Hotels of Doom
November 1, 2003 4:44 PM   Subscribe

Hotelchatter. The ever-prolific Rusty of Kuro5hin fame has a new website out. This one is a collaborative weblog for reviewing hotels around the world. Having had some bad hotel experiences, I fully endorse the idea, but will people be motivated enough to write?
posted by Eloquence (34 comments total)
I like the idea of "user" reviews for such things, and would really like to see sites covering doctors, dentists, and otehr expensive professionals.

But I wonder what the liability is for claims of slander or lible and the like.
posted by Ayn Marx at 7:36 PM on November 1, 2003

I like the idea--I hope it moves beyond expensive places tho. I probably wouldn't write for it unless I had an incredibly wonderful experience at a hotel or an incredibly horrible one.
posted by amberglow at 7:40 PM on November 1, 2003

Looks like a prime candidate for Google textads.

Also, from the Gaming Priceline post, and offtopic : "If we get ten students to do this, we will save MIT $1500. This is enough to buy FOUR textbooks!"

What the? Those had better be some gold-plated books!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:49 PM on November 1, 2003

Not a bad idea, but there are already a number of sites that allow user hotel reviews.
posted by kickingtheground at 8:56 PM on November 1, 2003

What the? Those had better be some gold-plated books!

It's a joke. Note the little smilely at the end?
posted by mathowie at 9:47 PM on November 1, 2003

I have the flu. Thus, I am ever dumber than usual.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:30 PM on November 1, 2003

There used to be something like this called "hotel talk." It was a DL, though, not a Web site.
posted by bz at 11:32 PM on November 1, 2003

I predict that, like all review sites, this will quickly be ruined by people shilling for the hotels they work for and slamming their competitors.
posted by kindall at 12:10 AM on November 2, 2003

Ever notice that when you search the web for a hotel you get all these commercial "" or "" type sites clogging the list? I travel a lot and I still depend on rather primitive message boards for travel tips and info, because the web has become a commercial red-light district for greedy advertisers.

Travel info was one of the web's original strong points, and today it seems to have been swallowed up in the massive grey noise of commercialism. So I welcome any body trying to put personal. human experience back into the web.
posted by zaelic at 6:13 AM on November 2, 2003

Whoah. MeFi link way earlier than expected. :-)

I've still got a bunch of things to do on HC, like put up some documentation of some sort about how to write stories and what kind of thing we're looking for, so please be gentle in your judgements. This is very beta right now, and only two days old.

Eloquence: Our hope is that people will be motivated to write by learning some worthwhile stuff, and by the sense that we're not in it to shill for the hotels. It's not strictly a hotel review site, although we'd like to get reviews. I'm planning to post pretty much anything that's interesting and mentions hotels or travel in any way.

kindall: I'll be editing and choosing what to post, and I will be trying to avoid the shilling.

Also, for mefites generally -- if you wrote a blog entry with a good travel story or know of a one elsewhere, send those in too!
posted by rusty at 6:32 AM on November 2, 2003

Good luck with this, rusty. Done well it will certainly have utility. I registered (frolicanddetour) and look forward to adding comments on hotels in New England, New York, and the southwest.
posted by anathema at 6:45 AM on November 2, 2003

rusty, how do you avoid the problem of people only showing up to write because they're really pissed off (or, to a much lesser extent, really happy)? It seems hard to get people to contribute the "not to bad, nothing to write home about" posts such a site needs.
posted by yerfatma at 8:42 AM on November 2, 2003

