If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reading online reviews, it’s that not only are opinions like assholes, but it seems like assholes write most reviews. For every good review of a restaurant, there always seem to be 3 negative reviews. Was the positive reviewer clueless? Or is it that we tend to want to vent about a bad experience much more than we want to praise a good one? For this reason, I always tend to take restaurant reviews with a grain of salt. Which leads me to the question: What do you do when exploring a new city!?
One of my favorite tips to give travelers is to talk to the front desk at your hotel for restaurant and bar suggestions. Unless, of course, your check-in experience lead you to believe you might be better off wandering the streets aimlessly than trying to have a conversation with the hotel staff. When that’s the case, you bet your ass I walk a couple of blocks to the nearest nice hotel and ask them instead.
In many cases, hotels get coupons for local restaurants that they only give to guests who go out of their way to ask for recommendations. Even if they don’t have coupons for your, a bad restaurant recommendation can hurt a hotel just as badly as a terrible check-in experience. I always ask if there’s a “local spot” that “isn’t too touristy.” Those keywords can get you some great recommendations off the beaten path. Then, once you find a bar or restaurant you like, feel free to repeat the process, asking the bartender for some more local points of interest.
My name is Spencer Howard, and I’m an Concierge/Host/Drunk who has spent the majority of the past 9 years on the road, hopping from hotel to hotel for months at a time. Through trial and mostly error, I’ve become what the airport security line calls an “Expert Traveler.” (It makes my Mother proud)
But for those of us who go beyond occasional puddle jumper and enter the world of Hotel Homebody, it takes more than a complimentary mint and a flat screen TV to warm the cockles of our hearts.
I hope you have insurance, because I'm gonna be throwing some knowledge bombs at your face.
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