Picture the scene. You’ve spotted the hotel of your dreams – it looks good, it’s in a location you want to visit, it’s a place to cross off on your bucket list, plus it’s in your price range (just about). So, you are about to wave off your deposit when you stumble upon the review section. Regardless how many excellent reviews a hotel gets, it is the bad review that has grabbed your attention. Let’s face it, every hotel whether it is 1 star or 7 star deluxe gets a bad review at some point. Why is that? It is because the majority of reviewers are of two types: the ones that moan and complain for the sake of it – usually the complaints are fairly trivial but they are normally the ones that leave a review of essay standards; the ones that take their holiday experience as a whole so that the bad parts are not necessarily actually to do with the hotel itself (tour guides, holiday reps, weather etc). I am not saying that bad hotels don’t exist, they do, but interpreting the bad reviews helps in deciding whether the hotel is right for you or whether you should avoid it like the plague. Here’s my guide on interpreting just some of those reviews (all reviews mentioned are true and have appeared on Trip Advisor & Hotel sites)
REVIEW: “People were like zombies in the lounge area”
INTERPRETATION: Hotel had limited wifi in the lounge area.
ADVICE: This is a typical “moaner” review as obviously people can spend time on the internet if they wish. However, if you require a better internet connection then perhaps this isn’t the place for you. I visited this hotel – all I saw were a couple of teenagers on their iPhones!
REVIEW: “Pushy attitude of the Saga holidaymakers who pushed at the bar & at the buffet, and who insisted on bingo every night”
INTERPRETATION: Elderly clientele who like to play bingo.
ADVICE: Check when the reviewer visited the hotel & whether it was the same time of year as you’re planning to visit. Bear in mind that hotels change their entertainment programmes during the season. Saga holidays do not operate in July/August – I visited in August and the entertainment was geared towards a much younger clientele – not a bingo card in sight but plenty of action in the pool area with international water polo contests.
REVIEW: ” Disappointed that the breakfast was only served from 8am to 10am at weekends; the continental spread was good, but the cooked breakfast was left on the hot plate and past its best.”
INTERPRETATION: Somebody obviously overslept and the kitchen had stopped cooking.
ADVICE: That’s life. Food times vary. In the UK restaurants often open for dinner at 5pm – in France it is nearer 7.30pm.
REVIEW: “On the way back from a walk we bought some rolls and crisps from a nearby shop. The hotel security guards stopped us, searched our bags, and confiscated our food. We did see the sign stating no food or drink should be brought into the hotel, but surely rolls and crisps were OK…”
INTERPRETATION: This was a 5 star all inclusive hotel that had this strict policy. Food available all day/night at no extra cost as you’ve already paid in advance.
ADVICE: I liked the way that the hotel responded to that review – they stated that they were very pleased to hear that the security guards were doing such a good job.
5. CAPE VERDE
REVIEW: ” When I got home I realised that between Cape Verde and home my suitcase had been tampered with. I had jewellery and watches worth £1000 stolen”
INTERPRETATION: Not anything to do with the hotel but …
ADVICE: That can happen anywhere, any place unfortunately. Wherever you go, keep your wits about you and use the same security precautions as you would at home, eg avoiding unlit areas, etc. Never pack valuable jewellery in your suitcase – put them in your hand luggage, wear them or leave them at home in your safe.
REVIEW: “Red ants everywhere.”
INTERPRETATION: I’m on a safari but I’m not keen on little critters…
ADVICE: Research the country you are going to, especially if it is of a vastly different culture than where you live. Wildlife is wildlife. This chap also complained that the beer wasn’t cold….
There are many more examples, so my general advice is to read and interpret those reviews from people who share your:
- age group
- time of year of travel
- type of travelling companions
- length of stay
If you decide to write a hotel review after a less than happy experience, please remember to keep the review relevant to the hotel; remember that not everybody shares your tastes; offer advice to help prevent a repeat of your bad experience rather than be totally negative.
After all that, I hope you have a good holiday! If you come across any funny reviews, do let me know (good or bad). I came across a review for Diani Beach in Kenya (which is in East Africa)… “I’m giving this beach 5 stars as it’s the best beach in West Africa….” 🙂
All photos are by Linda Hobden