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Nowadays, hotels are not just for those weary travellers from a foreign city looking for a place to crash for the night. Some guy who lives in Shah Alam and works near KLCC sometimes check into a hotel in Bukit Bintang as a mini getaway, eager to feel pampered even for just a couple of nights after days of over-time. Some even book hotel rooms after work during mid-weekday to play FIFA on PS4 with their colleagues, just to survive the week’s workload before they can scream “TGIF!”. There is something about staying in a room that is made up just to impress you and having ‘minions’ to carry food to your doorstep just by a phone call away. Everybody loves to be pampered once in a while, and this is why hotels always strive to be better and aim for the stars. Literally.

Have you ever wondered how these hotels get their ratings? What are the key elements that make up a good 5-star hotel? Why do some hotels put up exorbitant prices for a room where all you do is drool on their pure silk pillow cases? Well, that question basically answers itself. 5-star comfort calls for a 5-star price.

The Ministry of Tourism & Culture in Malaysia is the body responsible in awarding and certifying stars to hotels in Malaysia. The system assigns points from 1-10 to six different criteria in order to determine the star rating of the hotel. In order for a hotel to achieve the coveted 5-star rating in Malaysia, the establishment must score a minimum of 9/10 on each of the six criteria. Whereas for a 4-star, 3-star, 2-star and 1-star rating, the establishment would need to score a minimum of 7/10, 5/10, 3/10 and 1/10 respectively to fulfil the criteria. The criteria mentioned are as follows:

Criteria #1: Appearance and Cleanliness of Hotel Common Areas Hotel common areas include the reception area, the lobby, halls, pantry, toilets, restaurants or café and many others. Basically, anywhere outside private areas like hotel rooms or hotel-personnel-only rooms. It has to be pleasant-looking, nicely decorated, squeaky clean and anything in between.

Criteria #2: Presence and Quality of Hotel Facilities This includes having a swimming pool, café/restaurant, spa, gym and other appealing facilities other than the basics (bed, lamp, toilet, mirror, etc.) that would make visitors’ experience more fulfilling than just sleeping in a comfy room. The maintenance quality also falls under this criterion.

Criteria #3: Quality and Ambiance of Bedroom The bedroom is basically the main focus of the hotel because usually it is the sole purpose of checking in to a hotel in the first place. The quality of the bedroom involves comfort, ambiance and the overall feeling and experience that visitors will get when spending their nights in.

Criteria #4: Quality and Variety of Services Provided by Hotel The more services you have, the more stars the hotel would likely get. Laundry or chauffeur services might be one of them, and it is crucial to keep their quality on par with the price they require.

Criteria #5: Safety and Hygiene of Hotel An important criterion to ensure the wellbeing of the visitors is taken care of and this should be the top priority of any hotel management.

Criteria #6: Professionalism of Hotel Staff Is good customer service readily available or upon request by incessant screaming and threats to call the department of Consumer Affairs?