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TripAdvisor is doing away with their infamous dirtiest hotels list and is instead focusing on their Traveler's Choice lists like the "Top 25 Hotels in The U.S." as decided by the most favorable reader reviews.
Topping the list is the luxury Chicago hotel, The Elysian, which is now a part of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection. Taking the #2 spot is The Grand Del Mar in San Diego who won us over with their less stuffy teatime. Coming in with the bronze is the perennial award-winner Four Seasons Maui.
Also making appearances on the list are the Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square (which we called a semi-secret, super luxe option in EssEff back in 2010), The Hotel Palomar Chicago (see our gorgeous photos of the hotel here) and the Sky Lodge in Utah where we fell in love with their freestanding waterfall bathtubs.
And while we are certainly familiar with most of the hotels on the list, we haven't actually stayed the night at many of them. But maybe you have? Please, fill us in.
Miami Hotel Mambo / New Year's Eve Hotels / Hotel Renovations / TripAdvisor / Menin Hotels / Hotel Cabanas / Hotel Design / → All Tags
Hotel makeovers: fun when they're finished but hell in the meantime? That may have been the case for the Shelborne South Beach, but the hotel has almost finished its massive overhaul, with 50 of its guest rooms now renovated to look like this.
As one commenter pointed out last time we got an update, the hotel's TripAdvisor reviews have not been kind during the construction phase. Not having stayed at the hotel, we can't speak for the service, but we can say that if the photos of the new rooms and the poolside cabanas are true to life, then the new Shelborne is nothing if not pretty. If you want to book a room that pleases the eye, though, make sure you ask for a Premiere Room (above). These are the renovated rooms.
Hotel Woes / Hotel Scandal / TripAdvisor / Hotel Reviews / Tennessee Hotels / Cockroaches / → All Tags
Hotel owners, take note: when you're trying to build credibility for your brand, it might not be a good idea to let over eight years' worth of god awful customer reviews pile up on your TripAdvisor page without taking action. Kenneth Seaton, owner of Pigeon Forge Grand Resort Hotel in Tennessee, is suing TripAdvisor for $10 million for placing him smack at the top of their Dirtiest Hotels 2011 list, citing 87% percent of reviewers gave the place a thumbs down.
According to The Mountain Press, Seaton's lawyers are referencing "flawed" rating systems that "distort" the actual performance of the hotel—further, they accuse TripAdvisor of "contriving...to cause respected customers to lose confidence" in the hotel.
Um, right. We bet all of those "respected customers" were just clamoring to stay another night here after browsing through the pre-existing reviews and photos. Roaches in the door frame? No thanks.
We gave you the complete lowdown on Ian Schrager's brand new Public Chicago hotel the other week but today we decided to check in with the rest of the general public on TripAdvisor to see what their reactions are. And so far, so good. Or as good as it can be with just three reviews.
The first reviewer claimed to stumble across the hotel by accident but is now a devoted fan, especially of the delicious The Pump Room: The other thing...I don't often eat in hotel restaurants, and I've NEVER done this before but I stayed two nights and ate lunch and dinner in the hotel both days. The Pump Room may very well be my favorite restaurant, so even if you aren't staying there definitely go for lunch or dinner. There's a great bar on the other side of the lobby too where you can get some some of the lunch entrees.
The other thing...I don't often eat in hotel restaurants, and I've NEVER done this before but I stayed two nights and ate lunch and dinner in the hotel both days. The Pump Room may very well be my favorite restaurant, so even if you aren't staying there definitely go for lunch or dinner. There's a great bar on the other side of the lobby too where you can get some some of the lunch entrees.
Concierges / Tips On Tips / Yelp / TripAdvisor / Tips / Concierge Corner / → All Tags
He's known as @ConciergeCorner on Twitter who's not afraid to dish on all the crazy things that guests ask concierges. But he also might be the concierge fielding your requests during your next hotel stay and he's got a few tips on how to get the most out of your concierge contact. This week, here are his thoughts on How Much To Tip the Concierge. (And no, that's neither @ConciergeCorner or his hotel in the photo above.)
To tip, or not to tip: an age old question in the hospitality industry. In an industry where at times over 50% of one’s pay is derived from gratuities, tipping is always appreciated. That said, my HR department pays each (hourly) position differently depending on what they feel we likely receive in gratuities. Sadly, their gratuity estimates are quite high and unrealistic.
Yelp ain't got nothing on us.