Oooo, I'd like to take the opportunity to trash the Omni Hotel in Detroit. I was staying in a smoking room, and smoking a ton of Marlboro Lights, when I get a call around Sunday noon from the front desk saying they had called the police on me because smoking weed in the hotel was verboten. I was flabbergasted. How do you defend yourself? I told them to come check out the room, but they just said the police were on the way. No cops ever came but when I went to the desk to pitch a fit, they just acted like I was lying. Later, I wrote the manager a pissy letter and didn't even get a response. Bastards. I won't stay at any Omni again, even though the Parker House in Boston was my favorite.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2003

yerfatma: I don't know yet. I imagine probably many of the reviews will be of the "I was really happy" or "I was really unhappy" type. I'll personally be writing a review of just about any place I end up staying, which may help set the tone a little, although considering I have no trips planned for the near future it might be too little too late. And, on a different tack, it may not be such a bad thing to have the extremes over-represented. Those certainly make for the best general reading. :-)

CunningLinguist: Omnis suck, IMO. I stayed at the one in Austin for SXSW a while back, and the first morning I was there I asked the concierge if I could have a little coffee maker for my room, since I hate to leave the nest without a bracing cuppa in the AM. The conversation went like this:

Me: "Hi. Could I have one of those little coffee makers for my room?"
Him: "No."
[long pause]
Me: "No?"
Him: "No."
Me: "Really?"
Him: "Yes."
Me: "Uh. Ok." [mentally] Fucker. I'm never staying here again. What the hell kind of concierge refuses a customer request?

The place was overpriced, had a grand impressive lobby that belied the cheap-ass rooms, and the concierge refused to give me a coffee maker. Screw the Omni.
posted by rusty at 9:31 AM on November 2, 2003

Will you add little icons for quick scanning? Things like "noisy German tourists welcome." That'd be a big help.
posted by yerfatma at 9:44 AM on November 2, 2003

Oh, and the Century Plaza in LA? Nice hotel, Westin 'heavenly bed' and so on, but they have this secret phone catch: it's a dollar an hour for 800 calls, but then 10 cents a minute after that. They don't tell you this anywhere near the phone of course. I logged onto the net, and then went to dinner, assuming they charge per call. Five hours later, I came back to a whopping bill. Beware.

This is fun. I'm signing up Rusty.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:38 AM on November 2, 2003

The now famous complaint about the DoubleTree in Houston, TX. This is a complaint that got results and brought limited fame to the authors.
posted by bz at 11:59 AM on November 2, 2003

is a friend linking to ones commercial web venture border-line self site promotion on mefi ?
posted by specialk420 at 2:53 PM on November 2, 2003

[this is good]

I submitted a story, but assume that they are moderated prior to being made public, as the story does not appear?
posted by dg at 5:58 PM on November 2, 2003

is a friend linking to ones commercial web venture border-line self site promotion on mefi?

I wasn't aware that Eloquence and rusty were pals, specialk420
posted by mathowie at 6:16 PM on November 2, 2003

Oh and the design seems slightly broken, with the text in the centre being partly covered by the grey and blue boxes on the right-hand side and the dark green background graphic not showing up (Firebird/XP). Displays fine on IE6/XP (except for the pop-up ad)
posted by dg at 6:21 PM on November 2, 2003

specialk420: I've never met Eloquence, but we've communicated. He's written several articles for K5, some good, some (I think) lousy. As a matter of fact, I think the last words I had with him were very angry ones, several months ago when he accused all Americans of being gun-loving psychopaths.

I'd consider him an internet acquaintance about whom I have both good feelings and bad. And I had nothing to do with the posting of this. So no, it's not self-promotion, whether borderline or not.

dg: Stories are edited. Soon there will be better communication about how it all works, and also a little notification email when your story is posted (or not, as the case may be). Baby steps though. Anyway, yours is up now, thanks. :-)

And there are design bugs. But pop-up ad? There shouldn't be any pop-up ad. Are you sure it came from us? All we've got is Google ads.
posted by rusty at 7:23 PM on November 2, 2003

The news section might be better used for real news, or great deals (a la frommers) rather than for press releases from Sprint, I think.
posted by amberglow at 7:56 PM on November 2, 2003

