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FAQ - with an Explanation of Star Ratings


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Just so people can have a rough approximation of star ratings, here is our ranking system, along with the percentage of all hotels that would meet the category - note that 50% of all hotels in the world would get 3 stars.

Our members tend towards being educated and affluent, so restaurants and hotels are often focal points of vacations. Our younger members, even though they're just starting out, often take some extra time to find hotels of charm or utility, even though they might not be expensive. In other words, many of our readers skew "higher" than the norm in terms of finding nicer hotels and dining at interesting restaurants.

Price doesn't factor into the star ratings, although it should be mentioned prominently in your reviews. There are plenty of overpriced, 4-star hotels in this world, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve 4-stars; just make sure and mention that they aren't a good value. "The Truth" is usually complex, and our members are intelligent enough to understand that - make sure to write for an intelligent audience.

1 = Avoid at all costs. Insects, filth. (Think: Motel Hell) 5%

2 = Would not stay again, but not Armageddon bad. (Think: A run-down Motel 6, slight odors of rodenticide, etc.) 20%

3 = Your average, clean business hotel. (Think: A clean Econo-Lodge up to a moderate Hilton or Hyatt with a restaurant, a gym, and other nice amenities - half of every hotel in the world fits into this category) 50%

4 = Lovely, Distinctive, and worth going out of your way for a stay (Think: A *really* nice corporate hotel, or any independent with a high to very high level of charm) 20% 

5 = The best of the best, and a destination in-and-of itself (Think: A resort in Bali) 5%

This is a 10 x 20 matrix-graphic of how many of each rating should exist for every hotel in the world: 

                                      5
                              4444
                              4444
                              4444
                              4444
          3333333333             <------------------------ You can see from this that a 3-star Hotel can be very good!
          3333333333
          3333333333
          3333333333
          3333333333            <------------------------- There is a very wide range of leeway and error in 3-star Hotels.                      
          3333333333
          3333333333
          3333333333
          3333333333
          3333333333             <------------------------ You can see from this that a 3-star Hotel can be quite mediocre..
  2222
  2222
  2222
  2222
1

4s and 3s will probably account for 90% of our ratings, given the level of income and education of our members.
 
4s should be considered as "telling people they should really, *really* think about staying here."
3s should be considered as "perfectly fine, perhaps very good, but not memorable - might stay again, but not the focal point of the trip."
2s should be considered as "warnings." Note: An honorable, clean, inexpensive hostel for students would get 3 stars, not 2.
1s should be considered as "notices to the health department."
5s should be considered as "resorts for people who collect yachts."

Only people who have actually stayed at the hotel, or who have intimate knowledge of it, should issue star ratings. 

If you have family or friends who operate a hotel *that you're familiar with*, please feel free to write about it - just disclose your affiliation. People will appreciate your honesty, and welcome your recommendation - as long as you're forthright: I can't stress how important that last clause is.

Hotels for individual cities we cover can be found within those cities. All other hotels can be found here in our Hotel Index.

Pictures speak a thousand words, and before you unpack your bags, please take pictures of your room. Example.

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