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Understanding Hotel Ratings and Reviews

5 Star Rating
Hotel Ratings – What do they actually mean?

So what do all those stars you see in hotel listings actually mean. That is a good question, but not an easy one to answer. The problem is there is no one standard for hotel ratings that is used throughout the world.

We’ll explain the ratings a more below, but you should not be as concerned with the hotel rating as the reviews. Although there may be some correlation between the two, a high star rating is not the same as a good review rating. Although unlikely, a 1-Star Hotel can be cleaner and offer better quality service than a 5-Star Hotel. As a general rule hotel ratings are indicative of the number of services and features available at a hotel and how luxurious the hotel is, but not the quality of those services and features.

Hotel star ratings vary from country to country throughout the world. In most cases the system of rating hotels is determined by one or more outside agencies. This can be the government itself, or an industry or travel association, or even a producer of travel guides. There has been some movement to coordinate hotel ratings throughout the world, but success so far as been very limited. Recently there has been some success within Europe to bring in a standardized system for rating hotels and restaurants by HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe). HOTREC is comprised of 39 associations from 24 countries in Europe. From this organization the Hotelstars Union was set up and they established a standardized classification system for those countries. That system came into effect in 21 European countries at the beginning of 2010. You can get more information about the HotelStars Union and their rating system from

So what does all this mean to you. Not a lot. With the exception of the 21 countries in Europe that currently subscribe to the standards created by the Hotelstars Union, there is still too much ambiguity with the star rating system throughout the world. The only real consensus is the use of 1 to 5 stars and, in some cases, even that is being deviated from. Does this mean the ratings are meaningless? Certainly not. The hotel ratings can be used as a quick method of comparing and sorting hotels in your search. A 1-Star hotel will provide very basic accommodations with minimal amenities. Sometimes the bathrooms are shared. A 3-Star hotel will usually have decent sized rooms, a front reception desk, an on site restaurant, room service, laundry service and often a fitness centre and/or swimming pool. 5-Star Hotels have a broad range of amenities and services including conference centres, health spas, one or more restaurants and bars. More stars are indicative of increased luxury and services. After you have narrowed down your selection of potential hotels, you should look more closely at each one to make sure they offer the amenities and services you expect. You can also check the boxes for the amenities you need under Facilities in the left column of our hotel search results page. This will remove from the list any hotels lacking those amenities.

On One Search Hotels you will find a one to five star rating for nearly all hotels based on the most widely accepted rating system in the country where the hotel is located. You will see the occasional hotel or property that does not provide a rating. Remember, however that these are not user reviews. See below for more information on reviews.

Our Hotel Reviews

When it comes to hotel reviews things can also get confusing. On many travel sites, some of them quite large, (we won’t mention any names) pretty much anyone can leave a review. While many of the reviews may be and probably are sincere, there’s always a likelihood of phony reviews being placed anyone trying to boost or lower the rating of a hotel. To avoid this, our overall review ratings are provided by TrustYou which summarizes reviews from the largest, global database of verified reviews and rates each hotel on a scale from one to ten. While we show all available hotels on our site regardless of the review we advise you to book a propertu with a review of 6.0 or higher.