 * hotel should have an optional breakfast in your room and food delivery to the room. A minibar should always be full. If there is no possibility of a daily charge, there must be a 24-hour option for ordering drinks in the room.

In addition to the bed, desk with chair and closet, room in 4 * hotel should include a chair or sofa and a coffee table. Robes and slippers should be in every room, and if not, should be available to guests on request. The bathroom is now becoming a little more luxurious, with a shower cap, cosmetic mirror and a variety of personal care products.

Although previous hotels did not need to have a restaurant in its premises, only space for serving breakfast, hotels with a 4 * should have the a la carte restaurant open seven days a week.

Luxury or 5 *

The 5 * hotel reception should be open 24 hours a day. There should be a doorman or a person in charge of parking the vehicle. Also, the hotel stuff should help you carry the luggage to your room without having to charge you. The lobby should be spacious, with seating area and bar.

Each guest, upon arrival in the room, should get fresh flowers or another gift of welcome. The rooms should have a safe where you can keep your valuables and super fast Internet. The Hotel should have a service that allows clothes to be returned within 1 hour. And as a guest, you have the opportunity to fulfil a secret survey of satisfaction with the hotel.

Super Luxury or 7 *


Some of the hotels have the honour to have met all the requirements and even more, so they are sometimes advertised as a hotel with 7 stars.

The first hotel in the world which was called the 7-star hotel was Burj Al Arab in Dubai. It was opened in 1998 and each room has its own butler. They do not advertise themselves as 7-star but as a 5-star hotel. That seventh star was first used as an expression by a journalist that was a guest of the hotel to describe the luxury this place offers.

What are the requirements for a 7-star hotel? It is difficult to say.

There is no written document that says that such categorization officially exists, nor a certification body that provides such a category. But for luxury which individual hotels have, like designer furniture, elite food and drinks and other pleasures of the rich, these hotels receive the title of the hotel with 7 *.

Sanya Dushku

Avid scuba diver, wildlife conservationist and cyclist. Mother of two, happily married.

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