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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Happy Hotelier banned from Facebook?

Your account has been disabled by an administrator. Please contact disabled@facebook.com from your login email for more information.

That is the message I get on my login page after I have invited a couple of fellow members of the T-List group on Facebook (Facebook | T-List Group) as friends. I really don’t know what I did wrong. Did I invite too many fellow T-Listers in one session? If that is the case, it would be helpful if one got a warning in the inviting process, such as MyBlogLog does by simply indicating that you are linking to too many persons for the day after they had to limit the daily hooking up to a maximum of 20 because frequent hooking up generated too much traffic on their site. I didn’t keep count of the number of invites I sent, but it were maybe 12 or 15 invites, on a total number of group members of not more that 35 or 38 and several members are (or better said maybe “were”) on my Friends list already.

I have send an e-mail inquiry as suggested, even two, but am getting nothing else back than an automatic reply that they “are looking into it and will answer as soon as possible”.

Thereafter I noted several times that the site was not approachable. Are they facing capacity problems or are they maybe subject to a hackers attack and trying to plug the holes? I can imagine that, like credit card companies, Facebook has tons of information that hackers would drivel about. There are already some rumors in the Blog community that the information Facebook collects makes it very vulnerable for identity theft.

By this action Facebook has definitely sunken on my radar and on my list of possible platforms for building a T-List and a L-List Community. Isn’t that what communities are about: Linking with as much as possible people with the same passion?

Post Alia (added August 3, 2007)

Facebook reinstated me yesterday and explained that a Facebook user is not allowed to send the same text several times as such could be construed as spam…..that is exactly what I did with several invites. No warning was given, at least not noticed by me. The site was on and off, so maybe that caused the problem of not showing the warning. Sending several invites without text is not considered as spam. I still don’t get it…..

Something to say about life in The Netherlands

Something to say about Living in The Netherlands

When traveling I am in favor of primary city hopping and I usually try to get information about 4 distinctive areas of interest:

  1. How to travel from A to B? Like: by plane, train, car or by boat? (I hate buses).
  2. How is B looking? Maps, pictures and descriptions (what you usually look for in a paper guide)
  3. How are the people of B?
  4. Things to do in B? Bars, restaurants, theaters, musea, scenic parts

With respect to all areas it is very easy to get tons of information via the Internet except for question 3: “How are the people of B?”. The more I surf around, the more I believe the expat Blogging community is the community to revert to: They give you a wonderful insight in the idiosyncrasies of the people you will meet in B.

One example of what I mean with idiosyncrasies can be found in this post : 51 Tips: An irreverent guide to international travel behavior from the Los Angeles Times (via The Worldhum Travel Zeitgeist): a simple list of do’s and don’ts in various countries.

One of my aims with this Blog is to make foreigners more aware of how the Dutch are. Therefore, I like to introduce you to an expat living in The Hague: Jenn in Holland, living in The Hague, who describes her adventures sometimes in a hilarious way in her Blog Something to say about Life in The Netherlands. Enjoy reading.

Qbic Amsterdam: First guest reviews are in!

Qbic Hotelroom
Photo (or artist impression?) thanks to the Trip
Advisor review mentioned below.

I announced the Qbic Hip Hotels concept in a post in November last year.

Since the news of their belated opening I have been looking for guest reviews for Qbic Amsterdam.

Now they are out:

  • One on Tripadvisor:

    Wow!

    I paid €59 per night (all taxes included), and got to stay in a cool design hotel and sleep in a Hästens bed. That’s what I call a good deal.

    The room was really cool. A unit with the bed, and bathroom connected put into the space. And even the wallpaper included information on a local bar and store in the city. Really handy and smart.

    Really for me Qbic offers amazing quality and the best price in the market.

    t is not in the city center but in the World Trade Center. But with public transport it was easy to get into town. Just about 15mins…

    I am hooked. From here on I am at QBic whenever I go to Amsterdam…

    A solo traveler from Barcelona, age 25-34

  • Six on the site of Booking.com. They publish them as soon as they have six reviews to prevent biased outcomes…therefor we had to wait. It also appears from the reviews that for guests they opened July 4.

