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British tourist surprised when 'infinity pool' at Vietnam hotel turns out to be tiny hot tub

The Independent logo The Independent 23/05/2018 Jo Caird

a large body of water with a city in the background © Provided by The Independent It’s easy to get sucked in by the tempting photos on hotel and third-party booking sites, but the reality isn’t always as attractive as the pictures might suggest, as one British tourist found on a recent trip to Vietnam. 

Jenny Kershaw was expecting a beautiful infinity pool with city skyline views at the Vietnam hotel she had booked through Booking.com. Instead, she found a dingy tiled hot tub so small that a mat on its access ladder didn’t even have space for the final “e” on the word “welcome”.

The tweet Kershaw posted, showing the picture of the pool posted on Booking.com side-by-side with the photo she took, complete with crying with laughter emojis, quickly went viral.

Booking.com responded on Twitter: “Our support team can definitely look into this and help you with a complaint.” Kershaw was good-humoured about the situation, replying that she didn’t want to file a complaint and noting that the photo on Booking.com had been amended. 

Booking.com released a statement to Insider that said: “In the very rare instance that we detect a potential disconnect with the way a property is presenting themselves, whether it be their photos or the facilities they claim to offer, we take the matter seriously and seek to make adjustments so that they’re setting accurate expectations for our customers.”

Kershaw’s experience is hardly unique, with hotels all over the world misrepresenting themselves on their own websites and third party sites through the use of tricks like close cropping, elaborate staging or even straight up photoshopping of images. 

Hotel booking site Oyster.com, which sends inspectors to the hotels it lists, has compiled a rogues’ gallery comparing the photos they take on hotel visits with those appearing on other listings sites. 

Among the worst offenders in Oyster.com’s Photo Fakeout gallery are the AVA Hotel & Suites in Athens, which appears to have photoshopped the Acropolis to make it look much closer to the hotel than it really is; and the Hotel Playa Conchas Chinas in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, which appears to have messed with the colours on a balcony shot in such a way to make it resemble a technicolour paradise.

Oyster.com also warns travellers to be wary of what hotels choose not to include in their listings. The Samsara Cliff Resort & Spa in Jamaica, for example, had a photo on its website of a smiling tennis coach holding a ball and racquet but no picture of the actual tennis court. It’s clear why when you look at the photo taken by the inspector from Oyster.com, which shows a hard court in serious need of a resurfacing and a drooping net.

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