My first hotel ban

Just like herpes, it was only a matter of time before it happened: I have my first hotel ban.

So who, might you think, would be the first hotel to nail a picture of my face to their Shit List, right next to pictures of Michael Jackson holding a baby over a balcony and anyone that ever stayed at the Cecil Hotel?  You may think Soneva, but hate goes against all their philosophies there, by which I mean the philosophy of making money so my AMEX and I would definitely be welcome back. Perhaps your brain neurons are firing at the thought that Giraffe Manor wouldn’t be so keen on my return?  Wrong again.  Maybe all of Japan?  No, in fact, it is a resort I was full of praise for, but clearly not quite enough: Sirai.  Sirai House, their flagship property, have said I’m as welcome as a Russian oligarch in Kyiv.  Apparently, the owners decided to read most of my blog and concluded, on my behalf, that I wouldn’t like it. Has to be said, you can’t fault their commitment to truly knowing their guests – not even I have bothered to read most of my blog.

Also, and I’m sure this has nothing to do with it, they didn’t like the idea of someone criticising it.

Sirai is a private business and they’re free to do as they wish, so I have no desire to turn this into a question of whether they should or should not have done this – that’s entirely their choice.  But it’s certainly taken me by surprise that a company that seemed so keen on feedback has in fact decided that it’s only if it’s feedback they’re comfortable with.  This almost comes across as childish, which coming from a guy that makes dick jokes whilst writing about hotels, is a low bar to hit. During my stay at Sirai Beach there was a huge desire to improve upon everything I gave feedback on, but I cannot help but wonder how they would handle a major complaint from a guest, particularly one they didn’t agree with.
Still, I’ll wear this as a badge of honour, as they’re not handing out any awards anymore since Will Smith started beating up people whenever someone mentions one.  I think that’s what he was so upset about.


This blog makes for an interesting dynamic; it started as a hobby, a way of passing time whilst travelling, then my wife, Lucie, founded a luxury travel business off the back of it.  Lucie now attends industry travel shows, where she meets some of the people I’ve written less-than-nice things, whilst I sit at home, as the brave keyboard warrior I am.  It’s fair to see that being honest has rustled a few feathers – maybe more like deep fried the birds.  Some hoteliers/weirdos, like Angama Mara, take huge joy in what I have to say, even when it’s negative, whereas others clearly take the “see no evil, hear no evil, people’s opinions are evil” route.

On one hand, it’s a surprise it’s taken this long for a hotelier to pray for my demise ban me, on another it’s a surprise who it turned out to be.  It goes to show how difficult it is to get an unbiased review when, even as a paying guest, there’s sometimes a desire to censor.


  1. A badge of honor. Well done!

  2. Congratulations!!!

    You can now consider yourself a bona-fide traveller ?

  3. I have been “banned” from a Banyan Tree as well as a W property (amazed that both properties still have that kind of rating on Google), directly as a result from me being a very vocal critic about valid complaints.

    The common theme appears to be poorly trained staff, which were of course hired by poor management.

    No one wants to admit wrongdoing or accept responsibility, so their best form of customer service is to ban you.

    There is one other 5 star boutique property that I was “banned” from, now defunct, and I remember their GM acting like they were doing ME a favor by letting me stay there. So when they get called out on their BS, they go irate.

    It is a General Manager or owner problem, that trickles down through the rest of the hotel. If they are at a more mainstream luxury hotel, they will try to cover up harder, because if corporate actually finds out the full story, they will be blacklisted from the industry.

    I am happy with my bans because my complaints were valid and I know for a fact that I got some terrible GMs fired in the end. Funny thing how corporate suddenly changes their opinion when you send them an audio recording of your interaction.

  4. Angela Koehler

    Just re-read your review of Sirai and am puzzled as to why they would ban you, clearly they have not read all of your reviews! Clearly they are super thin skinned.

  5. This made me laugh so much, in fact after reading your review I was considering adding Sirai House to an upcoming African trip. I mean it’s not an amanzoe but your review reads very well compared to your others

    If Sirai bans you I can’t even imagine what Giraffe Manor will do? Send an assassin giraffe squad?

    • I did receive some death threats after my Giraffe Manor review. I’m not even kidding. I don’t believe it was the giraffes though as if they learnt to type it’d surely be to email “heeeelp meeee”.

      I’m still not sure what to make of Sirai House, because Sirai Beach was so good. Luckily there’s Arijiju nearby and you could also consider Ol Jogi (not been, but heard good things) or look at Serengeti House. If you do decide to go, try and tell Sirai I’m coming with you and see their reaction.

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