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‘Best’ Hotels: The Latest From TripAdvisor

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Want to stay at the world’s “best” hotel? In that case, you’ll want to visit the Golden Well (U Zlate Studne) in Prague, say ordinary travelers like you. That’s the result of a recently released scoring of reviews from SmarterTravel’s sister site, TripAdvisor, using data from what travelers post on its site. And TripAdvisor has the numbers to back up the ratings: With more than 40 million reviews, it’s by far the Internet’s largest compiler of user-based hotel and resort reviews.

In total, TripAdvisor’s analysts identified 676 Travelers’ Choice Awards, worldwide, ranked in eight separate categories. Worldwide, the results show top hotels in each of the eight categories: {{{SmarterBuddy|align=left}}}

  • Best Bargain: Seacoast Inn, Hyannis, Massachusetts
  • Best Luxury (Four- and five-star hotels): Golden Well (U Zlate Studne), Prague, Czech Republic
  • Best for Service: Anastasis Apartments, Santorini, Greece
  • Best B&B and Inn: The Old Manse, Invermoriston, Scotland
  • Best for Romance: Capella Ixtapa, Guerrero, Mexico
  • Best All-Inclusive: Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Playa Paraiso, Mexico
  • Best Relaxation and Spa: Adler Thermae Spa Resort, San Quirico d’Orcia, Italy
  • Trendiest Hotel (whatever that means): citizenM Amsterdam City, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The site posts separate scores for hotels and inns in the U.S. in five categories:

  • Best Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Wailea, Hawaii
  • Best B&B: Sedona Views Bed and Breakfast, Sedona, Arizona
  • Best for Romance: Spindrift Inn, Monterey, California
  • Best Relaxation and Spa: Bardessono, Napa Valley, California
  • Trendiest Hotel: W Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • But “best” doesn’t come cheap: Outside of the “bargain” and “bed and breakfast” categories, average rates at the top spots are upwards of $250 a night. I suspect that most of you who read this column will be more interested in two of the categories:

    Bargain hunters will probably be most interested in the best bargains in the U.S., and they may be a bit surprised to see that three of them are units of large chains: Sea Coast Inn (also World’s Best); Cedarbrook Lodge, Seattle; Historic Route 66 Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico; Profile Motel, Lincoln, New Hampshire; Mt. Coolidge Motel, Lincoln, New Hampshire; La Quinta Inn, St. George, Utah; Palm Springs Rendezvous, Palm Springs, California, Drury Inn, Greenville, South Carolina; Clarion Inn, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and The Motor Lodge, Prescott, Arizona.

    TripAdvisor shows separate top-10 bargain scores for hotels in Europe, Asia, the South Pacific, the Caribbean and Mexico, Africa, Canada, and India.

    Travelers considering an all-inclusive resort will also welcome independent reviews in a segment where many first-time visitors may not have a clue as to their best options. Tops here are Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso, Riviera Maya, Mexico; Gargona Safari Camp, South Africa; Le Blanc Spa Resort, Cancun, Mexico; Drowsy Water Ranch, Granby, Colorado; Nukubati Private Island, Fiji; East Winds Inn, St. Lucia; Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera, Cancun, Mexico; Ceylon Tea Trains, Sri Lanka; Iberostar Grand Bavaro, Dominican Republic; and The Caves, Negril, Jamaica.

    All in all, TripAdvisor posts far more detail than I could possibly cover in a short column. I urge you to visit TripAdvisor and check out the categories that interest you. You can also use links on the site to find prices.

    I suspect that these awards will get a lot of ink in the travel press. And they’ll raise the usual suspects argument about the relative merits of hotel reviews generated by ordinary consumers compared with those generated by expert writers.

    Overall, I come down on the side of consumer-generated reviews. Sure, they may be based on highly subjective responses, often taking trivial factors into account, but there’s great safety in the huge numbers that TripAdvisor generates. Expert reviews can be more discriminating and at least should reflect consistent standards. But in my experience, hotels tend to steer expert reviewers to their most expensive rooms and overemphasize public rooms that mean little or nothing to average consumers.

    Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between one and the other: Check out the good guidebooks as well as TripAdvisor (and such other review sites as IGoUGo, TravelPost, and and develop your own conclusions.

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