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I keep booking awful hotels

45 replies

Thefaroeislands · 18/05/2022 18:31

How can people tell whether a place is decent or not? For context, if I’m going away with work I’ll book a premier inn. You know what you are getting, it’s clean and comfy. We’ve done a weekend as a family in one. We go to a uk hotel every year (the same one)that is 4*. If I go off piste it always ends badly, and I’ve just had a 2 night stay in what felt like student digs……but the reviews are nice!!! Ive started really paying attention to trip advisor and when I get there it’s awful. Trip advisor will always have a few negative reviews, but how can you tell the place is going to be awful when lots of people write that it’s lovely! The place I’ve just left… and en-suite were nice, and it was clean but the hallway carpet was thread bare and the breakfast was a help yourself affair with plastic cups and bamboo cutlery. I saw one member of staff for less than 2 minutes when I checked in and that was it. I didn’t see one other soul in 2 days. Another place we stayed at recently, again lots of good reviews on TA with a few poor ones, smelt faintly of vomit, had stains all over the carpet and sofa and the shower didn’t work…and it wasn’t cheap. We just left and booked into a big hotel chain (which was very nice).How do you get a decent place?

OP posts:

CeeceeBloomingdale · 18/05/2022 18:37

Read reviews not just on trip advisor but on Facebook, google etc. Work out what is important to you in a hotel, is it location, service, facilities etc and perhaps look at review pictures to check the thing that important is as you would expect. Read the reviews objectively, is the writer of the same demographic as you? Look at official star ratings and what the mean. In some countries stars are given for facilities that I would never use so have found beautifully clean and plush 3 stars and have also stayed in sad, tired 5 stars. Consider if the best room in a lower grade hotel is better than the worst room in a higher rated accommodation. Be realistic with your expectations versus spend.


SpongeBobJudgeyPants · 18/05/2022 18:41

I read all the bad trip advisor reviews. Some things would annoy me more than others. Any mention of the owners being hard work puts me right off. Generally, I only go for places with 5% or less bad reviews. I am increasingly picky!


Notagoodnight · 18/05/2022 18:43

What are you looking for in the hotel reviews? The expectations should be proportionate to the cost. So if you are booking cheaper property you would expect higher stars for a lower standard. If I'm not paying a lot and just want a functional base I wouldn't care overmuch about threadbare carpets as long is the place is clean and bed comfortable. I would give it a high rating.

At that point you have to nail what's important to you, are your expectations realistic, do the reviews meet that, are you paying enough for the area to meet those expectations. Do you know what cheap, moderate and high rate is for that area?

I suspect you have expensive rate expectations, are you paying for the more expensive places?


TizerorFizz · 18/05/2022 18:48

I hope I’ve cracked this. I’ve had a bad experience when I only looked at Trip Advisor. Read more widely. Im put off when posters write about individuals. They won’t be there when you go and it tells you nothing about the room.

Secondly some sites are great and reliable. I’m a huge fan of the Daily Telegraph hotels reviews. They are spot on and the hotels don’t disappoint. Mrs and Mrs Smith list decent hotels. I always look at pictures of rooms. I won’t book outdated rooms snd bathrooms. Lastly, you have to pay above Travel Lodge rates or Premier Inn rates. Often new hotels do good deals.


underneaththeash · 18/05/2022 22:26

If it smells of vomit and the shower doesn't work you go down and complain.
We booked into a nice house in the NE last year and clearly someone had been very ill on two beds the night before and just left it. The beds had been changed, but were soaking wet - it took me 2 years to get the cost of the cottage and the cost of the replacement house AND £1000 legal fees back.


LIZS · 18/05/2022 22:46

We've found several hotels an anticlimax in past year. Not sure if our expectations are too high or whether Covid and staff shortages have compromised service and facilities and lack of investment in maintenance. The problem with reviews is that things can change and some people are just set on complaining about relatively minor details rather than looking at value,


rooinspace · 18/05/2022 23:01

once we’ve found a few hotels we like (and viewed them on a map) on a hotel comparison website like Expedia we look at them on other websites to compare photos and reviews - so hotel’s own website, tripadvisor, etc. To give a variety of photos and reviews. It amazes me how much reviews and descriptions can vary - recently saw a hotel with lovely pool photos - after reading a few reviews on another website and checking hotel website found out there’s no pool 🤣

we also tend to look on Instagram too if it’s a bigger trip - gives you a good idea of the vibe at the pool/restaurant/bar

I tend to focus on the parts that matter to me most and search for this in reviews - I.e. if the kids club is crap I ignore this aspect of the review because we don’t use it, but if the pool is cold I’ll pay more attention

it’s important to also look at themes in reviews - the same thing/similar issues cropping up is more indicative of a potential problem rather than someone’s bad luck


Georgyporky · 19/05/2022 18:06

I review hotels on TA, but not everyone is as honest as I am !
Bad reviews could be written by a business rival, good ones by the owner's family.
Check how many reviews that person has written. I discount them if it's just a few .
Look at the dates as well, does the place seem to show improvement ?

