Check Your Hotel's Rating
There is simply no worldwide or even national U.S. standard rating for hotel quality. That five-star hotel you saw advertised online may not be as deluxe as the three-star in some other locale or country. We've been unpleasantly surprised to find that the “budget” three-star hotel we selected can cost more than the luxury hotel elsewhere in town. So, how do know what to do when you go hotel hunting?
A recent article in the Detroit Free Press describes how the same hotel in Chicago has ratings that range from 2 to 4.5 stars, depending on the organizations, which range from Mobil Travel Guide and AAA to Yahoo, Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity.
First of all, you have to know how the different, reliable agencies rate hotels. In the U.S., the two most recognized brands are Mobil and AAA, the “benchmark” raters, according to the Free Press. AAA has been rating hotels on a scale of five “diamonds” for a generation, and uses professional raters to measure more than 32,000 hotels in the U.S., Canada and Caribbean. The Mobil Travel Guide has been in use for nearly 50 years. Both use professional inspectors to evaluate factors such as housekeeping, room service, hospitality and lodging amenities.
Today's Internet technology permits readers to rate hotels on their own. NYC.com has both editors' and readers' ratings, based on four criteria, and the two don't always agree.
Internationally, many countries, particularly in Europe, have government- or agency-run ratings systems, usually on a scale of 0-5 stars. But this article from the German Hotel and Restaurant Association's rating system indicates that the expectations for hotels are usually based on domestic travelers' desires. So, a French hotel may lose a star for lacking a bidet, but a Greek hotel would lose that extra star for not having air conditioning.