June 21, 2010

Hotel Photo Fakeouts.

Ever since I ran across this website, I have had a terrible time picking a hotel from websites. I look at every picture and wonder what's just outside that frame. And I'm ultra-suspicious when a hotel website doesn't feature the premises at all, but some people who are obviously not going to be in your room. I mean, are you supposed to project yourself into these characters? If I go there, a beefy, handsome guy will have me rolling in the bed, clutching my belly in helpless laughter.

42 comments:

Brian said...

If I go there, a beefy, handsome guy will have me rolling in the bed, clutching my belly in helpless laughter.

Paging Titus.

chuck said...

Likewise with college brochures, the interior/exterior photos of houses for sale, and the photos that accompany newspaper articles. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand lies. And what is art but deception? Mostly it is fun but now and then it gets mistaken for profundity.

Brian said...

Now when you book a hotel or motel online, you have the online reviews. You get to decide then if you want to stay someplace because a year ago, someone commented about how horrible their stay was, but you're also trying to find someplace within your budget. So you can either go somewhere else, or take a chance that conditions have improved. At least you can be forewarned.

MarkW said...

Just got back from a vacation where we stayed in small inns and B&Bs -- too small for sophisticated photo trickery (My shots of the places look better than the ones on their web sites).

Also -- Google street view is your friend for seeing what the environment around the hotel actually looks like.

A.W. said...

Well, its sort of like when i was interviewing with the big firms. Now I should frame this by saying, yes, I am a yalie, so the big firms' attitude towards me was probably different from alot of law students.

My classmates said, "you know that they are not going to let you anywhere near the cranky ones."

And my response was this. It does tell you a limited piece of information. Like can they summon 6 reasonably personable people on short notice?

And of course i probably impressed my future employers the most when I just said to them, one day, "look, i know that normally what you have me do looks very little like what you guys actually do from day to day. But you got a ton of work to do tonight and i can help, so its okay for me to stay a little late to help you do it. Its the least I can do for all the nice events you guys are taking me to. And then we can get back to our regularly scheduled fraud-in-the-inducement tomorrow."

The guy even thought my fraud joke was funny.

So yeah, don't trust the hotel websites. trust reviewers. like AAA seems pretty good about creating travel guides. And be as cynical as possible about what you will see in their pics. all beaches will probably be crowded, and honestly, it doesn't really bother me very much. but i guess i am weird that way.

AllenS said...

Choosing a hotel/motel is simple. Does it have a bar or doesn't it?

GMay said...

Same thing with apartment/condo hunting. Beware the ones that just show or showcase their overdesigned sign out front.

reader_iam said...

Huh. I'm trying to imagine you hanging out at the Isle of Capri casino just down River Drive in Bettendorf, but I must admit that's a tough one.

Are you considering checking out the Blues Festival in Davenport over the Fourth of July or something?

Treacle said...

"If I go there, a beefy, handsome guy will have me rolling in the bed, clutching my belly in helpless laughter."

Sounds good. Let me know where.

edutcher said...

Until you got to the clutching part, Meade must have been a little concerned.

Seriously, you need a little skepticism unless you know something about the area. OTOH, reviews need to be taken with the same pillar of salt - you never know whose axe is being ground.

WV "lkywmqtd" The sound Ann made when clutching her belly in helpless laughter.

Sheepman said...

You get a more accurate picture of a hotel from the photos and comments that reviewers post at TripAdvisor.

Scott M said...

The missus and I did a four-day to Nantucket a couple of years ago. We spent a couple of days looking long and hard at all the different hotels and B&B's.

The one we ended up only superficially looked like the pictures online. It was still an enjoyable stay, to be sure, but they certainly dressed up the example given.

This isn't the only way a picture can be a "fake out". We had settled on a bed & breakfast much closer to Main Street and were ready to confirm reservations. I couldnt' get a hold of her on the phone and, while waiting, decided to do a quick Google search to see what I could come up with.

There were MANY reviews of previous weekenders who had stayed at that b&b who all basically said the same thing. The rules of the house were ridiculously oppressive and the owner was an absolute jerk. One guy left his room at 9pm to get some ice (all fully made available to the guests) and was given the 20 questions routine by the owner for being out of his room. Having dodged that bullet, I couldn't comprehend why someone like that would want to be in the b&b business to begin with.

