Hotel star ratings are general quality indicators and should be regarded as just that - broad guidelines in measuring a hotel's general quality, amenities, and customer satisfaction; ratings are not meant to be perfectly precise critiques. All the amenities and services that a resort offers may not necessarily be reflected in star ratings. Due to differing parameters and criteria from resort to resort, along with the incredibly wide range of customer preferences and individual expectations, and stating the fact that these ratings are general in nature, Area Travel International cannot guarantee exact accuracy in every element of all ratings.

Five Star: Exceptional
Five-star hotels are characterized by the best in luxury, service, location, fine dining with exquisite menus and often-famous chefs, and exceptional convenience and comfort. They achieve excellence in every facet of hospitality and are known for their superb craftsmanship in architecture, landscaping, interior design, and exquisite taste. This elegant ambience carries throughout the rooms, lobbies, facilities, and outer grounds. The highest quality linens, bedding, flooring, and amenities are used. Expect high-speed internet access, CD/DVD sound systems (mostly but not always), and 24-hour room service, along with gourmet dining, butler service in some hotels, and original wall art, flowers, and elegant room decor. Generally offered are special guest access to golf courses, luxury spa services on site, the latest in fitness center and gym facilities, tennis courts, and several multiple-purpose pools, concierge services and complete hotel services. These hotels may be larger (most commonly the case) or smaller for certain intimate luxury properties. Excellent business centers and meeting facilities are usually present in the larger properties. Landscaping and grounds are elegantly designed and meticulously groomed.

Four Star: Superior
Four-star hotels are very upscale accommodations, offering excellent restaurants, fine dining, bars, lounges, and complete room service. High-quality construction, very personalized service, contemporary furnishings, valet parking, and many other major hotel services are available. Concierge services, fitness centers and spas, and high quality linens, bedding, flooring, and amenities are used. There are usually several spacious and well-maintained pools. Excellent service and careful attention to details also typify a four-star hotel. These hotels may also have business relationships with golf courses and other recreation sites, resulting in special rates for guests. Excellent business centers and meeting facilities are usually present. Comfort and convenience of guests are the staff's prime concern. Landscaping and grounds are beautifully groomed and well laid-out.

Three Star: First Class
Three-star hotels are markedly upgraded to include more spacious guest rooms with quality amenities, good dining service on-site, usually a pool and fitness center, well-laid out lobbies, and variable room service. These first-class mid-scale properties offer other amenities such as valet parking and on-site medical services are typically available. Meeting and conference facilities for business groups or family reunions are sometimes available in three-star resorts. Usually the grounds are well manicured and aesthetically pleasing.

Two Star: Value
Two-star hotels also are identified by basic and clean accommodations, with some business services (typically without meeting rooms), bellhop service, and fairly complete fitness and recreation facilities. In-hotel restaurants have limited menus and typically consist of continental breakfast service. Small to medium size properties are the norm, with convenient proximity to medium-priced attractions. Rooms have comfortable accommodations and typically include telephones, TV, and a few other basic amenities; room service and baggage service are usually not included. Basic landscaping and grounds care.

One Star: Economy
One-star hotels are characterized by basic, clean, and simple accommodations, usually a budget-traveler's basic needs. Rooms are generally small and amenities are more needs driven than wants-based. Most will not have on-site restaurants, may not have a private bathroom, an in-room telephone, or other amenities. Limited hours may apply to public access and guest reception. Hotel locations may be near affordable attractions, public transportation, and major streets or population centers, usually within walking distance of good restaurants.

Half-star ratings
Area Travel uses half-star increments to augment the precision of our five-star scale. There are so many varieties and choices among property types, amenities, and services, and guest preferences; the use of a half-star gives additional clarity and precision to overall ratings.