Without a doubt, this is one of the fundamental criteria that we use every time we are looking for a hotel. However, do we know what this classification responds to and what it means to belong to one or another scale? Far from the general belief, the stars are not synonymous with quality, but respond to an identifier of services and facilities that are made available to the guest. In this post we tell you what the stars of the hotels mean and what requirements must be met to get them.

Before delving into these criteria, it is important to remember that there are other data that we can use when choosing one accommodation or another, such as user comments, hotel photographs, etc. Many times, the stars are not as important as the details. For this reason, it is important to consider factors such as the location, the presence or absence of a restaurant and/or breakfast, and a series of other extras such as Wi-Fi, parking, laundry service… However, this classification will provide us with other types of information which may be relevant.

Currently, hotel establishments in Spain, as in most European countries –because as we will see, there are unified criteria- can exhibit the categories of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 stars. What does each of them consist of and who defines these criteria?

Who defines these criteria?

In Europe we have HOTREC (Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés), the most important European hotel classification body today and which brings together almost fifty national hotel and restaurant associations from 24 countries, including Spain. In this organization they work with a catalog that brings together 21 criteria that encompass a total of 270 different elements necessary to be part of one category or another.

Star Criteria

The criteria that are considered to assign one value or another to a hotel basically start from the surface of the room and the bathroom, to which a series of accessories are added that improve the comfort of the guest such as the presence of an elevator in the building, having a safe or telephone in the room or the characteristics of the building in which the hotel is located.

It is important to remember that hotels must request a classification before opening, as well as display the assigned stars on a plaque located on the exterior facade of the building. If you travel to Mexico you can see many hotel with this plaque with five stars. According to this, based on the existing classification in the Community of Madrid -although there are few differences between Autonomous Communities- we find the following:


A star

In this type of accommodation, the double room must have a minimum area of ​​12 m², while in the case of the single room it would be 7. As for the bathroom, the size must have a minimum area of ​​3.5 m². Other factors to consider are the presence of heating and an elevator in the building.

Two stars

In this case, the double room must have a minimum area of ​​14 m² while the single room is 7 m². And what about the bathroom? Regardless of whether it has a bathtub and/or shower, the surface must be at least 3.5 m². As for the facilities, in addition to a lift and heating, the installation will have to put at the service of the client a safe -general- and a telephone in the room.

hotel room

Three stars

As the classification increases, so does the size of these dependencies. In this way, the double room must have a minimum area of ​​15 m² compared to 8 m² in the single room, while the bathroom (with bathtub and/or shower) will be 4 m². In addition to a lift, heating, general safe and telephone service, new services such as air conditioning and a bar will be added to the building.

Four stars

As for four-star hotels, the double room will have a minimum area of ​​16 m² and the single room 9 m². As for the bathroom (with bathtub and/or shower) it will be 4.5 m². As for the facilities, the elevator, heating and air conditioning and telephone, as well as the presence of a bar in the building; The safe and minibar service in the room itself will be added.

big bed

Five stars

Finally, we come to the highest category of hotels. In these cases, the double room must have a minimum area of ​​17 m² and the single room 10 m². As for the bathroom, which must now have a bath and shower, it will have a surface area of ​​at least 5 m².

Regarding the facilities, the services –namely, elevator, bar in the building, heating, air conditioning; as well as telephone, safe and minibar in the room- will be added the 24-hour reception service, a higher product and building quality and a wider range of services offered to the guest.

What do the stars of the hotels mean?
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