I was surprised to find out that there’s no international benchmark for 5 star hotels. Many countries have their own system and requirements for ensuring a standardised level of service, but in an international regard there’s nothing. That means what might be considered a 5 star hotel in one country, might only feel like a 4 or even 3 star hotel in another. This leaves a little ambiguity in what services you might receive internationally when choosing to stay in luxury, high end hotels.

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How to Deal With the Inconsistencies of the Five Star Rating

In order to deal with inconsistencies observed around the world, many people are turning to user-review websites, such as Tripadvisor to find clearer information of how other travellers found their experiences to be. Many hotel sites, such as Hotels4U offer the opportunity to review directly on the site, allowing users to have a clear indication of what level of service and amenities they’ll receive at each respective hotel.

My preference is to use a combination of star-rating systems and websites like Tripadvisor to get a clearer picture of how the hotel will be. Because many countries of the world have a different standard of living to what I’m used to, I bare that in mind when I’m making a reservation. Check here for more information on what hotel stars mean around the world.


As the world changes, our priorities change too. In the decades before you might have been more interested in the International call rates of a hotel, but now my main priority is whether there’s free WIFI in the room and it turns out I’m not alone. 65% of respondents to a survey done by Hotels4u YouGov online survey agreed that free WIFI is a priority for them. I think this is because it’s our main way of staying in contact with friends and family back home, as well as engaging in a wide range of types of media (such as blogs, newspapers and even TV shows). Following on from WIFI, English speaking staff (remember this is a British survey), a swimming pool and guest parking take out the next three spots.

How We Book Hotels Is Changing Too

Previously you might go to a travel agent and purchase a packaged deal – flights, insurance, transfers and hotel all rolled into one. Now you’re more likely to search around online, reading reviews from other travellers, star ratings, asking friends and family. As we’re more independent with our travel planning, we’re able to research our options more thoroughly. As such, I feel that hotels in general have to provide a higher, more consistent level of service as a few bad reviews on a review site can send their hotel to the bottom of the popularity list, reducing its bookings and occupancy. We can also book much more spontaneously – I may be guilty of occasionally booking a hotel when I arrive in a city on the free WIFI at the airport.


In future I would love to see an international standard of 5 star hotels across the world, so that I could better predict the level of service I would receive across the board. However there have been attempts to standardise this before, and they have all failed. I think the safest option to ensure what you’re paying for is what you expect, is to use a combination of star ratings and online reviews to pick a hotel that best suits your needs and budget.