    1 Guest score: 7 out of 10

    + Very clean and modern rooms, and extremely comfortable bed. Helpful staff aided check-in process and switching of rooms when problems discovered. Soothing and comfortable shower with huge overhead spigot in addition to hand held spigot.

    - Wireless Internet didn’t work in first room tried. No hooks for towels in bathroom. Some rooms have no windows. Televisions mounted on walls at such an angle as to make in-bed viewing impossible due to screen glare. Water from bathroom tap had slight rubbery taste. Travelling between hotel floors uses same elevators as the rest of WTC visitors. Room climate subject to settings of entire building; no per-room control.

    Anonymous (Solo traveler) from Netherlands – July 12, 2007
    2 Guest score: 9 out of 10

    + a very hip and trendy hotel, god value and the beds sleep excellent

    Enid (With friends) from terheijden, Netherlands – July 7, 2007

    3 Guest score: 9.5 out of 10

    + excellent value for the quality

    - since it was opened for only two days there were some unfinished details that need to be polished.

    Heath (Young couple) from Durango, USA – July 6, 2007

    4 Guest score: 8 out of 10
    + Dee Einrichtung und die tollen Lichter (interior and fancy lighting)

    - Es gab Dusche/WC im Zimmer aber ohne Vorhang/Türe oder irgendwas vor dem WC… (Nur kleines Wändchen wegen dem Wasser/Duschen) (No doors or curtains in front of the WC/shower stall only a tiny provision against shower splatter)

    Christine (With friends) from Liestal, Switzerland – July 19, 2007

    5 Guest score: 10 out of 10

    + Dat je midden in de nacht kan inchecken (possible to check in in the midst of the night)

    - Het ontbijt was goed alleen weinig keuze voor op brood (small choice of things for on your bread)

    Henny (With friends) from Heerenveen, Netherlands – July 10, 2007

    6 Guest score: 8 out of 10

    Wico (Young couple) from sambeek, Netherlands – July 9, 2007

This is not bad, not bad at all! I congratulate Qbic with this success, especially as it looks as if Qbic is sold out continuously.

T-List and L-List: The Next Step: Community Building!

Time for an update on the T-List and the L-List:

First some history:

  • On March 2, 2007 the T-List was launched by Quebec (CAN) based Mathieu Ouellet of Radaron who modeled it after the Z List, originally launched by Mack Collier of Viral garden.

    Mathieu now states in a response to Leeds (UK) based Darren Cronian’s provocative and funny The Death of The T-List:

    I’ve created the T-List for fun and also to see the impact it could have in the tourism&travel bloggers environment.

    If you take a look at my own blog, you’ll see that I talked about the T-List only once since it started. Exactly the same number of times you did. I’m not the hardest defender of the T-list. haha ; )

    I’m bored of the T-List itself but if there is something to remember from it, it’s that there are a lot of tourism & travel bloggers which would like to connect with each other. Is it good or bad? I don’t think there is something bad doing that. I don’t have personally any particular plan about it but I guess that some people do. Good for them.

    I found some interesting blogs/people with it so I’m totally happy ;-)

  • Shortly thereafter. on March 7, 2007 Lake District (UK) based Paul Johnson of A Luxury Travel Blog launched the L-List, modeled after the T-List.
  • I have since tried to keep a tab on the development of both lists on my Happy Hotelier deli.icio.us driven page T-List and L-List. Currently I count 185 Blogs on the T-List an 49 Blogs on the L-List.
  • On June 14, 2007 after a quiet period, London (UK) based Kevin May of The Travolution Blog revives the T-List with his post Revisiting the T-List.
  • On June 16, 2007 Keith of Tripcart reorganizes the T-List with his post The T-List Reloaded and presents it in a nice way (a lot of work!).
  • On June 27, 2007 Scott Rains of The Rolling Rains Report copies and pastes this reorganized T-List in his post TripCart Spotlights the T-List.
  • On July 11, 2007 Intermundial shows us The T-List Reloaded.
  • On July 17, 2007 Darren Cronian posts his The Death of the T-List.
  • Also on July 17, 2007 London (UK) based Guillaume Thevenot of Hotel Blogs 2.0 posts a reply in another tongue in cheek post: Battle of the Blogs regarding the T-List.

