Hotel star rating: from 1 to 5

Who decides how many stars a hotel receives? And why is there such a big difference in the standard of 3 star hotels in France and in Switzerland? Optimize your travel knowledge by reading this quick guide on hotel rating…

Big difference in ratings
Hotel rating is confusing business, especially because it varies a lot from country to country. Ever wondered why a 3 star hotel in Europe differs from a 3 star hotel in USA? The answer is simple, as hotel star rating is determined by different organizations all over the world. In Europe rating is determined by local government agencies or independent organizations meaning that hotels in Germany can differ quite a lot from hotels in Italy. In the USA star rating is controlled by several organizations as well, but one thing’s for sure: star rating gives any traveler an idea of how a hotel works and which facilities are being offered.

In Europe, the dominant star rating union is called HOTREC and they’ve created Hotelstars Union in order to provide a harmonized hotel classification in the included countries (and thereby a better reputation for the hotel industry). So far 15 countries have joined this union; Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Belgium, Denmark and Greece.
But how does Hotelstars Union determine the amount of stars that should be given to a hotel? They actually rely on the German hotelstars system, which was the dominant rating system in Central Europe for a long time. The main criterias in this system are quality management, wellness and sleeping accommodation. They still work with 1 to 5 stars and a Superior flag to mark extra.

Know your stars
Personally, I’m not a fan of 2 star hotels in France or Italy, but they can be quite OK in Switzerland and Germany. Nevertheless, it really depends on what you’re looking for an whether you’re going on a business trip, a family holiday or a weekend getaway with a bunch of friends. In all cases it’s good to know your stars! Here’s how it works in Hotelstars Union:

1 star (tourist): 
– All rooms are equipped with a shower and a toilet
– Daily cleaning of the room
– All rooms are equipped with a Colour TV, a table and a chair
– The hotel offers a reception and a selection of beverages
– Soap available in showers

2 star (standard):
– All the above mentioned
– There’s a breakfast buffet every morning
– Bed lamp and towels
– Possible to pay with a credit card
– The hotel offers hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste and shaving kit

3 star (comfort):
– All the above mentioned
– The hotel offers reception service for 14 hours a day
– Staff should be bilingual
– Beverages in the room
– Telephone and internet in the room
– Mirror and an extra pillow and blanket in the room
– A hair dryer in the room

4 star (first class):
All he above mentioned
– The hotel offers reception service for 18 hours a day
– A lobby with sofa arrangements
– Breakfast buffet or a la carte
– Minibar or 24 hour’s beverage menu via room service
– Bathrobe and slippers in the room
– Personal hygiene products in the bathroom
– Minimum one a la carte restaurant in the hotel

5 star (luxury): 
– All the above mentioned
– The hotel offers a 24 hour reception service
– Parking facilities
– A personal greeting for all guests
– Fresh flowers in the room
– Safety box in the room
– Hotel offers laundry service with 1 hour delivery

For more information on Hotelstars Union go to www.hotelstars.eu 




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