The problems with user-generated reviews have been well-documented here and elsewhere, but what about the ones written by professionals?
Well, that can be a crap shoot too if they haven’t spent much time on site. I’ve read reviews in major print magazines that put the hotel in the wrong neighborhood, talked about a pool that never existed, or described a clientele that could have only been a freak accident based on who is there the other 364 and a half days a year.
I was surprised when Conde Nast Traveler confirmed what I’d long heard from some of its writers in this story, Confessions of a Hot List Reviewer. Here’s how some of those reviews go down, quoting the anonymous writer.
“This year, I stayed in 15 hotels in 17 days, on a trip that took me from New York to Hong Kong, Luang Prabang, Bangkok, Phuket, Bangkok, Koh Samui, Hong Kong, and then back to New York.”
“If you have a little extra time, you spend it visiting competitors in the area to make comparisons—is the hotel you’re staying at doing its job better or worse than the places that already exist?” [Italics mine]
“I was 16 nights into my Hot List blitzkrieg and ready to go home.”
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather read a review from someone who knows the country well, who knows what the other hotels in that city are like without banking on finding an extra hour in a super-hectic schedule.
Often our reviewers are guidebook writers who have put out multiple editions on that destination. Or they’re expats who live in the city they’re writing about. Or they’re returning to Peru for their third or fourth trip. And they’ve spent enough time—real time, not just 6 hours—in luxury hotels to know which ones are worth recommending.
So, we only cover Latin America, but if you want to see detailed reviews of the best hotels in Mexico, Central America, and South America, you’ve come to the right place. We may not put out a lot of hype about who’s hot this year, but you can be assured that our writers have spent enough time on site to tell you why to stay there—and probably which rooms to boot.