3 star? 4 star? 5 star?

Oct 8th, 2009, 12:50 PM
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3 star? 4 star? 5 star?

disappointed in 3 star hotels in Paris/Santa Margarita and San Siro......
how are stars designated in France and Italy?
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 01:00 PM
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If by stars you mean the stars awarded by the country's official hotel standards (and not stars on a user rating system like Tripadvisor or Expedia), stars in Europe indicate features not quality or service. For example to get five stars the hotel might have to have A/C in all rooms, meeting room for at least 100 people and two restaurants and a pool. But it doesn't indicate whether the furnishings are new or the staff is well trained or the pool is clean or anything like that. That's why I have found lower stars can be just as good as higher stars if you don't need those additional features anyway. And they are usually cheaper. See also this link which explains it further. http://goeurope.about.com/cs/hotels/a/hotel_stars.htm
laurie_ann is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 01:05 PM
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I think 4* Deluxe is the highest category in Europe, or at least in France. And yes, it's all about amenities, so often a 2* is "nicer" than a 3*.
StCirq is online now  
Oct 8th, 2009, 01:15 PM
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Are you going to tell us which hotels you were disappointed in and why? I think it would be helpful to others.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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I can give you the French govt. website that explains the ratings, if you really want to know, it's about five pages and is in French. A lot of people think you get stars for things you don't in France, actually. For example, I don't think they even have a requirement for A/C nor a restaurant (I know they don't require a restaurant in a 4* one, which a lot of people think). A lof of them are related to size and types of facilities, like bathroom stuff (eg, how many rooms must have a bathroom, if you must have a sink, etc). The elevator requirements vary by star rating and number of floors, also, so a 3* hotel wouldn't have to have an elevator if it were only two stories, I believe, which works for a lot of rural inns. The size of rooms is part of them, existence of room service and some others things in France, as well as size of reception area and number of rooms in the hotel.

YOu cannot be a 4* hotel in France with less than 10 rooms, for example.
Christina is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 01:47 PM
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I found a few more, a 4* hotel in France must be able to provide simple meals but they don't have to have a restaurant (ie, if they can give room service from a place next door, that works), also the reception people must speak at least two foreign languages, one being English, in a 3* or higher hotel, and they must service breakfast in the room in a 3* or higher (not just a breakfast room). They have to have some restrooms on the 1st or 2nd floor, also (not just in the rooms).

A lot of things people expect are just what hotels do to be competitive within their category -- like the A/C thing in a 4* hotel in Paris, and most 3* hotels now have it in the center, but they didn't used to. Here's a summary of the French ones, briefly

I think they may have changed them recently, though, in fact, I think they just changed them a few days ago and now they have 5* in France. I haven't read all the news, but this gives you an idea of what they rate things by. they added some new things due to the internet and things like that.

I don't know Italy that well, but read an article that said they were evaluated by regional boards and the standards vary by region, that the criteria are not clear, they aren't rated frequently, and the reliability is poor. They do rate hotels form 1 to 5* and I think even 5* deluxe. What I read said they are not based on quality and not based on achieving particular criteria, either, like France.
Christina is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 02:17 PM
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> I think 4* Deluxe is the highest category in Europe, or at least in France.

4*L (= sort of 5* ) is particular to France. Other countries have usual 1 - 5 * system. France finally decided to follow the others and 4*L hotels are now starting to change (gradually and slowly maybe) to 5* system. Evian Royal Resort Hotel on Lake Léman advertised maybe almost a year ago it was the first 4*L hotel that switched to 5*.
kappa1 is offline  
Oct 8th, 2009, 05:09 PM
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It depends on wher e you're from and what type of hotels you're used to. I find that European hotels are often rated a star higher than they would be in the US. Also, to someone used to everything being brand new and large rooms all with the latest amenities European hotels can be disappointing unless you stay at an upscale business type hotel.

Europe specializes in cute, quaint and charming - which some people read as old, dingy and tired.

