You can trust established chains such as Marriott or Hilton but there is so much on offer that it would be a shame to miss out on the smaller or independent hotels as they may be able to offer you something the larger chain brands can't.
The Rating System
The star system was created to help guests judge how good a hotel is. Star ratings symbolise the level of standards a guest can expect and are recognised worldwide. Ranging from 1 ? 5, the quality of service, amenities, size and condition of rooms and building, safety and security, atmosphere, quality of food and drink, hotel presence and efficiency of staff are judged.
Practical accommodation. Don't expect anything more than the absolute basics.
The shower room is likely to be down the hall, but remember, it's the cheapest accommodation. If you're looking for a bargain, and don't mind not having en-suite facilities, don't hesitate to consider one-star hotels ? just check the room first. Go for one that offers clean sheets and a nice neighbourhood. It may be cheap but you don't want to slum it next door to a crack den!
Although many offer en-suite facilities you may find in some hotels there is still a need to share the shower room down the hall with other guests. You'll have a colour television, a comfortable bed, and a restaurant/dining room for breakfast and dinner.
Private bathrooms in the (usually smallish) room colour television, occasionally even a mini bar, a phone, laundry service (optional) and a more formal style of service along with the opportunity for room service during certain times to be expected.
Four-star hotels are spacious and have the creature comforts with a touch more luxury, including private baths in addition to a strong emphasis on food and beverage, 24-hour room service and a dry cleaning service available. More often in well situated locations.
Simply the best. The interiors will be of the highest standards.
Opulent, stylish and of absolute luxury. Nothing is too much for guests. Exceptional comfort, 24 hour room service, luxury amenities, for example, spas or star rated restaurants serving superb cuisine are the norm. The concierge will be only too happy to get you want at whatever time of the day, (so long as it's legal).
You will feel very well cared for by professional, attentive staff providing a flawless service. This is the kind of luxury dreams are made of.
The star definitions should be treated as a general guide to what you should expect from a star rated hotel as there is yet no definitive worldwide standardisation available.
Because of this, it can sometimes be abused and you could find yourself booking into a hotel that just doesn't come up to what you believe to be adequate for its rating.
Due to the lack of consistency in hotel ratings around the world you could find yourself staying in, for example, a three-star hotel abroad which may be better than a three-star hotel in your native country.
But be warned, it can go either way and you could find yourself in a less than desirable hotel with exactly the same star rating.
Keep in mind it is your right to view a room before you commit to staying in it. Ask to do so.
If you're thinking of booking into a hotel, but don't know what it's like, www.gate14.co.
uk suggests you take the following steps.
: Ask trusted friends with similar tastes to recommended somewhere
: Alternatively, search the name of your intended hotel and read impartial hotel reviews from people who have stayed in the accommodation.
Reviews can be seen at Holiday Watchdog. It's free to use and you can even submit a review of your own.
If you would like to see special offers in accommodation, go to http://www.gate14.
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Lee Fullman is a travel journalist and researcher.
His contributions of valuable travel secrets can be seen at web portal www.gate14.co.
uk/journey.html For further contact email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lee Fullman