Thursday, May 29, 2014

What We Found Out About Hotel Star Ratings in the Philippines Will Surprise You!

Ever wonder what it really means when a hotel says they’re rated  5 stars?

When it comes to hotel ratings, the usual assumption is that a hotel
is evaluated on a five-star scale, where more stars = more amenities =
more luxury = more expensive.

But after doing some homework, we found out that Philippine hotels do NOT have official star ratings!

Before last year, there was no formal star rating classification for hotels.

Hotels were simply classified into one of four categories: Economy, Standard, Deluxe, and First-Class.

The Department of Tourism is
just now starting to streamline the way it classifies and accredits
hotels in the country. One of the improvements is moving to a more
universal star rating modeled after international standards.

Makati Shangri-La Hotel
We wouldn’t be surprised if the Makati Shangri-La, looloo’s top-rated hotel, gets a 5-star rating.
The DOT’s audit process is ongoing and there’s no official list of all hotels that have been reviewed yet.

Based on the newly-released National Accommodation Standards for Hotels, here’s what we can expect in the near future:

The Five Star Hotel Grading System

Each hotel that will go through inspection by the DOT will
be assigned a particular star rating. This rating will be determined
based on a score out of 1000. Below are the score ranges a place must
get to be assigned a certain star rating:

Hotel Star Rating Required Point Total
1 Star 251-400 points
2 Stars 401-550 points
3 Stars 551-700 points
4 Stars 701-850 points
5 Stars 851-1000 points
There are 7 dimensions, each scored individually, that constitute a hotel’s total score:

Business Area Percentage of Point Total
Arrival & Departure 10%
Public Areas 10%
Bedrooms 30%
Bathrooms 15%
Food & Beverage 15%
Amenities 10%
Business Practices 10%
TOTAL 100%
Each dimension specified above is then further evaluated. There will
be a a maximum of 177 indicators inspected qualitatively all in all.
Think of it as a 177-item test wherein each item is subjectively scored
and graded. Let’s just say it’ll take more than a few all-nighters to
ace this one.

1-Star Hotels

1 star hotel
Don’t expect much, we imagine. Better than sleeping on a bench at least!
Hotels that fall under this classification, well… they’re probably going to be the types of places you’d place under the “basta may matutulugan
category. They’ll fulfill the minimum requirements set by the DOT to
operate, but probably not much more than that. Mandatory features
include having its name actually visible from the street, a room size
that’s at least 16 square meters, and a working toilet… WITH toilet
paper! Classy.

2-Star Hotels

2 star hotel
Not great, but not terrible either.
Expect a bit more breathing room when you book a 2-star hotel. You’ll
get at least an extra 2 square meters of space compared to 1-star
hotels. Don’t expect room service at 3AM in most hotels under this
classification, but reception should be available for at least 16 hours a
day. Expect your bedroom to have relatively good levels of comfort in
terms of beddings, window curtains/shades, and noise levels. A unique
indicator that you’re staying somewhere with a 2-star rating is if
you’ll find a list of emergency contacts and telephone numbers in your

3-Star Hotels

Right in the middle of the pack, you’ll find a few more of the
comforts of home in a 3-star hotel. For starters, having coffee/tea
facilities in the room is mandatory for places that are to receive this
rating. You’re also guaranteed a telephone, which you can use to contact
the 24-hour reception desk or full-service restaurant.

3 star hotel
We wouldn’t mind if 3-star hotels in the Philippines looked like this!
Rooms will be comfortable and spacious, and porters will be available
to help you with your luggage. Design and aesthetics will be big
factors for 3-star hotels as well, so you can probably expect a
well-maintained hotel exterior, and public areas that you wouldn’t be
ashamed to take selfies from.

4-Star Hotels

At the 4-star level, you’ll really start to feel a bit more luxurious
when it comes to amenities and facilities. Things like in-room tourist
guides, valet parking, and additional fine dining/specialty restaurants
become mandatory at this rating tier. 4-star hotels will go the extra
mile when it comes to comfort — you might find that linens are softer,
towels are fluffier, and the building’s overall design to be
well-thought out and pleasing.

Sweet suite ya got there. Source:
For hotels to reach the required score for this rating, you can
expect to find a lot of “extras” to make your stay more pleasant. There
will be wellness centers, conference rooms, pools, and if you feel like
it, the option to book a suite.

5-Star Hotels

The creme de la creme of accommodations. With the number of points
and “Outstanding” ratings these places will need, these are the hotels
that you wouldn’t mind living in, let alone visiting. From the moment
you walk in, you’ll immediately feel, for the lack of a better term,
like a straight-up BALLER. These are, after all, where top-tier
celebrities, politicians, and VIPs will be staying… that list will then
include you!

5 star hotel
You’ll have to drag me back home if my hotel room looked like this. Source:
Some of the country’s best bars, restaurants, and spas will be found
in these hotels too, which will make staying at a 5-star hotel is a
vacation in itself. Spiral, HEAT, and Inagiku for instance, are all found in hotels (Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Shangri-La Hotel EDSA, and the Makati Shangri-La)
that are likely to be given 5-star ratings based on their current DOT
standings as “De Luxe” hotels. With a well-trained staff willing to
accommodate almost any request (assuming you can pay for it), luxurious
rooms, and almost every creature comfort you could think of within arms
reach, no one would blame you for not wanting to leave the hotel at all.



After speaking to a representative from the Department of
Tourism, and getting on the phone with a few hotels (which we will not
name), we’ve come to the conclusion that when a hotel in the Philippines
says they’re “5 star,” they’re basing that off the current ratings
(i.e. De Luxe, First Class, Standard, Economy) with the understanding
that De Luxe = 5-star. Technically, no one can REALLY say that a hotel
is 5 star… yet. We hope the DOT releases the final list of hotels under
each class soon so we can finally ditch what might just be some bogus
marketing claims.

Also, because a final list of hotels under each class has not
been released, the photos used here are from hotels outside of the
country which have received star ratings from their respective
governments/hotel rating organizations.


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