My Struggle With Reviewing Mediocre Hotels

Filed Under: Hotels

My husband and I are currently enjoying our annual New Year’s trip — it’s not my favorite time of year to travel for a variety of reasons, but it’s pretty much the only week of the year we can both reliably take a few days off, and getting to spend time together is more important than having a flawless or even luxurious experience.

For context, remember that we spent last year in a tent:

I tend to give a lot of grace to travel providers during this time of year. Most people do the best they can, most of the time, and approaching the busy season with kindness and understanding makes life better for everyone.

The last and first weeks of the year are busy — flights and hotels are often at capacity, in many cases with families or demanding once-a-year travelers, and I understand that resources can be strained. Maybe even increased staffing can’t adapt to the demand, or spaces weren’t physically designed for the number of people they’re trying to hold (see every gate area at ORD, as an example of that).

The flip side of that, of course, is that the New Year’s holiday happens at the same time every year, so it’s not like you don’t know it’s coming, and the influx in visitors means even more of an opportunity to make a great impression on a large number of people, so if there was ever a time to bring your A Game, this is it.

And that’s where I struggle.

We’re currently staying at a yet-to-be-disclosed property in a tropical location. (I don’t like to announce where I’m staying until I’ve departed, though based on a check-in experience that was a bit beyond what I’d expect in terms of elite recognition, the property may still know “who I am.”) It’s also worth noting that this is not a cheap or even inexpensive property. Paid rates are over $475 per night for base rooms, and it’s in a high (but not top) award tier for the loyalty program it’s affiliated with.

But the hotel is….not great.

It’s not that the physical plant is old and dilapidated (though it is), or that the food and beverage options are very poor (though they are).

Even those who prefer runny eggs might pass on these

Maintaining a hotel in a tropical environment is always going to be a battle, and I don’t expect phenomenal food in remote locations. Some things you can’t really control.

But other things you can control, and that’s where this hotel especially disappoints. To give a few highlights:

  • Upkeep seems to not be a priority, or perhaps staff has given up — furniture, flooring, railings, etc., are extremely worn throughout the property
  • In tropical locations, rooms need to be swept and possibly mopped daily, and that’s not happening
  • When I responded to the welcome email from the concierge and asked if there were any “must-do” experiences that should be booked in advance, they replied with a link to the website of the national tourism board
  • The toiletries in our room were mismatched, and many of them were used — the replacements were also mismatched
  • Pool/Beach towels aren’t kept consistently stocked, and guests asking at the front desk are told to ask at the bar, who are then told to ask the guy in charge of towels, who then sometimes says he doesn’t have any, and other times brings some by a few hours later
  • The lack of towels wouldn’t be as big of an issue if the lounge chairs all had their cushions, or if the cushions were cleaned regularly, but as it is — people really want towels
  • Both the quality and preparation of food is fairly poor — heated items aren’t served hot, while white wine isn’t served chilled — and in a dish of three scallops, one was inedibly sandy, and one was raw (the third was fine)

And there’s a latex glove in a pile of leaves on the steps leading up to our room, that has been there since we arrived (housekeeping has been by at least four times since then):

To be clear: none of these are Actual Problems. They’re small inconveniences, and they contribute to (or distract from) the enjoyment of the overall stay, but individually they aren’t things I’d complain about.

At the end of the day OMAAT makes a point of offering honest and consistent reviews, and so I’m certainly not going to mince words in the final review. So while nothing is horrible, there hasn’t been any part of the experience yet that would inspire me to recommend this property to y’all. While there are some eyebrow-raising misses, everything is fineat best, and there’s nothing to really specifically complain about, but I still wouldn’t suggest you guys spend money or points here.

Yet I can’t help feeling a bit badly, because individually all the employees are super nice and welcoming (though not necessarily particularly helpful). And because of the reach OMAAT has, eventually someone from either the hotel or the loyalty program will be made aware of all the gritty (literally, given the approach to sweeping) details. And I’m sure that won’t be a fun conversation.

But if they were to ask “what can we do to change your impression?” I’m not sure I could answer.

There aren’t any obvious service failures that could be made up for — it’s not that we have a noisy room that could be changed to a new one, or had a single bad meal that could have a comped replacement — instead it’s a pervasive sense of resignation and apathy. Or, if I’m being charitable, perhaps it’s a property that is completely ill-equipped to handle the busiest time of year, and what we’re experiencing is the staff being completely overwhelmed by the occupancy.

