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Stars are often used as symbols for classification purposes. They are used by reviewers for ranking things such as movies, TV shows, restaurants, and hotels. For example, one to five stars is commonly employed to categorize hotels.

Movie, TV, theatre, and music classification

Among reviewers of movies, TV shows, theatre, and music, the star system is the most popular classification system. One star generally indicates the worst rating though some reviewers use "No-stars" or "Bomb" (or even a bomb symbol) to indicate the lowest rating possible. On the other end four or five stars represents the highest rating possible. Some reviewers also allow for increments of ½-stars (e.g., 1½ stars, 3½ stars).

Some reviewers do not use the star classification system, instead employing methods such as the letter grade system used by Entertainment Weekly magazine (i.e. D, C+, A-, etc.). Some reviews do not employ any sort of definite rating system, instead leaving the opinion to be expressed by the review itself. Movie reviewers Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert employed a thumbs up/thumbs down system on their television show Siskel & Ebert. They give a thumbs up to films they like and a thumbs down to film they dislike. In order to provide nuance to their ratings they might add adjectives to a rating such as "A big thumbs up/down" for a film the really liked or disliked or a "minor thumbs up/down" for a film they just barely liked or disliked.

Another classification system used by movie, TV, and theater reviewers in the San Francisco Chronicle is symbols representing a movie, TV, or theater viewer in different states of enjoyment of the presentation. In the highest rating, the character is shown standing on his seat clapping. The next highest features a man sitting in his seat clapping. This is followed by a man just sitting looking attentively at the screen, followed by a man asleep in his seat. At the lowest end is an icon of an empty seat indicating the man has walked out of the presentation. This classification has since been copied by The Independent, a UK national newspaper.

Restaurant ratings

Restaurant guides and reviewer often use stars in restaurant ratings. The Michelin system reserves stars for exceptional restaurants, and gives up to three; the vast majority of recommended restaurants have no star at all. Other guides now use up to four or five stars, with one star being the lowest rating. The stars are sometimes replaced by symbols such as a fork or spoon. Some guides use separate scales for food, service, ambiance, and even noise level.

The Michelin system remains the best known star system. A single star denotes "a very good restaurant in its category", two stars "excellent cooking, worth a detour", and three stars, "exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey".

Michelin stars are awarded only for the quality of food and wine; the luxury level of the restaurant is rated separately, using a scale of one ("quite comfortable") to five ("luxury in the traditional style") crossed fork and spoon symbols.

Hotel ratings

The star classification system is a common one for rating hotels. Higher star ratings indicate more luxury.

The AAA and their affiliated bodies use diamond instead of stars to express hotel and restaurant ratings levels.

Hotels are independently assessed in traditional systems and rest heavily on the facilities provided. Some consider this disadvantageous to smaller hotels whose quality of accommodation could fall into one class but the lack of an item such as an elevator would prevent it from reaching a higher categorization.

Standards of hotel classification

Food services, entertainment, view, room variations such as size and additional amenities, spas and fitness centers and location may be considered in establishing a standard.

The more common classification systems include 'star' rating, letter grading, from 'A' to 'F', diamond or simply a 'satisfactory' or 'unsatisfactory' footnote to accommodation such as hostels and motels. Systems using terms such as Deluxe/ Luxury, First Class/ Superior, Tourist Class/ Standard, and Budget Class/ Economy are more widely accepted as hotel types, rather than hotel standards.

Some countries have rating by a single public standard - Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Hungary have laws defining the hotel rating. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland the rating is defined by the respective hotel industry association using a 5-star system - the German classifications are Tourist (*), Standard (**), Comfort (***), First Class (****) and Luxus (*****) with the mark Superior to flag extras beyond the minimum defined in the standard. In France the rating is defined by the public tourist board of the department using a four star system (plus "L" for Luxus) which has changed to a 5-star system from 2009 on. In South Africa and Namibia the Tourism Grading Council has strict rules for a hotel types granting up to 5 stars.

World Hotel Rating

There is so far no international classification which has been adopted. There have been attempts at unifying the classification system so that it becomes an internationally recognized and reliable standard, but they all have failed.

Many consider that, as it has been the case in other areas (e.g. international accounting standards), hotel classification standards should result from a private and independent initiative. This may be the case of the World Hotel Rating (WHR) project, which notably aims to set international classification standards and rating criteria along the lines of a world star-rating system. It will also establish an information platform on the hotel industry which will be multilingual and multicultural. WHR intends to play a key role in the development of quality hotel services, as well as equitable and sustainable tourism, and the protection of the world's cultural and natural heritage. In addition, WHR will develop labels to promote hotels distinguished by specific features, such as a family and child-friendly disposition. A test period is scheduled for 2010.

