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Travel Advice - Read hotel reviews before you book.

At the end of a recent business trip to Italy, one of our editors decided to seize the opportunity, spend the weekend in Milan, and started a search comparing hotels listed by online booking services.  The story continues:

On one booking site, I found a three star hotel, near the tourist center of Milan (but not as close as I would have liked) that sounded acceptable.  However, it was close to the Central Train station. I am always reluctant to book near train stations in Europe, as they, often, are in seedy parts of town in neighborhoods that are rife with drug use. So, I searched a few travel sites that allow travelers to post opinions and found information suggesting that the hotel in question was not the place for me to stay. I hit the search trail again.

Using another service, I found a great sounding hotel offering a special deal that included an upgrade to a swankier room and  a free daily breakfast buffet. To top it off the hotel was very close to the Duomo and tourist Milan. Now I was scared: the deal seemed too good to be true.   I researched the hotel on the Internet and found several sites that provided tourist comments about the hotel and all indicated that it was a pleasant place and a good value.

When I arrived at the Hotel (the Starhotel Rosa), I found it a great value (nicely appointed, pleasant staff, conveniently located, excellent breakfast buffet) and a wonderful place to stay. Note: I found this incredible deal on a well-known booking service. The same hotel was available from another of the major services but the offer was for a lower quality room, which was $135 more expensive per night!

Be sure to comparison shop and to see what your fellow travelers think about specific hotel properties.  You will find many bogus reviews, and some incredibly picky people.  But, if you read enough reviews you will begin to form a picture of the property, its benefits and debits.

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