Open Jaw: 'TripAdvisor exposes the Victor Meldrews'
Where readers write back
Saturday 23 July 2011
TripAdvisor is a tool to assist focus and decision making. I have found it very useful and have also made well over 100 contributions. But bear in mind that you should look at how many contributions a reviewer has made; if it is under five, then take their views with pinch of salt. And once you focus on a hotel, do some further research – especially if you plan to stay for any length of time.
Generally, if a hotel has lots of complaints about foreign food and no English guests, then I'm inclined to book it.
What TripAdvisor does well, is to expose the Victor Meldrews of the hospitality world who run their hotels like seaside boarding houses from the 1970s, and yet complain that bad TripAdvisor reviews are damaging their business. It's a bit like a bad workman blaming his tools.
For every honest review [on TripAdvisor] there are 10 from the serial whingers. The reviews say more about the writer than the venue.
You don't really have to search too hard to find the real Pamplona. Yes, there are a tonne of tourists in town during fiesta. But after a few days, they leave and the entire city reverts to the ways it was in the Twenties.
Corfu's "ghost village"
Old Perithia in Corfu actually has four tavernas and is not by any means a "ghost village", with its 130 houses surrounded by eight churches, all sitting beneath Mount Pantokrator. It is a protected heritage site in an area of natural beauty. With many of its properties being empathetically restored, it is an inhabited and living example of a Greek village.
I lived on Corfu in the Eighties. It was fabulous, although I never (willingly) set foot on a beach south of Barbati or west of Kassiopi. The north-east corner is as good as a Greek island gets.
Monaco on a budget
After falling in love with Nice, Antibes, St-Paul-de-Vence and even old Cannes, Monaco was as a mixture of motorways, skyscrapers, tacky architecture and awful street-art. The views only underlined how beautiful it probably looked before Charles III built the casino.
48 hours in Montpellier
You should have mentioned the new tramway currently being built around the centre, with lots of closed roads and no diversion signs. Forget driving in town.
The key to safer travel
Statistics are often flawed and terribly selective. If the average traveller flew on a plane as regularly as they drove in a car, the figures would be significantly different. Typically, we are in cars more than we are on a plane, therefore the opportunity for accidents is greater.
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