We’re planning our honeymoon.
With the trials and tribulations of deciding how many sausages to allocate each guest at the wedding day barbecue, and which hairdresser is resilient enough to take on my mane, the promise of a massive holiday is doing wonders for morale.
We’re going to Bali. It’s very far away, so any unpaid wedding suppliers will have to really want their cash to travel for 17 hours to get it; it promises to be sunny, otherwise I’ll demand my money back; and, as far as I know, the Northern Line doesn’t run that far, and I could really do with a break from it.
Now that we’ve booked the flights, we need to choose where to stay. And, thanks to the internet, we can peruse every hotel, beach and bathroom Bali has to offer from the comfort of our lounge. But, like it or not, we can also see what every joker with an internet connection has to say about it.
Most of the time, reviews are very useful. I want to hear from real people whether a hotel’s sheets were clean and the doors were on their hinges, or if they would sooner sleep under a bridge than stay there again, but there are some details that should be left on the plane.
And so, I’ve put together a list of questions wannabe reviewers should ask themselves before they start typing, to save future holidaymakers some time…
1) Have you actually stayed at the hotel in question?
Now, one would assume this was an obvious requirement but apparently not. When investigating why a hotel we were considering was deemed ‘terrible’ by a reviewer, we discovered it was because they had ‘popped in for an evening drink and been very disappointed with the fruit cocktails which did not contain anywhere near enough tequila!’ Firstly, unless you checked in and spent a night there, I don’t want to hear from you. And secondly, maybe just ask for a bit more Tequila…?
2) Did you check a map before you booked?
You have nobody but yourself to blame if you are disappointed at the proximity of your hotel to the sights. Yes, I know you should be able to trust the words the hotel (whose main aim in life is to get your cash) wrote on their website, but if you didn’t take a millisecond to google the place and do a bit of measuring, then you deserve to be a 15 minute walk from the beach (instead of the advertised seven).
3) Would you have preferred to spend your holiday at home?
It seems that some people just go on holiday to be frustrated at how much harder it is to live their lives exactly as they do at home, abroad.
“The selection of TV channels was ludicrous! There was only news and foreign programmes I couldn’t understand!”
“It took 10 MINUTES to log onto the hotel Wi-Fi. Margaret and I were spitting feathers!”
One would hope that having paid to fly to the other side of the world, you could find something better to do than tweet your disappointment at not being able to watch QI repeats on Dave, but if not, I’m not sure it’s grounds for a one star rating.
If you’re on a business trip then I understand – you need your screens – but otherwise a couple of weeks without the internet will be good for you. Especially if you’re just going to use it to write a review about how long it took you to log on.
4) Did you converse with any human beings?
I appreciate that if the mattress was made of glass, the food saw you bedridden for three days, or the receptionist told you to bugger off on arrival, then a bad review is justified. But if you just didn’t bother to speak up when simple things that could have been resolved annoyed you, just so that you could write a bitchin’ review when you got home, I don’t want to hear about it. Yes, it is frustrating when hotels don’t telepathically work out that you’d like a second towel for your sun lounger, or that your toilet roll has run out in the middle of the night, but if they’ve got a nice pool, are near the sea, and have a healthy approach to cleanliness, I’m probably still going to consider staying there.
And so, after we’d filtered through the good, the bad and the shouldn’t-ever-be-allowed-near-a-computer-again of the online review world, we made a selection. For the first five nights of our trip, we will be staying in a hotel that, according to TripAdvisor, 664 people think is Excellent/Very good, and that 39 people think is Terrible/Poor.
I can only hope that the majority is right. Otherwise, the internet will be hearing from me.