If you can’t fix the chipped finishes, maybe at least clean the surfaces?

It’s just all decidedly mediocre.

What would you guys do? Would you say anything while at the property, or just let things be?

  1. Happy New Year and thanks for so many great stories in 2017 and for bringing this important topic up first thing in 2018. Good places go bad and bad places go out of business. Honest reviews that describe the sort of truly awful stuff you are experiencing at a property where “Paid rates are over $475 per night for base rooms” are the only way you can ever get a property like this to change–or to close. I too was astounded by some award redemptions last year, wondering how anyone would ever even pay $50/night, much less $350/night, for some of those places. There can be no legitimate management excuse for the poor conditions as you are experiencing.

  2. Sorry Tiffany but a raw scallop is an “Actual Problem”. Can’t wait to find out the name of this property so I can be sure to avoid it.

  3. Sounds to me like the issue is bad management. The employees could be trying to do their jobs, but don’t have the resources to do it (e.g., enough pool towels to go around; enough time to clean all areas thoroughly; enough authority to replace worn furniture, etc). Or it could be that they are simply poorly trained.

    Either way, it’s likely a problem with management, not employees. I see why you’re conflicted about just writing a negative review: those employees are likely to take the brunt of the fallout, if there is any. Perhaps the best strategy is to find the highest-up person at the hotel (even if that person is not on site), tell them you write for this blog, and tell them what you’re going to write. That will get some attention, and you’ll be doing them a huge favor, while still being honest in your public review. If management is too stupid to listen to you, the employees will suffer – but with managers like that, they will suffer regardless of what you do or don’t do.

  4. Sounds like laziness at a management level. Though as you say the individual employees seem nice they’re not getting any direction to maintain experience and sounds as though they are getting advised to cut corners (stingy shampoos towels etc) I think that if a property claims to be high end, but isn’t or just doesn’t care, shame is the mechanism to address these issues. Sounds terrible, but it’s true.

  5. At $100 a night these issues might be expected, at nearly $500 it is completely unacceptable.
    $500 a night X 30 nights =$15k revenue a month for an old worn out room.
    This is 100% managment and you would be doing them a huge favor by letting them know.

  6. Of course you say something. The way they respond is an important part of the final review. You can’t see how (if) they do recovery once you leave.

  7. Omaat should really think of adding music to their articles. A poignant violin would be nice for this review.

  8. Being in the hotel business as a past property owner, and with over 15 years as a hotel broker, your column points to a negligent owner. It all starts at the top. While there are some markets where finding good employees can be a challenge, by and large people want to do a good job. But they must be directed (trained) as to what a good job looks like and given the resources to accomplish success. And recognition for good work. I would guess that at most properties you stay at, including the one you are currently discussing, there is a management company, hired by the owner, responsible for day to day operations. But, caring owners check in on operations and make sure the management company they are using is upholding the standards desired by the owner. This falls apart most easily when ownership is some corporation rather than an actual person (or small group).

    Hotels can be very good investments. They have a rate of return that is generally equal to or exceeds others commercial real estate asset classes. The best owners are constantly reinvesting in their asset with on going maintenance, physical improvements, staff training, upgrading guest ‘touch points’, etc. The worst owners siphon off the funds that should be used in this regard, taking them as additional profits while the asset is slowly run down. It sounds like that is what you are experiencing.

    The property you describe needs new ownership, and new managemnent. Your frank review will get this to happen sooner than later. And, your audience is really the travellers, not hospitality owners/managers. While I sense you want to help the property improve, it’s not really the business you are in (although there likely could be a very rewarding career for you in hospitality consulting if you so desired to move into that field).

    I enjoyed meeting you at a FTU event a year+ ago. You are a wealth of knowledge. Keep those honest and thorough reviews as well as instructive, informational articles coming.

    Thank you.

  9. In terms of wear and tear – is the hotel about to be renovated? I had a multi year run of work projects that had me at hotels that were about to renovated. From what I can saw there is a cutoff date and if the reno is scheduled to start in 6 months they just stop trying.

  10. @Tiffany Just nail a property like this. You and Ben are successful enough to try a large range of high-end properties, but some readers may save (and pay cash) for what they thought would be a rare treat. Name and shame a property so that they raise their standards AND so people who rarely afford high-end properties are forewarned.