Beware of corporate plants, but definitely check the reviews.

Joan said...

The Oyster.com website is fun and all, but nothing too surprising, at least on the home page. I was hoping for some really egregious night-and-day photos, although I suppose the buffet fantasy-v-reality set qualifies.

I, too, recommend TripAdvisor, but again, take it with a grain of salt and think about what you want in the accomodation. We used TripAdvisor to figure out where to stay on our last trip to DisneyLand, and the hotel was perfect for us (right across the street from the Main Gate) even though some people complained -- the things they complained about, we could not care less about. We did not go to Anaheim in January to use the hotel's pool.

reader_iam said...

Let's just say that downtown Bettendorf is not particularly picturesque or well-appointed. Greater Bettendorf has some very nice neighborhoods moving up from the river, but...as tourism goes, its waterfront and downtown is the least so of the Quad-Cities.

I suppose I could scoot over there (it's about, oh, 4 minutes away) and take non-corporate plant, non-marketing photos for you.

J Scott said...

You get George Bush in your room?

MadisonMan said...

I also try to use google street views to see what it looks like in the immediate vicinity. Otherwise, rely on on-line reviews, but keep in mind that sometimes only the disgruntled complain about stuff. If they're complaining about things that don't matter to me, I don't really listen.

Big Mike said...

If I go there, a beefy, handsome guy will have me rolling in the bed, clutching my belly in helpless laughter.

And if you do go there, a beefy, handsome fellow will have you rolling on the bed in helpless laughter. Meade has someone in mind for the assignment.

(Er, you are going together, yes?)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I had to take a securities test in San Francisco some time ago, so I shopped on line for a hotel that would be near the location (downtown business district). Looking for a room that would be nice but not too expensive.

We found a hotel that seemed nice and the photos of the room looked pretty good. Nice furniture, spacious, good decorations.

When we got there we figured that they must have been hanging outside of the window and used a wide angle or fish eye lense because we could barely move around the in the room. There was about 18 inches clearance on both sides of the bed and you couldn't open the door to the bath room the entire way because there was just no room. I think the whole room was about 12ft by 10ft.

Very deceptive on size from the photo. The furnishings WERE nice however.

Ann Althouse said...

@reader Golf tournament.

J said...

"I'm ultra-suspicious when a hotel website doesn't feature the premises at all, but some people who are obviously not going to be in your room"

You obviously aren't familiar with hospitality practices in the Quad Cities area, home of Moline's own Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute. If you're headed out there to do some legal work for Great Lakes Feed and Grain, don't tell Meade.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/3514/saturday-night-live-fred-garvin-male-prostitute

Pogo said...

“They go to bed with Gilda, they wake up with me."
~ Rita Hayworth

k*thy said...

They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom.

(regardless of the hotel pr photo)

reader_iam said...

@Althouse: Oh, that makes sense. I should have thought of that first!

Paul Zrimsek said...

The night clerk at the No-Tell Motel in Glendive, Montana is actually the biggest gossip you ever heard of. Thought you ought to know.

Iapetus said...

Like Joan, my wife and I rely on TripAdvisor to scout out the hotels where we will stay when we go on vacation. While there may be a wide range of opinion offered on the same hotel, a lot of high ratings do indicate a promising hotel and a lot of low ratings are a sure sign you'd best avoid the place.

Coincidently, not more than a month ago we stayed at the Ihilani resort on Oahu, Hawaii, one of the hotels featured on the oyster.com website. The tall construction cranes at the Disney megahotel next door to the Ihilani presage significant change in the local beach scene. For now, however, the man-made beach and lagoon in front of the hotel are not overrun with hotel guests and remain quiet places for relaxing in the warm sun and water. At another small beach adjacent to the hotel, we swam for hours with a half-dozen tame sea turtles which were being hand-fed by swimmers. Got lots of underwater video of that...

Methadras said...

I'm fascinated by modern advertising and the portrayals of people in them. For example you used the beefy, handsome guy giving the lady a belly laugh on the bed. I personally want to know what this guy said to her in the photo shoot to get her to react this way or did the photographer tell them to hold those poses until the reaction seemed realistic enough for him to capture on film.

