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Booking by stars?

New Brunswick...
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5,919 posts
37 reviews
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Booking by stars?

Just wondering do people book a resort simply based on it's star rating? So many reviews I have read complain because the resort was not up to 5 star standards. But who's standards are they talking about? Do they simply booking a 5 star resort with their own list of what a true 5 star offers instead of actually checking what the resort itself does offer.

Not all 5 star resorts offer room service - most do but not all!

Not all 5 star resorts offer the same international drinks.

Not all 5 star resorts have the same inclusive activities.

Not all 5 star resorts have bali beds.

Not all 5 star resorts have a la cartes open for all 3 meals.

Just becasue it is 5 stars it does not mean it will have wash clothes or as many daily towels as you think you need.


Yet it seems by reading alot of reviews that people have an idea of what a 5 star should offer and they then demand it once there.

And sometimes a 5 star resort is not even what they may be looking for in the first place but they book it thinking it is 5 stars and therefore it is the best even though it does not offer things they are looking for. So once there they do nothing but complain because the resort was too dead for them, the resort offered no activities around the pool, or the resort was miles away from everything else, or the resort did not have Golf included....

Sometimes a 4 star is better and better meets your needs. Look for a resort that fits your needs instead of booking the top of the line resort just becasue you always have to have the best and then expect it to change to fit your needs.

Erieau, Canada
Destination Expert
for Punta Cana
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14,917 posts
88 reviews
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1. Re: Booking by stars?

Most resorts in Punta Cana are not 5 star even though they advertise as being just that.

Many are only 4.5 stars in my honest opinion and some just 4 stars.

Want a true 5 star resort book a Sandals

Morristown, New...
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8,077 posts
31 reviews
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2. Re: Booking by stars?

Sorta agree... but I also sorta think that a 5-star resort SHOULD provide as many towels as I may need or want. If the most budget of motel chains can provide me with a stack of towels, why can't a resort? (not that I'd necessarily request them personally... I just think this falls under the category of most basic amenity)

Bedford, Canada
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1,055 posts
98 reviews
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3. Re: Booking by stars?

In North America, star ratings are very specific. You need to meet certain criteria to get your stars. It's not about service, it's all about services offered. For instance a 5 star property must have 24 hour room service and 24 hour bellman. An amount of towels, for example, would be on that list but it would never say unlimited. It is more likely that the weight of the towel is more important than the amount. The star ratings that are handed out are based on what you have to offer and sometimes how luxurious the hotel is. But...... for someone to state that the food is not "up to par" with a five star resort is a very subjective comment. It's not the quality of the food that gives them their rating, but the offerings that they have and the hours that it is available. I have eaten in 5 star hotels and you can have a bad meal there just as fast as you can at a buffet in PC. Having said that, no one is going to stay at a Five Star hotel if you food isn't over the top or if the towels aren't big and fluffy.

I am not sure people can compare star ratings from Country to Country as the rating systems are not the same. But I wonder if an inspector from here would go and judge a resort in PC and find that the ratings are off or not? The services offered probably fall in line with what we have here.

Detroit, Michigan
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1,955 posts
68 reviews
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4. Re: Booking by stars?

I don't normally look at star ratings. I book by price and reviews based on the amenities that the resort has.

I'm looking for consistently (believable) good reviews, and value for my dollar. Actually I normally look at the reviews bar graph, then pictures. I will start reading reviews and check out the hotels web site if I like what I see so far, otherwise I move on to the next one.

Toronto, Canada
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9,090 posts
29 reviews
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5. Re: Booking by stars?

Thanks, sackie. I often feel the same way when I read "this is not a 5 star" in their review. Usually I just roll my eyes and skip reading the rest. The person has an idea in their head and of course the hotel will never meet the outrageous expectations. I shake my head and wonder what some folks expect when paying under $2000 a week including air, hotel and all the food and booze you can drink.

notkevin is exactly right. I know Canadian tour operators base their stars mostly on quantity, not quality. The more pools, bars and restaurants you have the better. If the resort has on site golf, casino and disco they get extra points.

