How do hotels get their star rating

Standards in the hotel industry
What do the hotel stars actually stand for?

Many book their hotel according to a motto like “Never under three stars”. But what can guests expect from 1 to 5 star accommodation?

The way to the hotel stars is long. Experts put the hotels through their paces with the help of a detailed catalog. For Swiss hotels, this also includes these criteria.

1 star

According to Hotelleriesuisse, a house with a star on its lapel is sufficient for simple requirements. Accordingly, basic comfort is part of it:

  • Shower or bath and toilet in the room
  • Daily room cleaning and change of towels
  • TV with remote control in the room
  • Table and chair in the room

Good to know

Freestyle instead of compulsory

Fitness room, spa area and swimming pool are not compulsory for any star category, but they give extra points - also with the guests. (Photo: NZZ / Karin Hofer)

2 stars

With one star more, the hotel already meets medium demands. The company must offer the following:

  • breakfast buffet
  • Internet in the room or elsewhere in the hotel
  • Card payment
  • Offer of hygiene items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste

3 stars

A 3-star hotel meets high demands. This is definitely part of it:

  • The reception is manned 14 hours a day with bilingual staff, but must be available 24 hours a day
  • Telephone in the room
  • Hair dryer in the bathroom
  • Dressing mirror and luggage rack in the room

4 stars

In order for a company to be able to call itself a 4-star hotel, it must meet high standards. These services, among others, are mandatory:

  • Reception is manned 16 hours a day with bilingual staff, but must be available 24 hours a day
  • Minibar in the room or 16 hours of beverage service per day or vending machine on the floor
  • Armchair or sofa in the room
  • Bathrobe in the bathroom
  • Guest lift for more than 3 floors
  • Current newspaper offer

Special forms


A bed and breakfast hotel does not have a restaurant and only offers breakfast and small dishes. It can reach a maximum of four stars.


A superior hotel is, so to speak, “best in class”. The company has clearly exceeded the number of points for its star category, but does not meet the minimum criteria for the next best category.

Swiss lodge

The Swiss Lodge title is awarded to 0-star hotels that still meet certain minimum standards.

5 Stars

Anyone who stays in a 5-star hotel is in the luxury class and accordingly has the highest demands on the house. The following is a matter of course here:

  • The reception is staffed 24 hours a day with multilingual staff
  • Concierge or bellhop
  • Personalized greeting with flowers or a small present in the room
  • Minibar and 24 hour room service
  • Safe in the room
  • Valet parking service

There are no uniform hotel star standards worldwide. The above information from the Hotelstars Union applies to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Switzerland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.