How can I tell if a hotel is as luxurious as it claims?

December 9, 2014

What you see on a hotel website isn't always accurate. And unless you know someone who stayed there, it's almost impossible to find out. So how can you tell if a hotel is as luxurious as it claims?

How can I tell if a hotel is as luxurious as it claims?

Hotel rating systems

Hotels have been graded for quality, features and service since 1958. Since then, the idea of luxury itself has changed vastly. To meet the rising consumer demand, several rating systems that identify luxurious hotels based on specific criteria have been established.

Each system uses its own manner by which a hotel is rated, and gives you a clear idea of what to expect the next time you read in a brochure or website, “5-star rated hotel".

What are these systems? Here are the main three:

1. Forbes Stars hotel rating system

Typically how it works is a Forbes rater will secretly visit a hotel and rate it with one, two or three stars. This is based on:

  • Location
  • Cleanliness
  • Accessibility
  • Features of the hotel
  • The quality of service
  • Accommodations provided

In rare cases, a hotel will be nominated for four or five stars.

  • If this happens, a second rater from Forbes will visit the hotel “undercover” to assess the hotel’s staff and service protocols.

If a hotel passes these two evaluations, and is deemed to have superior service, cleanliness, facilities and features, it’s awarded a four- or five-star luxury hotel rating.

  • Hotels that make four- or five-star ratings are said to have the highest standards of accommodation and service. As such, hotels with this rating are considered luxury-level hotels.

CAA/AAA Diamonds hotel rating system

CAA/AAA rates hotels in a straightforward fashion. CAA/AAA have full-time inspectors who personally visit the hotels to evaluate the overall quality, range of facilities, physical attributes, and level of services offered.

If CAA/AAA give a hotel one diamond, it is considered a hotel fit for budget-minded guests:

  • It meets the basic requirements for comfort, cleanliness and hospitality.

If given five diamonds, a hotel is considered an establishment of ultimate luxury and sophistication.

  • Physical characteristics of the hotel are considered extraordinary in every way, with impeccable standards for cleanliness. Service is outstanding—from private concierge to personal shoppers.

European Hotelstars Union hotel rating system

Established in the early 2000s, the Hotelstars Union rating system is widely used throughout Europe. Hotelstars has clearly stated standards for their rating system:

  • Luxury hotels are rated with five stars. The criteria includes 24-hour reception, a dedicated concierge and bellhop, personalized greetings for each guest with fresh flowers, and evening turndown service.

By looking closer at the rating system for hotels, you’ll be able to determine and identify which hotel meets your standards for luxury. Whether that happens to be a hotel with indoor atriums, or a hotel with private services for your every need, there’s a luxury hotel on each rating list, waiting for you to visit.

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