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So what do you all think of Karen Brown's recommendations?

So what do you all think of Karen Brown's recommendations?

Apr 8th, 2001, 01:42 PM
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Its funny that Relais & Chateaux should be brought up in a thead about Karen Brown becuase my major complaint with her little books is that so many of the listings are Relais & Chateaux members--or on the less expensive level from either Relais du Silence or Relais et Hotels Independents.
All of these are simply catalogs of member hotels that--of course--pay to be included.

Years back I found Karen Browns books charming--here was a very young girl giving her views on these places from her delighful and naive point of view--along with the scratchy little pictures it was fun just to have the books even if you didnt go.

Today of course its a whole other thing--and by the way--who cares if they pay or dont pay as long as the books work for you?

A lot of hotel owners I know in the countryside have told me over the years that while they dont pay for the chateau or inn to be included in Michelin--it does take some payola for their restaurants to be included.

Apr 15th, 2001, 08:25 AM
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You can not pay to be in Karen Brown's guide books - once you are chosen, however, you can pay to be on the website. My husband and I own a bed and breakfast in Big Bear and are seeking inclusion and thats what we have been told. Karen Brown's guides have a focus that some may not understand or enjoy but her descriptions are accurate and honest.
Mar 13th, 2002, 08:47 PM
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We have used Karen Brown's guides for
eight different trips to Italy, and have stayed in over a dozen of her recommeded properties from Piedmonte to Sicily.The price ranges were from dirt cheap (a lovely suite on a lemon farm in Sicily very close to Sircusa for $70 double per night WITH HALF BOARD)to reasonable ($100 DB or less)
We have always found her descriptions to be very accurate, and have been very pleased with our accomodations.
By the way, you don't really need to buy her guides, any good city library will have her books for loan
Mar 14th, 2002, 09:08 AM
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to the top
Mar 14th, 2002, 05:32 PM
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We stayed at a Karen Brown rec. hotel in Grimentz, Switzerland called the Hotel de Moiry that was nice, but not fancy. 100SF for two, also had a good restaurant. I would feel pretty comfortable staying in her recommended spots, although sometimes they are too pricey for me.
Apr 30th, 2002, 07:58 PM
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We will be staying in a hotel in Sirmione, Italy which was recommended by Karen Brown, the Hotel Grifone, anyone stayed there?
Apr 30th, 2002, 08:20 PM
John G
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Darling, I know Tina Brown, and Downtown Julie Brown, but I don't know Karen Brown.

How did this happen?

And I thought I was a mover and shaker on this board.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Best Swishes,

Oedipus Rex
Apr 30th, 2002, 10:03 PM
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Haven't stayed there, but ate there. Excellent. Waterfront. Do it.
Apr 30th, 2002, 10:05 PM
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(Oops, sorry - responding to the inquiry about the Grifone in Sirmione)
May 1st, 2002, 06:44 AM
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May 1st, 2002, 07:17 AM
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i"ve used KB for both France and Italy and have not been disappointed yet.
Feb 5th, 2003, 09:33 PM
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TTT for interested new people.
sss is offline  
Jun 15th, 2003, 04:32 AM
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sheila is offline  
Jun 15th, 2003, 05:03 AM
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KB may not request payments, but it doesn't mean that those are not arranged and coordinated by somebody else's organization, who then leaves to Ms. Brown's organization to deal with the content of the published material. In other words, the roads are paved ahead of time. It's done all the time.
Jun 16th, 2003, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
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Hi - I have used Karen Brown's guides on five trips to France. I use the B&B guide - not the inn. The Chateau de Messey was one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed in -- and it's within a ten minute drive to a city if you need that stimulation (I do). The Manoir des Tupes in Normandy was a manor house. Les Tuillieres in Northern Provence is way out of the way, yes, but an amazing experience. In the Dordogne, I stayed at the Moulin de Marsequet with a kind, loving family and had dinner around the table with several intersting guests from around the world. My only bad experience was at Ty Pesketer in Brittany and I believe the year after that, they were no longer in the book. I have emailed the Browns on several occasions and get back replies. In Orvieto, I stayed at the Locanda Rosati (marvelous) and again, ate around the table. Made so many friends doing this - two of them from Milan are coming to venice this year to be with me and yes, I'm staying at another Karen Brown place - La Calcina.
Loves2Laugh is offline  
Jun 17th, 2003, 03:26 PM
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I have in the past checked out what KB says about hotels I have booked and they recommendations have been spot on, however maybe I am paranoid but I always cross reference a chosen hotel with 2 other sites where possible before booking . . .
amandac is offline  
Jun 17th, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Re KB: I don't think the issue is whether she may be wrong in a couple of instances. Indeed I've been diappointed a couple of times in her recs. I think the real question is what book are you going to trust more that KB? I for one, have not found a guide offering recs in the price ranges in which she operates that is better.
lweber is offline  
Jun 17th, 2003, 08:05 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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My experience and practice - for what it's worth.

I have several of the KB books and I have located some lovely inns through them. However, I generally use the books as a start. I double check against other books, check the websites, and now see if someone at Fodor's has been there.

For France and Italy, I have compared KB books with the Charming Small Hotel Guides, which are British and emphatically do not accept payment for inclusion. There is a fair amount of overlap, and it is a persuasive reason to choose a property when I see it in both and like the descriptions. I was very happy with places in France that I chose this way, and I hope for similar success for my upcoming trip to Italy.

I did have the experience of relying on a recommendation in her New England book, finding the place pretentious and over-priced, writing a negative review, and having no effect on the comments or the inclusion.

Anyway, I say it is a tool - and all tools should be used with caution.
axelrod6 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 12:10 PM
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I wanted to respond to the string of messages stating that many inns pay to be in Karen Brown. I own an inn that is featured in Karen Brown California. We do not pay to be in the guide book. I know several other inns featured in this same guide book and they do not pay to be in the guide book. Karen Brown?s Guides does an independent inspection of all properties that they feel may be potential candidates. If they like your property and it meets their stringent requirements, they will invite you to be in their guide, no strings attached. Furthermore, unlike most guidebooks, they do periodic unannounced inspections of the properties they feature. You can get bumped if they feel you?ve at all slipped. If you want to be listed on their website, you do have to pay. However, only properties already in their guidebooks can be featured on their website. As an aside, my inn is also listed in Fodors. However, to my knowledge, no one from Fodors has ever stepped foot on my property.
JoeBart is offline  
Jun 9th, 2004, 12:44 PM
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Fascinating and somehow not surprising re Fodors. My question is, then, how did they get their information about your establishment (assuming what they have published about it is accurate)?
TopMan is offline  

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