Tag Archives: Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

TripAdvisor is NOT Your Friend


Denali as seen just south of Talkeetna, Alaska

Another special bonus blog article this week. It appears I was a bit early in my previous praise of TripAdvisor doing the right thing and reposting my revised review of Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites in Talkeetna, Alaska, and the positively abominable owner Don Devore.

To recap, Ursula and I had a run-in with this immature, insecure, post-election snowflake on May 12 of this year. We asked Mr. Devore if he had available a cabin to rent to us. Instead of getting an answer, we were instead subjected to a third-degree on our political leanings and, when we failed this intrusive and unwelcome oral exam, we were told to take our business elsewhere.

I posted on Yelp, Google Reviews, and TripAdvisor a rather scathing review. That review is still up on Google and Yelp, although Yelp has it listed as “not currently recommended.” I suspect that’s because I don’t yet have many reviews on that site. To read my revised review, go to this Google Reviews link and have some fun.

TripAdvisor initially posted the review, but soon removed it because, … your review does not include any first-hand experiences about the facilities or services of the establishment. After some back-and-forth, during which I proved that my review was indeed a first-hand account of the service (or lack thereof) that we received, I was told to resubmit a review and to let the moderators know when I had done so. I revised and toned down my review, resubmitted it, and notified the moderators that my first-hand account was available for them to review.

After a very short time, one hour thirty-six minutes to be precise, my revised review passed moderation, and I was advised via email that the review was online. It was . . . but not for very long. Shortly after I posted a quick blog article thanking TripAdvisor for doing the right thing, I received another message from yet another TripAdvisor moderator that the review was taken down because, you guessed it, “… your review does not include any first-hand experiences about the facilities or services of the establishment.” Now, it’s true that my review isn’t a first-hand account of facilities, for obvious reasons, but it most assuredly is a first-hand account of the service inflicted upon Ursula and me by this whiny loser who still hasn’t gotten over last November’s election.

If TripAdvisor thought I was going to let this slide, then they don’t know me very well. Hence today’s article exposing this scam they have going. As I noted in my response to this latest TripAdvisor outrage:

Okay. Got it.

In a nutshell, it is TripAdvisor‘s stated policy that an innkeeper can interrogate a customer on political leanings, deny lodging based upon that interrogation, and then TripAdvisor will remove any review that warns others of this innkeeper’s criteria for accommodations so that future customers don’t waste their time.

And I now understand that it is also TripAdvisor‘s stated policy that removal of a review can be based upon the fact that the customer was denied accommodations for failing to pass the innkeeper’s political leanings test, since the customer didn’t actually stay at the inn and thus has no “first-hand experience” with the facilities.

I assume it’s also safe to say based upon this clarification that TripAdvisor would sanction the removal of reviews from customers who are denied accommodations based upon other rejection criteria as well, such as acne, crossed eyes, weight, hair color, make and model of car, poor taste in ties, disfigurement due to a fire, race, religion, and other nonrelevant criteria.

Now that I fully understand the policy, I’ll be advising others via my blog just precisely what TripAdvisor‘s policy is on reviews and the arbitrary nature of what constitutes “first-hand experiences” for a TripAdvisor review.

Thank you for the clarification on TripAdvisor‘s review policy. I’m really looking forward to writing up this blog article.

Best Wishes,

R. Doug Wicker
(Blog: RDougWicker.com)

Consider yourselves forewarned. TripAdvisor moderators are deliberately padding TripAdvisor’s online customer ratings by hiding poor reviews written by people who are denied accommodations, at least at this establishment (I’ve no reason this isn’t happening with other establishments as well). I say “people” because I seriously doubt we were the first, and I highly suspect we won’t be the last to suffer this silliness at the hands of Don Devore. How many people will make reservations at Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites this upcoming presumably busy tourist season, only to find out they will not be accommodated because upon arrival they fail Mr. Devore’s political leanings oral exam? Why is TripAdvisor complicit in aiding and abetting this behavior?

Will TripAdvisor make whole those whose travel plans are ruined by this childishness? I think we all know the answer to that one. They won’t. They will however leave you hanging out to dry because they are removing from their site any reviews warning unsuspecting travelers to Talkeetna. So when that unwary family is met with no place to stay, and subsequently tries to warn others, expect TripAdvisor to kill their review because they didn’t stay at that establishment. What kind of circular logic is that?

Google Reviews, on the other hand, is not playing this you-didn’t-stay-there-so-you-can’t-review-them game. Google Reviews accepts honest reviews on the service you can expect to receive at places such as this. Keep that in mind when you next research destinations, tours, lodging, dining, and other establishments and services.

TripAdvisor is not your friend. But TripAdvisor certainly doesn’t mind protecting splenetic business owners with an adolescent axe to grind.

