Above: Vineyards and electric towers behind the swimming pool, Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais, Cordevigo - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

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.

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Above: Vineyards and electric towers behind the swimming pool, Villa Cordevigo Wine Relais, Cordevigo - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

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