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What Do Resort "Stars" Really Mean?

Updated: Feb 17, 2023

Resort star ratings are intended to provide travelers with a quick and easy way to understand the quality and amenities of a resort. However, the exact meaning of resort star ratings can vary depending on the country, region, and even the organization that assigns the ratings....

In general, higher star ratings typically indicate more luxurious accommodations and a greater number of amenities. For example, a five-star resort might offer spacious rooms with high-end furnishings, multiple on-site restaurants, a spa, a gym, a swimming pool, and other features that provide a premium guest experience. However, it's important to note that star ratings are not standardized across the industry, and different organizations may use different criteria to assign ratings. For example, one organization might place a greater emphasis on the quality of the food and beverage offerings, while another might focus more on the quality of the room furnishings and amenities. Here are a few other factors that influence the gold stars you see while conducting your google search:

• Location of the hotel or resort

• Available restaurants, food choices, or buffets

• Size of the room

• Entertainment options

• Fitness, Pools & Casinos

• Concierge services

• Internet/Digital Access

• Amenities and Alcohol

• Relaxation factor/Adults Only

Additionally, star ratings are typically assigned based on a snapshot in time and may not reflect changes in the resort's quality or amenities since the rating was assigned.

The shortest answer to your dilemma is that there is no such “universal” star-level classification. One reason for this is that there are no universal descriptions of the standard of living and accommodations. For instance, the class status, or ratings acceptable by Thai standards m

ay not be the same as those in the U.A.E which has the world's only 7 star hotel as well as diamond rated facilities. Some countries also use public opinion as a foundation for rating, while others use rating systems put in place by the government. Yet, these ratings differ from one organization and forum to the next. You may also find ratings such as First Class/Superior, Tourist Class/Standard, Deluxe/Luxury, and Budget Class/Economy, Green Globe, Green Key International, or Green Key Global for eco-friendly classifications just to name a few, so you may not know which classification you're looking at when conducting your google search.

So, how do you determine which is best for you?

3 Star Hotel Jardins d’Eiffel (Paris)
3 Star Hotel Jardins d’Eiffel (Paris)

In all honesty, you can only determine what is best for you by starting to travel more and assessing your personal needs against what is being offered. As you begin to travel and identify different resort chains, their quirks, best practices, offerings, vibes and things that are essential or unessential to you, you'll birth a deeper understanding of your needs and be able to assess that against what you're willing to pay.

Also consider your personal vacation style? Is it to upgrade your regular living style, or are you looking to break even? Understand that what you desire will come at a cost and expecting a 5 Star Vacation with a 2 Star budget is an impractical expectation.

Remember, that there's a hotel/resort out there for everyone! Consider this: if one and two star resorts were so bad, no one would be booking them, and they’d be out of business. So, your question shouldn't be about whether you want or can afford a 5 Star resort, now that you know about the star rating system, you should be asking which one is best for your needs, which can differ from trip to trip. Essentially, there’s no use paying for a five-star fitness center if you prefer hiking down the hills and enjoying the fresh air. If you truly feel puzzled as to which hotel to choose, take a look at the most recent reviews but consider them with a grain of salt. Reviews are meant to offer an unbiased opinion usually given by previous guests. However, you can't trust all the reviews you read. It is a known factor that it is like pulling teeth to get a customer to leave a review when they are 100% satisfied, but an angry customer will leave one before they lay their head down at night and even complain about the oxygen level if they had a coughing fit during their experience and fail to mention they forgot their oxygen tank! At the end of the day, selecting the right resort is a trial and error process.

Here's Your Recap

One-Star Rating – Clean and Functional

A one-star resort provides a small or medium-sized room with a television and telephone. These hotels only offer a place to stay without room service or a restaurant. One-star hotels are not usually located right in the heart of a city but should have nearby public transportation and reasonably priced restaurants.

Two-star rating – quality furnishings with a few perks

This is usually a part of a larger chain offering a room, television, phone, and a restaurant on-site or dining area. You may also access daily housekeeping, and the front desk is usually open about 24 hours a day. You may also find these hotels tucked away from the happening spots in the city but with public transportation.

Three-star rating – better furnishings, service, and guest care

Three-star resorts are part of a larger chain and offer stylish and comfortable lodgings. You may also access a wide range of amenities such as a fitness center, pool, restaurant, room service, conference rooms, and valet services. They are usually located around major expressways or hotspots.

Four-star rating – excellent comfort, superior service, and guest care

Four-star hotels or resorts come with lots of perks and first-class service. You’ll enjoy elegantly designed rooms with premium furnishings, bath products, lots of space, concierge services, hot tubs, valet parking, and premium fitness centers, and many more. Four-star accommodations are usually located around hotspots.

Five-star rating – exceptional with luxurious care

Five-star accommodations include top-of-the-line furnishings usually by international standards. You’ll enjoy flawless service and guest care, alongside superb architecture, extravagant lobbies, high-speed internet access, and so much more. You won’t have to do anything on your own here than swipe your card. Some of these hotels usually provide a designated concierge to deliver everything you need personally.


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