  11. We went from a low point in people traveling (~2008) to a peak now and companies can make money regardless of the quality they are providing to the traveler. It will eventually catch up to them, especially in the upper tier but sadly many will slide by until the next collapse in the travel economy. For now we all suffer with over crowded planes, marginal service at hotels, etc.

    As Wylie states, it usually comes back to the owner. I see that often with restaurants and franchises. The best ones are the ones where the owner is actively involved, maintains high standards in employees while the ones that delegate it to someone else usually have issues.

    Look at restaurants, it is hard to find well run KFC, BK, McDonald’s but others, mostly newer ones, like Chick Fil-A, Mission BBQ, In-n-out, Jimmy John’s, seem to be able to provide a quality experience (clean restaurants, very friendly workers, decent food, quick service) while hiring from the same pool of workers.

    I think you are too worried about the friendliness of the employee rather than their usefulness. Someone can be very personable but if they can’t, or won’t, do their job at an appropriate standard, they need to be replaced. Too often people are judges on personality instead of their work out.

    Thankfully there are still some companies that do try to do the right thing and provide quality service.

  12. I am seeing this more and more. A great personal example is the Sandals resort chain. Had to be talked into going to an all inclusive several years ago, but once I did (Sandals Grande St Lucia) I was impressed and willing to try again. Visited 5 more Sandals over next 7 years and each time the quality went down while the prices went up, and even renovations were questionable. We left 3 days into our last (AND FINAL) 7 day trip it was so unacceptable overall. That particular chain seems to be putting their money and attention into their NEW properties, and putting lipstick on a pig on their older ones. And my wife and I have seen this at OTHER properties as well…. apparently the name and location are supposed to make up for the quality and attention to detail.

  13. I like to use TripAdvisor to see if others have complained about just such issues. Did you also TA before you booked?

  14. In this awkward situation, I think intent means a lot. It is not your intent to get individual employees in trouble. It is not your intent to use your critique to gain favors or drive away customers. Your intent is to provide an idea of the experience your readers could anticipate, thus maximizing their time and money. You have an opportunity to give this place a chance to improve, by asking for a meeting with the general manager before you leave. You site some of your experiences, and give the guy an opportunity to respond. You may learn something, or just be confirmed in your impressions. write your truth. With a clear conscience.

  15. I know exactly how you’re feeling, Tiffany. The worst part about this is you lose trust in the property and the people there – “if they can’t wash a scallop, won’t pick up a used glove, won’t mop a floor – how do I trust them to provide clean sheets and sanitary food?”.

    You need to write an honest review, and I do think some of what you’re describing qualify as Actual Problems.

    Factor in the price and all of it qualifies. For the rest of us, tell it as it is.

  16. Very interesting post, and responses. Obviously a forum like OMAAT has significant reach and potential influence, and I applaud you for wanting to use it responsibly. What struck me is the question of when a series of lapses, each of which would be forgivable on its own, accumulates into a pattern of bad service, negligence, etc. that is unacceptable, particularly at a high price point like >$400/night. I probably wouldn’t complain about most of the issues cited as an isolated issue, so when do they reach a critical mass? And at that point, does it strengthen the complaint to list every issue, or make it look like I’m overly critical? You can say that at $500/night there’s no such thing as overly critical, but the point is that if I want a satisfactory response to my concerns, it’s worth strategizing the most effective way to present them. What frustrates me most in these situations (and seems endemic at hotels) is finding someone who (1) actually cares, as opposed to trotting out the usual customer service BS and (2) has the authority and willingness to do something. There’s nothing more frustrating than an insincere smile with a hollow assurance that “my concerns are taken seriously.”

  17. There are times when you hope they’ll offer some level of service recovery, and times you just need to specifically ask for service recovery. Albeit rare, it sounds like your trip is the later.

    Would love to know what, if any, service recovery occurs (and if they became aware of your blog).

    And don’t go easy on them. It’s hard for readers to appreciate when a 5/5 exists if you don’t ever have a 2/5 or 1/5.

  18. Normally, I would address these issues with management so they can have the opportunity to make things right. However, in Tiffany’s case, I have no doubt management (and owner) already know of their shortcomings and just no longer care.

    I hope Tiffany doesn’t waste her time with these slackers. Just eviscerate them in the actual review.

