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Travel Reviews

If you have never been to a certain resort and are planning on booking, do you read travel reviews before doing so? Does this sway your decision?

I was one of those who booked, then read. I have to say I was a little frightened by what I read, but after having travelled, found some of the reviews seemed a little jaded.

There were parts to some peoples review that seemed terribly off and I did not even come close to experiencing. Not that they didn’t experience those “bad” things but, I just find it hard to believe that folks opinions can go from one end of the spectrum to the other. ???

On past trips I booked and read reviews later. Scary! But then we knew what to expect, and were often pleasantly surprised.

This trip, to Barcelo Cayo Largo, I saw the package on escapes.ca, went to Trip Advisor and read the first 20 or so reviews, and couldn’t NOT book! Glowing reviews, with good info regarding how quiet this destination is, and lots of good traveller photos too.

I can’t wait to go on Friday!

While I really enjoy reading the reviews left by other travelers who have been to resorts I may be considering, I also believe it’s very important to take them with a grain of salt too.

It’s common to experience something totally different at the same resort then someone else did. I think at the end of the day, you experience it for yourself and pass on “your” true experience to others and they can take from it what they want.

Either way, this forum is a fantastic resource for information gathering nonetheless. One cool thing I discovered quickly on this site is that any question you may have about ANYTHING travel related, you can definitely get an answer!! ;D

I think reading reviews is a good idea. You can get a general sense of the resort, and maybe even a read on the type of guests that typically go there…it helps to find a place with compatible guests. :smiley: That said, if there are not very many reviews you may be put off by a negative picture that isn’t very accurate. OTOH, lots of reviews with the same negative take should be a warning sign. I look for features that are important to me…long beach to walk, great snorkelling…which may be beyond the control of the hotel, but will keep me happy in the event the amenities are not quite what I had hoped for. It also helps to know what to expect…I went to Don Lino last year knowing full well I had to deal with a short beach and no sailing. It turned out to be worth it, and I wasn’t disappointed because I was not expecting these things…

I read the reviews and can usually tell from the amount of complaining whether the problem actually lies with the resort or the reviewer. If someone complains about absolutely everything then I tend to think the reviewer had expected way too much - especially where Cuba, DR, etc are concerned. If there are one or two complaints, then probably they were legitimate problems. I also look at many reviews and if they all complain about the same thing, then I take it that it is true. Lots of people do not research at all before going to a different country/culture and then are extremely disappointed to arrive at a 4* resort in Cuba and find it doesn’t have gourmet food and accommodations to rival a 4* Canadian resort. Back 10 years ago, my first trip to Cuba, I was guilty of this, at that time the internet wasn’t a regular household thing and so I had no idea what to expect and I was not happy. Now I know what I want from a resort and what to expect with the help of the reviews.

I believe reviews in some cases are somewhat detrimental in that one persons negative opinion of a resort will leave the review reader with a somewhat jaded view themselves prior to setting foot on the resort. A few years back we were going to the El Dorado Royal in Cancun. The reviews we read slammed the place big time to the point we would have re booked had we been able to. We decided to go with an open mind and had the time of our lives. We seen none of the negativity which we read so much about. We were not looking for it either. One of the nicest vacations, next to CL we have had :slight_smile:
I am a firm believer your vacation becomes what you make of it. If you wish to believe the negative reviews and enter into your vacation with a sh** attitude you are going to have a sh** time.
We hare heading to a Sandals in Jamaica in a couple of weeks. There was an exceptionally long review listed on T/A totally belittling the resort. It got to the point reading this thing that it became comical. The person writing it was completely delusional. Nothing at all about this place satisfied this couple. Ever thing was beyond bad and they wrote this review as a serious effort. I keep going back for entertainment and reading the posts written solely about this review.
Reviews to me are merely a guide. Yes, there are negatives about each resort. Go with an open mind and don’t let the little things bother you. Life’s too short.

