What the hotel rankings really mean

30 Apr

Ever wonder why the same hotel gets four stars from one website and three stars from another? What’s the difference between a bed-and-breakfast and an inn? What exactly is a boutique hotel, and what do you get when you stay at a resort?

Here’s a primer on hotel rating systems, categories and definitions.

Bed-and-breakfast: An owner-occupied property with no more than 10 or 15 guest rooms, plus common areas. Breakfast is included in room rates.

Inn: Usually an independently owned property with more than 10 rooms but fewer than 50; often the owner lives on-site. Some inns include dinner and breakfast in room rates; some have full-service restaurants open to the public.

Boutique hotel: Characterized by unique, stylish or even quirky décor and interior design, offering a stark alternative in appearance and experience to chain brands where furnishings may be identical in every location. Boutique hotels were originally independently owned, but today there are boutique hotel chains, such as Kimpton hotels and Starwood’s Ws. Marriott is launching a boutique brand called Edition.

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