Now Europe definitely has a lot of hotels that are more than 4* - wether rated 5* or 4* L or 4* palace hotel. And IMHO, every one of those I;ve stayed in has deserved the rating. But IMHO a lot of 4* (standard) should really be 3* (tourist).
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 04:25 AM
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As of right now, I believe there are 12 hotels in France with 5 stars. It's in French, but here are the new criteria for the 5 stars:

Critères spécifiques à la cinquième étoile :

- mise à disposition d'un ordinateur, d'un fax et d'une imprimante dans les chambres ;
- mise à disposition de peignoirs ;
- minibar et coffre-fort dans les chambres ;
- téléphone dans la salle de bains ;
- service plateau-repas 24 heures sur 24 ;
- room service 24 heures sur 24 ;
- service voiturier ;
- personnel parlant au moins deux langues étrangères, dont l'anglais ;
- surface minimale des chambres : de 20 m² (chambre 1 personne) à 30 m² (chambre 4 personnes) ;
- lits aux dimensions majorées, pour 50 % de l'inventaire : de 1,2 x 2 (lit simple) à 1,6 x 2 (lit double) ;
- chaînes TV thématiques dans les chambres (sports, culture, enfants...) ;
- radio dans les chambres.
- parc ou jardin à disposition ;
- mise en valeur des bâtiments par éclairage et fleurissement ;
- espace salon ;
- surface des chambres majorée ;
- confort acoustique ;
- douche et baignoire séparées ;
- garage privatif ;
- tennis, mini-golf, espace jeux pour enfants ;
- spa, piscine, plage privée ;
- service de garderie pour enfants.
RedBalloon is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 04:37 AM
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I do not know about France but in Italy generally deduct at least one star from their local star rating to arrive at the international star rating.

I have never thought that the 4 star joints we have stayed at would ever get away with it as a 4 star in the UK
markrosy is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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sure ekskrunchy
I researched and researched 3 nights $644.00 very disappointed in the tiny rooms at Claude Bernard Paris 43 Rue des Ecoles booked with 1800 hotels

very small room at San Siro Hotel Sol-also lousy location in "Como"
very small room also drapes that didn't close also noisy street and street light pouring in window at Hotel Yolanda in Santa Margarita

loved Hotel Dubrovnik in Zagreb
loved Hotel Oriente in Barcelono-many years ago
just a few.....
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 08:30 AM
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also, Hotel Savoy in Prague loved it!
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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"I find that European hotels are often rated a star higher than they would be in the US. Also, to someone used to everything being brand new and large rooms all with the latest amenities European hotels can be disappointing unless you stay at an upscale business type hotel."

The biggest difference is that the US government does not assign star ratings whereas in Europe they do. It is based on amenities not quality and we have had some lovely 3 star experiences and some disappointing 5 star stays.

I agree that there is definitely a difference between business hotels and traditional ones and that is a matter of taste. I like a fitness center and business center on hand so generally we opt for business hotels in cities in Europe. For the occasional night in the countryside, I am good with a more traditional, smaller hotel.
kfusto is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 10:29 AM
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I am sorry that you had a bad experience. European hotels often tend to be on the small side.

I am not sure why you put "Como"in quotes. That hotel is most definitely on Lake Como!
As far as location, it is your responsibility to determine this before you book a hotel. As I remember, that hotel was 6 km and a short bus ride of a few minutes from Menaggio.

If you are speaking about the Hotel Jolanda in SML, this hotel actually gets excellent reviews on Trip Advisor. I hope that you will write your own review on this, and on the other properties, so that future travelers will be aware of your complaints.

At $644 for three nights, your Paris hotel worked out to about 110 Euro per night and for that low price I am not sure that you can expect a fantastic hotel.

Again, I am sorry you were unsatisfied and I hope it did not spoil your entire trip. Will you be writing any kind of trip report?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 10:30 AM
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I meant that rooms at European hotels tend to be on the small side.
ekscrunchy is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 10:57 AM
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I must agree with ekscrunchy - it seems like you were expecting an awful lot fo ryour oney given the pitiful state of the dollar. I room in NYC in high season that was tht price would also likely be very small. It's a function of high prices and taxes in major tourist cities - you just get less for your money.