In the past, boarding passes, dinner reservations and transportation arrangements would be some of the most common concierge requests, but the emergence of sites like Trip Advisor, OpenTable and Yelp has changed this. Today, many guests will skip the concierge, opting instead to utilize websites. There are still some who will utilize our services, especially in the luxury segment. You can imitate the human touch, but you can't duplicate it. When it comes to a last minute dinner reservation at a popular restaurant or a sold out performance, I'm far more likely to be able to secure them for a guest than a website is. Given that this is something that only I, the concierge, may be able to accomplish; common gratuity is $5 or $10. For me at, I'd say the most common gratuity left is $5.
Yesterday, The Economist wrote about a new study showing that the majority of online hotel reviews are—believe it or not—positive. But does this come as a surprise?
Guests are less likely to take the time to post a review on TripAdvisor than, say, a hotel-employed PR person, or a General Manager, who find ways to talk up their hotel in carefully chosen, seemingly trustworthy language. According to TripAdvisor CEO Steve Kaufer, however, people talk about a positive experience in order to "give back to the community." But do we trust the good reviews as much as the bad ones?
Checking In On / Home2 Suites / TripAdvisor / Utah Hotels / North Carolina Hotels / Hilton Hotels / → All Tags
It's been almost two months since Hilton's contemporary Home2 Suites brand launched in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the second hotel just opened March 10 in Layton, Utah. So we figured it was a good time to check in to see what people have been saying about the stylish all-suite hotels, which comes with free WiFi, iPhone and iPad iHome docking stations and a complimentary continental breakfast.
We checked in on TripAdvisor to see what the buzz is. But there's only one TripAdvisor review, likely because the hotels aren't in major cities.
Checking In On / Hotel Openings / Manhattan Hotels / Hotels Near Times Square / TripAdvisor / → All Tags
Sometimes hotels open in New York City with tons of fanfare and others they arrive quietly but surely. In the case of The Pearl New York, it seems like the latter.
We were surprised to hear about this Empire Hotel Group property at the end of September, and hadn't heard much about it since it opened on October 25. But if TripAdvisor reviews speak volumes, the buzz on The Pearl is loud.
So the Tune Hotel Westminster has been open just about a month now, and the TripAdvisor reckoning is here. The verdict of the people? Actually pretty similar to what HotelChatter said when we stayed there last month – as long as you know what to expect, for the money you’re paying, it’s pretty damn good.
The thing people keep mentioning? Obviously, it’s the size of the rooms – “REALLY REALLY SMALL” as one person puts it.
On the plus side, beds are deemed comfy, rooms clean, showers fabulous (as we said) and the hotel quiet.
On the minus, uhm, the rooms are small, and one review mentions a “constant hum of air throughout the night”. The only negative review is from someone who was stuck in the windowless basement room, who complains about a generator pumping out smelly fumes all night, but according to the hotel (they’ve replied to the review already) this was a one off problem that’s now been fixed.
TripAdvisor released its annual Traveler's Choice list yesterday and while a whopping 719 hotels were winners of awards and mentions, we're guessing the Heritage Marina Hotel in San Francisco is not too proud to be considered the #1 Dirtiest Hotel in the United States.
Recent reviews called the place "filthy" "disgusting", "cockroach-infested", "horror hotel", "had the ambiance of fresh vomit" and "the most smelly discusting place ever!" [SIC]. This really doesn't come as a surprise to us since way back in 2006, we had an in-depth report of bed bugs at the place. Yuck.
Midtown’s newest hotel with a killer view has been open for a few weeks now, and while we quite liked the look of The Strand’s crisp, simple rooms, we wondered what New York’s discerning visitors thought of the hotel over this holiday season. In short? It’s getting stellar reviews.
Of the nine reviews posted at TripAdvisor so far, eight are overwhelmingly positive, and the holdout had just one major complaint—the noise:
How many times do you like to click? That’s not a euphemism, but a serious question related to your travel-review browsing and booking. We ask, because yesterday TripAdvisor announced a new "service" which promises to limit your number of clicks.
From January 4, 2010, TripAdvisor will let hotels "enhance" their listing with their URL, telephone number and email address. So customers will be able to click just once to jump from a TripAdvisor review page to the property’s own site. This is certainly a step up from the current system where you get a hotel’s address, but are left to google the website or phone number yourself. But why the change?
Duh! Money, silly! The new system—"TripAdvisor Business Listings"—will cost properties a yearly subscription fee between $600 and over $15,000. (The fee for properties with over 1,000 room is available "on request." Just like asking for the Presidential Suite!) Properties signing up for the new listings will save 50 percent if they get in before January 31.