[quote=@zuley]I believe reviews in some cases are somewhat detrimental in that one persons negative opinion of a resort will leave the review reader with a somewhat jaded view themselves prior to setting foot on the resort. A few years back we were going to the El Dorado Royal in Cancun. The reviews we read slammed the place big time to the point we would have re booked had we been able to. We decided to go with an open mind and had the time of our lives. We seen none of the negativity which we read so much about. We were not looking for it either. One of the nicest vacations, next to CL we have had :slight_smile:
I am a firm believer your vacation becomes what you make of it. If you wish to believe the negative reviews and enter into your vacation with a sh** attitude you are going to have a sh** time.
We hare heading to a Sandals in Jamaica in a couple of weeks. There was an exceptionally long review listed on T/A totally belittling the resort. It got to the point reading this thing that it became comical. The person writing it was completely delusional. Nothing at all about this place satisfied this couple. Ever thing was beyond bad and they wrote this review as a serious effort. I keep going back for entertainment and reading the posts written solely about this review.
Reviews to me are merely a guide. Yes, there are negatives about each resort. Go with an open mind and don’t let the little things bother you. Life’s too short.[/quote]

Well said zuley!!!

:slight_smile: And don’t just be “wary” of the negative reviews either. If someone is a multiple repeat visitor who gives glowing reports as the resort is the “be all, end all” and his / her “heaven on earth”, be very, very careful.

No resort is perfect.

You really have to read between the lines, take into consideration as to what YOU are looking for in a resort and your vacation.

However, I do find reviews can be helpful as a guideline and a picture says 1,000 words. :-*

i go the the same resort every year and have good reviews, no place is heaven on earth but i go with a open mind and you yourself makes the trip what it is, and really i have never had a problem to complain about but its my vacation and maybe i not hard to please. i cant see how you could have a bad trip in Cuba just my opinion

I have a friend who says she only reads and considers reviews submitted by maritimers as in general , her belief iis that we ( she is one) tend to be more tolerant of the " little things " and more likely to see the resort as a whole rather than a bunch of small irritations ;D, her words not mine, the reason I post this is , do you consider opinions of people in your respective area more like your own? Or is it even a consideration? No disrespect to anyone , just curious ;D :-*

I am constantly reading the reviews and adjust our “wish list” resorts accordingly. Knowing which resorts meet our vacation enjoyment criterion and what the prices for these resorts are, makes it easier to jump on a good deal when one comes up.

Having the advantage of being multi-lingual, I also keep up with foreign language reviews because I’m well aware of cultural standards and differences in expectations. This is more important to me that Canadian regional differences! I’ve traveled from coast to coast and lived in Toronto as well, so I know that Canadians do not all have the same mindset. One thing I’ve always found amusing is that the more negative reviews seem to come from those parts of Canada that have the better deals.

Reading between the lines is really important! I discount completely negative and positive reviews as well as reviews from people who go back to the same resort all the time because they have a “special friend” there. Resorts are always changing- for good or bad- and anyone who never mentions changes is kidding themselves (and others!).

One of the last things I do before booking a resort is to check if the resort is being offered at a really hot price from another Canadian departure city. This gives me a pretty good idea of whether the resort will be “dominated” by any one regional group during my stay.

I always keep in mind that any review is a “snapshot” in time from the reviewers perspective and personal opinion. It helps a great deal if the reviewer gives some hints as to their age group, whether they travelled alone, with their partner only or with a large group of friends and what kind of vacation they were looking for ( R&R, party hardy).

Folks in my own area really isn’t a consideration. I suppose it would be just the review in general no matter where it was coming from.

I had to giggle at your response re: maritimers. My son, who was attending UNB in Fredericton, seem to come home every break a little more tolerent of life in general than his previous visit. Don’t know if that had something to do with being a student trying to survive, or just because he learned to go with the flow of things while there. Certainly did make him easier to be around though!

