These headings mostly come from VT. When reviewing, I tend to follow my own rules, like this –
Hotels: as I’ve grown older, I’ve moved away from hostels and flea pits towards more upmarket choices. I prefer a big room, with lots of stuff in it. I like as big a bed as possible, and also like having a desk and or comfy chair/sofa. It’s good to have a TV with channels I can understand, as I like to have the option. Plus I’m a regular insomniac and sometimes need to find something unchallenging to do at 4am… Balconies are obviously a plus, as would be a good view (or a really terrible one for the comedy, like at the Sandpiper Hotel, KL). Because I’m British, I prefer having tea making facilities in the room, but that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like outside former Commonwealth countries. A minibar is good, just to have the choice, or to use it as a fridge for your own stuff. However those electronic minibars which charge you on removing an item are evil and will result in marking down. Failing a minibar, a fridge is fine, and this seems to be more common. You see it in facilities lists as ‘minibar (unstocked)’, but they could just say ‘fridge’ and I’d be happy. I need the shower to be good, as I’ve done the shower with cold water from a scoop and I don’t need that in a hotel. In the morning, I like a good, varied breakfast list, preferably a buffet of east and west. Obviously it’s better if the staff are friendly and professional. Finally, all of that is tempered by price and if I feel it was value for money.
Things to do: these will nearly always be things I have actually done, with an attempt at an objective look at the ‘thing’ and also my take on it.
Restaurants: I love cooking and, as you’ll be able to tell from the BBR photo, I love eating. I like going out to restaurants not just to eat but to get ideas for myself. I’m vegetarian, but I don’t have a problem with other people eating meat/fish; I do wish places would either have a bit of a choice for me or could make a veggie version of something. I’m also not hugely keen on some vegetables, and close to phobic of lettuce (though I’m working on this), which can make my life tricky! I can’t stress how much I love chillies, so you’ll see I tend to visit places with a spicy option – if food is meant to be spicy but isn’t, that’s bad. I used to think I wouldn’t bother reviewing big chains, particularly global ones, but I have seen on my travels that there are often some interesting dishes on the menu so I will occasionally throw one in. I am also trying to be less snobby… I tend to mark on food, drinks, atmosphere, staff and value for money. I base my rating on the experience of everyone in my group, not just my picky veggie POV, though it is of course my review. Finally, a 3 star restaurant review is not bad – I might often go back to somewhere 3 star because it’s an OK experience and convenient for me.
Nightlife: I am clearly getting old, as I don’t seem to write many of these! Would be similar to my restaurant reviews, minus the food, I guess.
Off the beaten path/tourist traps/warnings and dangers: these I’ll do as they occur to me, but they may fit into another category.
Transportation: I should do more of these, but I feel they’re probably best written by locals rather than visitors.
Local customs/packing lists/sports tips: I don’t really do these. Might do in future.
Shopping tips: I do a few of these. I’m more of a functional shopper, and don’t go buying stuff for fun; however I love looking around malls and supermarkets even if I’m not buying, to see what local people are into.