travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

Understanding the Hotel Star Rating System

June 4, 2021
hotel star system

The number of stars is one thing people usually look at when checking out a hotel. The idea behind the
star rating system is that the more stars, the better. So, a five-star hotel, in theory, is more superior than
a one-star or two-star hotel. This system, for the most part, is a fast, easy, and reliable way to assess
whether or not a hotel is worth checking in to or not. That said, there is more than what meets the eye
when it comes to rating hotels with stars. The following are some things you need to keep in mind about
the hotel star rating system.

Stars Are a Hotel’s Badge of Honor
The use of stars as a measure of quality is vital in the hotel industry. Reason being is that stars easily
communicate aspects that make a hotel appealing, like livability, luxury, and customer service. This is
why many hoteliers want to get the maximum number of stars for their hotel. It is also the reason why
some people book a hotel based on its star rating.

There Is No Universal Star Rating System
The star rating system is not uniform around the world. There are similarities among some, but no two
systems are entirely alike. This means that the criteria for a five-star hotel in one country might not be
the same as that in another country. In fact, the criteria for handing out stars can even differ from one
city to another. For instance, a five-star hotel in Thailand might be a three-star hotel only in the U.S.
Similarly, the three-star hotel experience in Barcelona, Spain, might not be the same as the three-star
hotel experience in Madrid.

In addition, not all countries actually use the five-star system. Countries in Europe, for example, rate
hotels up to four stars, while the United Arab Emirates gives hotels up to six or seven stars. Here in the
Philippines, in particular, hotels can get a maximum of five stars.

Uplifting the Hotel Industry
For so long, hotels in the Philippines were categorized as De Luxe Class, First Class, Standard Class, and
Economy Class. In 2012, however, the DOT institutionalized the star-rating system used by most
countries, including the U.S., the UK, Denmark, Belgium, and Switzerland. The tourism department
shifted to this system in a bid to standardize the accreditation of local hotels and get them up to par
with hotels in other countries.

Stars Are Handed Out by Different Organizations
A common question about the hotel star rating system is: Who gives the stars? The answer is it depends.
In the U.S., independent organizations such as Forbes and the American Automobile Association do the
honors. In Australia, on the other hand, star ratings are given by the Australian Tourism Industry Council-
owned Star Ratings Australia. Here in the Philippines, it is the Department of Tourism (DOT) that hands
out the stars based on a points system adopted back in 2012.

When a hotel receives a star here in the Philippines, it only means one thing: It is fit to operate as it has
passed the DOT’s National Accommodation Standards. This standard, which also applies to apartment
hotels and resorts, takes into account the property’s location and condition, the quality of its service,
and the business practices it employs.

What the Stars Mean
The bare minimum classification in the country is one star, which requires 251–400 points. A one-star
hotel, like the Daylight Inn in Davao, only offers limited facilities and services such as board and lodging.
This makes one-star hotels cheaper and appealing to budget-conscious people. Next is the two-star
rating (401–550 points), which is given to properties such as the Go Hotels in North EDSA and the
Gervasia Hotel in Makati. These hotels provide more than basic accommodation and are more
comfortable than one-star hotels.

A three-star rating (551–700 points) follows, and it is given to hotels such as Hotel 101 Manila, where
accommodation is “very good” thanks to higher quality facilities and services. On the other hand, hotels
like Privato Ortigas and Xenia Hotel in Pampanga are given four stars (701–850 points) because they
offer “refined and stylish” accommodation, responsive service, and a variety of upscale facilities

The maximum number of stars the DOT hands out is five (851–1000 points). This rating is reserved for
hotels that provide “luxury and sophistication” through facilities that are “world class in every manner”
and services that are responsive and exceptional. Local hotels given a five-star rating so far include
Henann Regency in Boracay, Dusit Thani Mactan in Cebu, and EDSA Shangri-La in Pasig.

Understanding the hotel star rating system can give you some much needed insight when comparing
hotels in Pasay City, Makati, or anywhere else in the country. If you want the most value for your
money, book a room at the three-star Kabayan Hotel and enjoy the perks of city-living at an affordable

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