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Reviews - have we gone too far?

Hessle, United...
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Reviews - have we gone too far?

Being a bit long in the tooth I well remember the days before the internet and choosing a holiday based purely on reading between the lines of a brochure. It was a standing joke with us that we always picked the worst restaurant in a resort on our first night.

Well those days are gone as we all spend many hours researching every aspect of our holidays. Very useful and time saving when you get there but does anyone think it sometimes takes the fun out of it.

My real reason for asking the question regarding reviews though is that on a recent visit to Elounda we met a restaurant owner who seems to have an air of desperation about him. He constantly had TA up on his screen in the back, checking all the time for reviews. Then at the end of the meal he comes over with raki and sits down with a rather manic manner practically begging for a good review. This particular restaurant does get mainly good reviews and although we did not particularly enjoy it, I did not even include it in the reviews I did because I was reluctant to give a bad or even average review knowing the effect it has on him.

Does anyone else think this is somehow wrong that our opinions can have such an effect on people. It constantly amazes me how different experiences of the same place can be. I have seen complaints about places we have thought excellent and glowing reports on places we've hated. Some of this is down to personal preference but also everywhere can have an off night due to a variety of reasons and it seems a shame if their reputation is damaged because of this.

Sorry to go, just interest in other peoples opinion on this.

Weesp, The...
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1. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

it's all a matter of taste, but it's also a pity if you find the best restaurant on your last night

Aylesbury
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for Playa Blanca
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2. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Sometimes they are a good thing, as brochures were made to sell the holiday. The only thing we had in the old days, that did not gloss up the information, was a Gazette kept under the counter of a travel agents.

To get a true picture today, I ignore the worst and best reviews and see where the bulk of the opinions lay.

New Romney, United...
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3. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Hi Albert, just a question you can probably answer, whist in Rethymnon in may on our last evening we enjoyed a lovely meal at a taverna, It is situated down the road from the Astali hotel on the right hand side opposite the Arkadi car rental but not the one next to it on the front. Would you happen to know the name of it ? Thanks a lot

Devizes, United...
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4. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Hi Norma

The other aspect of course is the wide variation in peoples expectatons - some folk will book a table at a back street taverna, then moan if there isn't a tablecloth on the table, or if the food takes a bit longer than they thought it would, because everything is cooked to order.

if your man in Elounda regularly receives good reviews, then I wonder why he' s worrying? It's the same with accommodaton - someone will stay at a hotel or apartment, based on glowing reviews, then rubbish the place just because it was 10 yards further to the beach than the brochure said, or if the poolside bar didn't open on the stroke of midday. People will book a 2 star room then whinge if they don't get 5 star treatment.

I always research where to stay whenever we head to somewhere new, after all, it's hard-earned cash we're laying out and I don't want to end up in a dump for a fortnight. But that's all I do, I never look at restaurants, bars, tavernas, etc, but prefer to search them out myself, and judge for myself, based on my experience, rather than what the reviews might or might not say.

Mr Elounda restaurateur needs to relax, and accept the occasional bad with the good.

Hessle, United...
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5. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Hi Graham

I agree he does need to relax and accept the odd bad review but I don't think he will. He seems to have become obsessed. In spite of all I've said above these days I would never dream of going somewhere new without researching but I know plenty of people who have never even heard of TA and never research at all before holidays. I can't imagine doing that but I don't take restaurants reviews as seriously as I used to.

London, United...
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6. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Norma, I think you raise an important general point regarding the power of the internet. It's enormous now, and it's a double-edged sword: it can do harm as well as good. A good example, unconnected with travel, is the forthcoming closure of "Love Never Dies", a wonderful musical drama thought by lots of people to be Andrew Lloyd Webber's best ever. Marvellous songs, delivered by exceptionally good singers - it had everything going for it. But it was condemned to death even before it opened just a little over a year ago by bloggers who resented ALW's doing a sequel to Phantom of the Opera. Someone coined the epithet "Paint Never Dries": it stuck, and wrecked the show's prospects of a long run. It never recovered, and is closing at the end of August.

This isn't as off-topic as it sounds. I suspect that perfectly decent hotels and restaurants come to grief in much the same way as has "Love Never Dies" - and there is nothing that can be done about it: now that people can have their say, they will.

It must be obvious to anyone who reads restaurant reviews and isn't completely gullible, that as GB says, there is wide variation in people's expectations (great examples, Graham!) which, as far as I'm concerned, makes almost all reviews useless. So I don't pay any attention to them. For the same reason, although I have my favourites in the places go to most frequently, I rarely give recommendations: I know nothing about the taste or expectations of the person asking, which are probably quite different from mine. For example: I love eating alone or almost alone in a quiet taverna a stone's throw from the sea at sunset - that matters more to me than the food (as long as the food is reasonable, that is). Someone who thrives on the atmosphere and buzz created by the presence of many other people while eating dinner would be bored and restless in most of my favourite places.

It's easier to tell with hotels what place might be like and whether one would enjoy staying there. If reviews are uniformly good or uniformly bad that usually means something.

Edited: 01 July 2011, 12:58
uk
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7. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

This is a very interesting question and Alabastrons remark about it being a double edged sword is quite fitting.

Naturally, when we go somewhere new we do loads of research and read as many reviews as possible. Fortunately, I've learnt to read between the lines and completely disregard the ones who have paid 20 quid a night but demand Savoy standards, the ones who faint with horror because there was a cracked tile ( who hasn't got a cracked or chipped tile in their own homes? - we have, and have meant to replace it for at least 18 months), the ones who complain about the heat in August, the ones who had to starve because there was no McDonalds, the ones who couldn't get a decent pint of bitter and, my absolute favourite, the one who didn't like the noise of bird song in the morning !!!!

I'm rather wary about recommending a plethora of restaurants. Food is entirely subjective and one's own tastes, preferences and expectations will differ wildly from many other peoples. An example of this is in 'my Destination' where a certain taverna gets rave reviews because it is considered authentic due to the checked table cloths and the way they will just whisk out a table from nowhere and put it in the street. I've eaten there 3 times now (always give the benefit of the doubt) over the many years of visiting, and each time the food has been typical freezer to fryer stuff, ready made and reheated fayre, McCains chips and tinned veg. However, under the twinkling lights strung in the trees, the bouzouki music CD's, the balmy evenings, the rickety chairs and the volume of cheap Ouzo they give away, perhaps people turn a blind eye, or numb mouth, to the awful food.

I also think so many people demand full info on where to eat, what to do, where to go, how much it costs etc etc that they lose the joy of exploring somewhere themselves. Many years ago there was the excitement and anticipation of visiting somewhere completely new and finding your way around - and yes, I daresay we've all ended up in less than salubrious places at one time or another AND eaten in some truly ghastly places. But it was a case of look & learn and the bad choices we occasionally made are now the fabric of hilarious legend.

Yes, do your research on your destination, make a few decisions about some things you'd really like to do, but then follow your own path and explore the area to see where it leads you - great fun

London, United...
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8. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

>my absolute favourite, the one who didn't like the noise of bird song in the morning !!!!<

LOL, Taisy.

My absolute favourite was the person who complained, in a lovely hotel, where every guest had beautiful new crisp white sheets, laundered regularly and dried in the sun, that the sheets were noisy.

UK
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9. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

The one that I recall was rating a place down because there was a dead seagull floating in the sea.

uk
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10. Re: Reviews - have we gone too far?

Ha ha ha ha - spluttered tea all over the keyboard.

Noisy sheets and dead seagulls .... God, that is so funny.

There must be loads of these 'favourite' reviews out there, but sorry to have slightly hijacked the thread ....

Still laughing though !!