The Principles - SOMEONE HAS TO KEEP UP THE STANDARDS

LONGITUDINAL ASSESSMENT

The evaluations occurred over decades by the same person or persons, so that the continuity of assessment is preserved,  quality can be recognised over time, and the slow and gradual lowering or rising of quality standards is diagnosed.   Our oldest reviews go back to the late 1970s.  

 

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THE NUMBERS

we score from 0/5 up to 5/5, 5/5 denoting perfection.   The full ratings will be the most reproducible of course.  we do not skew the numbers to make them look better for marketing or other purposes.  This is what many wine raters do, who have scores from 0-100, but only use, for instance,  80-100 to make it look better.  After all, 81/100 sounds better that 1/20.

Ref.:

(1) https://www.wine-searcher.com/critics-17-wine+enthusiast: "Score range: 80 – 100 points." Accessed 21/7/2019.

(2) https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2018/06/wine-writings-lack-of-judgment Accessed 7 August 2019

 

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THE BENCHMARK

Either and objective standard representing the best is taken as 5/5, or the best experience and quality ever experienced is taken as 5/5, i.e. the perfect score.  We aim at objectivity, i.e. even if we personally dislike a product or service, if the standards are fulfilled, our subjective negativity and dislikes need to be ignored.

 

For the Benchmarks in detail, see https://www.civilisedthoughtconsultants.com/the-benchmarks/

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IN DUBIO PRO REO

In case we cannot decide between two adjacent scores, i.e. 3.5/5 or 3.75/5, we will round it up to the better score.  This is out of respect for the effort that the providers, often professionals and the teams behind them have made or purported to make.

 

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RESTAURANT REVIEWS

Scores:

Food 3.5/5  hygiene, freshness, creativity, cheese.

Rest 1.5/5: Wine Service and glassware, decoration, hygiene incl. tablecloth (white is best).  Absence of undue noise. (1)

TOTAL 5/5. 

 

Minimum Requirements:

Food, incl. freshness and hygiene, wine or sake selection, tablecloth and napkins (preferably white to assess the wine's colour), service, cleanliness, fair payment conditions as far as we are aware, good cutlery/silverware and stemware

(omitting tablecloths and carpets raises the noise levels; omitting cutlery certainly increases the profit).  Restaurants without cutlery, without proper tablecloth, without proper glassware or with excessive noise will not be accepted for review.

 

Complex and creativity scores highest, but a simple and classic dish executed perfectly scores nearly as high. 

 

Cultural Exception: in Zen-style minimalist Japanese Restaurants in Japan, presuming absolute cleanliness and low noise levels, no tablecloth is required, and if a superb sake list is available, no wine list in necessary to achieve top scores for the wine list.  For restaurants outside Japan who call themselves “Japanese” our Japanese team member will decide whether they reach the quality standards necessary to include them in our reviews. 

 

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References:

(1) Noise levels in restaurants:  https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/2018/4/18/17168504/restaurants-noise-levels-loud-decibels

Accessed 26/5/18. 
(2) An email I received in July 2019 about omitting cutlery:
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WINE/SPIRITS REVIEWS 

Bouquet, taste, balance, intensity, fruit, tannin, longevity, complexity, texture,  length and character of the finish are taken into account.   Screwcaps create an airtight seal that prevents oxygen entry and hence maturation of the wine, and they also make is more difficult to assess heat and storage damage; wines with screwcaps closure will not be accepted for review.  Wines with composite corks will have 0.25 points deducted form the score; wines with glass stops or plastic corks will not be accepted for the same reasons as for the rejection of screwcaps.   We review wines blinded and unblinded; eventually all blind tastings tend to be unblinded.

 

Ref.:

(1)https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2019/08/the-blind-cant-lead-the-blind-tasting?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20190807-article01 Accesses 7 August 2019.

(2) https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2018/06/wine-writings-lack-of-judgment Accessed 7 August 2019.

 

WATER REVIEWS

Our guide is the Berkely Springs Water Tasting system, see http://berkeleyspringswatertasting.com/:appearance, odor, flavor, mouthfeel, aftertaste, and overall impression.  

 

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HOTEL REVIEWS

Safety is paramount in our assessment.  Additionally, good design, cleanliness, amenities and the availability and quality of the services offered, including front desk, concierge, housekeeping and room service.  Furthermore, location and design, whether traditional or modern, is included in our rating.

 

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AIRLINE SERVICES REVIEW

Safety is not rated, as independent sites are available for that purpose.  We select airlines based on safety foremost.  

Check-in, transfer to lounge, Quality of Lounge (also separately rated)

In-flight and lounge meal service analogue to restaurants, taking the particular circumstances into consideration.  

 

Airline flights are rated individually.  Rated are seats, staff, food, wine/drinks, cutlery and glassware, amenities. 

 

Airline lounges: design space, noise, showers/toilets, quality of food, drinks, glassware, staff assistance, transfer/escort to plane, amenities.  

 

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TRAVEL REPORTS AND TRAVELER PROGRAMMES

When we report about travels, incl airlines, hotels etc., we are not focusing on how to use miles, points etc. optimally.  This is not a website about frequent flyer programmes, like many other websites are.   Whilst we are members of various such programmes and  share our experiences and hints from time to time, this is not a website mainly dedicated to such Frequent Flyer schemes.

 

Although we try to use our miles or points optimally, of course, the vast majority of the hotels and transfers (like flights, train trips , hotel stays etc.) is properly paid; most of our travel is paid for in full and is self-financed or employer-paid. 

 

MEMBERSHIP IN FREQUENT TRAVELER PROGRAMMES

Due to out travels we have qualified for premium tiers in a number of airline and hotel loyalty rewards programmes (e.g. Star Alliance Gold, United World Emerald, Sky Team Elite, years of top tier membership in the Starwood, Hyatt and Accor hotel loyalty programmes), which might result preferential treatment that other members of the same tier would receive too.

Higher tiers give us the usual upgrades and amenities the these premier tiers entail, which gives us a chance too see how the service provider honours these entitlements.   We are focusing on the quality of serviced in general though, especially the service that is provided to all people independent of their tier in the relevant loyalty programme.

 

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FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE:

All evaluated goods and services are self-financed.  None of the goods and services rated were marketed or sold by us. No “free”offers or offers that were entailing a conflict of interest were accepted.  Discounts were only accepted if they were offered to others/the public equally.  No payments from producers, wholesalers, retailers or marketers related to the prodocts we review were accepted. 

 

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SELECTION CRITERIA

We keep ourselves informed and at times go by the recommendation of others, and we also exploring spontaneously the areas we are staying or traveling in at any given time.   We do not, of course, claim to evaluate all establishments, services, products or companies that exist, but only a small selection. 

 


"COMMENTS"

Sometimes we add items without rating them - we call it "Comments".  Some photos fall into this category.   In these cases we feel unable to give precise rating for various reasons.

 

 

OUR PHOTOS

The vast majority of our photos are taken on the run, as part our real life, by ourselves.  We do not spend much time taking them, nor do we spend hours waiting do the perfect shot, as photographers who photograph for marketing pictures might do.  We try to avoid photographs that might identify persons without their consent, and we respect the privacy of others.  In cases where photographing is inappropriate, we will refrain from it.