Nothing is foolproof. We recently stayed at a new, very expensive 5* luxury hotel.
There was nothing to indicate that it was in the middle of an industrial estate cum building site !
Or that the bathroom was ghastly open-plan.
Or that the "intimate" restaurant had music too loud to speak over.


EileenGC · 19/05/2022 18:24

Was this particular hotel mid-range or high end, budget-wise?

If you’re going for average costs, expect that the reviewer had average expectations of the place to begin with.

Nothing you’ve mentioned would bother me or make me give a bad review. I don’t care about the quality of the carpet, as long as it’s clean. I don’t care how breakfast is served as long as the food is good and varied. I’d happily check in within 5 minutes and then not see staff again until I leave - unless the hotel claims to have a 24/7 reception.

Everyone has different expectations. I want a hotel to be clean, reasonably quiet, provide a decent amount of pillows and towels, have aircon/heating that’s not too noisy, and serve a varied range of foods at breakfast. Reliable wifi, good location and flexible check in times are also essentials. Some of these things don’t matter to others, and viceversa. I ignore reviews about dated furniture, TV not working or lack of proper cutlery. I don’t ignore reviews saying the pillow was too thin or blankets not enough.


Kennykenkencat · 19/05/2022 18:36

Really look at the pictures. Don’t put a tinted glow on old gross decor just because it says it is furnished with vintage and antique furniture
Really imagine the carpet beneath your feet and the furniture surrounding you and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable staying there

Look at the description the hotel gives
If it starts with how convenient it’s location is then it is crap. If it was brilliantly luxurious it would say it is a brilliantly luxurious hotel rather than it is only 3 minutes walk to the train station and 5 minutes to the beach.

Learn to read between the lines. If a hotel says it is 200 metres from a beach and it is on top of a cliff then the 200m are downwards.

Look a the bad reviews and what are the majority saying is wrong because unless there has been a change of management then it is more than likely going to happen to you.

Look at the good reviews and see what is the top thing people praise and is this something that is going to be good for you.

I pride myself on never booking a dreadful hotel. I have a few issues regarding my surrounding and I don’t think I could cope even if a place is spotless. It has to have agreeable decor as well.
And shouldn’t be in sight of a monkey puzzle tree😀


CurlyhairedAssassin · 19/05/2022 19:02

I think it's quite easy to be very satisfied with your booked accommodation if you don't rush choosing it and read various sources online, not just Tripadvisor. Google maps is your friend with regards to location. I often "walk" or drive from the accommodation to the nearest shop/restaurant on Streetview and you can really get a good feel for the location and what is likely to cause you any issues with noise etc.

I've also researched local English-speaking newspapers in the past when looking at crime rates in local areas when booking villas on the costas. I have no desire to be tucked away down a quiet country lane if there has been a problem with break-ins in the area.

I am VERY thorough and spend hours hunting down every last bit of info about a place. DH thinks I'm mad but I wouldn't trust him to book a holiday as he'd book the first thing he saw.

Mumsnet is usually trustworthy with reviews of places too! I've had a couple of great recommendations on here which I otherwise wouldnt' have known about.

Compared to years ago when the internet was in its infancy and you just had a couple of paragraphs advert in a newspaper to go off when booking somewhere, it's really easy now to book somewhere nice.


TizerorFizz · 19/05/2022 19:10

We visited a forest of Monkey Puzzle trees in Argentina. Obviously your worst nightmare.

I really do like decent furniture and beds. King size is the minimum I will book. I want everything working and in good condition. In some countries it’s not always easy as there may not be much choice, but here it’s much easier. I simply don’t want a poor bathroom and ideally want a free standing shower. Not one in a bath for preference. Location is important and I usually check listings and maps for hotels abroad. I don’t want to be on an industrial site.

Most hotel breakfasts are fine. Just no skinny undercooked sausages or coffee that takes the roof off your mouth.

I like a hotel with style and pleasant people running it. I’m not fussy but some hotels get it right and others can struggle at times. Booking what meets your requirements is important. I did book a hotel in LA once with amazing views from the pool, only to discover the pool was closed! We got a better room and front row in the restaurant (with said view) as compensation. That’s another thing. Hotels should fix issues and compensate. And do it willingly.


Japanopen · 19/05/2022 23:29

I think one thing to consider is that not everyone is bothered about décor. I probably wouldn't mention it in a review unless it was really bad. If décor is important to you, make sure you look at photos posted by TripAdvisor reviewers. The photos provided by the hotel may show the one room that has recently been decorated. The photos from TripAdvisor reviewers will show whichever bedroom the reviewer was allocated, and TripAdvisor reviewers will happily post photos of such things as threadbare hall carpets or mould around the basin.


Japanopen · 20/05/2022 00:06

When a hotel is averaging good reviews, I tend to read the 4 star rather than the 5 star ones, partly because they're less likely to be fake (or written by people who are very uncritical) and and partly because it's helpful to look for the reason the reviewer gave 4 stars rather than 5.


