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article imageBournemouth hotel sues TripAdvisor over seedy brothel review

By Elaine Findlay     Feb 8, 2012 in Internet
Bournemouth - The owner of the three-star Hotel Celebrity in Bournemouth, UK is taking the TripAdvisor website owners to court over a particularly brutal review which likened the East Cliff area hotel to a seedy brothel.
Just a week after the travel review website TripAdvisor was given a dressing down by the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) over its marketing claims comes the news, on February 9, 2012, that a Bournemouth, UK, hotelier is suing the US based website after a particularly vicious review which likened the venue to a “seedy brothel”.
Originally called the Swanmore, there has been a hotel at 47 Gervis Road, Bournemouth, UK, since its delights were first advertised in The Times newspaper [subscription required] in January 1921 when “separate tables” were enough of a feature to appear in the advertisement and the price of rooms started at 4½ guineas.
By 1935, according to a digitised old telephone directory available online at Ancestry.com (subscription required), the Swanmore, which had been acquired by the parents of the great British comedian Tony Hancock, had been renamed the Durlston Court Hotel. It was this show business connection that provided the inspiration for its current name, the Hotel Celebrity and the theme of its public rooms. The hotel ticked along nicely offering three-star accommodations for families and groups as well as couples and individuals.
All that changed when a particularly harsh review appeared on the TripAdvisor website with a date of August 24, 2011 purporting to be from an erstwhile guest named Gemma B from Guildford, UK. After general negative observations about creaking stairs and floors, peeling wallpaper, lack of air-conditioning, and so on, the review went onto complain about the noise emanating from the room above:
At about 11 o'clock the noise from the room above began and did not let up until well in to the early hours of the morning. We did not sign up for any entertainment, and especially not seedy brothel like porn.
The review finished with:
…It was seedy and filthy and was like sleeping in a Brothel. All they needed was a red light! DO NOT STAY AT THIS HOTEL!!!!
The Bournemouth Daily Echo reports that Ken Robins, the owner of the Hotel Celebrity, on Gervis Road in the UK south coast town’s East Cliff area, claims the review put his three young children at risk and that:
…several chambermaids were offered money for sex when they went into guests’ rooms.
Robins has tried several times to have the review removed with no success and now sees no option but to take the website to court. In the meantime, his business continues to suffer because of that one apparently rogue rant.
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