Sometimes, no amount of due diligence can prepare you for the reality of an experience. Flashy websites often don’t provide the full picture, and the mainstream travel press is not always reliable. Both conspire against us. But they also prove why boots-on-the-ground anonymous reviews are so important. While we found many hotels and excursions worth recommending this year, several proved disappointing.
Four Columns Inn
The historic Four Columns Inn, a longtime Andrew Harper recommendation, was for decades a world-renowned destination that saw luminaries pass through its doors. So imagine our surprise when we arrived late one afternoon and no one was there to check us in, help us carry our luggage up three flights of stairs or recommend a place to eat (the on-site restaurant was closed). Our room also smelled musty, and the swimming pool, full of branches and surrounded by weeds, looked abandoned. In a later communication with the manager, she asked about our experience, and we were honest. Unmoved, she chastised us for not speaking with someone at the time of our stay, completely missing the point: Nobody had been there to speak to.