Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Paradise or Hell? Hotel Reviews

I recently wrote a hotel review on a resort I stayed at in Koh Samui.  In the review, I already stated that I was disappointed with the resort not because it was the worst resort ever, but that it was disappointing relative to the value one could get for the same price in other resorts in Koh Samui.  To name a few of the complaints I had:
Shower head was not working properly - weak water pressure (on the first day), sudden change of water temperature (extremely hot) every 20 seconds or so;
Poor staff attitude - No greeting of guests in hallways, no smiles, saying "no" to all requests or questions without giving alternative solutions or suggestions;
Poor housekeeping quality - Toilet bowl was stained with a brown "ring" of stain.  Housekeeping supervisor checked and told the customer relations manager that the toilet bowl looked very clean (even with the stain).  Open bottle of shampoo by the bathtub remains there, still without lid cover, after 5 days.
Noise - Each morning I could hear a few airplanes fly by.  At night, I heard repetitive noise similar to that of a laundry dryer.
Handling of complaints - Despite complaints of the room, I was not offered a change of room. 
Room quality - Design was fine, decoration was fine.  Speed-dial keys (to concierge/ room service/ reception, etc) not working.  Very humid room, the bedsheets and quit cover felt damp.  My lightweight cotton beach dress remained wet/damp for 36 hours after washing.

Then I received a message from an unknown Tripadvisor member, who wrote:
I travel extensively around the world and this in my opinion has to be one of the nicest hotels I have ever stayed in.
The hotel staff were fantastic, friendly and very efficient. The staff to us could not be any more helpful in every respect.They were happy and willing to help in any way.
I can only think that if they were rude to you, they were just responding to your attitude.
Our room 5211, was clean, quiet and extremely nice.
The food in this hotel was amazing. We enjoyed every meal we had.
The beach pool was full of people enjoying themselves. If you dont have a life, think you should get one.
If you think this hotel was bad, I suggest you stay at some others and relise that what you think is bad is not as bad as you think.
To write a review of a fantastic hotel such as Amari shows you really have no idea.
I was speechless after reading his message. I didn't think of the resort as hell, but certainly it was not fantastic!  I had read a few other reviews by American / European travelers and they called the place "dreamlike", "dream come true", "paradise".  While there were also some negative reviews similar to mine, saying it's an "okay" resort, "nothing spectacular", "average".  Most of my complaints were hard facts - things not working properly, lack of greetings, etc. - not subjective opinions.  Understandably, if someone has never stayed in a proper Thai resort before, or is a first-time traveler to Thailand, the measuring stick could be very different.

Ignorance is bliss indeed.

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