Hotel star ratings...need help please?

Old May 6th, 2002, 09:54 PM
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Hotel star ratings...need help please?

I admit that my ex-wife used to make travel arrangements so I'm kind of new at this and wondering about these different hotel star ratings. I believe the following are examples of star ratings in large cities, could you please tell me if I'm right and CORRECT me if I'm wrong. I don't seem to get the correct criteria. As I see it, some examples are as follows:
1-2 star: Motel 6. Super 8
3 star: Marriott Courtyard. Travelodge
4 star: Holiday Inns, Marriotts, Sheratons, Hiltons, Westins, Hyatts
5 star: 4 Seasons, St. Regis, Ritz Carloton

Am I on the right track for trying to decipher sites such as Hotwire, Priceline etc.? need an education if I'm wrong before I book. Thanks, Dan
Old May 7th, 2002, 06:43 AM
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First of all, in the U.S there is NO consise, aggreed upon hotel rating system. EVERY company has their own criteria to rate hotels nationwide. There are about 3 major rating companies; AAA, Mobil, and Fodors. Of course, then there are the general internet booking sites, such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Again, ALL these companies have different criteria, and yes, that causes major confusion.
The hotel lodging industry has beome a segmented, multi-strategy business; you can compare it to the magazine business. There are many types of lodging you can get, depending on what your needs are. The two largest growing segments, are, ironically, are the 5* high end hotels, like the Ritz Carlton, and the budget extended stay-type properties like Residence Inn, Staybridge Inns, Townplace,and Springhill Inns.

Having said that, there are some GENERAL guidelines for particular hotel brands, like the list you tried to compile. However, Hotel brand names have further classifications; example: JW Marriott and Park Hyatt are those respective companies Premium brand names for their hotels. If I had to personally correct you GENERAL hotel brand classification list, I would move Travellodge to 1-2 star and Holiday Inns to 3 star, adding Raddison and Doubletree to 3*.
Again, hotel brand names have added many additional categories, so, for example, there are Hilton Garden Inns that are 3* and the 4Points sheratons are 2-2 1/2*.

Best advice is if yo uwant to make your own lodging plans, 1st decide YOURSELF what you are looking for in a hotel - do you want fancy surroundings and a nice lobby? Do you need alot of facilities? Room serivice, restaurant, or maybe free breakfast is what you want. You need to know what things you are looking for in a hotel. THEN, regardless of what the star rating is, look at what hotels in the city you need to stay in that fit your needs. Obviously, LOCATION is another criteria you need to think about - do you want to stay in-town, or stay outside and drive intown every day?
Once you narrowed down your hotel choices, then you can check what they price levels are for the various hotels. Then look at reviews of the hotels. The last step would be when you have decided what company or internet site you are going to use to book your hotel, see what their own rating system is for the hotels that you have potentially chosen.
Hope I have given you some help.
Old May 7th, 2002, 07:13 AM
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Great assessment from Anthony.
The star systems are close to worthless IMO. There is significant variability even within the same chain, and sometimes even the better chains have a few very subpar properties.
That's why this forum exists, Dan.
Here you can find specific info about a hotel or restuarant or whatever, PLUS it is usually info which is honest (in the opinion of the reviewer), while books like Fodors and such often shade everything toward the positive. You'll rarely read a negative comment about anything....and that's not good.
I learn more from finding out about the negatives of a travel object than anything else. If the negatives are minor or don't affect my requirements then I'm usually happy with the product.
Old May 7th, 2002, 07:59 AM
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Thanks so much! Anthony you gave me excellent information and I appreciate this. Like Kevin mentions, I will need to read postings on prospective hotels. Of course, location is my number #1 criteria. Thanks guys. Dan
Old May 7th, 2002, 08:47 AM
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Can't add much to Anthony's note, but want to stress one aspect he and Kevin mentioned--that no chain can have all its hotels lumped into one rating category. There are 4 hotels in my DH's chain on the west coast of FL and they fall into 3 different categories, as different from each other as night from day.

