After watching that documentary "Attack of the trip advisers" on Channel 4 last night I'm a little embarrassed to admit this but (ahemm assumes sotto voce) I have been known to post the odd review on the site. Ok so I have only posted three in the past five years during which time we have eaten at many scores of restaurants and stayed at plenty of hotels. So why have I not written 200 reviews like the site members showcased last night? Well basically I've only written one when I have been so impressed by a hotel or restaurant that I wanted to give them just a little bit more than my custom and sing their praises to the heavens (or the internet at least). So I've only written three five star reviews - all in my own name without hiding behind the anonymity of a user name. That's not to say that I haven't eaten at plenty more restaurants and stayed at plenty of hotels that were also worthy of five stars (I am writing this now from the lovely Old Course Hotel in St Andrews which is definitely a five star location) but those three were just a little bit special and worth me going to the trouble of saying so on line.
After watching the reviewers in the documentary I question their sanity. I suspect that the film makers wanted to play this one for laughs as, although the programme was predicated on a serious issue (the damage being done to some businesses in the hospitality trade), the examples used were Fawltyesque caterers and nit picking customers including one who went on holiday with his grandma and put hidden dots on the sheets to check if they were being changed daily (do you change your sheets daily at home?) - even his nan who claimed to love her grandson dearly did not think that being served gin and tonic instead of gin and lemonade was worthy of being broadcast to the whole of cyberspace. I have to admit that I often use Trip Advisor before deciding upon a hotel but both Marion and I tend to ignore the reviews that are so obviously out of kilter with the general tone of other reviewers and I would advise you to do the same.
In the meantime if you want a few recommendations from us try Locanda Cipriani in Torcello, Villa Cipriani in Asolo, Chapel Cottage and the Sun Inn in Kirkby Lonsdale, Northcote Manor near Whalley, The Peat Inn near St Andrews, Mint Hotel in Manchester, The Old Course in St Andrews, The Freemasons Wiswell, Cicchetti Manchester, Ile De Re Holiday Homes, Bistrot Marin St Martin Ile De Re, La Route Du Sel in Loix, Le Lodge Kerisper in Trinite-Sur-Mer and The Lazy Fish near Cockermouth. We can recommend all of these from recent experience.
We once had an experience at an inn in Derbyshire (which has since changed hands so it will remain nameless) that would have merited zero stars on Trip Advisor. When we complained that there was no hot water to bathe our very young children, the manager came up to the room with a bucket of it. Another one that would have made a good TA review was a farmhouse hotel in Eire that my brother and I once booked for a fishing trip. The proprietor welcomed us with the unforgettable words "Welcome lads. I've been to the butchers and bought a wonderful piece of beef for yers...................and I've minced it."