Trip Advisor: The Good, The Bad and The Feo

By Lola

Trip Advisor, on the whole, serves a wonderful purpose: real people giving real opinions on real stays at real hotels in real destinations. Reviews are either wonderful or horrid, with very little in between.

Every once in a while, you stumble upon a property with overwhelmingly great reviews and a very, very few negative ones. If you look closely enough, you’ll find behind these negative reviews lie chips-on-shoulders, scam intentions and other unsavory elements where potential or current guests thought they could get away with more if they browbeat and bullied.

Something of the sort happened with a very well-regarded member of Mexico Boutique Hotels, the Hacienda de los Santos. I happen to know the owners, and what I read about the incident raised my hackles. Really high.

Anyway, I’m re-posting what went up on the Mexico Boutique Hotels’ blog today, not only for your reading pleasure, but for your honest opinion (journo friends: please feel free to comment, re-comment and re-post on your blogs, etc.)

The whole thing is, once there’s a negative review posted on Trip Advisor, it stays there like a bad check on your credit report. And when it’s unwarranted, it really stinks.


From MBH Blog

Reflections on Perception: Negative Hotel Reviews Aren’t Always What They Seem

There are always two sides to the story: yours and mine. And then there’s the truth. When things come up that overwhelmingly seem to back one of the two sides, then odds are that’s the one that more closely resembles the sometimes-elusive truth.

Case in point: recently a negative review was posted on Trip Advisor concerning one of our member hotels, Hacienda de los Santos in Alamos. A little background here: HDLS is a five-star hotel, vetted not only by MBH, but also by Condé Nast Johansen’s and AAA (Four Diamonds, thank you very much); has received yearly successive accolades from the likes of Fodor’s, National Geographic Traveler and other such heady organizations; and has been featured in Architectural Digest.

They have consistently received rave reviews from our guests as well (ask Rocío, our star Concierge, she can send you a list).

We do know, however, that no hotel is perfect (though they come close), and one of the signs of a good hotelier is his or her ability to accept constructive criticism and act upon it to make his or her product even better.

Sadly, this review (by a non-guest, mind you) was more along the lines of affronted pride than constructive criticism.

Here are some facts: The hotel does not maintain an “open door” policy for several reasons (actually, it’s a half-door, as only the bottom part is closed during the day). The hotel hosts many high-profile Mexican guests who do not wish to be disturbed. They have also found their guests do not enjoy non-guests wandering about the property while they are in their bathing suits lying out by the pool or enjoying private conversations. Sometimes, the hotel management is asked to keep the hotel as a private oasis for their guests and conduct tours only at specified times. This is the nature of many a boutique hotel, especially a high-end property that values and respects its numerous repeat guests.

And, while there have never been any incidents in Alamos involving tourists at any level, the prudent behavior of the staff was not snobbery; it was merely a matter of safety. When the receptionist of this small hotel was confronted with nine demanding adults with no previous reservations, it was not surprising she was overwhelmed and erred on the side of caution.

Here is another fact: When the gentleman in question wrote to the owner about his experience, he immediately received a letter of apology along with an invitation for a two-night stay at the Hacienda, free of charge. The gentleman’s reply was to post his road rage on TripAdvisor, even after the incident was addressed directly with him in the most gracious, accommodating manner possible.

And here is our question: Why? We would truly like to know what made the Hispanic gentleman take it upon himself to spread the word far and wide that HDLS was “deficient” even after a) the management bent over backwards to appease him and b) it was known there were witnesses to the event with very different accounts of his frame of mind.

My mother always said lo cortés no quita lo valiente. Roughly translated, it means courtesy and valor are not mutually exclusive—but leave no room for the malicious, the unkind and the rancorous.

Have you stayed at Hacienda de los Alamos? If you’re a past guest, we invite you to chime in. But even if you haven’t enjoyed their hospitality, we’d love to read your opinion on this matter.