Last updateFri, 26 Aug 2016 12pm

Picking out a good hotel: Can you trust Tripadvisor?

The other day I was discussing good and bad hotels with two of my very well-traveled students of English. “Tell me about your worst experience,” I challenged them.

“That’s easy, replied Enrique and Rosy. “Years ago we wanted to go to Cusco, Peru, so we looked for five-star hotels on the internet and found one that looked magnificent, with a huge plasma TV in every room. It seemed perfect, so we booked it.”

Upon their arrival in Cusco, the hotel’s car failed to pick them up at the airport as promised, so they took a taxi into town, which brought them to a beat-up old house. “There was some lawyer’s sign hanging above the door,” said Enrique, “but nothing announcing it was a hotel ... we told the driver there must be a mistake, but he insisted this was the right place.”

Inside, they found a “manager” but no lobby or desk. Their room proved to be dirty and shabby, with a sagging bed. “And, by the way, the TV was a small, ancient, black-and-white model.”

Next, they asked, “Where’s the restaurant?”

“Right here,” said the manager, pointing to a decrepit old table with two chairs.

“You tricked us,” Enrique told the manager. “We want our money back.”

“You can only cancel via internet,” replied the manager.

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