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Old Aug 6, 12, 11:44 pm   #46
 
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Originally Posted by paul2 View Post
Sounds like you need to subscribe to a guide that covers all the Hiltons and similiar hotels namaguide as you are clearly disappointed with Gallivanters extensive coverage of Amanresorts, Four Seasons and every significant new opening
Hi Paul - is there a guide that covers all the Hilton's and the likes? !!!
It would have been nice if Gallivanters covered ALL the FS and Amans! I think I have been to more properties than they have!
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Old Aug 7, 12, 6:51 am   #47
 
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Originally Posted by Musken View Post
But if they all do their best around her, it will still be differences, there will be some doing better than others. As "normal guests" we might receive not as perfect service as what she is receiving, but the ranking i still the same in my experience.
I understand what you are saying and in the perfect world it would work just like that. However, it could easily lead to false praise for properties that are simply good at identifying VIPs and offering them a level of service that they would never offer to the 'common guest' (like me!). And the fact that I have no way of knowing which case is true (without going to the property) makes me doubt the usefulness of the guide, for me.

Please don't get me wrong - I realize that you subscribe and find the guide useful (as do many others who contribute here) and I think that's great obviously Lyn must be doing something right. But personally, I don't have much use for only one individual's opinion of a property, no matter how well travelled that individual is. I prefer to get a range of reviews and then synthesize my own opinion based on that. This is why I think Flyertalk is so useful. I think the recent set of reviews of Amanruya demonstrates Flyertalk at its best and (to me) is MUCH more useful than one review in any single publication.
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Old Aug 7, 12, 7:18 am   #48
 
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Originally Posted by namaguide View Post
...
We, all the subscribers, seem to fund the editor's travel lifestyle, well most of the times.
Isn't that true of any guide, the reader helps funds the book?
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Old Aug 8, 12, 6:41 am   #49
 
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Originally Posted by namaguide View Post
Absolutely not - I am happy to pay them more but I want to see more. I am just so tired with the Sodashi/club sandwich/Tod's/FS/Aman, and the cycle of George V/Thailand/India/Bali.

Can we see/hear something new please!
Why don't you just stop subscribing? Maybe you should start your own Guide...or do you already have one?
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Old Aug 8, 12, 4:14 pm   #50
 
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I've tried to resist chiming in, but I can no longer.

- Even if hotels pull out all the stops to provide superlative service for Ms. Middlehurst, that sets a standard that she in turn demands for her readers. When Ms. Middlehurst describes the specific qualities of a hotel that merit the rating she assigns, the hotel must maintain those same qualities for subsequent guests or else it risks removal of Lyn's endorsement. Lyn receives a large amount of follow-up communications from her readers who visit the properties she has reviewed, and she uses that feedback to ensure that a hotel is maintaining the same service levels she experienced. Numerous times, Gallivanter's Guide has removed hotels from its recommendations (and conveys this information through the updates on the back page of the Guide), when Lyn has found that the hotel has failed to provide an experience consistent with what she had.

- I know of no hotel guide that has more of a positive impact on the high-end guest's experience than the Guide, because of the feedback Lyn provides each property. Even when she loves a property, she provides constructive feedback that results in improvements to the hotel for he readers. For example, when I stayed at Amantaka, the GM told me that the suite I was in had been changed after Lyn stayed there due to some minor infelicities she experienced in its design (i.e. no hooks for towels).

- Being a subscriber to Gallivanter's Guide is really much more than just receiving a monthly newsletter. I have written to Lyn countless times for advice and each time she has responded within 24 hours with incredibly helpful and detailed suggestions regarding specific rooms, pros/cons of options I'm considering, etc.

- I don't see anywhere near the depth of analysis in other reviews of hotels, which almost never provide detailed comparisons of room types, something I find absolutely invaluable.

- And I don't see anywhere near the quality of writing in other periodicals. I am astonished by the range of images, experiences, and structures she applies to her critiques, and admire so much her ability to evoke a hotel's persona or essence in limited space.

- I also value the candid photos, which are truer than what you may see on a hotel's website.

