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C'mon, how many hotels did you actually visit?

People we talk to have a difficult time believing that all of our recommended hotels, health clubs, community centers, etc. are personally toured. Believe it or not, it's fact not fiction--we rack up thousands of flight, rental car, and walking miles across the U.S. and Canada to verify our top picks. First hand evaluations are the only way to ensure the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And, they are essential for unique and detailed reviews.

While finding our winners along the way, we also end up touring hundreds of near misses, mild disappointments, and blatant misrepresentations. A couple of our favorites: Excited by the prospect of finding a true "lap pool" at a certain hotel in Salt Lake City, we could do nothing but laugh out loud while peering across the modified hot tub with a sign on the wall that read "173 laps = 1 mile". Forget about the galling claim that the kidney-shaped crevice containing less agua than a waterbed was a "lap pool." Who in their right mind would believe that swimmers could actually maintain sanity, let alone keep count after 346 turns!?

Another hotel in NYC profusely bragged about its "wonderful" gym. Upon arrival, we were directed to the sixth floor--"where the gym has abundant light and a pleasant view of the city." Sounds good, right? Wrong! Staff and its website failed to mention that the "top notch gym"--which was actually borderline average--offered labored inhaling and exhaling on the one and only smoking floor in the entire hotel! The waft of second-hand puffing hammered us as soon as we stepped off the elevator and the doorless gym could not serve as an escape. The leather benches absorbed what must have been years of nicotine odor--if only we could have found an ashtray. Yes, we'll keep touring.

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