It's up to the traveller to determine which property suits them best. Forget the ratings and rankings.

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1,039 posts
14 reviews
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6. Re: Booking by stars?

For my part, I find that people expect perfection when they go to a resort. Some people complain about anything and everything that falls short of perfection (and yet it costs so little to travel to Dominican). I think what helps me and many other people is that we have seen Dominican grow and evolve. I remember my first trip ever to Dominican some 15 years ago. It was very common back then that the food at the buffet wasn't great. It all looked great, you filled your plate, only to find out that most of the food didn't taste great. Today, if I go to a buffet, fill my plate, the results will be quite different. If I find that two items out of the ten items I have chosen are not good, I see it as a victory for the resort. Out of the 10 items, 8 tasted great (now a days, the 10 items would probably tastes great, but for the point that I am trying to make, let's assume that only 8 items are good). I am amazed of the progress in the quality of food on resorts. Last winter, we travelled with family and my brother-in-law had never been to a resort before. When he filled his plate with 10 items, and two were not good, he complained about these two items because he expected perfection. So instead of saying that the food was great at that particular restaurant, he said that the food was so so….while all along I know that he truly enjoyed 8 out of the 10 items he ate, which proves my point. Many people expect perfection and then they give the resort a bad review. Too bad!


London, Canada
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5,553 posts
24 reviews
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7. Re: Booking by stars?

I never book based on stars. I do my research and base my decision on whether I think the resort will meet our needs and wants. I have been to 3 stars that I enjoyed a lot more than a 5 star...........

New Brunswick...
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5,919 posts
37 reviews
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8. Re: Booking by stars?

So true Christine. Have seen how the resorts have evolved over the 14 years we have been going. When we first started going there wereonly a few resorts that offered included international drinks - now alot of them do.

As well just look at the number of resort chains that have added AO sections or stand alone AO resorts to their line of resorts in PC. The newer or newly renovated resorts also offer more a la carte options as when we first started looking.

And Marg I couldn't agree more. Some people should do a little math and figure out what they are paying per day for everything and compare it to what a 5 star hotel would cost them at home. If they want to compare them in ratings then they should also compare them in price.

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2,159 posts
12 reviews
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9. Re: Booking by stars?

The star rating is only one factor in selecting a resort for us. We look for specific items that are important to us such as an adults only section, rooms with a separate sleep area if possible like a suite that are swim up or oceanview or front, upgraded brands of alcohol, unlimited a la carte restaurants, newer/modern, entertainment other then just shows such as live music, drink service around pool or beach, room service, mini bar restocked daily and a resort that is within about 45 mins of airport and on the beach.

This is typically a 4.5 to 5 star resort which you would expect to have good service, good food and clean rooms with amenities such as flat screen tv's, half decent furniture, better then ripped/stained towels and yes maybe a wash cloth or two. I also expect the resort to be well maintained and clean with common bathroom areas properly restocked and in working order.

We look at reviews and ask questions on forums. We eliminate reviews of over the top that were given free upgrades or things most others would not get and also those that expected free upgrades and did not get as we consider them to be bias. If there is a common complaint of something such as service then we would take that in consideration.

The look of the resort doesn't mean much if the service and/ or food is just average or poor. It is the entire package within that great looking hotel on a nice beach, otherwise it is just a 3 dressed up as a 5 star.

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304 posts
34 reviews
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10. Re: Booking by stars?

The Star ratings vary from country to country and Travel Website to Travel Website. I have found that the formula I use on the Trip Advisor works very well for me. I read over 200 reviews on a resort I might think I like, over a 3 or 4 month period. I take the top 10% and the Bottom 10% reviews and throw them away. The rest should give you a clear idea of how the resort is. It hasn't failed me yet on 8 times at 7 different resorts!