What hotel stars really mean – and why you shouldn't always trust ones with five | The Sun

WITH so much choice online when booking a holiday, it can be hard to which hotels are good.

Many holidaymakers may look at how many stars a hotel has – but experts have warned why you may not be able to trust them after all.

This is because there is not a global rating system and instead are rated differently by tourist boards or independent companies.

For example, a hotel like Marina Bay Sands in Singapore ranges from three stars to five stars depending on the website.

In the UK, hotels are given stars by the Automobile Association (AA) along with Visit Britain, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales.

According to Which?, hotels must have an overnight inspection and pay a fee between £624 to £2,123 depending on it's rating.

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And ratings system Hotelstars has created a system to rank hotels across the globe, with 20 countries in Europe signing up and more than 20,000 hotels classified already.

Countries include Greece, Malta and the Netherlands, although popular Brit hotspots such as France, Spain and Portugal are yet to sign up.

But the difference in rankings can make it tricky to work out if a hotel is worth it elsewhere in the world.

Tim Hentschel, CEO of the travel technology website HotelPlanner told CNBC that star ratings make a big difference when people are booking holidays.

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He said: “We actually find star ratings are quite valuable to our customers. When you go in to pick your [hotel] dates … typically the first filter set is the star rating."

In the UK, here are the common criteria for determining the star rating of a hotel.

One star

  • More than five bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms
  • Open seven days a week
  • Reception area
  • Restaurant serving breakfast seven days a week and dinner five times a week
  • On-site bar

Two star

  • All of the above, and better hospitality and cleanliness

Three star

  • All of the above
  • Access without a key from 7am to 11pm, and after these hours with one
  • Dinner six times a week with food offered on seventh
  • Limited room service for drinks and snacks
  • WiFi in public areas
  • In-room phones

Four star

  • All of the above
  • 24-hour room service including breakfast and dinner
  • Restaurant serving all meals seven days a week
  • WiFi in rooms
  • Better ensuite facilities
  • Extras such as afternoon tea, luggage assistance

Five star

  • All of the above
  • Open all year
  • High level of customer service, with staff being multilingual
  • Restaurants open all day, every day
  • Baths in at least 80 per cent of en-suites
  • Extras such as spas, suites, valet parking, concierges

However, when it comes to six or seven star hotels, commonly seen in Dubai, Mr Hentschel slammed them as "absurd".

He explained that this would mean doing something never done before like a hotel "on the moon or underwater".

He gave his top tips on how to see if a hotel was really five star.

One was staff understanding that guests must be catered to at every level, with the 'answer being yes as long as its legal and morally correct."

He also said the added extras such as butlers, valets, fancy restaurants and health facilities including spas, golf courses and tennis courts make something bumped up the star ratings.

Otherwise making the hotel extra special also demanded an "emotional connection" for guests with unique decor and facilities.

Experts at NetVoucherCodes also advised being cautious when trusting the star rating, explaining: “Found a ‘too good to be true’ deal on a five star hotel’? The likelihood is that it’s too good to be true.

“Hotel ratings aren’t standardised worldwide and many are just an indicator of the facilities rather than the quality."

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They also said that "package tour operators tend to be the most overly generous offering a star higher".

And here is why you should never trust a hotel that has too manyfive star reviews either.

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