Hotel Classifications in Britain

In Britain hotels are rated from one star - five stars, like in many countries around the world. Unlike in America, diamonds are not used. The AA (Automobile Association) is one of the most trusted sites that rates hotels in the UK. Their criteria for classifying hotels is available freely on their website. In addition to the usual black stars (ranging from one, the lowest to five, the highest) the AA awards gold stars to hotels which are 'highly commended' and red stars to the best hotels they review which are deemed 'inspectors choice'. An example would be Cliveden Country House Hotel in Taplow which is rated as a 5 red star hotel.

Zero star hotels

There is only one record of a zero star rating to date. It is the Null Stern Hotel in Sevelenmarker, Switzerlandmarker. It is a converted nuclear bunker. The Null Stern Hotel was the artistic brain child of Frank and Patrik Riklin, which was then turned into a business.

Six star hotels

Some members of the hospitality industry have claimed a self-given six star rating for their operation. Two examples are the Crown Macau, on Taipa Islandmarker in the Chinesemarker territory of Macaumarker and the St. Regis Shanghai Hotel in Chinamarker. Other examples include the Emirates Palacemarker in Abu Dhabi and the Al Husn Hotel at Shangrila's Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa Hotel in Oman. The Palazzo Versace Palazzo Versace Hotel Gold Coast Accommodation Luxury 5 Star Accommodation Main Beach Gold Coast Queensland on the Gold Coast in Australia is described by Australian Traveller magazine as meriting "six star" rating though level of rating is not used in Australia. The under development hotel Mansions of the World in Puerto Maderomarker, Buenos Airesmarker has also been announced as a six star hotel project..Seoul Park Hyatt in South Korea is also a six star hotel. The hotel Capella Singapore on Sentosa Islandmarker also claims that title.

Seven star hotels

There are only two hotels in the world that claim to hold a self-rated "seven star" ranking; the Burj Al Arabmarker in Dubaimarker, United Arab Emiratesmarker was the first, followed by Town House Galleria in Milanmarker, Italymarker. There are a few other seven star hotels under construction. These include the Laucala Island in Fiji, Morgan Plaza to be finished in Beijing, Chinamarker, the Flower of the East under construction as well as Solar Powered Hotel in kish island , Iranmarker, The Centaurus Complex under construction in Islamabadmarker, Pakistanmarker and the Pentominium, the Grand Chola in Chennaimarker (India), a complex planned for Metro Manilamarker and The Royalties Castle for Davao Citymarker in the Philippinesmarker.


The expansion beyond the traditional "five star" rating has led to commentators questioning if it is simply more puffery or sales hype.

The UK's Culture minister Kim Howells said that he was considering establishing a Government-endorsed standard to replace the many rating systems, which he said were "shambolic" and confused the consumer.

Hamish Arthur of the Australian Hoteliers Association [ AHA ] said the current system was confusing for many consumers, and hotels were now reluctant to pay for an independent assessment when they could post equivalent self-ratings on accommodation websites.

Mr Arthur said consumers became confused when they saw two very different facilities rated the same - for example a serviced apartment and a hotel - and he thought some overseas visitors mistakenly booked 5-star facilities that didn't meet their expectations on arrival.

The World Hotel Rating (WHR) project, which will be tested in 2010, may provide a balanced solution as it will rely on objective criteria and guest satisfaction.

Military ranks

The most senior military ranks in all services are classified by a star system in many countries, ranging from 1 star rank which typically corresponds to brigadier, brigadier general, Commodore or air commodore, to the most senior 5 star ranks which include Admiral of the Fleet, Grand Admiral, Field Marshal, General of the Army and Marshal of the Air Force which typically only exist during large scale conflicts.

See also .

Football stadiums

UEFA has a star classification scheme for football stadiums, the UEFA elite stadium list, grading stadiums on their suitability to host major matches.

Transport Safety

International organisations use a star rating to rank the safety of transportation. EuroRAP have developed a Road Protection Score which is a scale for Star Rating roads for how well they protect the user from death or disabling injury when a crash occurs. The assessment evaluates the safety that is 'built in' to the road through its design, in combination with the way traffic is managed on it. [76608]. The RPS protocol has also been adapted and used by AusRAP, usRAP and iRAP.

EuroNCAP awards 'star ratings' based on the performance of vehicles in crash tests, including front, side and pole impacts, and impacts with pedestrians.

See also




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