There’s no doubt that TripAdvisor has been a boon for travelers and a great motivator for poor hotels to get their act together. Unfortunately, any service with this much power is just begging to be gamed. Scott McCartney of the Wall Street Journal ran a great piece last week called The Big Flaws in Hotel Rankings.
It’s a pretty balanced article that focuses only on the review system itself, and how different those reviews can be between TripAdvisor and the others. Some alternatives (Expedia, Hotels.com, and Priceline) only let people who have booked the hotel through them write a review. So you can’t be a competitor posing as a past guest and write a negative review. You also can’t pump up your own review from the inside. But they don’t have as many reviews—or readers—as the dominant player.
Still, as Arthur Frommer commented at the end, “Hotels are so dependent on reviews that of course they will generate their own. They would be crazy not to.”
So look at these reviews, but don’t take them as gospel. The person writing it may travel in a whole different style than you, their priorities may be different, and they just plain might not know what they’re talking about. After all, who has stayed in enough hotels in a specific city to tell you which ones are the best?
Our writers have, so you can trust them to not only describe that hotel or resort with an experienced eye, but to compare it to all the others as well. Most of our contributors are experts in the region: guidebook writers, expatriate writers, and freelancers who have returned to the country a dozen times or more for assignments. See a rundown on our Luxury Latin America contributors page.
You don’t have to take our word for it—check the TripAdvisor reviews too if you want—but do so with a skeptical eye. Because are the best hotels in Buenos Aires really places called Glu, Duque, and Mine? We’ll tell you to start with #4 on that list: Algodon Mansion. Then maybe check out #9 (Fierro Hotel), #12 (Four Seasons Buenos Aires), and #13 (Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau). Follow this link for a list of the rest of the best hotels in Buenos Aires and Argentina.