Tag Archives: TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor’s Top 2 Percent?

TripAdvisor Top 2%
So I received the email above yesterday. Apparently, I’m one of TripAdvisor’s top 2% of reviewers in Paris? Hmm, I have a feeling that’s because they’re analyzing data of Paris-based reviewers for TripAdvisor.com and not TripAdvisor.fr. Especially considering I’ve only posted less than 30 reviews, I find that surprising…but hey, I’ll take it!

I still remember using TripAdvisor 10 years ago when Rio and I went to Spain for our first time. It definitely wasn’t widely used at the time, and now, I see restaurants and hotels touting “TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence” stickers on their windows and websites, and owners constantly asking people to write reviews for them after using their services. What a difference 10 years can make!

Yours in Travel,

The Top 2% (ha!)

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Staying at…B&B Vondel View

B&B Vondel View
For our recent Amsterdam trip, we opted to stay at a bed & breakfast instead of our preferred lodging – a boutique hotel. Pourquoi? Well, because when you take as many weekend trips as we do, those boutique hotels can become pretty pricey, pretty quickly. So after some research on TripAdvisor, we settled on Vondel View B&B (sometimes called B&B Vondel View) because of the positive reviews (5 star rating out of 159 reviews!), good location and the modern, beautifully-decorated room. Here are my thoughts on Vondel View B&B:

Location: Tucked away in a small, shady side street, Vondel View B&B is located one block away from Vondelpark – the equivalent of NYC’s Central Park – and a few minutes from a stop on the main Tram Route 1. For museum-lovers, it’s a mere 15 minute walk through the park to the famed Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.
B&B Vondel View
The Room: We stayed in the Flower Room, which was more spacious and better decorated than some of the pricier hotels we’ve stayed at. Granted – it doesn’t hurt when the owner’s husband is an interior designer/decorator! Adjacent to the room, is a bathroom that seemed almost spa-like with a large sunken tub, double sinks and plants. At first, it kind of threw me off that there wasn’t a door that directly accessed the bathroom from our bedroom and instead you’d have to leave your bedroom and enter the bathroom that was right next to it. However, it is a private small floor with no other rooms, so I still felt safe with leaving my toiletries there. I have to add that one of the nice touches in the room was that there were several travel books (Rick Steve’s, Frommers, etc.) that you were free to use during our stay – which we did!

The Owner: Rita is a wonderful, friendly and helpful host! Prior to arriving, she not only emailed thorough directions to finding the B&B, but she also sent a list of suggested activities and sights in Amsterdam, with links and strong recommendations on which tickets to buy online in advance. (I wish I had followed her recommendations, as I ended up having to wait on line at the Anne Frank Museum for an hour!) Upon arrival, we realized our adaptor was broken and when asking if there was a nearby store to buy a replacement, Rita offered us an extra adaptor she had so we could use it during our stay. That definitely saved us a few euros and some time!
Breakfast at B&B Vondel View
Bonuses: Breakfast is included in the price and served in your room, and it is incredibly better than some of the hotel breakfasts I’ve had in the past. For breakfast, we were served eggs, local ham and cheese, pastries, bread, yogurt, etc. along with coffee, tea and fresh orange juice. I was really pleasantly surprised about it, as I had thought breakfast would merely consist of some pastries and coffee.

The Non-Pluses (because it’s not really a “negative”): The only thing I wish Vondel View B&B had was air conditioning. Although Amsterdam is fairly cool, the weekend we went (late July) was still pretty warm and there wasn’t much wind blowing into the room. Plus, Rio tends to get hot pretty easily…and by easily, I mean when the room is higher than 60 degrees. However, there is a powerful fan in the room that did help a bit.

Recommendation: Book it! I definitely recommend Vondel View B&B and would return for sure! It’s a great value, beautifully decorated, clean and well-located.

The Details:
B&B Vondel View
Gerard Brandtstraat 14hs
1054 JK Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tél: +31 (0)20 612 6055
**140 euros per night for the Flower Room (double occupancy, weekend).
**Cash only.

If you’d like a quick recap of my Amsterdam Itinerary, here’s a link. If you’d like to see photos and more information on my stay in Amsterdam, here’s Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Here’s to happy travels!

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Eating at… Tentazioni

Rio at Tentazioni
There’s nothing I love more than an intimate delicious Italian restaurant. So for our five-year wedding anniversary, I made reservations at Tentazioni. I had read about it in the Paris blog Lost In Cheeseland for “perfect home Italian cooking” and is apparently her go-to for for dinner when working late. So, I do what I always do and checked it out online. Once I saw how much TripAdvisor reviewers seemed to love it too and that the photo of the restaurant from outside looked cute, I was sold.

Well, it’s definitely tiny. But it’s a lot more casual than I thought it was going to be. (See photo of Rio at the restaurant above.) It was basically like being at a takeout Italian counter slash tiny restaurant… with bright lights on. Keeping that in mind, I wasn’t surprised to see that the owner/server/chef seemed to be a friendly family of mom, dad and son. As for the food, it was fine. Nothing mind-blowing. And to be honest, I can’t even say that it was really good. I really wish I could since the service was friendly. And no, I don’t think (nor want!) food to be fancy-schmancy for me to love it. The food was just fine.

However, throughout the night it did seem like many people kept coming in to see if there was a table available or were picking up food to go. And then there are those positive reviews online… So perhaps the dishes Rio and I got were just not the best?

Overall, it’s not exactly the place I would’ve chosen for our anniversary. I would’ve preferred a restaurant that was a bit nicer and for the food to be a bit better. But if you’re in the Montmartre area and want to grab some Italian food for lunch, by all means, hop on in. I think it’s a perfect lunch spot.

Tentazioni
26, rue Tholozé
18th arrondissement
Phone: 01 53 28 45 20
Métro 2: Blanche or Metro 12: Abbesses

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