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What is a 5 Star Hotel?

March 21, 2018| By:Courtney W. May

what is a 5 star hotel

There are many different rating systems and we'll dig into them below, but these are the most basic criteria that make a hotel worthy of 5 stars.

5 Star Hotel Criteria

  • Multilingual staff with a high staff to guest ratio. 
  • A 24 hour reception desk, valet parking, butler services, a doorman greeting every guest at the entrance, and separate concierge staff available at least 2/3 of the day.
  • Separate elevators for guests and hotel staff.
  • High speed Internet Wifi.
  • Luggage storage services with enough space to store all guest luggage out of sight - both within guest room and public spaces.
  • A fine-dining restaurant and a separate lounge or bar.
  • Nightly turndown and full housekeeping services each day also available to each guest upon request at any time. Also - laundry, ironing, dry cleaning, and shoe polishing services.
  • In-room features: room service 24 hours a day, window shades with full light blocking features, electric safe, laundry bags, full length mirror with lighting, exercise programs, remote controlled flat screen television, national and intl' tv channels, all electronic cables and cords hidden from view, choice of pillows (pillow menus), high wattage hair-dryer, fully stocked mini-bar, multiple daily newspaper choices, and more.
  • Spa services with at least 4 different types of treatment - and available in-room.
  • Transfers and executive or house car services.
  • All bedrooms with private bathroom. Amenities: bathrobes, slippers, brand name toiletries, and large heavyweight towels.
  • Meeting space choices with the latest AV technology, business services, and support for in-house IT.
  • Poolside amenities such as daybeds, umbrellas, lotions, ice water, attendants on duty. Food and beverage service must be available poolside.
  • Vetted child-care services.
  • Currency services.
  • Flawless, personalized, and consistent service.

In the future, we expect the requirements for a 5 star hotel to include:

  • Any and all requests can be made through text messages directly to hotel staff.
  • Remote control panels for lighting, climate, and do not disturb accessible from the bedside and the door.
  • Even more outlets for personal electronics, especially with built in USB plugs.
  • Enhanced and upgraded coffee machines. (No Keurigs).
  • TV software will be fully high speed and include dedicated streaming services.
  • Motion-sensitive controls.
  • Bluetooth enabled door locks.


Note Bene: These guidelines are for features on a general scale. They can be considered usual, but not universally, true of 5 star hotels throughout the hotel industry worldwide. The availability and type of feature is also tied to the property type and market.

what is a 5 star hotel?

Related: What is your definition of luxury?

Who decides "what is a 5 star hotel"?

Who decides the answer to "What is a 5 Star Hotel?" Unfortunately, a single universal standard does not exist for hotel ratings. There is no worldwide governing body or agency. Being a luxury hotel does not make a hotel 5 stars, but 5-star hotels will always be luxury.

Systems using terms such as Deluxe/Luxury, First Class/Superior, Tourist Class/Standard, and Budget Class/Economy are more widely accepted as hotel 'types', rather than hotel 'standards'.

In North America, AAA rates hotels from 1 to 5 diamonds. The Forbes (Mobil) Travel Guide only ranks 4 and 5 star hotels. Michelin has become more focused on chefs and restaurants than luxury hotels.

In Europe, the Hotelstars Union has standard hotel star ratings for more than 15 countries. Switzerland uses hotelleriesuisse, which assures a certain level of quality service, infrastructure, and equipment. The UK is not a member of the Hotelstars Union and uses the Automobile Association's (AA) 1- 5 star ratings.

Many countries have hard and fast laws that define how a hotel can be rated.

In New Zealand Qualmark, part of Tourism New Zealand, is the government organization that also grades hotels from 1 to 5 stars.

In Australia the Auto Clubs (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT) awards star ratings and in 2015 they incorporated a consumer 'voice'. It is now managed by the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC).

In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism maintains the standards with a star grading system from 1 to 5 stars.

Since 2002, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) has strict grading criteria and conditions in 6 categories.

India's classifications are done by the Ministry of Tourism's Hotel and Restaurant Association Classification Committee (HRACC). The categories are 1 Star up to 5 Star and then 5 Star Deluxe and then by Heritage - Heritage Grand, Heritage Classic, and Heritage Basic.

While it might be great for marketing, there are no 7 star or 6 star hotels. (Although don't tell that to one of our favorite resorts in the Turks & Caicos.)

Specific to Five Star Alliance, what is a 5 star hotel? Our luxury hotels must maintain a high degree of satisfaction from guests across review sites and especially through our direct client's feedback. We update this article frequently as certain standards change or new offerings become available.

Click here to explore all of our 5 star hotels >>


Just a few of the other types of hotel ratings include:


what is a 5 star hotel


Posted in: Articles

About the Author: Courtney W. May