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Are reviews for VIP real?

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Are reviews for VIP real?

Should I be suspicious of the reviews here on tripadvisor for the VIP Hotel Playa Negra? The ratings are almost all 5 star, but when looking at the reviewers for those posts, their only review is for the hotel. The two reviewers that have multiple posts rate the hotel as poor or terrible. Also, it looks like the "traveler photos" are professionally done. Do hotels go to the trouble of creating fake reviewers just to get good reviews? I'd like to give the hotel the benefit of the doubt, but things seem very odd.

I searched the forum and have seen that the owner of the Banana Azul (which would be our first choice if they had rooms available) says the VIP is "in a pretty jungle setting" so that is somewhat reassuring.

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
Level Contributor
7,944 posts
43 reviews
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1. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

When taking reviews into account, anyone who has 1 or 2 reviews and no other contributions should be taken with a grain of salt.

Having said that, I absolutely trust Colinisto and his assessments, so if he gives the place a thumbs up, then it's a good bet you are good to go.


San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
46,303 posts
35 reviews
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2. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

If Colinsito...said is good it is good...also you can ask Cubanon he knows the area very good!


2 posts
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3. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

Thanks for the reply. Not sure if Colinsito gave it a thumbs up or not. He said it was in a nice area.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9,287 posts
23 reviews
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4. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

Why not send colinsito a private message and ask him to recommend 2 or 3 places as alternatives to Banana Azul within a given price range? You should also make it clear what your criteria are - whether its proximity to a beach, walking distance into town, comfortable beds, budget accommodations or an isolated jungle setting. Obviously this spot is not as close to the beach as Banana Azul and that might make a difference to you.

It's not really fair to put the burden on colinsito to say negative things about a competitor but he might be able to steer you to good alternatives to BA in a private message.

Saint Paul...
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12 posts
47 reviews
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5. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

I have had the same question... So many people with their only reviews being the VIP... and the vast majority of people with single reviews that have 8+ "helpful" votes...

Looks very manipulated.. As I have seen no other hotel reviews anywhere that are even close to this type of review distribution.

Did not think that this was allowed by TA, but it appears that they may be getting away with it...

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Level Contributor
1,648 posts
50 reviews
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6. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

Thanks for the vote of confidence. Also thanks for noting that I am in an unique position as are many about giving constructive critisim about hotels and businesses in the area. My usual rule of thumb is that "if I don't have anything nice to say about a place" then not say anything at all. Unless it is the case of a business who is outright defrauding people. It is a small community.

The review system that TA has is pretty good. It is hard to manipulate the system. Yes, you can get friends to post good reviews once... But if people go there and find out that reviews are not accurate, you will end up with bad reviews, so it all balances out pretty soon. And yes, it is better to put more weight into people with multiple reviews. It is also better if you make sure that you and the reviewer have a lot in common when it comes to your desires about traveling. Example; if u are a couple looking for a nice, medium priced little escape and you read that senior travellers did not like the place... You would want to read more reviews.

I just read a review who absolutely berated the Chameleon. I could tell right away that we had different expectations when it came to hotels.

While it is wonderful to be on number 1 position in an area, try not to make that your criteria for choosing a place. Most importantly look at the website, then look at the solid reviews and then make your decision. Also keep in mind that many places in Puerto Viejo are not in best category. So do look in other categories as well as just hotels.

Another thing to note is small places with very few rooms can score really high. This does not mean this in inaccurate, but it does show that they have good hosts that can pay lots of personal attention to you. That might be good for many... But some it might not be.

Best way to decide what is right for you... Is tell me exactly what you are looking for on your holiday and it would be easier to suggest what might be right for you. We get many emails at Banana Azul that it is clear that either our property or the Caribbean coast is not a good fit and we tell them so. If we don't, the only thing worse then bad reviews is having to deal with unhappy people for 5 days ;-). So, yes, it is for self- preservation, but also most importantly, it is your vacation and you should get what you want and what you can afford.

Please feel free to email me privately if you think I can answer questions that might not be best for the forums. And no matter where you stay, please know you are welcome at Banana Azul to lounge in our chairs at the Beach Club and any other facilities we provide.

Cheers, Colin.

Edited: 10:02 am, February 06, 2012
7. Re: Are reviews for VIP real?

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