Hotel Star Rating Guide- How Does a Hotel Get 5 Star Rating?

In the hotel business, there’s nothing as lucrative and ultimate as garnering that 5-star golden rating. In this post, we have discussed more of this Hotel star rating system and on the process for hotels to get a 5-star rating.

We have also listed in this article, the key features in all the star categories of Hotels and what you can expect out of the star ratings at your hotel.

No matter what angle you look at it, a 5-star rating is a surefire sign that your hotel establishment has reached the zenith of the hospitality world.

5 star rating is sort of Holy Grail in the hotel industry.

Whether it may be one of the largest Hotel chain properties or a standalone luxury property, the hotel star ratings are crucial for the brand.

The hotel star-rating system in itself is a robust, agile, and all-encompassing standard approach to the hotel industry.




Who decides and gives Star rating to Hotels


There is no definitive list of who gives a Star Rating to a hotel. There are a few highly recognised Hotel star rating systems set by reputed organisations.

There are hundreds of organisations and media firms with new star rating guides which are not that reliable.

Here we list few of the most reliable Hotel Star Rating systems around the globe. Your Star Hotel must have these names inscribed beside their star rating.


  1. AA


The Automobile Association founded in 1905 rates Hotels from a Star category of 1-5 and is a British firm.

Here is the official page of AA with details on Star ratings and procedures followed.

Other organisations like Visit Britain, Visit Wales and Visit Scotland have joined AA to have a unified system of Hotel star rating in the United Kingdom with worldwide recognition.


2. AAA


American Automobile Association is the most popular star rating Association in North America and especially in the USA. The AAA rate in terms of diamonds with 5 Diamonds pointing to luxury properties.

Less than 0.5% out of close to 30,000 hotels reviewed get a five-diamond classification. Check more about Diamond classifications at the official newsroom of AAA.


3. Forbes Travel Guide


The star rating system by Forbes has a legacy of over 5 decades and is popular across the globe.

The new 2020 edition of star rating by Forbes is out now. Check the official listing page by Forbes to see the new entrants to the elite 5-star league.

You can also explore star hotels from the country of your choice through the above-mentioned star rating listing from Forbes.


4. Australian Auto Clubs


Clubs like RAA, NRMA etc. rate all lodging properties in Australia under the brand of Australian Auto Clubs. Physical inspection is one of the over 200 points in consideration for granting various star ratings to hotels.




The Hotel, restaurant association guides the star rating systems of over two dozen organisations in Europe.

There are several other organisations that grant stars to hotels but there is no star rating system which is recognised and accepted globally.

The star rating guides by organisations mentioned above are probably the most recognised ones globally.

There are alternative hotel ratings like Green Key International, Green Key Global, Green Globe etc as mentioned by Wikipedia.

Now moving on to the meaning of these hotel star ratings.


What Does 5-star Hotel Rating Mean?


5 Star rating would include all that gives hotels the coveted luxury tag.

With a lot of buzz around the 5-star hotel rating, it has always elicited a teensy bit of debate.

But, what does it actually mean?

Much akin to any industry, the hotel industry has crafted a rating system based on quality.

As you might expect, hoteliers invite industry experts to assess their establishment, services, and staff.

In the end, they award the hotel a numerical value, with the 1-star rating being the lowest and 5-stars rating the highest and the most lucrative. In the USA, Hotels are awarded Diamonds instead of Stars by AAA.

Even right from the outset, you have to understand that a 1-star rated hotel isn’t exactly a sign that the establishment is shoddy; it’s all in satisfying all criteria for 5-star hotel rating.

Also, the 5-hotel star rating standard is always evolving as more and better hotel amenities come into the big picture.

So, what does each star rating category imply?


Various Star Categories of the Hotel industry


  • 1-Star Hotels


Needless to say, these are the hotel establishments that are at the bottom of hotel industry pyramid.

However, 1-star Hotels are way better than non-star hotels as they still need a few criteria to fulfil to ensure guest satisfaction.

In this category, think in the line of Motel 6, Formula One, Chototel or Econolodge.



Image of a Motel 6 in Los Angeles- Courtesy  TripAdvisor

1-star hotel rating usually underscores name brand and independent establishments that offer consistent quality amenities.

Here are the basic things to look at in 1 Star Hotels:

  • At least daily room cleaning
  • Rooms fitted with WC, a table and chair, bath towels and soap at the washbasin
  • Reception services
  • At least Limited restaurant services with breakfast option
  • Safe-deposit options in the room or anywhere in the hotel
  • Phone calling facility available in the room or public areas

and so forth.

Hotels in this class are usually small to medium-sized and are often located in propinquity to decently priced landmarks or attractions.

One common feature is that bellhop and room services aren’t always provided.


  • 2-Star Hotels


Next up is two-star rated hotels.

These are generally smaller establishments owned and run by the proprietors.

Typically, these hotels boast up to 4 stories and offer more personal ambience and spaces.

In essence, they usually feature the following amenities:

  • Onsite payment via a card
  • Reading light on a nightstand
  • Toiletries, sanitary facilities, linen shelves
  • Breakfast buffet
  • WiFi in rooms or in public areas
  • and sometimes TVs and telephones.

More often than not, 2 Star Hotels are located in close proximity to the public transport network, affordable tourist sites, and major intersections.

Although they might not feature a fully-fledged restaurant, there is always one close by.

It’s not only the proprietors but also hotel chains that have properties in this category.

A lot of Ibis Hotels, Day Inn hotel chain, Ginger Hotels by Taj etc. are a perfect example of 2-star rated hotels.

