In my past job I traveled frequently throughout the US, and finding a good hotel was hit-or-miss. Even when I stuck to chain hotel brands, sometimes I would get a good hotel and other times it would be really bad. As such, I’ve relied on the web site tripadvisor.com to help me sort through different hotel options to increase my chances of finding a good, safe, relaxing hotel to stay during my out-of-town travels.
TripAdvisor.com is a web site that basically has reviews posted by users who have logged into their site. Reviews can be quite extensive, or just a sentence or two. Also, users can upload photos along with their reviews to give some evidence backing up their review claims. I’ve found this site very useful, as there are hundreds of postings for most hotels. In fact, I also am a contributor to this site posting my reviews of various hotels I’ve stayed at over the last few years.
But like anything, you need to take what you read with a grain of salt. You have some people who post great reviews for a particular hotel, and a few that post really negative reviews. The difference can be so great at times, it makes you wonder, “are these reviews all for the same hotel”? For example, my family stayed at the Disney Grand Californian Hotel last year during summer break and we found it to be a great hotel. As such, I wrote a lengthy review expressing my opinions of our stay at that hotel. But if you read some of the hundreds of reviews, you will come across some that are really negative. Of course, you’ll find some people are pretty nit-picky and complain about the smallest thing and will give a negative review, but I did read some recent reviews that just seemed incredible to believe. For example, one person reviewing the GCH complained they had to wait 10 minutes in line to get checked into their room (what, you can’t wait 10 minutes?). Another person complained the valet didn’t bring up their luggage to their room after being asked three times, and another person complained their room was run down with damaged furniture, dented trash cans, and missing TV remote. I find all of this unbelievable, as I stayed at this hotel last year and found the rooms wonderfully decorated and very comfortable. So either Disney has some really bad and really good hotel rooms and we just got lucky, or some people are just big time complainers.
TripAdvisor.com is also good for finding reviews of restaurants and amusement parks in certain cities. Posters will give great tips in their reviews, so it’s definitely worth checking out for your next trip. And best of all, it’s all free!