Defining Five-Star

The problem with rating hotels is that there is no universal, agreed standard or framework for determining how stars are awarded. For instance, AAA Tourism has rated only six Sydney hotels and nine hotels in Melbourne with a five-star rating.

Essentially, the number of stars given really depends on who is awarding them. For example, a motoring association may assess a hotel quite differently to the way a hotel assesses itself.

AAA Tourism is responsible for Australia’s most wide-ranging system for star rating. The AAA Tourism system involves participation by request and hotels do pay for inclusion. The Hilton, the Four Seasons, the Park Hyatt and other big name hotels often do not participate.

Like other rating agencies, AAA Tourism does not believe that there is a need for a rating higher than five-star.

Amenities are the predominant element of how most agencies rate hotels, but some agencies approach their star ratings with more rigour.

The Forbes Travel Guide uses anonymous professional inspectors who stay at properties and grade them in 500 different areas of service.