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Adventures in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Tripadvisor Punishes Local Playa del Carmen Businesses

Posted by Tony & Cheri on March 14, 2011

We posted the following this evening on the Tripadvisor Playa del Carmen forum. We think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Where is the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar? We know, but we aren’t allowed to tell you.

We have been posting here on the TA Playa Del Carmen forum ever since we moved to Playa almost six years ago. After a couple of years of posting we were made “Destination Experts” for this forum. There are a lot of “Destination Experts” for Playa, but we are the only ones who currently live here. We think that gives us a knowledge that can’t be obtained simply by vacationing here occasionally.

From the very beginning we’ve done our best to offer as much information about Playa as we could and to obey TA’s rules for postings by a local business. We always signed our name as business owners so there would never be any question about it. We never started threads about our business. We never responded to questions about where to stay or which is the best hotel. We never offered opinions about the value, quality etc. of our business or competing businesses.

Mostly we have answered questions about Playa from people who needed information. If you want to see what kind of posts we made and what kind of information we have offered just click on our avatar at the left of this post. Go to our profile and look at the list of our postings.

We think most people will agree that we have regularly answered questions about Playa that had no connection to our business. And we have answered questions regularly from people who clearly were staying at large resorts and would never consider coming to a small hotel like ours.

Of course we realize that exposure on a forum like TA is generally good for business. But the reality is that the TA Playa forum is overwhelmingly populated by people who prefer the AI experience. We have NEVER had a guest tell us that they picked our hotel after seeing us on the TA forum. We have always felt that we had a unique knowledge and experience and wanted to share it.

However some other people saw it differently. An increasingly vocal group on this forum has started a drumbeat against local business owners posting here. We have never understood why. As long as people know it is a business they can judge the weight of the opinion accordingly. Readers can ignore such posts, accept them or take them with a grain of salt.

In the end, our attitude has been that locals—those who live and work here—have more information to share than those who occasionally visit some large resort on the Riviera Maya once or twice a year. We think many people are interested in what we locals think and know. However a small group of forum posters acting as self-appointed censors saw it differently. This group has made a real effort to drive locals from this board.

Because we are local business owners, we have been called shills for the tourist trade and representatives of the whole Mexican hotel industry, accused of blatant self promotion and even personally attacked. One person who publicly said we had no place on TA went on a TA forum and said our hotel was a front for an escort service! We have dealt with this stupidity as best we could over the years, continuing to post in the belief that we were actually helping some people discover the wonders of this part of the world.

However today was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Someone started a thread asking where our bar was. We posted our address and directions (both via cab and walking). No promotion, no advertising, no “we are the best bar…” etc. Just directions, no more. Someone complained it was self promotion and TA removed our post.

In short we aren’t allowed to even say where we are located without being attacked by those members of this forum who have decided they and they alone can decide what others will post. We find this unfair, and we think TA’s willingness to allow this sort of bullying to take place is equally wrong.

For us the stupidity and pettiness of certain members of this forum have reached a point where we no longer find it worth our time or effort to share our knowledge of Playa on this board.

We are still more than happy to share what we know of Playa…just not here. If any reader here has questions about Playa and think we might be able to help, please feel free to contact us at our blog (, our Facebook page ( or through our website ( Or you can even just by stop by our hotel and ask your questions in person. We’ll do our best to help.

We love our adopted home of Playa Del Carmen. We walk its streets, visit its beaches and experience its people EVERY DAY…not a couple of times a year, but EVERY DAY. If we can help others discover the pleasures of life here we are happy to do it. But we are not willing to be attacked for offering people this help.

Yes this post will quickly be removed. As soon as one of the self-designated forum police sees it and reports it, TA will remove it. But we are going to post it on our Facebook page and on our blog. We think forum readers should know how Tripadvisor has allowed a few people to restrict information on this forum.

We wish the readers of the TA Playa del Carmen forum good travels. Please come to Playa and see for yourself how sweet, laid back, and beautiful life down here can be.

Now we are going to return to our life here in paradise. We will see you on the beach.

Tony & Cheri
Luna Blue Hotel & Bar

Someone at Tripadvisor must have been sleeping last night, as they allowed this post to stay up for almost 14 hours before it was deleted and the thread closed. LOL Thanks to all the nice people who had positive comments.

8 Responses to “Tripadvisor Punishes Local Playa del Carmen Businesses”

  1. Mary B said

    Tony & Cheri,
    I have always enjoyed your newsletter and random updates of news/events/weather in Playa.
    Please know that I’ve never stayed at Luna Blue because we have a Timeshare but I ALWAYS enjoy your writings and photos….. they make me realize how much I miss Playa. And make me question “WHY do I live in Jersey?!”
    Keep doing what you enjoy …. living la vida loca! I, for one, am jealous!
    Hope to come down and have a drink with you two!
    Mary B

  2. sharon said

    Wow, am so sorry to hear what has happened. I love your blogs and will continue to read whatever you blog…… how unfair!


  3. Jay Smith said

    I have stayed at the Luna Blue and had the pleasure of meeting its owners and getting to spend a little time with them as well. They are well educated, thoughtful, motivated, descent people. They are down to earth and and as laid back as rest of the community is in Playa.

    They are far from self promoter’s and never have pushed the Luna on anyone. They love Playa and speak highly of it. They told me personally that there are many fabulous places, eateries, beaches, hotels, resorts in and around the area. Why TA or the people bashing them would be doing so, I have no idea????? So from me to all of you………Go to Playa del Carmen and go to the Luna Blue!!!!!!!!!

    • leslie austin said

      As always someone has to ruin things for the rest of us. Sorry to see you all go from the forum, but I know how to reach you. It is the other people out there missing out!

  4. Debbi said

    This is really terrible news! I have been following your blog since I first read your story about your move from San Francisco to PDC. I have enjoyed reading your reviews of restaurants and beaches. I will be in Playa during the month of June and look forward to meeting you both. I would never stay at an AI resort and feel that most of the postings on TA lean that way. It is truly unfortunate that a few small minded people have to ruin things for the rest of us.

  5. gringation said

    I used to read that forum a lot, and I remember your posts always being informative without any hint of self-promotion. I also remember a few people calling you out for self-promotion when no such thing had occurred.

    So sorry you’ve been called out for something you didn’t do. Still love your blog!

    Also, I’m not sure if I mentioned this a few months ago… I tried some of your drinks at A Taste of Playa back in November. I think I had 4 or 5 “Sex on the Bar” drinks! One of the best drinks I’ve ever had!

  6. Jeffrey Possum said

    well Trip Advisor ive always felt was somewhat obtuse and rhinoceros- i mean the averages cannot possibly be fair anyway. such pettiness is merely a puff of smoke when compared to the great beauty of what Playa really is. be of good cheer!

  7. Mike said

    I stayed there a couple of years ago and loved it.If I post on T/A every day how great and the address of Luna Blue is, will I get banned?I think will try and see! Can they ban a good ole boy from GA? I am so glad I get your emails thanks,Connie and I love the Luna Blue

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