Stars - Where do they come from?

Old Mar 24th, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Stars - Where do they come from?

There is currently a posting on who stays in 5 stars. Well, who is handing out the stars? We have stayed in 2, 3, 4 and 5 stars. At times, the 3 stars are as good as or better than the 4 stars.

Another question is does the hotel restaurant get starred separately?

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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 11:04 AM
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Stars are handed out in different ways by differnt organizations in different countries, sometimes by the government tourist board, sometims by private organizations, sometimes by ?

And, in addition to "official" stars, guide books, travel review web sites and travel purchase web sites may all give stars (in differnt numbers) to the same places. And no - restaurants in hotels may not get the same # as the hotel - if rated sparately.

As noted here often the number of stars is not due to "quality" but to amenities. A nicer hotel without a restaurant may get fewer stars than a nasty hotel with a restaurant - or an elevator, or armchair versus a desk chair in the room.

All of it adds up to caveat emptor. You just really need to do your homework - and consider info from all sources.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Mar 24th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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Sometimes it is a govt. agency, at least in the countries I have visited, but not necessarily a tourist board or association representing the hotels. Sometimes it's done by the hotel and restaurant association, or a combination of them and someone else (like in Germany). Some have national standards and some are regional (I think Spain's are set by regional entities, although they may not differ that much). In the UK, it's a joint committee of the auto club and Visitbritain and maybe somebody else. I think the French norms are set by a national govt. agency, not a tourism board. I don't think restaurants in hotels get stars as a matter of routine. Restaurant stars are often by some private guide or something, such as Michelin.

I don't think they are that temperamental that a hotel is going to get a major difference in stars by the absence or presence of one small item, like an arm chair vs. a desk chair. An elevator could make a difference, though. Restaurants don't affect the ones I've read that much, except at the very top level of stars, and they pretty much all have restaurants anyway. For example, some people think you can't get 4* in France without a restaurant, and that's not true. A lot of people think they are more arbitrary than I think they are, though, and depend on minor things that usually aren't even in their standards. For example, I've seen people make statements on Fodors that the absence of presence of minor amentities like fancy soaps or a hair dryer can affect your star rating, and it can't.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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I don't know if it is true today but a good friend in Italy who was a manager of a hotel in Italy told me about five years ago that in Italy the percent that the hotels pay in taxes is predicated upon the stars that they have. And yes, a lovely hotel can be a 3 star and a hotel that is rundown due to neglect can be a 4 star due to ammentities such as room service etc. The wonderful hotel he worked for was a 3 star and they did not want a 4 star rating due to the fact they would have to pay a higher percent in taxes.
I keep meaning to ask him if that is still true now. I am almost certain in Italy the number of stars is designated by some branch of the Italian government, again based on ammentities and services that are available.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 11:06 PM
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There is a website that shows how the government attributes stars in France. A 4-star hotel, for example, must have at least 10 rooms, minimum 10m for a single or 12m for a double, all with private bathroom (3m minimum); at least 2 foreign languages must be spoken, one of which must be English, etc.... In other words, there are often some 2-star hotels that are nicer than a 4-star hotel, because they have exceeded all of the critera for their category except for a killer detail like not having an elevator.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 04:47 AM
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Here is a link to the German hotel classification:

http://www.hotelsterne.de/englisch/index-englisch.html

You will find some very thoughtful criteria like sewing service (from 4 stars on) or turndown service and 24-hour-room service (5 stars).
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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The restaurant stars come from the Guide Michelin which rates restaurants by two systems, first the number of sets of cutlery (from one to five) and secondly by stars (one to three). One star already means an excellent, highly sophisticated restaurant with prices like 100 dollars a meal (excluding beverages), while three stars mean you pay at least 200 dollars (some places charge 400 dollars) for a meal (excluding beverages) and you need to reserve at least three months in advance. A good bet are always the "bib gourmand" restaurants. They offer good value for money, but are still gourmet restaurants.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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Most of the ratings systems use the FACILITIES the hotel has rather than the quality of the hotel - so a hotel with conference room facilities is going to be more highly rated than one without even if the 2nd hotel is Paradise.

About all you can really gauge is what the likely price is going to be
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 11:07 AM
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In France it is the official tourism office which passes out stars. Some hotels also rate an N or an NN to indicate amenities beyond the stars.
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