[quote=@yvrck]
I always keep in mind that any review is a “snapshot” in time from the reviewers perspective and personal opinion. [/quote]Totally agree…and it’s often why reviews differ so much. Factors such as the weather, the other guests, etc. can hugely influence a review. Most of us are not experts at being totally objective and any unfortunate occurrence can colour our feelings. My TA says a bad week of weather = a huge increase in complaints about resorts that clients usually have no issues with. If you aren’t having a good time (for whatever reason) you will notice all the little irritations that might have escaped your attention otherwise.

[quote=@eeeefarm][quote=@yvrck]
I always keep in mind that any review is a “snapshot” in time from the reviewers perspective and personal opinion. [/quote]Totally agree…and it’s often why reviews differ so much. Factors such as the weather, the other guests, etc. can hugely influence a review. Most of us are not experts at being totally objective and any unfortunate occurrence can colour our feelings. My TA says a bad week of weather = a huge increase in complaints about resorts that clients usually have no issues with. If you aren’t having a good time (for whatever reason) you will notice all the little irritations that might have escaped your attention otherwise. [/quote]

Bad weather generating complaints does make sense.
I know on our departure day, the weather cooled considerably and the beach was red flagged and I overheard some folks complaining about the food, the staff etc. Not sure if those same folks just arrived or had been there for a bit. Either way, I guess I too. am easy to please because despite some of the little annoyances that occured, it didn’t bother me in the slightest.
I just wish I could control myself with constantly checking out all the deals since I came back! :wink:

I use reviews like any other tool.
I think this years trip was based more heavily on reviews than any trip in the past.

Don’t you hate those reviews that say things like: “The food was awful; the room was disgusting; the beach was the worse I’ve ever seen; the staff were horrible” but don’t offer any details.
Equally as annoying are the reviews that say how wonderful the place was without saying why they thought so. ???

I talked with an agent from Hola Sun about a particular resort that was offered at what we thought was a fantastic deal. I had read both positive and negative reviews, as this was a 2.5 - 3* resort. He told me that he had heard nothing but complaints about this resort, and that he felt he could not recommend it.

My thoughts after that conversation were that of course he heard complaints. Most people, if unhappy with their vacation will freak out on the tavel agent. Many people book and go on vacation and never have heard of forums like this one and Trip Advisor. Who else are they going to vent their dissatisfaction and frustration on, but the travel agent?

So, unless the agent has actually been there themself, recently, I would also take their opinion with a grain of salt.

I like to read as much as I can about a vacation destination before we go, so I kind of have an idea of the “lay of the land” and know basically what to expect/ where to find things/ what to do off-resort etc.

Folks in my own area really isn’t a consideration. I suppose it would be just the review in general no matter where it was coming from.

I had to giggle at your response re: maritimers. My son, who was attending UNB in Fredericton, seem to come home every break a little more tolerent of life in general than his previous visit. Don’t know if that had something to do with being a student trying to survive, or just because he learned to go with the flow of things while there. Certainly did make him easier to be around though![/quote]

We in the maritimes know how to injoy life and take it easy, and relax and party, i could not stand to live the big city life and fast pace no thanks

I also use reviews as a tool and I send a great big thank you to anyone who will spend the time to help out other travelers.
Between you and me, and I promise not to tell anyone, can’t you tell when reading a review if the people are just whiners. I know I sure can, on the other hand, some people have very legitimate complaints and comments.
Last year we read some reviews about Melia Cayo Guillermo. Some commented that there were chipped walls on the outside of buildings, and they needed fixing. Yes that was right on, but it didn’t really affect us, just tipped us off on what to expect. I like little tips like that, and especially reports on off resort excursions

One other thing, anyone who complains about the weather in their resort review should understand, Cuban resorts don’t have a hotline to the guy upstairs

Recently someone posted a review of the resort we are going to (Melia Las Antillas) complaining that they found cockroaches everywhere. This review makes me more leery that all the others. But since they are the only ones to make this claim I really wonder how much truth was in their review.

If anyone wants to weigh in on that report feel free to make me feel better :slight_smile: