This post is sponsored by Star Ratings AustraliaI
’m not actually very fussy when it comes to hotels. If the sheets are clean and the room doesn’t smell like a rat made of stinky feet died in it, I’m quite happy. Having said that, I’ve stayed in some shocking hotels in my time. There was the ski lodge, where the room we rented had an adjoining door to the room next to us that didn’t lock. I barely slept a wink that night, especially because the drunk morons next door thought it was hilarious to keep opening the door and then pretending to be asleep. I also once stayed in a hotel near the beach where there were actual piles of sand in the bed. Visible piles, it wasn’t just a case of regular sandy beach cottage sheets. I have, on occasion, booked a fancy hotel and when I do, I turn into a nightmare customer. The cheapest accommodation is usually what I go for, so when I go somewhere fancy and I fork out the money for those extra stars, I expect it to be pretty bloody good.
The hard part is, trying to figure out where to get all the info you need. I’ve teamed up with Star Ratings Australia to bring you some tips to make sure that you never find a strangers pube in your hotel shower again. Basically, Star Ratings help Australian travellers make the right accommodation choice so they get what they expect. Here’s how to know if your hotel is going to suck before you fork out the big bucks for a booking.
Ask for a recommendation
Some of the best hotels I’ve ever stayed in were recommended by friends. If I’m travelling somewhere, I’ll put a post up on my personal Facebook page and wait for the recommendations to come rolling in. People are weirdly smug about finding awesome hotels and are more than happy to spread the word about them.
Take what a hotel says about themselves with a pinch of salt
Don’t just Google a hotel and take their own word for it. They are going to tell you that they’re totally awesome, even though they might not be. Check out review sites, take note of their Star Rating and do some digging to see what people honestly think about their services.
Figure out what Star Ratings actually mean
I was kind of vaguely aware of the star system and in my head 5 Stars meant super fancy and 1 Star meant sharing a bed with a dead body. I was totally wrong. Here’s what the stars actually mean.
5 Star – Properties that typify luxury across all areas of operation. Guests will enjoy an extensive range of facilities and comprehensive or highly personalised services. Properties at this level will display excellent design quality and attention to detail.
4 star – Properties which deliver a deluxe guest experience. A wide range of facilities and superior design qualities are typically complemented by service standards that reflect the varied and discerning needs of the guest.
3 star –Properties that deliver a broad range of amenities that exceed above-average accommodation needs. Good quality service, design and physical attributes are typically fit for purpose to match guest expectations.
2 star –Properties that focus on the needs of price conscious travellers. Services and guest facilities are typically limited to keep room rates affordable and competitive but may be available upon request or fee-based.
1 star –Properties that offer budget facilities without compromising cleanliness or guest security. Guests may access fee-based services or facilities upon request.
So 1 Star hotels are actually great, they’re just super basic. A star rating is determined by more than 200 criteria that have been ranked by Australian travellers according to what’s important to them and then the rating is determined by Star Ratings. This stops that pesky system of self ratings where hotels just choose how many stars they think they should have. Which obviously doesn’t work because then you’ve got hotels running around going ‘La la la! 5 Stars for me!’. When you see a Star Rating at a hotel, make sure you check that it’s the official Star Rating and not just 5 paper cut out stars that they whacked up there themselves.
Learn how to pick a fake review
It’s a not very subtle trick but some hotels will leave themselves fake glowing reviews on travel sites. They’re so obvious though, it shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out the fake ones.
Over use of buzz words like ‘must see’ or ‘unmissable’ or ‘one of a kind’.
Over use positive sentiments with very little description of the actual hotel.
Reviews that come from accounts that haven’t reviewed anything else.
Reviews that come from accounts that only give 5 Star reviews that all sound really similar.
Any review that explicitly references the hotels key marketing messages and/or tag lines.
I’d also be wary of any hotel that only has good reviews. Not that you want to stay in a hotel that has bad reviews but if the majority of them are great, with one or two negative ones, it legitimises the rest of the reviews. Newer places may have just a few positive reviews which is fine but if a hotel has 250 reviews and all of them are positive, I’d be a bit suspicious.
Find a source you can trust
I once stayed at a hotel that got terrible reviews on an American travel site because it was ‘too far away’ from the restaurant strip that was supposed to be nearby. It was nearby – it was like a five-minute walk away. I then realised that the American site was not the place to look for hotels for me. I adore walking and the people on this site definitely did not. Make sure you take all reviews with a grain of salt (seriously, people on the internet can be really weird) and do your own research as well. And always make sure that you search in places where the people leaving reviews are similar to you and not people who will give a hotel a terrible review because they had to walk 500 metres.
All this talk of hotels has me hankering for a holiday. If you’re keen to bugger off on a tropical getaway and escape the winter the crew at Star Ratings are having a stella comp. Just follow this link to enter:CLICK HERE TO ENTER
You’ll be put in the draw for a chance to win tropical holiday. Easy peasy right?
I’m actually super keen to hear some of your terrible hotel stories. I’m always morbidly fascinated by stuff like that. So tell me…
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What’s the worst hotel experience you’ve ever had? Gross bathroom? Rude staff? Questionable bedding?
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