Hotel Star Ratings and French B & B’s

It’s true – you do generally get what you pay for, as stated so well, in the below blog. I personally have preferred to stay at a B & B (directory link) while in France (chambre d’hôte), but these also require researching, to know what you’re getting for the price.  I have stayed at a few where they offered a “table d’hôte,” meaning you could also eat a home cooked, French dinner on site (extra cost, of course).  Many private manoirs and chateaux have been turned into tourist accommodations and can be an absolutely beautiful way to experience another side of French life!

NOTE:  See the Wikipedia hotel star ratings CHART, listed below the blog article.

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Hotel Star Ratings – What’s in a number?
Posted on April 16, 2012

Since the invention of Trip Advisor, it seems most of us would rather rely on the opinions of other travellers who have “been there, done that”, than the number of stars listed by a hotel name.

Why, well, every country seems to have its own star rating system and what one country deems a four-star hotel, another may well rate a 2-star property – so how do we know we are getting what we are paying for?

Social media outlets that offer advice and opinions are all well and good, but as they are open to everyone, a competitor with sour grapes can easily add a damaging report about a neighbouring hotel. Then there are the travellers who use these channels to write a book on how they didn’t like the wallpaper, the light switches were too high, and the orange juice at breakfast was sour!

So, while I do take note of what has been written by other travellers, I also read between the lines, and combine the hotel star rating with an overview of all the reviews/opinions available to try to get a better idea of what the property is really like.

After travelling to over 40 countries, I truly believe you get what you pay for, and while I understand everyone has a travel budget, I don’t understand why someone would book a 2-star hotel when they are used to, and expect, the luxurious amenities they have at home! It doesn’t work like that…

Like most people, I enjoy staying in five-star properties but they can be expensive and unless you are going to spend a great deal of time in your hotel room or using the hotel facilities they might not be worth the investment. We prefer to save these hotels for special occasions such as anniversaries, birthday treats or romantic beach breaks, when we really make the most of the luxurious rooms, great facilities and five-star service.

We generally opt for four-star hotels where you get all the little luxuries you are used to at home such as quality bed linens, tastefully decorated rooms, clean bathrooms and electrical goods, without the pomp and ceremony offered by five-star hotels. Perfect for city breaks and country escapes!

In most European countries, three-star hotels are decent properties with nice rooms, adequate facilities, and are therefore perfect for a weekend city break, but when you compare the prices of a three-star hotel with a four-star, you may find that there isn’t much between them, so location may be your deciding factor.

When it comes to a two-star hotel, well again, you get what you pay for. In the few two-star properties I have seen, you get a clean but basic room with private bathroom, and very few facilities. These properties are ideal for those travelling around the world on a budget, and if you do some research beforehand, you may well find a real gem.

I have to admit I have never stayed in a one-star hotel so really cannot comment (do they even exist?), but before I would choose such a hotel, I think I would rather go for a guest house or B&B, and that’s a whole new ball game when it comes to star rating!”

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Hotelstars

“The European Hotelstars Union has created a profiling system based on the earlier German hotelstars system that had widely influenced the hotel classifications in central Europe. The main criteria are in quality management, wellness and sleeping accommodation.  In the catalogue of criteria each entry is associated with a number of points – each Hotelstars level requires a minimal sum of points besides some criteria being obligatory for the level.  The minimum requirement for the Superior flag requires the same sum of points as for the next Hotelstars level which however was not awarded due to at least one obligatory requirement being left out.

Hotelstar Excerpt of the catalogue of criteria
\bigstar Tourist
  • 100% of the rooms with shower/WC or bath tub/WC
  • Daily room cleaning
  • 100% of the rooms with colour-TV together with remote control
  • Table and chair
  • Soap or body wash
  • Reception service
  • Facsimile at the reception
  • Publicly available telephone for guests
  • Extended breakfast
  • Beverage offer in the hotel
  • Deposit possibility
\bigstar \mathbf S Superior Tourist The Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The bathroom facilities are usually at the same level as for two stars hotels but built from cheaper materials. The cost for regular inspection by independent associations is waived as well.
\bigstar\bigstar Standard In addition to the single star (*) hotels:

  • Breakfast buffet
  • Reading light next to the bed
  • Bath essence or shower gel
  • Bath towels
  • Linen shelves
  • Offer of sanitary products (e.g. toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving kit)
  • Credit Cards
\bigstar\bigstar \mathbf S Superior Standard The Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The Standard-Superior does usually offer the same service level as three-star hotels but the interiors of the hotel are smaller and cheaper so that the three stars were not to be awarded by the inspection body. A two-star superior does not require mystery guesting.
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar Comfort In addition to the standard star (**) hotels:

  • Reception opened 14 hours, accessible by phone 24 hours from inside and outside, bilingual staff (e.g. German/English)
  • Three piece suite at the reception, luggage service
  • Beverage offer in the room
  • Telephone in the room
  • Internet access in the room or in the public area
  • Heating facility in the bathroom, hair-dryer, cleansing tissue
  • Dressing mirror, place to put the luggage/suitcase
  • Sewing kit, shoe polish utensils, laundry and ironing service
  • Additional pillow and additional blanket on demand
  • Systematic complaint management system
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar \mathbf S Superior Comfort The Superior flag is provided when the additional service and accommodation provisions are not sufficient for the next Hotelstar. The accommodation facilities for a superior hotel need to be on a modern level and fully renovated which is checked regularly.
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar First Class In addition to the comfort star (***) hotels:

  • Reception opened 18 hours, accessible by phone 24 hours from inside and outside
  • Lobby with seats and beverage service
  • Breakfast buffet or breakfast menu card via room service
  • Minibar or 24 hours beverages via room service
  • Upholstered chair/couch with side table
  • Bath robe and slippers on demand
  • Cosmetic products (e.g. shower cap, nail file, cotton swabs), vanity mirror, tray of a large scale in the bathroom)
  • Internet access and internet terminal
  • “À la carte”-restaurant
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar \mathbf S First Class Superior The Superior flag is provided when the first class hotel has a proven high quality not only in the rooms. The superior hotels provide for additional facilities in the hotel like a sauna or a workout room. The quality is checked regularly by mystery guesting of an external inspection service.
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar Luxury In addition to the first class (****) hotels:

  • Reception opened 24 hours, multilingual staff
  • Doorman-service or valet parking
  • Concierge, page boy
  • Spacious reception hall with several seats and beverage service
  • Personalized greeting for each guest with fresh flowers or a present in the room
  • Minibar and food and beverage offer via room service during 24 hours
  • Personal care products in flacons
  • Internet-PC in the room
  • Safe in the room
  • Ironing service (return within 1 hour), shoe polish service
  • Turndown service in the evening
  • Mystery guesting
\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar\bigstar \mathbf S Superior Luxury The Luxury star hotels need to attain high expectations of an international guest service. The Superior Luxury star is only awarded with a system of intensive guest care.
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