Are the mentions “two star” and “three star” hotel on travel sites reliable? Should you rely on the French rating system? We will help clear up the issue, and suggest four steps to increase your odds to pick the right France or Paris hotel.
Travel forums are gold mines of information if you care to review the postings of enchanted and disgruntled travelers coming back from abroad. What does a three-star rating really mean? Travelers tend to be confused by the many star-rating systems in use.
The meaning of stars in the US
There is no relationship whatsoever between the number of stars United States based commercial travel sites award to hotels, and the government hotel rating system that is in use in France. The core business of a commercial travel site is to sell you hotel rooms, flight tickets, car rentals and cruise packages. They purport to guide your choice by awarding stars to the products they sell.
When you book a room on such sites, a significant portion of your money goes to the travel operator which presents the hotel up to 50% on well-known websites. For this reason alone, you could reasonably ask yourself, are these ratings unbiased, or marketing by the chain?
To make matters more complicated, each travel Web site uses its own rating method. In other words, the number of stars awarded by commercial travel sites is not a fully reliable yardstick for selecting a hotel.
Definition of stars rating in France
The French hotel rating system works on a completely different set of rules.
- It is a standardized system, meaning all hotels across France are categorized on the same unique basis.
- The rating system was not based out of mercantile purposes. It was framed by the French lawmakers without any concern for profit.
- The French hotel rating system does not measure quality. Instead, it uses 22 measurement criteria to assess the presence or absence of certain features in the hotel.
Among the main criteria used:
- Room sizes and numbers
- Room soundproofing
- Heating and air-conditioning
- Design of bathroom facilities
- Phone system
- Electrical equipment
Each requirement varies from one star category to another.
Quality vs. objective quantity
The French rating system does not take into account subjective quality criteria. And because of this limited approach, it does not guarantee your expectations will be fulfilled. There are keen differences in perception between populations. American travelers are used to larger sizes of rooms and beds than the average room and bed sizes offered in Parisian hotels. This can be a source of disappointment. Additionally the French rating system does not measure service quality, cleanliness, absence of smells, staff attitude, speed of service, etc.
It can be chancy to base your hotel choice solely on the French rating system.
To afford the best chances to pick the right Paris hotel, follow these four steps:
- Have a basic understanding of the French rating criteria
- Check guests reviews on travel sites
- Visit the hotels own Web site
- Do not hesitate to e-mail your questions to the hotel
Many travelers use sites such as Travelocity or Expedia to write reviews on the hotels they stayed at. No hotel satisfies 100 percent of its guests, so both extreme judgments and moderate opinions can be found on these open forums. We suggest you favor moderate reviews which typically will usually give you a useful picture of what to expect from the hotel, good and less good.
Visiting the hotels web site will usually allow you to see multiple views of its rooms and bathrooms and usually this is the place which offers the greatest number of photos. Emailing your questions to the hotel owners may or may not get you an answer, usually depending on the proficiency of staff in your language. Receiving informative answers to your questions is a good sign that the hotel cares for his prospective guests.
Following these four steps should help you minimize the risk of being disappointed during your stay in Paris however this is no guarantee though. Remember that cultures differ from each other, and your expectations of service might not be fully understood. In such case, communicate with the owner. They are usually keen on serving you to the best of their means.