Sofar the T-List history part and now the community building part of some T-Listers:

  • Barcelona Based Albert Barra of Spanish language Marketing Hotelero, Marketing en entornos Web 2.0 y Turismo 2.0 had set up Travel in Blogs. I noted this here in my post Travel in Blogs: A new Travel community? and showed some scepsis. Albert replied correctly to my sceptical questions:

    Hello all,
    I’m Albert Barra, I have been reading all comments and articles regarding my blog and TravelinBlogs.com and decided to post to clarify your concerns.

    TravelinBlogs is an idea that came up between me and other bloggers some time ago. It was an idea that was created time ago when we noticed that there were very few interesting blogs about tourism, travel and Hospitality, and we considered it would be a good idea to put them all together or just listing them would be fine.

    The original project was called thBlogs.com and we started with it by posting manually those articles we liked. It has never been an interest on making business out of it.

    Danay, who is actually my wife, runs the site, and the admin user you mentioned is here. There is no machine thing at TravelinBlogs, but just RSS syndication of those blogs we like, and yours is one of them.

    Then came the T-list and we discovered new blogs. Some of them posted about TiB, and traffic increased fast.

    We still understand that having a Digg like project for the Travel and Hospitality would be of interest not just for the readers, but also for the bloggers as it allow them to get noticed and get extra traffic.

    Regarding your concerns about the reason why there are also categories in Spanish, the answer is quite simple, my blog which is considered of the best Spanish hospitality ones is in Spanish. There are also excellent Spanish blogs that deserve being promoted,and we post their articles at the site manually. Since then they are getting new readers from Germany that understand Spanish, and had no idea that those blogs existed. And last, our idea was also creating categories in German where there are also fantastic blogs, and French, but we are not so fluent in those languages to translate the categories.

    I hope I have clarified some of your concerns. You are welcome to visit the site.

    Albert Barra

    I joined the site and rummaged around. Look for yourself to see who from the T-List is also rummaging around. Thus far there is not a lot of communication going on between the contributors.

  • The Beta launch of VibeAgent, who by the way finalized an angel seed round today, also drew some T-Listers as beta testers which resulted in some contacts between them.
  • Then Vancouver Based Chris Clarke, also known as Chrispitality from his Blog Crispitality media Blog, a hotel industry blogger on Vacant Ready who earlier had set up the hilarious site Bed Jump Com as a stand alone which he later syndicated with Hotels by City, launched Hospitality Wiki as an experiment. He couldn’t find a relevant, interesting hospitality-specific online wiki anywhere, so he has created one and asks to participate! You will find some t-Listers there as well. Have a look.
    As a side note: have a look at this bed jumping project mentioned on Worldhum
  • There is another T-Lister who is setting up a T-List aggregator, but I lost the URL. When I find it I will fill it in here.
  • On July 4, 2007 Eric Daams (AKA Dr Pepper), A young Dutchman, living Down Under, who contributes with his brother Peter Daams who also lives Down Under, and with a third Dutchman, probably their oldest brother, Sam Daams (AKA Sam I am), who lives in Norway, to the Blog From the Swiveling Chair from the Travelerspoint travel community a post 12 Blogs I Like.
    Actually the format of this post gives me a great idea! Suppose each T-Lister posts about the 5 best posts he has seen on T-List blogs in the past week, or the past month. Then you get some real synergie! Then you really start building a community!
  • Then, on July 15, 2007 Vancouver (BC) based Jens Traenhart of the Tourism Internet Marketing Blog proposes in an excellent post T-List on Facebook to the T-Listers to join the Facebook | T-List Group. Currently there are 34 members. Have a look!
  • Finally: Off course Paul Johnson couldn’t stay behind and created via The L-List on Facebook the Facebook | L-List Community, currently with 8 members

So those are exciting developments and give plenty a possibility to building T-List and L-List communities. The only question is: which forum will prevail in a couple of months?

Note:
In researching one and another I added some details after the publication date.

