Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dear Trip Advisor

And so on the spur of the moment we decided to go to Bowling Green Kentucky to watch the State Cheer leading competition in which we had a family member competing (they won!!) The task of finding an affordable hotel was assigned to me. But first, Joe had already found the cheapest on line and emailed the info.

I attacked the task by going to the usual web sites I have used in the past, but was so disappointed with the results on,, Hotwire etc. I went to Comfort Inn’s web site because I had seen an advertisement that if you stayed two nights, you received a third free. Naturally, the restrictions seemed overwhelming at the time and I was not in the mood to call and converse on the 800 number. I thought that if I booked something as cheap (as the hotel Joe found)and it turned out awful then I would never hear the end of it, but if I booked his place and it was PU then it would go without comment.

I went with the latter choice.

I pushed the” I agree” button and as soon as it was a done deal I realized I should have checked the reviews on Trip Advisor. With a growing feeling of trepidation I signed on and took a look. Oh No! It was bad. It was worse than bad, it read like the Bates Hotel. They received a 1 out of 5! Could It could be worse? Out of the eight reviews, only two gave “recommended” without any info. The info under the “not recommended” made my skin crawl. Dirty bathrooms, paper thin walls, broken air conditioners, no alarm clocks, unresponsive staff blah, blah, blah. I was advised to bring my own pillows and blankets. “You get what you pay for” was the reoccurring theme.

I remembered a long time ago booking a Travel Lodge in Miami through Price Line. We took a taxi cab to the address and I was stunned when we were dropped off. It looked nothing like the pictures on the web site! It was scary looking. We entered the building and the staff did not speak English, only Spanish. It was a challenge to even check in. We were directed to a creepy old elevator (I have one of those irrational fears of elevators) that had an operator, a cage that was closed before the doors and no panel on the wall, but a lever that he used to speed us to the top floor! It was unbelievable! Our room, into which he carried our bags was indescribable, but I will try. You stepped onto a landing and the old style bathroom, (tub only)circa 1930’s, was right in front of you. To the right, down two steps and a hard left was the bed-room with one big bed taking up the entire room, and a tv. To the left, down two steps and a hard right was a second room with a saggy old couch and a second tv. We peeked out the window and the view was the back of the building about five feet away.

We sat on the bed and looked at each other in disbelief.

It was the best Hotel ever! When we returned, after taking a three day cruise, they treated us like long lost relatives. They guarded our luggage for a whole day, drew maps to restaurants, and haggled with taxi drivers on our behalf. They graciously took us up and down the elevator as many times as needed (you have to know us) because the five flights were just too much, and the elevator was just …well, phobia aside, very cool.

So, I was not going to pass judgment just yet. I was going to give it a chance.
It was not Miami, but for the price, it was AOK. I was glad I brought the extra pillows, and I wish I knew to bring a hair dryer, but all in all, the breakfast was wanting, but not as bad as the granola bar we once got as a “Continental breakfast” my first night in Ft. Wayne.

I’m going to write a good commendation on Trip Advisor. Sometimes, you do get what you pay for!


sunflowerkat321 said...

I laughed when I read the "options" of whether to book HIS hotel choice or your own. I would have made the exact same decision for the exact same reason.

Glad to hear it wasn't too bad. They're rarely as good as the best reviews on Trip Advisor...but they're also rarely as bad as the worst either.

Nelle said...

Glad it turned out OK for you...remember some of the people who rate that have champagne tastes on a beer pocketbook. I find high expectations often lead to disappointments.

Monica said...

While I like to read the reviews on Trip Advisor I take the reviews with a grain of salt. I've spent HOURS reading reviews and looking for the best prices thinking I've found the best option. Only to be let down. In Mexico I had to book one night at a low budget hotel - I later read the reviews and I was a bit concerned. The only thing I found true was the rock hard beds.

I'm glad things turned out for you.


Chris said...

This is sad but I do more research on the hotels I am putting my staff into than I do when looking for one for myself.

Then again, most of my staff are young girls traveling by themselves so I require that they have interior corridor rooms, good security, etc.

Me? I have a carry permit so as long as the room is clean, I'm good.

gigi said...

I'm a huge fan of Trip Advisor! I spent days on it planning our last trip to Greece, and was never disappointed. But I'm always mindful of the fact that one man's Ritz is another man's Motel 6, and my 'cozy boutique hotel' with 'friendly innkeepers' may be someone else's 'claustrophobic mouse hole' with 'intrusive staff'. That's why I always check out the traveler photos; when it comes to accomodations, a picture really can be worth a thousand words.

Glad your choice turned out well!

Lulu LaBonne said...

I've just got over snorting stuff out of my nose over at your previous blog out of recognition at the job interview stuff.

I want to go to that Miami place.

MeadowLark said...

Booking trips makes me nearly ill. I do it for work and constantly panic that the flight is the wrong day or the rental car is the wrong person or something will go wrong.

I just booked us to Florida and am sweating bullets that the place might suck. The reviews mostly said "dated decor, but clean" and "industrial area, but the tropical (outside) decor basically hid it". We'll see. YIKES.

And anybody with central florida knowledge, email me. I leave tomorrow!!!! :)