Deciphering Reviews on Tripadvisor

I like Tripadvisor, it can be an extremely useful travel tool. But I occasionally feel like I’ve visited a parallel universe when, after I’ve stayed in a hotel or eaten at a restaurant, I check out, masochistically, what ‘reviewers’ think of the place.

Over the years I’ve realised some people actually reveal more about themselves than about the place they’ve reviewed.

The following were all from one rural hotel which was in a stunner of a mountainous location, used local dishes and ingredients in its restaurant and a chef to cook to order, had friendly staff (but with limited English) and was a fantastic base if you were exploring the area on foot.

What they said: The welcome was unfriendly and they were unable to provide basic information about the surrounding area.
What it means: I expect everyone to be able to speak English when I travel and if they can’t that makes them rude.

What they said: There was a large variety of food but it was just a bit dull.
What it means: The dishes available were mostly local and not the sort of thing I’m familiar with or happy to eat (e.g. there weren’t any French fries).

Location 1
What they said: Being in a hilly/mountainous area access to the hotel is along winding roads making journeys to the coast or into the mountains tedious.
What it means: I did absolutely no research before I booked otherwise I would have known I was staying in a rural part of a volcanic island with winding roads.

Location 2
What they said: Minuses are the remoteness of the hotel (40 minutes of mountain roads to any type of nightlife).
What it means: I cocked up because I didn’t research and therefore didn’t spot the hotel was in a rural location not a purpose built tourist resort.

What they said: Don’t know how the locals can stand the pandemonium (in reference to barking dogs and crowing roosters).
What it means: I’m a townie and don’t expect there to be any noise at all in the countryside.

What they said: The majority of TV channels seem to be German with BBC News 24 being the only English language channel.
What it means: I have absolutely no idea how to use a remote control otherwise I’d know you can use them to change TV programmes into their original language thereby giving me more choice. (Plus the reviewer obviously couldn’t tell the difference between German and Spanish as the channels were mainly Spanish.)

Local Life
What they said: It was quiet stressful and tiring because we felt terribly sad about these dogs (in makeshift tin kennels) and therefore we felt a bit “heavy” during the whole time being there.
What it means: I wish country life was like a Disney movie.


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