Thank you for submitting a review of your experience at La Rosa del Mare B&B.
While we certainly appreciate your contribution, it has come to our attention that your review included ratings of hotel features that you had not experienced, such as the sleep quality. As is our policy, we removed your review upon discovering this inconsistency.
Please let us know if you have any questions about your submission or this policy; we look forward to addressing your concerns.
TripAdvisor Support Team
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I got this message from TripAdvisor, letting me know on June 10 they had deleted my cautionary review of La Rosa Del Mare, a bed and breakfast inn advertised on TripAdvisor as the “#2 of 4 B&Bs” in Piraino, Italy.
The proprietor had been trying frantically, through TripAdvisor, for four days to get me to rescind my review, which accused him on not exercising good faith (among other things) in regards to advertising his property for rent. Seems there is one little detail he forgot to mention: A another family already occupies this entire property!
The proprietor, Pippo Aragona, had sent me a message demanding I rescind my review:
Tanks for this very good review(the first noot good review in 5 yars)you dont right that you dont pay nothing money in Lasacogliera.You go without pay .
Sorry, Pippo, wrong again. I had a pre-paid, non-refundable reservation made through Kayak, which charged my American Express card $55.20. I showed you the printed voucher when I met you. You were unimpressed (see below). Actually, I had wanted to cancel the reservation when I saw that it was 50+ miles away from the Messina area – where I had been led to believe it was; but, no! You have a seven-day advance cancellation policy!
Yes, I paid nothing to La Scogliera, which you took me to, told me you also owned, and told me there would be no charge. Of course, after that, you disappeared – and left me to work out my own deal with the front desk clerk at La Scogliera. He could rightly claim I had no direct agreement with him; in fact, he could have demanded any price for the room!
But I think that was part of the scam (I noted that these guys didn’t report any of this to police).
Although there is a suspiciously large number of glowing reviews for such an isolated property (mostly from Italians), there was one cautionary review – from a woman who said the property is hard to find, don’t arrive after dark, and don’t be surprised if you are told they have no record of your reservation, or that it was given away due to your late arrival, or that they will instead put up in a nearby place they also own.
I should have put more weight on that one rant, than I did on the other 15 raves.
So, immediately after leaving the property, while the experience was still fresh in my mind…here is the review I posted on TripAdvisor about my experience at La Rosa del Mare:
One other guest who has written a review of this property mentioned how hard it was to find, and the fact that when she got there, they couldn’t find her reservation…so they got her a room at another place nearby that they were associated with. I have news for you. This was no isolated experience. This is how it works. We found the place…high on a hill near (not in) Piraino. It was occupied by a family from eastern Europe, or someplace. They had been living there for some time, and occupied every room in the property. They spoke not a word of English, or Italian. They just kept saying “Pippo” and pointing to an old woman in the kitchen with a cell phone. She finally called Pippo, got him on the phone for me, and he said, “I’ve never heard of Kayak (who I booked with). And I’ve never heard of you.” Expectations officially lowered. But he did offer to drive up and take us to another place nearby (a beach front motel down the hill). We were so grateful to slither off that hill without plunging to our deaths in our rental car, that we didn’t complain nearly loud enough when the proprietor of the beachfront place stuck us in a room not facing the ocean. (The actual property we thought we were booking faces the ocean, and has an incredible view of the the Aoelian Islands). Instead, our room faced a set of railroad tracks, and trains rumbled by all night, 12 feet from our window. The beachfront place at least has a decent restaurant, and we were so famished after spending hours trying to find La Rosa that we ate our dinner and shut up, and were thankful not to be up on that hill. If you do wind up staying at the actual La Rosa (unlikely, in my view) know that it is in a very treacherous and remote place. Bring food, drinks and supplies because you won’t want to leave until your reservation runs out. The road Pippo took us down to the beachfront hotel was one lane, one way, almost straight down, and something you would never attempt to come back up by yourself. Especially with your precious family along. Oh, and one other thing: If this property turns up in a search for B&Bs in the Messina area of Sicily, like it did for us, know this: It is more than 50 miles away from Messina. Or anything else, for that matter.
What I realized after I posted this, and saw the frantic comments from the proprietor was that this looks lot like a scam. Get a non-refundable booking from someone. Chances are they won’t show up, because they can’t find the place. If they do somehow find it, take them down to La Scogliera, get them a cheap room, and let the proprietor at La Scogliera tell them the next morning – when they go to retrieve their passports and check out – that he has an unpaid for them. And who is this Pippo?
I think travelers ought to be warned about potential pitfalls such as this. I think TripAdvisor would – or should – agree. But in the end, TripAdvisor seemed more inclined to address the proprietor’s needs, than the traveler’s.
So, what rationale did TripAdvisor use to delete my review? Very clever: Since I had not actually stayed at the property, I couldn’t accurately check the box for “sleep quality”. Maybe I should post a review of La Scogliera, and warn travelers about passing trains?
When I emailed TripAdvisor that they might be letting a scammer off the hook, they replied they were looking into it. That’s the last I heard about it.
June 14, 2012