  19. In order to decide if I were to do a feedback and hope for any better outcomes, it must be seen as an isolated incident among many positives, or they drop the ball big time, and should be given the chance to recover immediately.

    But if there is a consistent pattern of neglect, I would really like to cut my losses and checkout early. (No point trying to do any feedback at the property and hope for a sudden improvement – it just will not happen)

    However, if switching property is not an option (okies – during peak period, the entire town may be overbooked), then I agree it is best to “endure” all the way till it is time to fly. Then shoot an email to the CS of the hotel chain. The hotel does not care, but the chain will – they have to maintain brand standards afterall.

  20. The employees (housekeeping, towel dude, bar guy, etc.) will not have jobs when no one is staying there. Much worse than having their boss get mad at them. If you actually care about the little people, post an honest review.

  21. You can say that at $500/night there’s no such thing as overly critical,

    I disagree. In looking at all inclusives as an example, you have bare bones places for $250/night and amazing places for $1250 a night. But during peak weeks the bare bones place might be $500 and the amazing place is $2500. You have to keep in mind the relative price points. A 250/night place is a 250/night place with service, food, staffing levels, maintenance etc. to match. That demand and prices are sky high the week of Christmas doesn’t suddenly change the essential nature of the hotel.

  22. This all looks disgusting. Recycled toiletries and no towels at the pool. No acceptable. I wouldn’t call this mediocre, I’d call it unacceptable for a major chain. I would prefer that chain hotels be visited regularly and fined if they do not meet company standards. They are using a corporate name and with that comes responsibility. Just gross!

  23. Also-we’ve stayed at $10/night guest houses in Cambodia. Spotless. Toiletries are obviously limited; but what is there is new and sealed.

    You’re not talking about cultural differences where baked beans at breakfast are ludicrous nor are you being a pedantic germaphobe.

    That’s a crappy place to stay and we all look forward to you letting us know what it is so we don’t waste the time or money staying there.

  24. All of these things are unacceptable even at a lower-end family chain. (Recycled items, lack of cleanliness, weird food) Your “negative” review is needed and relevant.

  25. Tiffany – you are incredibly generous, much more so than I would be! A few of the things you mention are definitely Actual Problems. A raw scallop – raw food can absolutely lead to foodborne illnesses of all sorts. Recycled toiletries point to a lack of hygiene which makes me concerned about the cleanliness of the rest of the place. This review makes it sound like you’re staying at a hostel (and I’ve stayed at some hostels that were impeccable; you’re clearly on the lower end of hostels here). I do understand your concern, but I think you should absolutely eviscerate them in the review. We come to OMAAT for honest, detailed reviews so we can make good travel choices – your review is absolutely what we need! For what it’s worth, I would try meeting with the management or contacting them. I wouldn’t expect much in terms of service recovery, but I do think it would be a good addition to the review if you let us know how they handle guests concerns when they’re brought up. If the property is in the US, I would absolutely also call the food safety people and suggest a hotel and restaurant inspection (or if you’re outside the US, perhaps the equivalent in whatever country you’re in).

    I also absolutely agree with Jan – big brands should do more to ensure that their standards are upheld at their properties. I’ve stayed at no end of IHG and Hilton properties were the standards were absolutely in the ground. The hotel didn’t care much about service recovery, but the brand sure did and offered me quite a few points as compensation. There should absolutely be consequences for a hotel when they mess up so badly that the brand has to compensate a guest. Perhaps you should also let the brand know about your healthy and hygiene concerns – they gotta take those seriously.

  26. “Mediocre” is too charitable if half of what you’re pointing out is true. This place stinks and for that price it’s criminal! The fish rots from the head and it starts with the owner, then management down to the lowest level staff. Obviously, nobody cares! And they don’t care because owners aren’t putting money into upkeep (or paying good people to manage), management doesn’t care because the owners don’t and so on down the line. I wouldn’t let them off the hook because it’s in a tropical location. No excuse for this. I’d be furious if I paid $475 for that dump wherever it is.

  27. To be fair, you should offer them 1 shot at service recovery and show them every single photograph. No hotel can offer a lame boilerplate apology or cliche offer to “reach out” if you’ve already given them the chance to make things right and they came up short or refused.

  28. Please give us an honest review! The reviews are my favorite part of reading sites like OMAAT. I would be SO upset if I was spending >$400/night (or equivalent miles) and using my limited vacation time and then had this experience. You are saving your readers from making travel mistakes.

