Three star European hotels, which are some of the most common, can be understood to be ‘middle of the road’. They offer a good level of comfort and generally have all the modern amenities that you would expect in a modern hotel. Where they tend to differ is in the level of attention to detail and quality of welcome you receive from the staff. In other words, star ratings are based on the ‘objective’ things that a hotel offers. You are not guaranteed to enjoy staying at a three star hotel, since you may well find the ambiance and staff aren’t to your liking. Because of this, it’s vital to carefully browse hotels and look closely at pictures and reviews.
Going down the scale, a one star hotel is not necessarily bad. The facilities will be quite basic – expect a simple room with limited washing facilities (often shared) and little in the way of food options. Two star hotels are a step up, giving you more modern facilities such as an in-room TV, and the possibility of hotel dining.
Once you get up to the four and five star level, you start to see some of the ‘luxury’ style options. Key among these is the concierge service. The concierge offers guests aid with many different things; it’s a general service and can be a defining factor in a hotel’s reputation. The highest end hotels often have a concierge that will have a go at tackling almost any request from a guest. At the more mundane level, four and five star hotels will certainly be equipped with a gym, pool, daycare services, a choice of dining rooms and business suites.
Remember that star ratings are no universal. A four star hotel in India is generally not the same level as an equivalently rated hotel in the UK. On the other hand, super luxury hotels in Dubai and other exotic locations have received up to seven stars – clearly these hotels offer a very high standard of service, and are certainly up to standard with Europe’s best five star offerings.