- The rating system Lyn employs is highly effective for the sort of hotels she reviews, as it provides a wide spread of ratings that are all endorsements of the hotel, but allow for much nuance between high endorsement and extremely high endorsement. I find this much more effective than Andrew Harper's, where it's very hard to gauge exactly how good the property is from the review, until you see their year-end Hideaway Report -- but it contains so many 4-star properties that I really don't see it serving the same audience as Gallivanter's Guide.

But to get back to the original point: does awareness of Lyn's visit result in a higher service standard? In many cases, the answer is surprisingly no, as can be read in her reviews, and the fact that a hotel does not even get its act together to provide a renowned critic with a good experience should be a warning to anyone considering a stay. But on the other hand, when Lyn does receive a higher service quality because of the hotel's awareness of her, that does translate into higher service quality for others who stay subsequently, and that value should not be underestimated.



,
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Old Aug 8, 12, 4:45 pm   #51
 
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Originally Posted by Groombridge View Post
But to get back to the original point: does awareness of Lyn's visit result in a higher service standard? In many cases, the answer is surprisingly no, as can be read in her reviews, and the fact that a hotel does not even get its act together to provide a renowned critic with a good experience should be a warning to anyone considering a stay. But on the other hand, when Lyn does receive a higher service quality because of the hotel's awareness of her, that does translate into higher service quality for others who stay subsequently, and that value should not be underestimated.
I simply don't agree. She gets treated differently than I do. Significantly so.
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Old Aug 8, 12, 5:06 pm   #52
 
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I simply don't agree. She gets treated differently than I do. Significantly so.
Mike - so, I have to ask: on the occasion (or occasions) that you are treated significantly differently than Lyn, have you ever communicated this back to her? Has she, in turn, then indicated that she would investigate and/or raise some kind of red flag in the publication?

Last edited by xracer; Aug 8, 12 at 5:10 pm.. Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 8, 12, 5:48 pm   #53
 
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Originally Posted by xracer View Post
Mike - so, I have to ask: on the occasion (or occasions) that you are treated significantly differently than Lyn, have you ever communicated this back to her? Has she, in turn, then indicated that she would investigate and/or raise some kind of red flag in the publication?
That's a good point and the answer is yes. Clearly she was treated differently at Hotel Bel Air. I spent 5 nights there within 2 weeks of her stay and had a **vastly** different experience. She liked it and I'll never return.

I've yet to dismantle her FS LV vs. FS MO comparison in the April'12 issue. I have emailed her about it but haven't had the chance to explain to her why she botched it so badly.

PS -- On HBA, her email response was this "..Unlike you, we found the changes very refreshing. The previous time we stayed, before the closure, we suffered appalling service. Our experience on this trip was just the opposite, so I guess we will have to agree to disagree." This is just wrong. She got the star treatment. We surely didn't, notably at the WP restaurant and the bar. This response from her has dissuaded me from further communication.

Last edited by mike_la_jolla; Aug 8, 12 at 5:55 pm..
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Old Aug 8, 12, 7:17 pm   #54
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Originally Posted by mike_la_jolla View Post
Turn down was missed twice in a 4-night stay. The newspapers I requested at check-in were not delivered correctly once.

D-team works Mon/Tues. On Monday night, the kitchen couldn't be bothered to turn the tuna tartare into a full meal. What they did cook took 60 minutes...They were out of English muffins on Monday.

Breakfast was average at best. The Huevos Rancheros, a WP specialty, was bland and served cold.
when day of week (etc) impacts quality, people who only stay on "good day" have no idea that "bad day" exists

whatever one thinks of gallivanters guide, it is unique
which probably only increases the positive/negative objective/subjective points

Last edited by Kagehitokiri; Aug 8, 12 at 7:26 pm..
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Old Aug 9, 12, 2:53 am   #55
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groombridge View Post
I've tried to resist chiming in, but I can no longer.

