Lost in Translation


Right, I was a bit annoyed on Tuesday with the gaff I booked in Jackson, however, I calmed down slightly by the night time, partly through chatting with a couple of locals, but also it could be the case i was over-reacting. I say it might be the case, i don’t think it is the case, so this post will be about using a site like Booking.com, Hotels.com, Trivago and Tripadvisor and the likes.

Let me start by saying I have been on the road for over 75 days now, staying in 22 different hotels, Airbnb’s and hostels, spending an average of £25 a night, having reviewed my spend. I have given one 10 rating so far, plenty of 9’s and a 5.8 and a 6.3, for varying reasons. The average rating of all the properties combined is exactly 8/10 and if you review my history, i have been very fair to all. What i will say is that over 95% of my bookings to date have been with Booking.com, so they have had a significant amount of my business.

Now, what Booking.com will argue is they are a third-party company that provides an online platform through which properties can advertise their availability. By making a reservation through Booking.com, I enter into a direct contractual relationship with the property. From the point at which I make my reservation, they act solely as an intermediary between me and the property. They handle transmitting the details of my reservation to the property and sending me the confirmation, yet they have a dedication to customer satisfaction. I have had one incident where a late night Chicago airport stayover had committed to a late pick up and transfer and renaged. I contacted Booking.com to complain and in fairness to them, as a one off they refunded my excessive $22.50 2km taxi fare, after the lodge refused to compensate me.

I strongly feel that they should accept full responsibility for the properties they are responsible for advertising and promoting, on the basis they have a duty of care to their customers and they make money from every one of their over daily 950,000 bookings made. Make no mistake, if I make a booking with booking.com and I do not get what was advertised and the property do not accept responsibility for that, my point of contact will be booking.com, who can deal direct with the property they are advertising. This way it ensures the duty of care to correct the information, falsely advertised.

I may be boring you with this, but the intention, using the specific property I am staying in right now, which I will not name and shame, is to highlight, fairly I might add, how you should not be so easily suckered in by both what is on offer facilities wise and the photo’s showing the property. I made this specific booking, because it was one of the lower priced double rooms, with en suite on offer. But, it also had a working gym, or so I thought. It had laundry facilities and a pool. I did not mind it was a bit out of town – I like a Jolly Wander and I have time on my hands baby with my planning. Lots of stop offs on the way is how you meet the locals and find all the interesting nooks n cranny’s.

So here is what was advertised and my comments. Below that is the photo’s listed for the property and what I took. You Decide! 

Room Conditions
416 ft² – Very Spacious
Free WiFi – Comes and goes, but okay
Non-smoking – Has been smoked in, in the past. Fag butt in fireplace but room smelt okay on arrival
TV – Was Ace, 3 in total, all LCD and all showing Ice Hockey, up-to-date films and TV and cracking signal
Telephone – Never used
Air conditioning – worked well, even if at times the smell coming through was off (smokey)
Radio – must have been in the tv
Refrigerator – solid and chilled
Desk – three of them and solid
Seating Area – lots of space and comfort
Free toiletries x 2 shower gell and soap in both bathrooms
Toilet – two of them, worked fine
Microwave – looks a doozy and new
Dishwasher – why, of god why would you need one there were no pots, pans, glasses, cups or any form of kitchen utensils
Bathroom – clean
Heating – available, but i used the air con
Kitchen – Pointless! No cooking utensils or pans, pots or anything to cook with
Cable Channels – Superb
Bath or Shower – Both and hot water all the time baby
Fireplace – Has not been used in years. You can hear birds up in the flue chirping away, listen to da video
Sofa – Ok, but looks like a few people have had the sex on it over the years
Tile/Marble floor – Good, as carpets are well worn
Wake-up service – never used
Alarm clock – None
Dining area – One of the tables referred to. Pointless, unless you get in a take away
Oven/ Stovetop – Irrelevant, see above posts
Coffee machine – Great filtered coffee (4 sachets), sugar and powdered milk and polystyrene cups
Sofa bed – had two beds
Trash cans – Yes, with bags

Most popular facilities
Non-smoking rooms – Yes but people smoked everywhere else, especially round the pool – Why???, so very untidy
Swimming pool – the photo’s of the pools look a lot different from reality. Wicked use of angles to make it seem bigger. Pool seemed clean, but people from outwith the hotel came and used it, smoked round the pool, so the surrounding area was not appealing. Certainly very few deck chairs and not the amount in the photo
Jacuzzi Tub – looks in perfect working order and welcoming in the photo’s. Broken and in disrepair in real life
Fitness centre – took an hour and asking 3 times to get the door unlocked. Two running machine’s did not work. Despite switching on and off, but when programmed went to an error message. Stepper did not start with digital display when used and although the digital display came on when I used the bike, buttons did not work to programme, hence one pace available for workout. Front desk unable to help.
Basketball court – Run down area on concrete, not the covering in the photo. Hoop busted, but a couple of guys had bought a new one and were fixing it up.
Tennis court – no sign of this whatsoever

Outdoors (Sit back and relax)
Picnic area – run down, a couple of wonky, falling apart tables and only two chairs
BBQ facilities – As above, no facilities whatsoever
Laundry – Very cheap at $2 to use. They give quarters for the machines and you can by powder. The laundry room is run down, but machines done the job. My issue is however, there are no ironing facilities available (iron or boards), which means you have wash and dryed clothes that you cannot iron?

There you go. I have not scored the gaff yet, but I will do when Booking.com contacts me to do so. It’s $188 bucks for something not quite what it is.




2 thoughts on “Lost in Translation

  1. Hi Alan – Thank you for keeping up your Blog and sharing your experiences. When I started reading this one I admit I thought it was boring, but once I got to the photos I was laughing out loud because those are about the most miserable holiday photos I’ve ever seen! The outdoor ones are especially depressing I think – but then again, some of the slightly blurry indoors ones match that mood as well. I’ve a good mind to nominate your video of birds tweeting up a chimney for the Turner Prize because it’s a work of art, commenting in its own way about nature’s territorial ability to reclaim habitations from human intervention. Let’s hope your next stop is somewhere more interesting though – glamorous, even! And somewhere that’s got an iron, an ironing board and some crockery and cutlery for goodness sake.


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