Last edited by GJE on December 6, 2011 at 8:38 am

French Riviera and the Art of Booking Hotels Online: Nothing Zen! Part 3

Map of the French Riviera

We are taking a couple of days off after five months of 7/7 and 24/24 service to our dear guests. Destination: French Riviera. Just a couple of days on the board of a private swimming pool or a beach. Late breakfast, rest, lunch on the beach, rest, read a book, rest, small dinner, maybe some sightseeing, maybe some boating.
We put our plans for a trip to Copenhagen on the back burner as May, June and July gave us mediocre weather after an unusually hot April.

Where to stay?

First: where not to stay:

Not in Don Cesar, Cap d’ Antibes
We have stayed a couple of times at 4 star Hotel Don Cesar. Nicely located on Cap d’Antibes and near to one of our favorite beaches. However, the last time we stayed there, it proved more and more worn out. It doesn’t particularly look inviting to go back. This observation seems in line with those of Tripavisor reviews.
[Update: after a refurbishment the hotel is now know as Hotel Vogue]
Nor in Domaine Cocagne, Cagne sur Mer
Domaine Cocagne originated from a camping with some holiday apartments. It has Dutch owners and was not so long ago thoroughly and very nicely refurbished under guidance of a well known Dutch Designer, Jan des Bouvries: It has good location, a nice restaurant, nice beds and clean and almost white interior. However the guests that frequent there do not fit with the quietness and rest we are looking for. Especially since I had breakfast there with the pleasure of looking out over the swimming pool with a couple of ladies in a string only already loudly occupying their day beds (afraid as they were the beds would be gone for the day) while their figures would only be flattered by a bathing suit (even a bikini would have looked gross)….This view didn’t go well with the excellent shambled (pardon: scrambled) eggs I had for breakfast. In addition the owner made it very rudely clear to a couple of dear Gay friends of us who planned a stay for 2 or 3 months in the hotel, that he didn’t like gay people. Thirdly we noted a very high alcohol consumption of several hotel guests. These issues make me think twice to go there ever again. Hm they even have no reviews on Tripadvisor for this hotel.

True to my own principle I started browsing some trusted sites with hand picked accommodations.

  • Hotels of the Rich and Famous is easy navigable. Its map is excellent and combined with its listed properties it is quick and easy navigable. Certainly not so cluttered as some other sites. It comes up with: Chateau Eza in Eze (between Beaulieu and Monaco. Definitely a possibility as it is close to Bealieu where we like to visit friends one day and very close to Chateau de La Chèvre d’Or where a dinner or lunch has been on my wish list for quite some time already. It appears Chateau Eza is a Stein Group Hotel which operated the Dylan (formerly Blakes and now up for sale by owner Apollo Group) and The College Hotel, both in Amsterdam. I also didn’t know yet that Chateau de La Chèvre d’Or is a hotel as well. Alas it looks much more stuffy than Eza.
  • Kiwi Collection mentions:

    I very much appreciate the fact that the Kiwi collection gives the urls of all their featured hotels, notwithstanding they do not have maps available on their site

  • XO Private Collection just sent me an invitation by e-mail to join their XO Private Insider. I thought for a moment “Wow am I privileged”, but I now see you can click on it from its Main Page. I still do wonder from where the invitation came. I like the fact that they provide all info in a write up and simply link through to the website of the accommodation itself. It has (in addition to Eza and Cap d’Estel):

  • Luxury Culture suggests:

    • Hotel du Castellet in an old glass factory north of Bandol near Toulon, too far away for our present plans, but worthwhile to remember,
    • Domaine des Andeols North of Apt, an Alain Ducasse property, too far away but also to remember

    The luxury culture flash presentations are really nice to get good impressions of the properties and I would say a better impression than any video as yet could give

  • Then a very good friend of us mentioned Hotel Welcome in Villefranche sur mer. Oh I like that location: It is the second Bay west from Monaco and has a lot of shipping movements as it is frequented by mega yachts and by large cruising vessels who can anchor for free during a couple of hours or waiting until their berth in Nice is free to proceed or are seeking a nice location for a hop of for a stroll or a lunch ashore.

The Verdict:
I have split our stay over two hotels: Bastide Mathieu and Hotel Welcome.
Stay tuned for my reviews.
At least for future visits I can rely on this post which will help to save some time…

Last edited by GJE on December 6, 2011 at 7:24 am