- Even if hotels pull out all the stops to provide superlative service for Ms. Middlehurst, that sets a standard that she in turn demands for her readers. When Ms. Middlehurst describes the specific qualities of a hotel that merit the rating she assigns, the hotel must maintain those same qualities for subsequent guests or else it risks removal of Lyn's endorsement. Lyn receives a large amount of follow-up communications from her readers who visit the properties she has reviewed, and she uses that feedback to ensure that a hotel is maintaining the same service levels she experienced. Numerous times, Gallivanter's Guide has removed hotels from its recommendations (and conveys this information through the updates on the back page of the Guide), when Lyn has found that the hotel has failed to provide an experience consistent with what she had.(...)
I absolutely agree to Groombridge: Not only, that Galivanter's guide is by far the best high end travel publication available, and that Mrs. Middlehursts personal advice is highly helpful - I also think that the existence of GG and the way it is written does in fact improve the quality of the top end luxury hotel industry. Which is an absolutely great achievement for all of us high end travellers.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 4:06 am   #56
 
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I have been a subscriber since 1995 and I have only great things to say about GG. I love the in-depth reviews, great pictures and the fact that she always answers letters or emails so promptly.
Here is a quick anecdote: A few years ago I had a disastrous stay in a beach resort that she highly recommended in the guide.
I wrote to her telling her about my bad experience and without asking Lyn got in touch with the hotel's President of Operations who contacted me to offer me a complimentary 2 night stay in their flagship European hotel. Impressive.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 10:08 am   #57
 
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Originally Posted by vuittonsofstyle View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by namaguide View Post
Absolutely not - I am happy to pay them more but I want to see more. I am just so tired with the Sodashi/club sandwich/Tod's/FS/Aman, and the cycle of George V/Thailand/India/Bali.

Can we see/hear something new please!
Why don't you just stop subscribing? Maybe you should start your own Guide...or do you already have one?
I haven't got my own Guide - I am too busy traveling!

There is no argument over Ms Middlehurst's judgment and critique. My only argument is that the properties that Ms Middlehurst chooses to review are so predictable and quite often read about the same property twice if not more! All I am saying is that there are still so many more Aman and FS resorts that still have not been reviewed.

Please no more India/Bali/Thailand - they are so in the '90s! Could Ms Middlehurst cover some more ground please and still remain within the FS/Aman/MO constellation.
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Old Aug 9, 12, 10:19 am   #58
 
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Don't agree here kids. I just reread her review of Hotel Bel Air in May'12. I was at this property within 2 weeks of her stay, and I stayed longer. Reading between the lines, it is clear that she was glad handled the minute she appeared at the doorstep not by merely the GM, but by a VP of Dorchester. I don't rate this sort of attention and came away with a much different opinion of HBA.

Next time anybody here books a room at HBA, do this during your stay: walk up to the front desk and demand a tour of the top 6 suites (365, 262, 500, 174, 178, 170) and report on FlyerTalk the front desk response. I predict if you are not Lyn, Issy, Donald Trump, Michael Dell, or BO, the answer will be polite 'NO'.

Somebody please argue that this sort of treatment doesn't affect her view of a property. Local VP's don't fly in to make sure my stays are perfect.

Also, was her trite, dismissive response to my email untypical?
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Old Aug 9, 12, 2:59 pm   #59
 
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I'm baffled,you regard someone asking that you agree to disagree as being a trite response.
So you had a bad experience,these things happen!

Gg is not a secret shopper guide to luxury hotels.it doesn't claim to be and can't be as it's author is too well known in hotel circles.
I'm surprised you're expecting it to be.
However, hotels that don't continue to maintain the exacting standards Gg requires will feel it's wrath and that's one part of where Gg shines.
Gg subscribers are the reporting troops whose feedback make that possible.

I'd echo others,on what a great guide it is,it's unique and Lyns assistance to subscribers behind the scenes,you couldn't put a value on.

I recently ended, or rather my office did,all magazine subscriptions including Gg as I've not been there most of the time to read them.
This thread has reminded me yet again(head like a sieve me) to re-subscribe,though an electronic version would be handy! (Hint hint!! )
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Old Aug 9, 12, 4:17 pm   #60
 
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Last edited by NorthernTraveller; Aug 10, 12 at 3:03 pm..
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