Hotel companies hoping to increase their client base rave about top-notch facilities and often utilise third-party star ratings to prove they are worthy of your business. As time has gone on, though, the rating systems have become more confusing---with six and even seven star hotels cropping up, and it has become difficult to discern a good hotel from a great one.
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Forbes Star Ratings
The Forbes Travel Guide includes one of the most popular hotel rating systems, which has been in existence since 1958. Forbes does both facility inspections and service evaluations to rate hotels on a five-point scale.
Hotels with four and five star ratings undergo a more intense inspection process and are evaluated in 750 categories, as inspectors spend three days and two nights at each hotel. One-quarter of the final score comes from the facility inspection, and the rest comes from the service evaluation.
According to Forbes, a guest in a four star hotel should expect, among other things, written confirmation, a plush bedroom, access to dry cleaning, premium cable or satellite packages, a minibar, a guest robe, luxurious shower linens and current newspapers.
AAA Diamond Ratings
The American Automobile Association (AAA) offers their own hotel rating system, which they say is the best in North America. Rather than stars, AAA rates hotels using diamonds on a five-point scale.
A four-diamond hotel is high-class and stylish, and demonstrates "obvious" quality. Like Forbes, the AAA rating demands high-quality service and attention to detail, as well as numerous amenities. As a reference point, a one-diamond hotel is defined as providing only essentials, and a five-diamond hotel demonstrates "unmatched" comfort.
AA star ratings
Much like its American counterpart, the British Automobile Association (AA) has its own hotel rating system. AA standards are set in conjunction with British tourism authorities. In addition to a five-point star rating system, the AA categorises hotels by type and rates the restaurants within them.
In addition to the requirements of Forbes and AAA, the AA requires four star hotels to provide a clear "public area" and the hotel restaurant must be open to the public. The AA rating also calls for uniformed staff and a lunch available in a separate dining area.
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