Tag Archives: London

Trip Advisor: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

I’ve been spending a lot of time this week looking online at London hotel web sites.

I’ve read Rick Steves’ recommendations; he has a certain point of view that I’m not sure I always share. I’ve read some other travel guides, but I often come back to Trip Advisor. My experience has been that if a hotel has mostly Excellent and Very Good ratings and has enough such ratings to actually have some credibility, I can trust Trip Advisor. Open online forums such as Trip Advisor allow for fake positive reviews posted by the relatives of the innkeeper, but also allow for negative reviews created by competitors to drive business away. That’s why I look for an accommodation with lots of reviews and I read them pretty carefully.

I rated the bed and breakfast we stayed at on our 2011 trip to England, and gave it glowing reviews on Trip Advisor. We were there for eleven days and knew the place inside and out. One morning there was a disgruntled guest who complained about her breakfast experience the entire time she was in the dining room — and she wrote a negative review on Trip Advisor about it. Hers is the only remotely negative review about the place, and frankly, people should take it with a grain of salt.

What’s your experience with Trip Advisor? Do you write reviews? More importantly, do you have a place in London to recommend to our readers? Please put links in the comments — we’d love to check out your favorite London accommodations!

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Views of the Thames

While watching the Golden Jubilee coverage today, I got inspired to do some research about the paintings of the Thames that the television presenters were referring to, and I discovered some gorgeous views of the Thames.

The River Thames with St. Paul’s Cathedral on Lord Mayor’s Day, c.1747- 48, was painted by the Venetian artist Giovanni Antonio Canal (known as Canaletto).

The Thames above Waterloo Bridge c.1830-35, by Joseph Mallord WIlliam Turner, shows an impressionistic view of the Thames, Turner “shrouds the river in a blanket of pollution, with chimneys belching out smoke” according to the Moderna Museet website.

James Jacques Joseph Tissot (15 October 1836 – 8 August 1902) was a French painter who spent much of his career in Britain. This painting, The Thames, c. 1876, gives the viewer a vision of a jaunty little group out for a pleasure trip on the crowded river.

Claude Monet’s Waterloo Bridge in Grey Weather, c.1903, shows a “crowded heaviness. Behind are the chimneys, dirt, smoke and steam of London and in front the bright dark flow of the Thames. Monet has parted them with his clever use or placing of the bright, red and green splashes on the vehicles crossing the bridge” according to the How Stuff Works website.

Finally, my 2011 photos of the Thames taken from the Tower Bridge show a modern London and a modern river. I hope you enjoyed today’s journey through history.

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