One other thing, Priceline etc ratings do not correspond to Mobil or AAA's. Priceline's 4* includes what fall into AAA's and Mobil's 3*/diamond. They've made it an extremely broad category, unfairly, I believe, piggy backing on the reputation created by 4* or diamond ratings by AAA and Mobil. For that reason, of all the systems, it's the least telling of actual quality, IMHO.

Finally, it goes without saying that although personal experiences found here are wonderful, we all should continually bear in mind that each post is one person's experience and perception of a situation. I've seen restaurants panned as being stuffy or whatever when we've had great experiences there, and places praised to the sky that I thought were pretty grim. Do a search, and look for trends.
Old May 7th, 2002, 09:08 AM
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If you're considering using Priceline be sure to:
a) search this board for lots of good advice and general info.
b) visit where you can find examples of the 4*, 3*, etc. hotels that people have actually gotten when bidding at Priceline.
Old May 7th, 2002, 09:57 AM
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Priceline also has a list, somewhere on their site, of their criteria for doling out stars.
Old May 16th, 2002, 05:48 AM
deb h
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I just booked a hotel on Hotwire and paid for a 5 star hotel but got a 4 star hotel. They claim they use mobil and aaa guides. I don't have these, do any of you know if Le Meridien in Chicago is rated as a 5 star anywhere? I called the hotel and they told me they were a 4 star, so I can't imagine anyone has given them a 5 star rating or else they would brag about it. Anyone?
Old May 16th, 2002, 06:11 AM
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Le Meridien in Chicago is the only hotel in that city that is rated 5 stars by Priceline.

Here's what Priceline's own ratings system has to say about 5-star hotels:

"Luxury hotels offer the very best money can buy in every detail, and the absolute highest levels of quality and amenities. They are the most elite hotels in the world. Less than 1 hotel in 5,000 qualifies for 5 Star status. In fact, very few cities have a 5 Star hotel."

So, deb, what hotel in Chicago were you hoping to get for your 5 stars?

I couldn't find a description of Hotwire's star-rating system, but on their "Hotels" page, I did find the following guarantee: "We guarantee our hotel Hot-RatesSM are the best prices around or we'll double the difference!" If you click on the link in that quote, there's a full paeg about the guarantee, including "Within 48 hours of booking, if you find a lower price for your entire stay for an equivalent room type in the same hotel on the same dates, we'll give you double the difference!"
Old May 16th, 2002, 07:11 AM
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I work here in Chicago for a well known florist who caters to the
downtown hotels here in the city. According to my own city guide they list four
hotels as 5 star hotels: Four Seasons, Ritz, Peninsula and Le Meridian. I've
been in Le Meridian (No North Michigan Avenue) hundreds of times and think it
is lovely. I can not imagine that you will be disappointed. It is a wonderful
location and the staff is great. There are many different ways to rate a hotel so
if you see Le Meridian rated somewhere as a 4 star, don't be alarmed...relax,it
just depend on which rating system was used. The city guide in our shop rates
Le Meridian as a 5 star. Not sure what your gripe is with Hotwire..?? Chris

Old May 16th, 2002, 07:25 AM
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With the info just posted by 'Chris', and the General fact (I say this since ANYTHING can change, and ANYTHING is possible) that the Ritz, 4 Season, St. Regis, and Peninsula would NOT participate in programs such as Hotwire or Priceline, it would be save to assume any hotel listed by either service for Chicago would be the LeMeridien.
Old May 16th, 2002, 07:47 AM
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You can review Mobil's ratings of hotels at
Every individual hotel has its own rating and that changes year to year. Some Four Seasons are 4 stars some are 5 ect...
Old May 16th, 2002, 08:33 AM
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Those star rating systems are only loose guides.
Some 4 stars are really threes.
Many three stars are really twos.
I don't often find that hotels are UNDERrated, but it does happen occasionally.
I wish people wouldn't take the star sytems so literally.
People who travel a lot know that they must be viewed skeptically.
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