As for noise and street conditions - the hotel can;t conrol those - only you can pick which street you stay on.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 11:35 AM
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I don't know if this is still true but some years ago a good friend in Italy who managed a hotel told me that the more stars a hotel had the higher the tax rate they had to pay the government. A hotel that was very lovely had 2 1/2 stars as they didn't provide room service which would have caused them to be rerated as a 3 star hotel and thus would have increased their tax liability. But again that was over five years ago so I don't know if that is still true today.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 01:08 PM
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I also think you were expecting too much for that rate, European hotel rooms are often small, especially in 3* hotels and below. I mean they can be small even in 4* ones compared to some countries, but definitely 3*. The official French standards do regulate room size, but it's still pretty small what is the minimum to get a star rating, so that won't help. They go up just a little by stars. You will never get a huge room at that rate, though. Even in a 3* hotel, they vary but you may have to book the superior/deluxe room to get the decent-size room.

This is the minimum size in France for a single room by star:
1* and 2* 8 m2
3* 9 m2
4* and 4*L 10 m2

for a double room:
1* and 2* 9 m2
3* 10 m2
4* 12 m2
4*L 14 m2

Those are not particularly large rooms. 10 m2 for the 3* double room is only about 125 square feet, or a 10 by 12 room.

I actually have never been that disappointed in hotels in France of any level, maybe because I do a lot of research and know what to expect. For example, I've read many comments on Tripadvisor that as nice as it is, the rooms are extremely small in the Caron de Beaumarchais in Paris, so I won't stay there as I would go nuts and know there are lots of other choices. Anyway, the US doesn't have star ratings so I don't have any preconceptions too much, to be honest. I just know US hotels often have larger rooms than in Europe, but in NYC, there are hotels with rooms as small as I've had in Europe, also. I can't really think of a 3* hotel I've had in France that I was really disappointed in or thought it was not as good as I expected. Now I did stay in a 4* hotel in Paris last month that had some problems, but the room was actually quite large and I had a comfortable enough stay. I understood how they got that rating, and the main drawbacks were they needed to redecorate (some worn and dirty carpet, nicked furniture), but I don't expect that to affect their star rating.

I've heard some people who talk about how certain hotels in Paris really should have more stars and are intentionally not getting one, but these are speculations and I think most hotels want the stars they deserve. In fact, I'm not sure you can intentionally not get the one you deserve, although you could not put in one thing that you know would prevent the next rating. You can not get inspected at all and get no rating, if you wish, though, but few do that. I don't even know if tax rates in France are affected by stars, at least in terms of what the hotel pays the govt. They affect the occupancy tax to the public just a bit per day.
Christina is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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laurie-Thanks good article
frenchwow is offline  
Oct 9th, 2009, 03:36 PM
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I expect to pay $200.00/night for a hotel in Europe.
If you are wondering, a great hotel for me --
1. large, clean rooms
2. large bathroom with counter space
3. separate WC room great
4. good mattress on a box spring not just a low to ground mattress
5. A/C
6. space for luggage on a rack or desktop
7. refrigerator nice-the kind you can put things in not the kind that charges you for moving something a millimeter
8. tile or wood floor preferred over carpeting
9. tall French type windows a real plus for me
10. decent furniture- no holes in wall -no peeling paint
11. matching draperies and bedspread give a good first impression. pleasant colors-no red velvet
12. shower cap and decent size towels appreciated
no I don't expect wash cloths in Europe
13. pleasant lobby with small bar appreciated
14. elevator of course
15. good transport in very close proximity eg. on main metro line
16. included breakfast-more than just basic continental
17. on vacation in a major city, I do not need a hotel with conference rooms/wi-fi/exercise room or pool
frenchwow is offline  

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