This overview outlines what guests can generally expect from hotels, and resorts displaying a Star Rating assigned by us. However, these features and amenities may not be available at condominiums, apartment-style facilities, bed and breakfasts, and other specialty properties. Items listed may not all be offered at every property in a specific rating classification. Some criteria may vary from country to country. Our hotel star rating classifications are not a representation or promise of any particular feature or amenity.
A single star in the hotel world denotes little more than four walls, a roof, and a bed. The budget travelers who search for this type of basic lodging care more about travel activities and destinations than where they sleep. The same traveler who may ordinarily stay in a hostel or inexpensive guest house would also consider renting a simple one-room apartment if the price and location are right. To earn great reviews on a small apartment with minimal amenities, make sure that it is clean, safe, and economical. An urban studio that goes for less than 50 USD./night could win high ratings for its price and convenience. Bonus points are awarded to rentals in this category located near points of interest or with easy access to public transportation.
Hostels and dormitories in this classification customarily offer additional amenities such as billiard games, Internet stations, and conversational seating areas. Basic motels may offer 24-hour reception, daily housekeeping service and private bathrooms.
A two-star hotel offers guests slightly more than basic human requirements: a minimal sense of style, good location, and access to food service step it up to star two. Rental properties in an equivalent class might contain a basic kitchen, functional furniture and décor, and just enough space to relax. Travelers who seek out this type of accommodation value economy, so try to keep the price down (definitely under $100/night per bed) while still offering value. High marks in this category go to places with comfortable beds, so invest in quality amenities such as good linens and pillows. Your guests will also give good reviews for providing basic toiletries—try stocking the bathroom with hotel-sized soaps and shampoo—and some kitchen essentials such as cookware, cutlery, and flatware.
This classification contains limited-service properties (often all-suite economy properties in North America) offering upgraded quality and expanded comfort, without the amenities of full-service hotels such as a restaurant or bell staff. An expanded Continental breakfast, including hot items, is often served in a breakfast room. In Asia, multiple on-site dining options may be offered, and at times in the Americas and Europe basic full-service properties will appear.
Hotels in the three-star category begin to distinguish themselves as desirable places to spend some time. Property owners who rent out an attractive country cottage or a mid-sized townhouse with comfortable furnishings could easily inhabit a similar segment of the vacation rental market. Three-star vacation rentals may not have the full-service restaurant and pool of their hotel counterpart, but owners should keep in mind a certain standard for amenities and décor, while still prioritizing value. In addition to having access to a fully functional kitchen, guests should also be able to easily find shopping areas and restaurants in the vicinity of the property. Owners looking to maximize a home in this category should consider providing extras like Wi-Fi Internet, bathing supplies, restaurant information and takeout menus, and a guestbook with information about the area. Still, you don’t need to pile on the amenities to earn a five-star review in this category; simply offer guests the comfort and ease of living at home.
Many of these hotels feature multiple restaurants, uniformed bell staff, and enhanced lobbies with upscale decor and live plants. Most properties feature upgraded guestroom decor, large desks paired with comfortable workstation chairs, and TVs housed in armoires. Amenities may include larger bathrooms, incandescent lighting, and stone counters. Resorts, and some hotels in Asia, often feature attractive pool areas and small spa facilities or massage treatment rooms.
Four-star hotels provide guests with style, comfort, and convenience above and beyond the norm. If you consider your rental property a four-star kind of establishment, then the “extras” are a must. Guests looking for four-star service will expect large, comfortable living areas, quality furniture, and interesting design. Great dining options should be easily within striking distance and the kitchen should be ready for considerable use. Travelers staying in a four-star will give it a five-star review if they feel that all of their needs are being met even more easily than at home. This is a vacation home in which to live, to enjoy, and to entertain. To go above and beyond, consider giving your guests small surprises such as a welcome basket or coupons for discounts at local businesses. Your visitors are searching for a special experience, and they will be grateful for every small extravagance.
Fresh flowers, original art, and luxurious furnishings often adorn the lobbies. Amenities customarily include fine-dining restaurants (occasionally award-winning), 24-hour room service with hot food items, and automatic turndown service. Personalized service aims to anticipate guest needs. Guestrooms typically feature premium hardwood furniture, luxurious bedding with triple sheeting, and large bathrooms with separate bathtubs and showers, and materials such as granite or marble.
For luxury hotels and rental homes alike, five-star service means anticipating not only your guests’ needs but also their desires—even before they arrive. Rental homes in this category must present the peak of luxury: think terry-cotton robes in all the bedrooms, high thread-count sheets, a swimming pool or hot tub, access to a gym or spa, and plenty of space to spread out and relax in a beautiful home. A five-star kitchen should have all the cookware for preparing a feast; then, of course, there must be a dining area in which to serve it. Don’t forget to provide information on the best local activities and events, and offer resources (yourself included!) for advice and local knowledge. Provide the highest quality of all amenities—small or large—and make it clear that if anything is “missing,” it can easily be found. If you’re looking for five-star reviews in this category, then keep in mind that no measure is too great (or too expensive) for five-star service.