It should not come as a surprise realizing that the level of service you experience while in contact with a hotel's reception people, also reflects the level of that hotel.
It is utterly peculiar how same number of star hotels across the world vary, even though they are rated with the same criteria, of the same system, with strict guidelines. This is because a hotel's value is so much more that tick boxes and meaningless awards that do not mirror reality.
A four star hotel with a receptionist who is an inch away from using her/his whip on guests, does not deserve four stars. The owners and the managers owe to know who they hire and who they put in direct contact with their guests. That person represents everything they put into their investment.
In order to prevent such cases, colleagues and guests have valuable feedback if they are taken into consideration when screening quality of performance.
A good receptionist's role is to give good information to guests. In fact, it is a receptionist's job to offer what they think is useful in order for their guests to have an enjoyable stay, not only in the hotel but in town too.
Under no circumstances should they recommend places with an ulterior motive (which happens). Guests are indeed sometimes sent to places because their concierge receives commission for referrals. Although this practice is unacceptable on behalf of fine establishments, guests should confirm the information they were given, by doing some research of their own before heading on to any recommended facility. They can also choose their hotel wisely.