    It would also be helpful to address @bluecat’s point. I always check TripAdvisor and other hotel booking sites for honest reviews. Did you note anything suspicious about this hotel before you left.

    Before you leave, I would give the hotel some constructive criticism about the deficiencies you have noted. They should be given the chance to correct them whether the improvements are short term (new toiletries, cook their food) or long term (new tables and get rid of the gross ones!)

  29. “nothing to really specifically complain about”…

    Seriously Tiff?

    You list specific complaint, after specific complaint, after specific complaint”, none of which are minor in my opinion, at least not for a property where the base rate is $475.

    I find hard to reconcile “all the employees are super nice and welcoming” with “a pervasive sense of resignation and apathy”. What? Super nice but apathetic?

    Seems to me you are bending over backwards to be way too nice. We get it, you are a very nice person, who hates to complain. But then again it’s your job to warn us away from high priced low quality establishments. 😉

    “But if they were to ask “what can we do to change your impression?” I’m not sure I could answer.”

    Without having been there, I can answer: Dedicated management and intense staff training. H:ousekeeping needs to be made aware that leaving a latex glove, that was used for who knows what, laying outside your door for days is simply unacceptable. And don’t even get me started about those soupy eggs. 🙁

    Then again, it may well be that it’s not actually management’s fault. There are places in the world where the pervasive world view is just unmalleable. Eastern Europe under Communism, comes to mind. Which anyone who has been to Dresden lately can attest is still deeply ingrained. Employees in one of the better restaurants there, typically only 20% full at most, refused to make a second nights reservation for us. And this after we had been low maintenance and left a much larger then expected tip, which by German standards wasn’t actually required at all. They didn’t want to do the extra work of taking care of an extra table in a nearly empty restaurant, and another generous tip just didn’t interest them. Luckily, we saw all of the major sights in Dresden, and have no need to go back.

    So the answer is simple. Do your research, and avoid places like wherever you are at present.

    If you go to the Bahamas, you are going to get uniformly lackluster “service” and sky high prices. What do they have that is so unique that you want to put up with that? Nothing that I’m aware of. There are beautiful beaches all over the world.

    In my opinion, it’s worth putting up with the terrible infrastructure in rural Mexico to see Chichen Itza (well, at least once). But the Atlantis, on “Paradise Island”, where the base Royal Tower ‘Harbour view” room runs @$500 a night (with taxes and mandatory service charge), with a dining package ranging from $100 (2 courses) to $165 pp (3 courses), drinks not included, plus a Cabana rental (“seats 6”) another $337 a night (tax not specified), with a Trip Advisor rating of 16% terrible and/or poor? With many of the people rating it apparently comparing it to a Canivale cruise? No thanks, plenty of other places to go with much better food and service at a third the cost.

    First World complaints are unfair for places charging third world prices. You are getting what you pay for, and shouldn’t be overly judgemental about it. But Third World service and infrastructure at First World prices? No thanks, and sorry to tell you Tiff, but it’s your job to warn us away from places like that. So no need to feel bad about having to do it.

  30. Great piece Tiffany,

    Like many commenters here I think you’re being way too charitable – I would consider the food and sanitation issues, and even the towel issue “real problems” at a far cheaper hotel. At a price point of ~500 USD/night this is totally unacceptable and looks like terrible management.

    It’s always nice to try and do your best for the staff on the frontline but ultimately holding back about what looks like a disappointing experience does nothing to help wither staff or future guests. Be honest and critical in your review, that is why readers visit this site, and what makes it so much more valuable than Trip Advisor for example, where I feel increasingly that many properties can generate fake reviews/feedback.

  31. “What would you guys do? Would you say anything while at the property, or just let things be?”

    Are these trick questions?

  32. Hello …. you are kidding right ?

    a catalogue of errors, oversights, unhygienic facilities

    … for that money.

    this is not a serious article/review ….
    whatever you think you are doing

    you are wasting time and energy …. and readers time.

    give the real world a whirl next time.


  33. Fascinating. Thanks for writing and sharing this piece. I think if I could establish some rapport with the manager I might share it with him to help him and see if there were any signs of actual improvement (but that probably is expecting too much).

    I think I met you at the FTU in Chicago in Nov.

  34. Hi Tiffany,
    I wrote a post on a similar theme: ‘How do you answer when the hotel asks you “How was your stay?”‘ about the Hyatt Canberra here in Australia (link below).