*runs ad-aware*
Oops, sorry rusty, my bad. The pop-ups were coming from somewhere else, spurred (I guess) by some spyware monitoring keywords.
*slinks off, embarrassed*
posted by dg at 8:51 PM on November 2, 2003

i'd be the pot calling the kettle black if i was to bitch about the merit of the fpp ... it does feel like its more of a clubby/promo post about the k5/mefiite who created it by another member of the same community - than for the merit of the actual site itself (perhaps when it develops a bit of a community that will change) though. ... just an observation.
posted by specialk420 at 10:29 PM on November 2, 2003

I don't remember "[accusing] all Americans of being gun-loving psychopaths". I did write about the disturbing glorification of the deaths of the Hussein sons, and Rusty called that "hate speech". FWIW, the story and comment rusty speaks about. I harbor no ill feelings toward him, though.

Rusty is far more politically centrist than I am, and probably more so than most MeFites as well. This allows him to get along reasonably well with the users of K5, who are fairly evenly distributed on the political spectrum. Like most people slightly left-of-center, he appears to feel compelled to occasionally publicly dissociate himself from those more on the left, e.g. Indymedia or yours truly, in order to not be confused with them. Whether that's out of personal belief or higher ambitions I do not know, probably a mix of both.

I posted the blurb about HC after noticing the URL in his .sig. I did so because, in general, I'm in favor of collaborative weblogs vs. individual blogs, and quality control vs. no quality control. While the site is commercial in nature, its only funding seem to be Google ads, similar ot MeFi's text-ads. That seems reasonable. While an increase in the quality of hotels on this planet through market mechanisms and collaborative media may seem like a minor contribution to the overall well-being of mankind, you never know who will check into these hotels. It might be the next Gandhi. And boy is he going to be pissed off if the shower doesn't work.
posted by Eloquence at 11:40 PM on November 2, 2003

Heh. I harbor no particular ill-will either, Eloquence. I did think you were off base in that article. I also probably reacted more emotionally than was called for. So I guess we are kind of friends, in which case all I can say is shame on you, you whore. :-)

I'm kinda flattered that you implied I might have political ambitions. Flattered and disturbed in equal measure I guess. Perhaps when the first wave of bloggers starts running for office, the usual muckrakers will be so overwhelmed with gratuitously public muck that the whole process will simply shut down.

And I'm stealing the line: "While an increase in the quality of hotels on this planet through market mechanisms and collaborative media may seem like a minor contribution to the overall well-being of mankind, you never know who will check into these hotels. It might be the next Gandhi. And boy is he going to be pissed off if the shower doesn't work." for promotional purposes.
posted by rusty at 11:48 PM on November 2, 2003

Can I cross-post this?

Probably not without editing, I guess, and I hate editing. Sigh. Another opportunity for fame and fortune squandered.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:13 AM on November 3, 2003

Great idea, Rusty. People love to share horrible travel stories, and to share "secret" hotel finds. You should do very well text-ad wise.

And this is a totally appropriate FPP.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:33 AM on November 3, 2003

stavrosthewonderchicken: If you cross-post that, I will have your babies. I'm not kidding. I was going to link to it anyway. I'll even do the editing. Just make an account and submit a blank story with the title "Stavros' Japan story." I will do the rest.

Um. And, I won't have your babies if you dont want me to. It's up to you, really, babies or no babies. I'm flexible.
posted by rusty at 7:07 AM on November 3, 2003

I'm flexible.

If you bear his children, you will have proven just that.
posted by yerfatma at 7:11 AM on November 3, 2003

I'm flexible
and he has the photos to prove it.
posted by dg at 2:14 PM on November 3, 2003

Cool. Thanks, rusty. I'm on my way to work, but I'll post it tonight.

Wow! Self-linking does work. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:16 PM on November 4, 2003

Er, reading skills low, uncaffeinated. I'll post the blank story now...
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:17 PM on November 4, 2003

« Older Blueprint For A Mess - New York Times Magazine...   |   Newton Archive Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments