Hotel Star Ratings – What’s in a number?

Since the invention of Trip Advisor, it seems most of us would rather rely on the opinions of other travellers who have “been there, done that”, than the number of stars listed by a hotel name.

Why, well, every country seems to have its own star rating system and what one country deems a four-star hotel, another may well rate a 2-star property – so how do we know we are getting what we are paying for?

Social media outlets that offer advice and opinions are all well and good, but as they are open to everyone, a competitor with sour grapes can easily add a damaging report about a neighbouring hotel. Then there are the travellers who use these channels to write a book on how they didn’t like the wallpaper, the light switches were too high, and the orange juice at breakfast was sour!

So, while I do take note of what has been written by other travellers, I also read between the lines, and combine the hotel star rating with an overview of all the reviews/opinions available to try to get a better idea of what the property is really like.

After travelling to over 40 countries, I truly believe you get what you pay for, and while I understand everyone has a travel budget, I don’t understand why someone would book a 2-star hotel when they are used to, and expect, the luxurious amenities they have at home!  It doesn’t work like that…

Luxury 5-Star Rooms at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

Like most people, I enjoy staying in five-star properties but they can be expensive and unless you are going to spend a great deal of time in your hotel room or using the hotel facilities they might not be worth the investment.  We prefer to save these hotels for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthday treats or romantic beach breaks, when we really make the most of the luxurious rooms, great facilities and five-star service.

We generally opt for four-star hotels where you get all the little luxuries you are used to at home such as quality bed linens, tastefully decorated rooms, clean bathrooms and electrical goods, without the pomp and ceremony offered by five-star hotels. Perfect for city breaks and country escapes!

In most European countries, three-star hotels are decent properties with nice rooms, adequate facilities, and are therefore perfect for a weekend city break, but when you compare the prices of a three-star hotel with a four-star, you may find that there isn’t much between them, so location may be your deciding factor.

When it comes to a two-star hotel, well again, you get what you pay for.  In the few two-star properties I have seen, you get a clean but basic room with private bathroom, and very few facilities. These properties are ideal for those travelling around the world on a budget, and if you do some research beforehand, you may well find a real gem.

I have to admit I have never stayed in a one-star hotel so really cannot comment (do they even exist?), but before I would choose such a hotel, I think I would rather go for a guest house or B&B, and that’s a whole new ball game when it comes to star rating!