Booking a hotel in Italy can feel a bit confusing, especially when it’s your first trip and you have no idea what you’re looking for. A hotel star system in the country seems promising, but it can be difficult.
Hotel rating in Italy
As in many other countries, Italy has a hotel rating system that ranges from 1-5 stars. The number of stars a property has is designated by the government of that country. There’s a checklist that each hotel is put through and then a final score is produced that determines how many stars that hotel has. Things like the size of the lobby, the proximity of the lobby to guest rooms, and whether there’s an elevator in the building can be the deciding factors in whether a hotel is a 2-star or 3-star property.
Things like whether the rooms have private bathrooms and even how many towels are provided will be counted toward that hotel’s number of stars, but there’s no method for scoring “cute” or “quaint” or “pretty” or anything remotely subjective. To make matters even more complicated, the star system is only partly national – some of the regulations are regional, meaning a 3-star hotel in Venice might not have to meet the same criteria as a 3-star hotel in the Cinque Terre. This isn’t a comprehensive list, but here are a few common hotel amenities, and what star levels of hotels are supposed to have them in Italy:
- 24-hour Reception – 5-star hotels have 24-hour reception in most cases, but are not required to. Other star levels must have a reception desk open for at least 12 hours a day.
- Bathrooms – Even 1-star hotels don’t need to have a private bathroom for every bedroom (they must have at least one bathroom for every three rooms or every six guests). Properties with 4-5 stars will have private bathrooms in each room, and many 3-star hotels will also have private bathrooms in each room.
- Breakfast Service – This is generally standard in hotels with 3-stars and above, but not required for 1- and 2-star hotels.
- Change of Linens/Towels – How often linens and towels must be changed depends on the number of stars the hotel has, and varies from once a day to once every three days at a minimum.
- Cleaning Service – Rooms must be cleaned at least once per day, regardless of the number of stars, unless otherwise directed by the hotel guest.
- Heating & Air Conditioning – Heat in the rooms is required for all star levels (unless a hotel is closed every winter), but air conditioning is only required in 4- and 5-star hotels.
- The prices a hotel can charge for their rooms is tied to the number of stars it has, so the 4- and 5-star properties will cost more than the 1- and 2-star properties. But if you don’t mind a small lobby that’s across the street from the building with no elevator across the street where all the hotel’s rooms are, you can score major bargains by looking at hotels with fewer stars.