    I should update the article by saying that I directed the Hyatt feedback staff to the post, and they responded that guests should always raise these ‘minor’ matters with staff, either face to face or by email or other communication.

    Would love to know what you resolve to do, and how the hotel responds. Good Luck.

  35. Agree with wylie – this looks more like funding issues from an ownership level; potentially the chain is planning to let the hotel go so just happy to take the revenue, but not funding the upkeep. Morale may well be low as what is the future?

  36. Did you check Trip Advisor before you booked the hotel?

    I think you should go up to management and layout all the issues you presented to us in this article and see what they say. After all, you are spending $500/night and deserve better. Don’t be too nice to let it slide, I would take it up with them and see what they have to say.

  37. As editor in chief of a travel magazine, and while I understand you are a blogger at a miles and points blog, the issues you raise are in fact actual problems even if you apparently prefer to pretend they are not. It really doesn’t matter how expensive a hotel is, a guest should never experience one or two of the myriad issues you outlined and should definitely all of them. There is no “struggle” here. A true reviewer calls them as he sees them. Not with a rant but with a quiet factual review, just like Ruth Reichl’s review of Le Cirque 2000.

    I was at the FS in Kona when the power went out. The hotel was almost sold out and quote busy but staff didn’t miss a beat.

    If you want to be a real reviewer and critic, you must learn that the underlying causes aren’t what you are examining. No, you are examining the guest experience and it doesn’t make a difference what the reason is for such a pitiful stay.

    If you want to be an investigative reporter, however, then you can investigate why the hotel is falling apart.

    Most travel writers would not have found themselves there in the first place, however. I doubt the hotel was conducive to a stay even six months to a year prior to your visit and research prior to booking would have borne that out.

  38. Wow, folks, let’s eviscerate @Tiffany for providing a thoughtful post about what many of us deal with — a high priced hotel that is just mediocre. While I would agree with some that some things are ‘real’ problems, her main point is that the hotel just kinda sucked but wasn’t actively awful. Try complaining about things like dirty surfaces and inadequate towels to a manager at a poorly run hotel or the loyalty program after the fact and see what response you get. But it all impacts the experience and makes you feel ripped off not like you had the amazing holiday you should at a $400+ hotel.

    I was at the WA in Bonnet Creek a few months ago. Perfectly fine stay, but not fabulous. Service was uninspired. Staff weren’t rude but weren’t friendly. On checkout, I tried to give them some constructive feedback. I was clear that I wasn’t looking for compensation. But I said — The hangers in the closet were covered with dust. One of them broke when I brought it out and the housekeeper just let it sit on the dresser my entire stay and (gross) the robe had clearly been worn and just tied back up again after the last guest. I never use hotel robes, for the record. I got an excuse that the robes “all have their sleeves rolled up when they’re hung” (really? – ignoring the wrinkle pattern) and complete disinterest on everything else. Was it worth making a fuss? NO. Did they need to do better? As a Waldorf Astoria, ABSOLUTELY. Will they learn from what I said? ABSOLUTELY NOT. In one ear, out the other and on to the next guest. This is how hotels go from good to mediocre to awful.

    So what does one do? They’re still pretty much the best game at Disney for now… So, I stay there for my meeting again next year and the next until the get bad enough to switch or the get a new GM who cares. It’s a pity when leaders don’t lead.

  39. I would love for you to reach out to management while youre on site and let us know what happens. Sadly, theres a higher chance youll do a Lucky, whereby you whine and moan on the blog, and then ask ” did i do the right thing” OR ” what would you do:” all in an attempt to drive page interactions.

  40. I use to read guest reviews and if there are any ”dirty room ”comments , then I do not even consider the hotel. I also look at ratings and ignore any hotel below 7.5/10.00 . And many hotels have free cancellation which is great . A person can only list a review on if they have stayed there and get a review invitation from ( unlike Trip Advisor ). Worth the trouble .

  41. It’s interesting to see the readership’s support and benefit of the doubt given to different authors. Tiffany, you have a fierce following… everyone is saying that you’re either exactly right or being too nice.
    That’s really a testament to your character and writing style, both phenomenal.

    I think Ben is a bit more polarizing (not sure how, just seems that way from the comments) and Daniel is downright disliked. I believe if you just changed the author’s name at the top/bottom, the comments would be different, less supportive.
    Just an observation! Thank you!