Keladrythesaviour · 20/05/2022 00:17

I like to think I'm god at this. As PP have said, read around , not just trip advisor. I like a lot, so I will find a hotel on there, read those reviews, then TA and then Google reviews. Keep an eye for reoccurring issues, which might be mentioned in passing. A hotel I've got booked for my summer trip regular has the rooms described as 'tired' - so I know what my expectations are. But the location and view makes up for it, and the reviews of the service are excellent.
I also check out all hotels on Google street view to see the condition of the building and what the local street looks like - this tells you a lot about clientele and how much upkeep they put into the building.
Also put a lot of attention on customer photos which people attach to their posts. They're often very enlightening.
Don't be afraid to shop around and take some time finding the right place, don't just go for one with pretty pictures and a decent rating. Work out what your priorities are and what you can't tolerate. My NOs are noise and poor breakfasts so I'm hypervigilant for that in reviews. I'll pay more for location than I will for style, but weirdly I'm funny about colourful bedding.


Keladrythesaviour · 20/05/2022 00:17

Good, not god 😂


Pennox · 20/05/2022 00:20

It's about the proportion of bad to good reviews on TA I think. The odd bas one from someone ultra picky doesn't bother me, but if it's more than a sprinkling then there are real issues I think.

Second the telegraph travel section too.


70kid · 20/05/2022 00:38

My advice Stick to large chains type hotels
My favourite in the uk are
park inn / holiday inn / holiday inn express
raddison blue
Holland House / Mercure

village hotels - fab hotels all have Starbucks free parking and amazing gyms and pools and not particularly expensive I’m going to Bournemouth in June for a long weekend and although I booked it ages ago I have 4 nights inc breakfast for £260 for two people

Jury’s & Leonardos are also decent hotel

Hotel Du Vin chain are also more upmarket and have a very distinct style and can be reasonably priced

abroad I email them - I judge them by how quick they reply back
read trip advisor but also read the persons other reviews to see if they are just a moaning asshole or it’s a genuine problem with that hotel


Japanopen · 20/05/2022 00:44

With critical reviews, the thing that sets alarm bells ringing for me is a recurring theme, eg several different reviewers mentioning problems with hot water/room temperature/noise levels etc.


zafferana · 20/05/2022 11:26

When I look at Trip Advisor or or whatever reviews, I always start with the 1 and 2 ones, because I want to know the worst case scenario. Often, the complaints are very specific and wouldn't affect me, but I want to know if the rooms at the back face a brick wall, if the road outside is very noisy, if the beds are uncomfortable, if the pool is unheated or if lots of people got sick from the buffet, etc.

I also go on Google Streetview to see exactly where it is. You can't guard against all eventualities, but you can uncover a lot of information by being a bit of a sleuth!


zafferana · 20/05/2022 11:27

1 and 2 star reviews (the stars made it bold!)


Kennykenkencat · 20/05/2022 11:54

I was looking for a hotel recently for a 3 or 4 day get away with spa and set my heart on one. It was going to be quite expensive but I thought considering what the family had been through it would be the best thing for us.
The pictures were fantastic. There were only 5 star reviews with every single person saying they would return.

They are fully booked for years😭


Abouttimemum · 20/05/2022 12:24

Yep I read the bad reviews and look for things that would bother me.

For example if there’s a few saying that it’s noisy, that people are up all hours, bit loud etc, that puts me right off because I know that I’m going to a hotel to relax and also get a good night’s sleep. Whereas many many people like a bit of liveliness so wouldn’t be bothered.

Same with hard and uncomfortable beds (can you tell I like my kip?)

Generally works!


pantsofshame · 20/05/2022 12:50

Like a few pps have said, I look at tripadvisor but also search for other information about the hotel. A lot of tourist towns have tourist facebook groups so I usually do a search for the name of the hotel there.

On tripadvisor, I am quite analytical when I look at the reviews eg. look at reviews from the same time of year that I will be visiting, search reviews for keywords that are important to me. I tend to ignore any 5* reviews with loads of mentions of specific members of staff- I think quite often these are written by people who have become close to individuals so will be unlikely to be honest and critical about more objective things. I tend to ignore very general subjective comments (eg. food was great/awful) as they may not share my likes/dislikes. I also look at guest photos at the same time as their reviews as I think this helps me judge whether we'd be looking for the same sort of thing in a holiday and what the general demographic of the hotel is (eg. if I see loads of photos of groups of young people dressed for a night out this probably means there will be noise from the bar/people returning from clubs so I will avoid it. I suspect they probably do the same if they see photos of middle aged couples with small children!)


garlictwist · 21/05/2022 05:08

I've had the opposite - booked somewhere then (belatedly) read the reviews on Tripadvisor which are awful. Dread the trip and then turn up and it's absolutely fine. Perhaps I have low standards :)

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