In general, to be called a hotel, an establishment must have a minimum of six letting bedrooms, at least three of which must have attached (ensuite) private bathroom facilities. Although hotels are classified into 'Star' categories (1-Star to 5-Star), there is no standard method of assigning these ratings, and compliance with customary requirements is voluntary. A US hotel with a certain rating, for example, is may look very different from a European or Asian hotel with the same rating, and would provide a different level of amenities, range of facilities, and quality of service. Whereas hotel chains assure uniform standards throughout, non-chain hotels (even within the same country) may not agree on the same standards. In Germany, for example, only about 30 percent of the hotels choose to comply with the provisions of the rules established by the German Hotels & Restaurants association. Although both WTO and ISO have been trying to persuade hotels to agree on some minimum requirements as world-wide norms, the entire membership of the Paris-based International Hotel & Restaurant (IH&RA) opposes any such move.
- A 1-Star hotel provides a limited range of amenities and services, but adheres to a high standard of facility-wide cleanliness.
- A 2-Star hotel provides good accommodation and better equipped bedrooms, each with a telephone and attached private bathroom.
- A 3-Star hotel has more spacious rooms and adds high-class decorations and furnishings and color TV. It also offers one or more bars or lounges.
- A 4-Star hotel is much more comfortable and larger, and provides excellent cuisine (table d'hote and a la carte), room service, and other amenities.
- A 5-Star hotel offers most luxurious premises, widest range of guest services, as well as swimming pool and sport and exercise facilities.
The Official Hotel Guide (published in the US, and followed world wide) has its own classification scheme that ranks hotels in nine categories as (1) Moderate Tourist Class, (2) Tourist Class, (3) Superior Tourist Class, (4) Moderate First Class, (5) Limited Service First Class, (6) First Class, (7) Moderate Deluxe, (8) Deluxe, and (9) Superior Deluxe.
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