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Filed under Lodging Review, Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation

Talkeetna Lodging — The Good, the Bad (and the REALLY ugly)


The view from behind Susitna River Lodging

Special bonus blog article this week. In fact, you could call it a PSA (Public Service Announcement). Ursula and I just returned this past Saturday from a trip to Seattle and Anchorage. While based in Anchorage we rented a car and drove north to Talkeetna to view Denali.

Ursula enjoying Susitna River Lodging

So, what’s so special about that, you ask? While in Talkeetna on Wednesday, 12 May 2021, we ran into the inn keeper from hell, which I shall cover in depth during the second half of this article. Until then, just as a teaser, when was the last time you got the third degree on your political leanings, “failed” the test, and were instructed to move on? No. I’m not joking, as you’ll see shortly.

Susitna Views

But first let’s talk about the “Good”. After we were told to take our business elsewhere, we tried the lovely Susitna River Lodging establishment, where we were pleasantly greeted by a charming lady at the front desk. I assume this was Darlene Hunter, as the owners are listed as Howard and Darlene Hunter. The reason I make this assumption is because the next morning at checkout we had a wonderful visit with her equally charming visiting brother Jerry and his equally wonderful wife Pam. During this chat we made what I suspect may be lifelong friends, as we exchanged contact information and vowed to stay in touch.

What started out as a quick “Hi-and-Goodbye turned into an extended chat that must’ve lasted well over an hour, perhaps even closer to two.

Susitna River Lodging office

Sprinkled throughout this part of my two-part lodging review are photos not only of the cabins, but also the Susitna River which flowed just behind our cabin (Cabin #2). Along the river we snapped a few photos of the mountains to the north hoping the tall one was Denali. Alas, it was not, but we captured that view later in our journey.

Our Susitna River Lodging Cabin #2

The cabin was comfortable, clean, and inviting. As inviting as the people who own it and their relatives, I’m sure. Initially the cabin was on the cold side, but it warmed up quickly.

Another Susitna River Lodging cabin

Views from the cabin:

We cannot recommend this place highly enough. Especially in comparison to . . .

The Lodging from Hell. . .

. . . which cowers behind the alias Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

We drove up to office, which had a lighted “Open” sign outside, but a “Closed” card sign in the window. Unsure of what was what, we rang the doorbell. After a few minutes Donald Louis Devore (I looked up this clown later; I now assume “Devore” is an alias for “DimWit”) entered the office through a side doorway, then opened the main entrance to the masked Doug and Ursula. I’m assuming the facemasks may have been the initial trigger here, but who knows? It might have been Ursula’s Swiss accent that set off this small-minded bigot.

The conversation among the three of us went something along the lines of:

  • Me: We were wondering if you had anything available for one night?
  • DimWit: I’ll check.
  • Ursula, looking at some craftwork in the lobby: That’s some lovely things. Who did this?
  • DimWit: My wife.
  • DimWit, eyeing us suspiciously: Where are you from?
  • Ursula: El Paso, Texas
  • DimWit, with undisguised disgust: Oh. Beto O’Rourke. What do you think of him?
  • Ursula: He wasn’t a bad congressman.
  • DimWit, now glaring at me: You a liberal?
  • Me: I wouldn’t call myself that. (Because I’m not; I’m an independent who used to be a conservative Republican)
  • DimWit: We don’t have anything for you.

Okay. Now you get the gist of what sets off this childish snowflake who still hasn’t gotten over the presidential election some 6+ months after the fact. He had no idea who I was, for whom I voted, if I was a military veteran (why that’s relevant in a moment), or anything else about me. All he knew by this point was:

  1. Ursula (a Republican by the way) didn’t think Beto O’Rourke was a bad congressman and,
  2. Doug doesn’t consider himself a liberal

That’s it. That’s all it takes to fail Don Devore’s political litmus test for cabin rentals.

Denali Fireside Cabins & Suites

Why is the fact that I’m a military veteran relevant here? Ask any veteran and they’ll tell you that many businesses make a show of “supporting our military” even though we veterans can smell a phony and know many of them are doing to for PR purposes only. Devore Fireside Cabins & Suites has this line on their website: “We offer a 10% Discount for Active Military.”

Now, it’s true that Donald Devore had no clue as to my veteran status; he never thought to ask that, for he was far more interested in my politics than my service. But it’s equally true he didn’t care what my veteran status was. That, in my book, puts him on my list of people who feign being pro military for PR purposes rather than actually meaning it. And I make that statement not knowing, or more relevantly caring, what his veteran status might be. Whatever he might once have been, it’s now obvious to this veteran that Mr. Devore is just another pathetic loser who hasn’t a clue how to run a service-related business while hiding behind a patriotic, pro-military, façade.

Needless to say, excerpts from this review will soon be finding their way onto various and sundry lodging review sites in the upcoming weeks.

Enjoy your review, Don Devore. You worked hard for it, and you deserve every last word of it.

The Alaska Range

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Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking, travel, vacation