A lot of hotel chains like these have hotels in both 2 star and 3-star categories. Ibis Hotel has even moved to the luxury category in South East Asian Countries.



Ginger Hotels- One of the best Budget Hotels in India


  • 3-Star Hotels


Right off the bat, these hotels feature large rooms and highly decorated lobbies.

A lot of hotels of Hilton, Radisson Blu and Holiday Inn hotel chains should come to your mind when you think of the three-star category.

While they may still not offer Bellhop services, they are usually located close to business centres, major transportation hubs, shopping spots, and moderately priced.

These are the basic amenities one can expect out of a 3-star hotel:

  • Duty Manager and complaint management system
  • Fitness centres
  • Valet parking and luggage services
  • Swimming pools
  • More amenities in rooms including ironing and laundry facilities, mirrors, shoe polish, hairdryer to mention a few
  • Telephone in the rooms
  • Room service during the daytime should be available
  • 24 hours Reception support available with receptionists speaking more than one language

They also feature medium-sized restaurants that operate full day.



  • 4-Star Hotels


As we move up the hierarchy, necessity is now converting to luxury in 4 Star hotels.

These are large and usually formal hotels that boast decorated lobby areas. They often offer bellhop services.

  • The rooms are usually spacious well lit and outstandingly furnished.
  • These rooms feature a raft of amenities, from large bathtubs to LED TVs and everything fabulous in between
  • The minibar and cosmetic products are a couple of the many additions to this star category
  • Reception is to be open for longer hours with beverage services at the hotel lobby or common area
  • Seating area in Lobby with the availability of Newspapers and Magazines
  • They usually include one or two restaurants that offer services from breakfast all the way to dinner.

You won’t also miss Valet parking services, concierge services, fully equipped fitness centres, and large swimming pools.

Here, you can think of several hotels of Hyatt and Marriott hotel chains. A lot of most beautiful Boutique Hotels boast of Four-star rating.

More often than not, you’ll find a group of 4-star hotels located in the same business district or even street.

Gold Coast area in Australia boasts of over 200 4-Star hotels in the same area.



  • 5-Star Hotels


These aren’t your regular hotels; they are masterpieces offering top-notch hospitality services.


To garner the 5-star hotel rating, you must offer the industry’s highest level of services and accommodation.

All hotels in this category provide the highest degree of personal services.

  • These hotels are usually located in exclusive areas or suburban neighbourhood.
  • Garden tubs, in-room video library, large LED TVs, marble baths, exquisite interior decor are few of the features of rooms in the Five-star category
  • 24/7 room services is a must for a 5 Star rating
  • Heated pools, Jacuzzis, and much more are just but a glimpse of what these world-class hotels offer.
  • Natural Greenery and Plants in lobby areas and common areas is another key feature in 5 Star Hotels
  • Reception must be open for 24 hours and should be manned with members speaking multiple languages
  • These hotels normally would have concierge as well as Butler services
  • Turndown services and other housekeeping services on demand must be on offer to gain a 5 Star rating
  • 5 Star hotels must have multi-cuisine restaurants and Cafes (and arguably should also have Bars with exceptions available)

These hotels are expected to exceed luxury expectations of guests to enjoy continued patronage.

These hotels ensure that they understand the latest trends in the hospitality industry to ensure that the expectations of customers are exceeded.




Think of the most beautiful hotels in the world,  Most expensive hotels in the world and Luxury resorts of the world when you think of 5 Star rating of Hotels.


Is there a 7 Star Hotel rating?


The answer in one word is ‘No’.

A lot of hotels around the world claim to have the unique 7 Star rating but these are unofficial and not backed by international bodies.

One of the most famous Seven Star hotels is said to be the  Burj Al Arab Dubai but it does not claim this to be an official certification.

On the contrary, this super luxury Hotel claims to have received this accolade from a media person and not through one of the recognised hotel rating systems.

With unparalleled luxury offerings like personal Butler for every guest, rooftop helipad, gold cutleries, an underwater restaurant and the biggest fleet of Rolls Royce, Burj Al Arab still continues to be classified as probably the only 7-star hotel ‘unofficially’.

Officially the hotel claims to have a BAA five star rating.


Tips for Gaining 5 Star Hotel Rating


Garnering a 5 star hotel rating do wonders to a hotel, and of course, it’s brand.

You can charge more without worrying that you will lose customers.  Customers are prepared to pay as far as they get value for money in terms of luxury and customer service.

That’s the magical allure of 5-star hotel rating. So, how can a hotel rev up its game to get that lucrative 5-star rating?

  1. Meet and Greet- Though most hotels (including lower-rated ones) offer “meet and greet” service, you need to take it up a notch. According to Forbes, a hotel should meet and assist a guest within 60 seconds of arrival.
  2. Deliver wake-up calls within 2 minutes of the requested time
  3. You should not put a guest’s call on hold for more than 30 seconds
  4. Offer top-notch services: here, think in the line of large pools, marble baths, heated pools, and much more.
  5. To be a five-star hotel, think of suites. All five-star hotels definitely have suites with at least 2 bedrooms.
  6. A temperature-controlled swimming pool makes a strong contention for a 5-star rating.


To be a 5 star rated hotel, the organisations must think of luxury that is unparalleled.




Hope you found the Hotel star rating guide interesting and informative.

In order to attract more customers to the hotel, all hotels need to ensure they are rated the best by the agencies. Even travellers refer to these ratings before they decide to book a hotel room.

If you are a traveller or hospitality enthusiast, you now know what to expect at these star hotels.

If you are a hotelier, you now know which organization to approach and what amenities to have to be into the coveted 5 Star rated hotel club.