  42. Flights aren’t usually at capacity on NY eve actually. Flew two SQ flights back to back on NYE and they were less than half full. Had the whole set of three seats by the window to myself on both flights. And from what I heard Qantas cancelled its second daily flights from and to both Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles.

  43. Thanks for the thoughtful comments everyone, I really appreciate it, and the variety of perspectives.

    Thanks especially to @flyingfish for suggesting we just cut our losses and bail. As Ben will attest, I have a tendency for tenacity that borders on masochism, so I’d been committed to making the best of the stay. The final straw was when we returned to our room this morning after sightseeing to find that housekeeping had refreshed the room, but neglected to replenish the toilet paper (which was completely out).

    I had a lengthy discussion with the GM this morning, which I’ll share the details of in a future post. But in the meantime, we’ve checked out and are having some much-needed cocktails at a vastly superior property just up the road.

  44. I forgot that recently I was in Vienna and stayed at a nice hotel, unfortunately there was construction across the street that started at 0640AM. There were ear plugs on the dressers so it wasn’t a good sign but as most can related to, when you just arrived in Europe after flying all night, your only thought is to survive the day and then get some sleep.

    We did that the first night but when the noise started at 0640, and we had a 3 night stay planned, I went downstairs and asked to cancel the remaining portion of my stay and they easily agreed to refund the remaining nights.

    I felt bad that it was out of their control (construction happens in a big city, or really anywhere) but we are on vacation and paying money for a hotel room and want to relax.

    At least by them being fair on the issue, I would strongly consider staying there again (assuming no construction). If they had made an issue about the refund then not only would they have lost my business, they certainly would have received a very negative (although honest) review online.

    I’m curious if Tiffany had any issues with canceling the remainder of her/their stay at that resort?

  45. I’d be livid. For me it’s not really so much the money, but the the precious time that I get for vacation that I value the most. I have left mediocre hotels to go to better ones because I was underwhelmed even though I did not get a refund. I hope the beach is amazing and $475 is decently pricey. After you get out of the country I would spill the beans and let the chips fall where they may. Heck, sounds like you won’t want to go back there anyway.

  46. Looking forward to the full review. These types of experiences need to be called out….loudly. After reading many superlative reviews of Lufthansa 1st class, I bought oneway ticket. I posted my comments here but let’s say I’ve had better service/food on AA economy. Yes it was bad.

    So keep calling them out.

  47. @Wylie – I’m late to this party, but your comment above was very intelligent and informative, so thanks for that. Please post more on hotel pieces posted here.

  48. No fuzz on it – these are actual problems. I would definitely be seeing red, and management needs an earful.

    You take a holiday with your spouse, you pay points or dollars of $475 a night to stay some place, you expect the place to be kept to at least a minimum standard. The last thing you want to be doing is worrying about anything on your list. I dont care the time of year. One or two of your issues is bad enough – but that is quite the list in its own right, let alone at a property that charges $475 a night.

    I realize I am late to the party with this, but I am firmly in the “management needs to be told and told off” camp.

  49. Hi,

    Because of Gordon Ramsey, we eat at very, very few restaurants, expensive or not, he has proven what Wylie (above) the former hotel owner. Before that, we had enough of our own experiences, Michelin or not. A few years later we read about the Parisian scandal of pre-made food at a warehouse location. We were right. Too bad for enjoying eating out, but we made the right decision.

    We do wish there was a Ramsey for hotels. Maybe you all with Ben can make a show.

    We travel alot, just as much as Ben, and we can see a property very quickly whether or not it has real management or ownership doing its job.

    Lastly, and we really mean this, you can’t overlook the big stuff, making valid correct complaints, sometimes a bit louder than we normally are, or alerting the corporation or ownership and then going on-line with reviews, it makes a big difference.

    If they get away with it, they won’t change. That is our Paying it Forward, to help other travellers.

    Thank you.


  50. @sf and @Martin: if it really is the Le Meridien on Seychelles, I am not super-surprised when looking at the Tripadvisor score (4.0) and some off-putting commentary, while also considering the price tag of over 400$.
    When I planned my upcoming Seychelles trip, I remember crossing it off my list due to the above.

    @sf: maybe you could give us an update on how you experience it at some point, thanks 🙂

    Also, I agree with the author and many commenters: please report about these “mediocre” hotels that should be much much better according to price tag.

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