It is a claim which everyone seems to want to make, but one which can be hard to pin down to an exact science.
Is it thread count, facilities or food? Service, staff or surroundings?
Or a mysterious equation of aspects known only to the chosen few?
Here we will take a look at a burning question: just what makes a hotel 5 star?
How can you spot the essential requirements?
And what can you do to make sure that your stay is always one which is the best possible quality for your budget?
If we consider the best hotels in the world, from every corner of the globe, there are a number of elements which they all have in common; these are the features required to make up a five star hotel.
Location, location, location.
It is an element which is repeated time and again by property and travel experts alike and, in the case of hotel rankings, it really does matter.
A five star hotel should provide a comprehensive experience, and this starts with the first impression.
Ideally, the building should be something show-stopping, but even if the outside appears fairly ordinary, the interior should really pop.
Fresh flowers, delicious fragrances, and scrupulous cleanliness are must-haves, as is a fully staffed reception and concierge service.
All areas should be spotless, fresh and welcoming, to ensure that the guest has the best possible start to their visit.
For a five star hotel, the building is as much a part of the personality as the staff and guests and plays an active part in creating that ambience which is such a crucial element to the luxury hotel experience.
It should go without saying that the service required for a five star hotel goes well above and beyond.
Consistently exceptional service is the feature which makes a top quality hotel stand out head and shoulders above any rivals, and is something which many establishments work hard to cultivate and maintain.
Staff will be attentive and engaged, readily available should you need them, and willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide an outstanding service throughout the duration of your stay.
In addition, there is an element of personalisation with a five star experience which is missing elsewhere; staff will refer to you by name where appropriate and will pay great attention to the smaller details which can add that extra element to your visit.
Do you have a specific dietary preference?
Staff will quickly pick up on and remember this, and do everything possible to ensure that you are fully comfortable and catered for.
Perhaps you prefer for your room to be serviced between eleven-thirty and twelve to allow you to run errands or obligations?
This will be noted and implanted by staff.
As an added bonus, all staff will be well turned out and presented at all times, with correct uniform including name badges if appropriate.
This helps to foster a sense of trust between staff and guest and ensures that any compliments – or indeed concerns – can be immediately addressed and rectified.
3. Those little extras
One of the keywords associated with a five star hotel is luxury, and this comes in part from the recognition that it can be the smallest details which can make or break an experience.
For this reason, the seemingly insignificant will be focused on to provide the ultimate in quality.
Bed linen and towels will be a high quality, allowing for a luxurious feel on the skin.
Any toiletries or extras which are provided in the room will have an expensive fragrance and feel, and come in packaging which is attractive and in keeping with the aesthetic of the hotel or brand.
Room keys will be clean and easy to use, and most likely electronic to allow maximum security and convenience.
Communal areas, stairways and lifts will be finished to the same high standard as bedrooms and public areas, to ensure that the feeling of quality extends throughout the building.
Even aspects such as glasses, silverware and China will have been chosen with care, with the intention of providing an experience for the guest.
Everything will be done and provided with attention and consideration, and to the highest possible quality and standard.
It is this small extra effort on the little details which set apart five star hotels from their lower ranking rivals.
Visiting a five star hotel is a treat for any visitor and an experience which should be top quality from start to finish.
Establishments such as Intercontinental Malta are guaranteed to provide a service which is the best possible quality throughout your stay, allowing you to kick back, relax and simply enjoy truly five star surroundings.