Hotels are in the business of getting people to stay at their properties overnight. One way for them to do this is to present themselves in a way that makes them look as appealing as possible. Unfortunately, that sometimes means making themselves look not a whole lot like their respective realities.
Oyster.com is a hotel review and booking website that does things a little differently than Tripadvisor and Hotels.com. They’ve been around for about a decade and don’t amass reviews from former hotel guests who may or may not be telling the truth. Instead, they have a staff of full-time professional reviewers who stay in these hotels incognito. These reviewers also personally photograph the hotels, in order to show what they really look like, instead of using the stylized promo shots that are sent to them.
The differences between the reviewers’ photos and the promo shots have sometimes been so ridiculous that Oyster has periodically posted “Photo Fakeouts,” to show its readers the differences between the two. Here are a few of those photos, as well as ways to you not be faked out when looking for a hotel.
Ava Hotel (Athens, Greece)
L = Outdoor photo provided by Ava Hotel, R = Photo taken by Oyster.
It’s not nearly as close to the Acropolis as they’d like have you think.
Hotel Sagrada Familia (Barcelona, Spain)
L = Bedroom photo provided by Hotel Sagrada Familia. R = Photo taken by Oyster
Careful – that king or queen-sized bed may actually be two twins, side by side.
Inn at Seaside (Seaside, Oregon, U.S.A.)
L = Pool photo provided by Inn at Seaside. R = Photo taken by Oyster.
Amazing what a change in angle can tell about how big a pool actually is, huh?
Sandals Carlyle Beach (Montego Bay, Jamaica)
L = photo provided by Sandals Carlyle Beach. R = Photo taken by Oyster.
The hotel’s photo would make you think you had access to a beautiful, deserted beach. Oyster’s photo pretty much set you straight on what that beach was really like.
Big differences, huh?
How can you combat this?
Obviously, you can’t stop hotels from posting photos of their properties that haven’t been staged or touched up. But there are a few ways to get a better idea of what the place(s) in question really looks like…
Oyster.com would be an excellent place to start (I think that one is pretty obvious LOL).
When you’re looking at a hotel review site such as Trip Advisor, you’ll be able to see, not only the photos that the hotel sent but also “Traveler” photos. Like these shots of the Pocono Plaza Inn:
“Double room with two double beds” (Dec. 2017, provided by Management)
“Furniture was trashed. This is what it looked like when we arrived” (July 2018, provided by a guest)
“The front desk response: ‘The water looks like that at full capacity, Keep running the water.'” (February, 2017, provided by a guest)
Sometimes one’s research of hotels needs to go way beyond how many points it costs, huh?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary