Here are some descriptions and examples of what you might expect at each star level:
1-star = Basic (Motel 6, Super 8, maybe a Baymont).
2-star = Moderate: upgraded cable, maybe continental breakfast (Fairfield, Hampton Inn, Ramada).
2.5-star = Moderate plus: more room amenities (Country Inn & Suites, Holiday Inn Express).
3-star = Upscale: May have restaurant or “limited service” restaurant, may include breakfast (most Courtyards, Residence Inns, Hyatt Places).
3.5-star = Upscale plus: Restaurant, maybe fitness center & pool (most Marriotts, Hyatts, Hiltons, Sheratons)
4-star = Deluxe, usually the best in town (“top-rated” Marriotts or Hyatts, most Westins, Waldorf-Astoria).
5-star = Luxury, world-renowned. Absolute top, very few cities have a 5-star hotel (Venetian, Palazzo).
Resort = Lots of activities, pools, sports, etc. Usually on the water if there is any waterfront property in the city you request.