The Internet revolutionized the travel industry for individual travelers while also uncovering the confusing and somewhat disorganized system for rating hotels. Although there is no standard method for rating hotels, most travel companies use their own methods for rating hotels by using stars or diamonds. The differences between a one-star and a five-star hotel might seem relatively obvious; but the difference between a four-star and five-star hotel is a bit more subtle.

Hotel Amenities

Online travel websites such as rely heavily upon customer feedback about hotel amenities to determine their ratings. For example, according to, four-star hotel’s amenities include amenities such as 24-hour room service, turn-down service upon request, concierge services and valet parking . Five-star hotel amenities include state-of-the-art health clubs, luxurious spas, gourmet restaurants, butler services and upgraded check-in services. The American Automobile Association also considers amenities in its diamond ratings, differentiating between four-diamond and five-diamond hotels by determining how much the hotel’s amenities exceed customer expectations. Four-diamond hotels have "extensive amenities," while five-diamond hotels have "amenities that provide an unmatched level of comfort."

Room Amenities

That same level of comfort applies to room amenities, as well. AAA diamond ratings are differentiated by the level of the hotel surpassing customer expectations. Four-diamond hotels are refined, upscale and stylish throughout the entire hotel, including the guest rooms. Five-diamond hotels provide ultimate luxury and sophisticated accommodations. defines rooms in four-star hotels as featuring upgraded amenities such as large queen or king beds, extra seating, pillow-top mattresses, mini-bars and name-brand bath products. Five-star hotels go above and beyond with oversized marble or granite bathrooms, double vanities, electronic drapery controls, surround-sound and fresh flowers.


The type of service is perhaps one of the most distinguishing characteristics that separate four-star hotels from five-star hotels. Four-star hotels provide quality service to patrons, frequently offering extras such as child-care services, poolside food service and a concierge to assist with making reservations or getting tickets. The staff at five-star hotels goes out of the way to personalize guest services, using the guests' names and anticipating each guest's needs. AAA four-diamond hotels provide guests with hospitality, excellent service and attention to detail. Five-diamond hotels have the utmost standards and provide extensive personalized services.


AAA defines four-diamond hotels as being stylish, with quality furnishings and a high level of attention to detail. Five-diamond hotels have decor that is "extraordinary in every manner." also takes decor into account. Four-star hotels have lobbies with upscale decor and several conversation areas. Five-star hotels have lobbies with fresh flowers, plush furniture and original artwork.