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Q: Who comes up with the star rankings for hotels and resorts?

Michele says...
There’s no such thing as a standardized international system. Governments and their tourist boards award stars, but they might see a property once when it opens and never again. So whom can you trust? Michelin and CAA/AAA guides have well-defined criteria covering everything from concierge services to in-room movies. TripAdvisor is helpful, but discount the best and worst guest comments to get a true picture. Your best bet is to check with people you trust who have actually stayed on-site.

A travel writer extraordinaire, Michele Sponagle has visited more than 40 countries around the world. Send her your travel questions here.