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Hoteliers occasionally sugarcoat or exaggerate their star ratings to make their properties more attractive to prospective guests searching for a room at the inn.

And since the ratings in nonchain properties are often at the whim of the individual hotels, it can be hard to discern fact from fiction.

So TC was surprised at the answer given by a general manager at a Mazatlan hotel obviously in need of an update, although it was open and operating, more or less. When asked what its star rating was, on a scale from one (don’t expect much) to five (top-notch service and accommodations), the answer was “Zero.”

“We’re working on improvements,” he said.

On the other side of the coin, Mazatlan has some pretty terrific resorts and hotels, well-deserving of five stars.

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