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Hotel Star Ratings – What Do They Mean?

What are the differences between hotel star ratings? Many people might be able to point out a one and five star but what are the differences of everything in between. Were here to help!

Even if you’ve never stayed in one, you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what a four- or five-star hotel looks like:

Mandarin Hotel Miami
Mandarin Hotel Miami, considered a 5 star hotel for is’t lavish settings and location on Brickell Key Drive in Miami, FL.

And you probably understand what a one-star hotel looks like, too.

Motel 6
Standard one star, no frills motel. Most offer free parking and are outside of the city center.

What’s the difference between a three- and a four-star hotel, though? Or one- and two-star accommodations? We asked ourselves the same really good questions. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you so you’re not completely surprised or overly disappointed the next time you walk into the lobby of your next accommodation.

One-star rating 

One-star hotels include budget accommodations that meet basic needs. They’re absolutely no-frills, but if you’re looking for something really affordable and/or you just need a quick place to sleep, this could be an option for you.

Examples of one-star hotels: Econolodge, Motel 6

Two-star rating 

Two-star rated hotels offer value as well, but are clean and basic. They’re a notch above the very simple accommodations of one-star hotels. Usually smaller hotels run by a sole owner, a two-star may be close to major intersections and popular attractions.

Examples of two-star hotels: Days Inn, La Quinta Inn

Three-star rating 

Three-star hotels offer quality, style, comfortable accommodations, yet they’re still considered “affordable”. Though they’re not lavish, they offer a simpler option that won’t break the bank, and are typically located by business areas, so if you’re traveling for work, this could be a great option.

Examples of three-star hotels: Holiday Inn, Hilton

Four-star rating 

With above-average service, beautiful reception areas and more, four-star hotels are upscale, high-quality and comfortable, with a variety of amenities. There’s no question that if you consider four-star hotels as an option for your vacation plans, the prices start to climb. However, for well-lit, nicely furnished rooms and continental breakfast and valet services, most of the time, four-star hotels a high level of accommodation and service.

Examples of four-star hotels: Marriott, Hyatt

Marriott San Diego Mission Valley
Marriott San Diego Mission Valley in California.

Five-star rating 

No-expense spared hotel lobbies, stylish room furniture, heated pools, garden tubs or jacuzzis, 24-hour room service, the works: All are included in five-star hotels’ luxurious comfort options and flawless service. Five-star hotels are certainly “up there” on the cost spectrum, but you’ll receive first-class service, no question about it. If that’s what you’re looking for, nine times out of ten, you won’t be disappointed.

Examples of five-star hotels: Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons

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Hotel Ratings Got You Seeing Stars?

If you’re having a tough time making a decision between three- or four-star rated accommodations, the differences overall could be pretty minimal. It’s best to read the travel reviews, talk to people you know who have stayed there before, and book your hotel room through sites you trust.

You’ll also want to consider how much time you’ll actually be spending in your room. If you’re spending a week in Paris, for example, it’s possible that you’ll want to be out sightseeing rather than sitting in your hotel room. In that case, you might opt for the cheaper option if you’ll be crashing in your room after midnight every night.

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