Hotels: A Guide to Hotel Star Ratings and Hotel Types

Defining the hotel star rating system and hotel types. Ice hotel, underwater hotel, boutique hotels, resort hotels. Hotel definitions.Different types of hotels.

The travel and tourism industry is big business with the largest group within the industry centred around the hospitality group.

The hospitality group is the group that looks after the basic needs of food, drink and shelter.

When someone books a holiday the first consideration is location, followed by type of hotel.

Today there are a myriad of hotels with which to choose from depending on your budget.

In this article I will explain the hotel star rating system, the many differing types of hotel on offer and a hotel factfile.

When a hotel offers a customer a room, all they are required to offer the customer are the basic needs of an overnight stay, such as a bed, toilet and washing facilities and clothes hanging space.

When a hotel is rated the rating is attributed to the services of the hotel, not in terms of luxury, although luxury generally does go hand in hand with a higher star rating. 


                                                        THE GENTINGS HIGHLAND, MALAYSIA.

There is no standardised star rating system, with different countries having differing ratings.

Star ratings depending on the country you are staying in will be defined from either a government body or tourism association guidelines.

Below is a general guideline of star ratings.


1 *

An economy hotel with basic room amenities. There may well be telephone, TV and interent access in rooms and a reception service.

2 **

Similar to above only with slightly more in the way of services, such as own car park, wake up service and maybe a dining room or restaurant attached, but not neccessarilly in house.


A more upscale hotel, with the added room services of a fridge or mini bar, but more in the way of hotel services, such as lobby shops. Generally a deluxe property possibly in a prime location with in house restaurant and bar services.

4 ****

This type of property is an upper scale establishment.A deluxe property in a prime location with many more in house services, such as a swimming pool, gym, hairdresser, more than one restaurant or bar, entertainment and laundry services and more room services such as bath and shower, hairdryer, fridge and mini bar.

5 *****

A luxury establishment in a prime location offering all services of the above with the added services of room service,consierge, valet and maids.

This type of property may well be situated with either stunning coastal or city views, have a choice of bars and restaurants ,possibly sporting facilities such as swimming pools or golf course or entertainment venues such as a casino, cinema or theatre.

Do bear in mind however, that there can be 1 star establishments with few amenities but with luxury decor and 5 star establishments with many in house services but basic rooms. 


                          THE WORLD'S ONLY 7 STAR HOTEL, THE BURJ  AL ARAB, DUBAI.

As well as the confusing hotel star rating system, there are also a myriad of different types of hotels on offer.

Below is a list of the many varied types of hotel you may come across.


Is a hotel with all hotel services, but instead of being offered a bedroom, you are offered an entire apartment, with kitchen, lounge and possibly more than one bedroom.

B + B.

B + B means bed and breakfast. A hotel of this type is generally not star rated but can be of any type, from a few small basic rooms or one or two seriously luxurious rooms, complete with an in house dining room for breakfast.These types of hotel are generally privately owned and run.


Generally a small hotel, privately owned and run, based on a themed atmoshphere.

The rooms will be decorated to match the particular theme of the hotel, or in a particularly quirky or even bizarre manner.

These types of hotel can also be aimed at a certain type of guest or group, such as ladies or gays only.

These hotels also tend to offer a more personalised type of service, such as a la carte menu or cocktail bar.


This type of hotel can be of any star rating but will offer certain amenities that make the hotel an actual destination in it's self.

This can be a venue that teaches culinary, sporting, musical or arts courses.

It can also be a hotel that specialises in certain events such as murder mystery weekends, water or winter sports or revolve around a casino or arts or cultural venue.


Are generally afixed to a type of Eco friendly holiday, and the ' hotel' can be anything that is Eco friendly to the environment of the area you are staying in.

Therefore an Eco hotel can be anything from an igloo to a tent, or a barge to a tree house.

There will generally be no electric or hot running water services, with the customer being able to use alternative ways to the modern lifestyle.


The word motel comes from the joining together of the words motor and hotel, subsequently these types of hotel are generally located along a long stretch of motorway or highway and used mainly for weary drivers.

They tend to be 1 or 2 star hotels with basic rooms and basic amenities.

The one thing that sets a motel apart from a hotel, is that many of them can be booked by the hour, making them the choice for people who want a venue for a particular meeting, tryst or assignation.


Is a basic hotel with basic amenities generally located in or near a specific venue or in a city centre.

These types of hotel are generaly used by business men on business trips, people visiting a particular location such as an out of town concert venue or for people on short city, cultural or shopping breaks.


A large hotel that caters to the every whim of their customers, from in house shops and sporting facilities, private beach, entertainment venues, casino, quiet room, library, gym, beauty parlour, oh the list goes on, this type of hotel offers it all.

They are generally located in an isolated position, either on the coast or in the countryside, although some cities do have resort hotels.

A resort hotel can be of a basic 1 star establishment, right up to a 5 star super luxe establishment.


Can be any type of hotel, large or small, 1 star or 5, that is run around a particular theme.

The rooms are generally cheaper at these types of hotels as they tend to make the bulk of their revenue from whatever the ' theme' is, such as a casino or arts venue.

Other theme hotels can be built in such a way as to imitate another country or city, with catering and entertainment based on the city or country that the hotel is themed on.

Certain unusual themed hotels are the Ice Hotel, made entirely of ice, The Paris Hotel in Las Vegas, the Disney Resort Hotels in Paris and the U.S.A and the Underwater Hotels in Dubai, Florida and Istanbul. 


                                       THE UNDERWATER HOTEL, ISTANBUL, TURKEY.


                                  INTERIOR OF THE ICE HOTEL, JUKKASJARVI, SWEDEN.











                                                                                                    © D.B.Bellamy. July 2010. 

                                                                                    All images courtesy of wikimedia commons.


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