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My Problems with the “Hotel Review”

Alt text: A large sign with the word "HOTEL" in bold, red letters against a clear blue sky. The letters are mounted on a white metal framework.

I sat down the other day, ready to write out a few standard points blogger hotel review posts that have been hanging around on my to-do list since my New year’s trip. I really dread writing these type of review posts. They are incredibly time consuming, unoriginal, and just not fun to write! Come to think of it, not only are they not fun for me to write, but I don’t think they are that fun to read either!?

Hotel - AYP Pic

I admit it. I have been guilty of putting these reviews in the past… See exhibits below:

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Four Points by Sheraton Havana

Park Hyatt Paris Vendome (seriously, what blogger hasn’t reviewed this property)…

And more… But it is time I stopped perpetuating the blah that is points blogger hotel reviews!

They are Overdone/Lack Originality –

Eyeing a luxury hotel in your dream travel destination? Chances are One Mile at a Time (OMAAT) and the Points Guy have already stayed at that property and wrote up an AMAZING and comprehensive review, documenting every little detail down to the sheet thread count and bidet water pressure. And they have probably reviewed it twice… once in 2012, then again in 2016 following renovations!

And that is not a dis on either of those blogs – they are the pros! But if you’ve read one hotel review then it really does seem like you’ve read them all… Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, anyone? (Including AYP!)

Park Hyatt Paris vendome review search - AYPPark Hyatt Paris vendome review search2 - AYP

OK, so not to toot my own horn here, but I do believe I was one of the first points & miles bloggers to stay at and review the Four Points by Sheraton Havana! That said, Ben from One Mile at a Time and the fellas from No Mas Coach have since published reviews of this property, and quite frankly, I prefer theirs to my own… I just can’t win!

They are Unrealistic –

The best points blogger hotel reviews feature not the typical standard room, but rather a junior suite, an executive suite, or what the hell – even the presidential suite! All courtesy of the blogger’s elite hotel status! Well, excuuuussse me!

Conrad BKK
This suite at the Conrad Bangkok has room(s) for days…

Wait, you don’t have Hyatt Diamond, Hilton Diamond, IHG Platinum Elite, a Kimpton Shimmery Glass Slipper (check me here – that Kimpton’s top-tier status, right?) and Marriott/Ritz-Cartton/SPG Platinum elite status? Ohhhh… then YMMV.

Insert video mocking elite status here – But, I’m a Diamond Guest?

And by YMMV, I mean that you won’t be experiencing a suite. Rather you’ll get the more likely scenario of you and your family smushed in a “quaint” room – complete with 2 double beds, one luggage stand, 3 hangars and a view of the building next door (if there is a view at all)! You can forget about that UNBELIEVABLE breakfast buffet spread too, since you will be forkin’ over $50+ per person on account of your Hilton Blue status. What is Hilton Blue status? Exactly.

I recognize that the average traveler may have mid-tier status (provided a credit card like the American Express Hilton Surpass). Let’s be realistic guys. That wimpy status isn’t going to make much of a difference when it comes to the room upgrade game. I was lucky enough to get in on that awesome Hyatt Diamond status match last year, but otherwise I am a average mid-tier status man just finger-crossing to score an upgrade – just like many of you!

They are Information Overload –

Hotel reviews strive to be a comprehensive guide and provide next level insight into the heart and soul of a specific property. While I  appreciate the time and attention to detail it takes to gather all that information, the thoroughness is overwhelming! There are some things that are just plain mundane that can, and should, be left out… like the check-in process!?

FullSizeRender (40)
Ya… pretty standard check-in at the Four Seasons Singapore…

Was the receptionist suspended from the ceiling by her feet? Did the check-in counter resemble a medieval castle… with a moat?

No? Well then for the most part I should expect the same process as any other check-in experience I have had in my life.

Say hello, provide a brief intro to the hotel, hand me a room key, point me to the elevator – done!

It’s like when the waiter asks – “Have you ever dined with us before?”

The question is asked as if they have introduced some novel concept to the world of restaurant dining that will forever alter your dining experience. Yet, when you reply “no” you are provided with nothing but the same menu rundown as any other restaurant. Here are the drinks, here are the appetizers, here are the entrees, and ohhhh let me tell you about the “specials.”

There have been a few times were my check-in experience has been truly unique and blog worthy… like when I stayed at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam and was asked to select the room “scent” for my stay, but aside from that, check-in is check-in…

They are Boring –

Has anyone ever actually read a full hotel review top to bottom, beginning to end? I know I haven’t. Maybe it’s personal preference and all about what you enjoy reading. I enjoy the storytelling aspect of points and miles travel blogging, versus reporting/reviewing.

Reporting is cool... but it is just so focused around those darn "facts"
Reporting is cool… but that means you have to stick to those pesky “facts”

Even reviews detailing the properties I plan to stay at don’t provide me with enough entertainment to keep me engaged through the full post. Granted, there is probably some crazy obscure detail about the check-in process that I am missing (see above) but I guess I will just have to experience that gem of a detail IRL!

I’m just too scatter-brained to stay engaged for a 2,347-word review, though I do appreciate the pictures! I guess it’s true what “they” say, pictures are worth 2,347 words…

Off topic, but important – who is they anyway? And why do they have so much to say? Hmmm…

Some bloggers do have it figured out. See Miles the Monkey and his POP (Pictures Only Posts) and OMAAT’s “10 Pictures” form of reviews. These type of posts save me from the monotony and for that, I thank you!

Final Thought and My Plan of Action

I just have problems with hotel reviews… and from this point forward – I am done with the cookie cutter all-encompassing, all-inclusive hotel reviews.

Instead, I am going to stick to a much more fun “best and worst” type of post. This will allow you to still get a peek at the hotel properties I visited with the highlights and lowlights I experienced along the way. And the best part is no boring and unnecessary clutter!

If you are in fact looking for a full and complete guide on a specific property, google “[hotel name] the Points Guy” and I am sure he will have what you’re looking for…

Do you find hotel reviews a boring and unoriginal, or is it just me?

Happy Travels!




  1. I feel like this was targeted at me, not cool. haha, JK! I agree, which is why I try to make my reviews as weird as possible. As lame as reviews are sometimes, I still find myself numbly reading through them, so I guess it depends on the person!

    1. Hahaha definitely not targeted at you or anyone in particular! I am probably the most guilty of all when it comes to blah hotel reviews. I just don’t enjoy them and I think that is evident in the way my reviews end up. If you keep those reviews fresh and unique and assure you I will keep reading!

  2. I find tpol’s hotel reviews to be entertaining. He is obsessed with the soap and he often skips breakfast because he went out the night before.

    1. TPOL is one of a kind! There are very few points bloggers in the world that would forgo a breakfast (mainly the opportunity to take pictures at breakfast) due to late-night party activities! You live life regardless of the breakfast spread – you are an inspiration!

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