Hotel reviews are a hot topic today in the blogosphere and I thought I would chime in as I tend to get off the beaten track more than most travel bloggers in the miles & points world. It was a thread on FlyerTalk that started it, then bloggers Kathy (Will Run For Miles) and Brian (The Gate) respectively blogged about their thoughts.
(Disclosure) I have no credit card affiliate links though I do get invited to publicly offered “member get a member” promos where existing cardmembers are given incentives to refer their friends to a card they have and get bonus points. Chase does this often and has one active now. But these promos are hardly enough incentives to give hotels false positive reviews.
There are two reasons I generally give positive reviews. Firstly, I do HEAPS of research before booking a hotel or eco-lodge. I spend hours reading reviews and in the case of eco-lodges trying to find bird lists in the vicinity of the property. I know what I like and take care to book accommodation that I am pretty confident I will like and I usually get it right.
Secondly, I have realistic expectations. I don’t expect an eco-lodge in the middle of the rainforest to have wifi, room service or even a swimming pool. I know there will be bugs; hell it’s a RAINFOREST! I’m prepared to bring my own mosquito coils and use them if the lodge doesn’t have mosquito nets. I know that most rainforest lodges are off the grid, will be using a generator and will probably switch it off at some point in the night. So yeah, no fan or AC either! But in this case, I do expect the rooms to have good ventilation so they don’t become sweat boxes!
I rarely use chain hotels other than in gateway cities before and after a flight and they will be booked using points gained from credit card promos. We stay in a lot of chain hotels near airports and I don’t expect these to be as posh as the Hyatt Vendome. All we need is an airport shuttle, shower and wifi so I can catch up on what I missed while I was in the rainforest.
I guess having had 30 years of backpacker travel experience helps, you should see some of the places I stayed in during the 80’s & 90’s! My perspective is different than someone who started out as a young adult in the miles and points game and has only experienced 4 & 5 star hotels.
My reviews are never influenced by any special blogger consideration, eco-lodges don’t do that. I give my honest opinion and I do mention ways the property can improve if I happen to think of any – just in case the management happens to read it.