Also, another fascinating aspect of advertising that I really want to get into the dirty details of are the portrayals of people using products where they constantly have a rictus of a smile on their faces as they are photographed with it. Do advertisers think that a consuming public really react favorably to these products or do they think we aren't sophisticated enough to discern that if I use their product that 99% of the time I will not usually be smiling when I use it? Some people would think think that this type of analysis on my part is meaningless frivolity, but for me it's just a neat thing to try and fathom.

Titus said...

Doll, I run into the same issues.

As you know my husband and I go on weekend retreats.

But last weekend was fab. Just returned from Brattleboro and the Artists Loft we stayed at was more special than the pictures did it justice.

Run don't walk to Brattleboro. Fantastic scenery, beautiful mountains, the amazing Connecticut River.

Also, dining is to die for. Art amazing, music incred.

Also, many graffitti murals that are liberal that you can post on here and make the wingers go crazy.

But beware if bringing Meadsy Poo, it is very liberal. You will see lesbian families with kids and everything, gross. Long haired unemployed artists with pony tails. Farmers with very small crops.

Artist Loft-tell them Titus send ya.

Also, the Indian UK husband bought me a fab watercolor for only $4,000 from the owner of the loft and gallery. Total bargain.

Titus said...

I climbed a mountain this weekend that was 2000 feet. I thought I was going to pass out but did it.

Also, definitely go to the Brattleboro COOP=food is divine.

Titus said...

Also, if you are ever paying under $200.00 a night you can probably conclude that the place is a dump unless you live in one of the gross states.

Titus said...

Where do people in gross states summer?

I feel bad for them.

We, on the other hand, have Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, The Cape, The Vineyard, Nantucket, The Berkshires. All within a couple hours drive.

Christy said...

I was looking to go on an archaeology cruise and discovered that unlike the fun young singles in the Carnival brochures, these brochures were full of aged couples. I was impressed with the truth in advertising. And decided to postpone until I was the right demographic.

Talk about making rooms look larger! Try cruise brochures.

Titus said...

Oh and finally when we reached the peak of the mountain top there was a group of "bird watchers".

They were all doing bird calls to the birds around us.

It was hilarious.

Titus said...

Oh and I saw my first blacks... in Brattleboro.

Brattleboro does have a black population.

After many visits to Vermont I never saw a black person.

Well Brattleboro does have black people. For some reason I have a hard time correlating black people with Vermont.

ricpic said...

If the room is clean and the bed isn't lumpy that's good enough. Also a tree outside the window instead of a wall helps.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

We use the Trip Advisor type of sites as well when going to a new location. The comments from others are usually pretty valuable.

High on our list of priorities are.....

do they have good beds and sheets with a high thread count.

are the towels fluffy and soft.

are the rooms quiet and free from road noise, noisy air conditioners etc.

Best beds by far in a hotel/motel chain: the Gaia hotels. The hotel chain is all smug and in your face about being 'green' and earth groovy. They have Gore's book on the computer work area; I guess in place of Gideon's Bible. I can get over all that (turn his book face down every time we stay) because the beds are fablulous.

After all, when in a motel/hotel, the bed is probably where you are going to be spending much of your time. Make it comfy.

ricpic said...

Vermonters walk around berating themselves because "Where are the blacks? Where are the blacks?" Meshuggahs.

ricpic said...

"Where do people in gross states summer?"

Name a gross state you fucking worthless snob.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"Where do people in gross states summer?"

Dunno, but a-holes like you come and 'summer' where I live.

Deborah said...

Brattleboro is the oldest town in the state, and noted for its vibrant arts community, as well as the renowned Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric hospital and convalescent center.

wv: retrick

ken in sc said...

Hey Titus, I suggest Ashville NC, Brevard NC, Highlands NC, Brass town Valley NC, Maggie Valley NC, Greeneville NC & SC, Caesars Head SC, Helen GA and Hiawassee GA—all in places you might think gross.

jaltcoh said...

You get Will Ferrell in your room?

Methadras said...

Titus,

Might I recommend the Niagra Falls Kayaking club for your next de-lish outing (even though you already are). I hear they are totally fab, you'll get even get wet without ever seeing an uncut hog, they have an incred picnic luncheon at the bottom (oops, I said bottom to you, tee-hee...) as a glam reward for all the hard work you will do flailing and paddling. Oh my...