Nasty New Zealand accommodation providers who will benefit from Trip Advisor’s clean slate policy

9 Sep

The Sydney Morning Herald Reports that hotels listed on TripAdvisor will be able to “wipe their slate clean” after a major refurb or change in ownership.  I felt it was my responsibility to archive just a few disgraceful accommodation providers before they have their slate wiped clean.  The examples are all from the South Island – this is purely a coincidence.  I’m quite sure the North Island has some total shit-boxes too.  Indeed – they can be found all over the world.

Christchurch’s Ferry Motel

 The owners seem to be taking advantage of the lack of accommodation in Christchurch at the moment – some classic comments from guests below.

“Booked 4 weeks in advance, never seen the room as no one was there!!! Rang cellphone number, 0800 number and land line no answer.”

“Could hear the people in next room urinating.”

“I sprayed myself with insect repellant before I got into bed due to fear of bed bugs.”

“It was slightly better than sleeping in the car…but not much better.”

Picture of old looking kitchen

Guests estimate that the décor at the Ferry Motel dates to the 1960s or 70s, although this hasn’t been confirmed by the owner.

Greymouth’s Breeze Motel

Here’s one from my very own hometown of Greymouth.  Comments from guests at the Breeze Motel suggest that the owners are not attempting to build a brand – or that if they are, the brand values will include “dirty undies”.

 “rubbish out the back window complete with old underwear”.

I love this one…it leaves something to the imagination:

“Had to look for a toy under the bed and couldnt believe what I saw under there.”

A motel

The Breeze Motel – don’t look under the bed

Criterion Hotel, Blenheim

I have had a beer at the Criterion, and it is rough. However I might have liked it more at the time had I known that one could simply sleep in the hallway.

“Room fittings are broken or non existent, with holes either kicked or punched in room doors and a terrible smell pervading the corridor carpets (perhaps water seppage?)
It only proceeded to get worst, on finding a person sleeping on the corridor floor on the Sunday morning, perhaps a common practice there.”

A hotel

The Criterion – our criteria is simple: “as long as you don’t sleep in the public bar”

There was much hand-wringing in the tourism industry when TripAdvisor became popular, and it has been open to some manipulation by malicious competitors in the trade.  It also really rattled the cage of traditional quality assurance programmes in New Zealand like Qualmark.  Regardless of your views, I would rather know that my accommodation provider was going to traumatise me, as has happened to the guests providing the reviews above.

Video

Great amateur travel video in Karon Beach

17 Aug

I am planning a trip and have found that a look around on Youtube is a great way to get a sense of a place before you plan to visit, or book.

Amateur videos often provide the best insights into specific areas, and can be quite detailed.

Among my favourites is from the Youtube user “Trollslander” who provides us with the “top ten things to do in Karon Beach, Thailand”.

Something about his earnest delivery, combined with the headband and locally purchased t-shirt that suggests that he really knows his way around Thailand, creates the kind of humour you can’t plan.

The video starts as a fairly generic top-ten list, but the humour starts around 0:40 with our host’s innocent claim not to know what a ping pong bar is.

From about 6:00 things start to heat up and our host is torn between his undertaking to provide a quality travel video, and his taste for the local night life. Nothing seedy – just good clean boozy fun.

I genuinely think this is one of the best travel videos I have seen – I wish they were all this good.

I am going to Karon Beach and am hoping to do a remake of it.

Video

Go to Lebanon

15 Jul

Tourism Lebanon has created this beautiful destination marketing video that acknowledges conflicts in the Middle East. Sun, food, arguing and democracy. All part of a good holiday.

Good work Lebanon. I want to visit you.

Video

Vintage footage of Hong Kong

12 May

Great video from the gang at travelfilmarchive, one of my favourite Youtube channels.

New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015

28 Jul

In 2009 the New Zealand tourism industry banded together to develop a document named “New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015”, to guide the industry.  It dealt with many issues facing the industry; such as sustainable tourism and domestic tourism in New Zealand.

In the past few years, the operating environment for tourism in New Zealand has changed considerably, and the strategy has dropped off the agenda somewhat. For one reason or another it is now quite hard to find on-line.

With this in mind, I am posting it here so that anyone who is interested can download the document.  So here it is – The New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015.

Front cover of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015

Why you should visit Christchurch: the pop-up mall

21 Jan

Christchurch is a great place for tourists or anyone to visit.  One reason is the very cool new pop-up mall.

For those of you who don’t live in New Zealand or who do, but have living under a rock, Christchurch has suffered several massive earthquakes and several thousand aftershocks since the first decent shake on September 2010.  The ongoing earthquakes have hampered efforts to rehabilitate the city and its infrastructure, and have started to really get to people.

Put simply, all the old buildings in what was the main shopping street in Christchurch have fallen down or been pulled down and in their place are a bunch of brightly coloured shipping containers with glass fronts and containing very cool shops.  Not only does this pop-up mall offer better shopping than Chashell Street did before the earthquake, it offers the best shopping in New Zealand.  I know this is a big claim but its not a big country and I do like to shop.

The shops themselves are a perfect blend of Christchurch’s best – from the swanky Ballentynes ‘urban’ store (where my girlfriend bought some Armani gumboots!) to the old Johnson’s the Grocers.  Johnson’s was an iconic grocer in Colombo Street where the shelves groaned under the weight of imported foods from around the world but especially anywhere that smelly cheese proliferates.

The mood of the place is uplifting.  I admit I was there just before Christmas, but the mall seems to represent a positive future for Christchurch – one where losing old buildings doesn’t mean losing the character of the city.

It is interesting because just over the a wire fence (seen everywhere, it seems, in Christchurch) is the sound, only one block away, of the central city being pulled down one building at a time.  This sound is normally an eerie and melancholic one – the slow death of a lost CBD.  But from the pop-up mall the sound can only be heard behind the buzz of commerce, the energetic noise of espresso machines, and buskers’ music.  Then it sounds more like a solemn but steady optimism for the future of Christchurch’s CBD which will be a blank canvas for inspiring and unique places like the pop-up mall to, well…pop-up!

Colourful containers housing shops with people shopping outside

Some of Christchurch's well established shops are housed in the container mall

Shipping container cafe with stone garden in foreground

The pop-up mall has a surreal feeling to it

Kooky Swiss national tourism marketing

21 Oct

This is the latest from the Swiss national tourist office.  National tourism marketing at its best (?).    Still not as cool as Iceland (so to speak).

Video link

Swiss man in a forest, looking at an ant-hill with the sub-title "See these ants"

Via Copyranter

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