How to To Avoid Booking A Crappy Hotel Online

Here at The White Dove Rockotel it's our goal to meet and exceed guests' expectations. Often this seems to be what happens. We've received many 5 star reviews and positive verbal feedback. There has also been some constructive criticisms which we take to heart and try to improve on.  Why be in the hospitality business if not to make sure people have an amazing time during their precious vacation days? As such we do a lot of reading and researching what works for other small hotels and their guests. One thing I have noticed that seems to lead to what I'll call "miscommunication of expectations" is guests booking through online booking engines such as, tripadvisor or expedia. These sites work great for the average cookie cutter-type of hotel, there is a form a hotel fills out to be included on their site and limited choices of how to present what the hotel has to offer. A boutique hotel such as The White Dove Rockotel has a hard time conveying it's true identity through these sites. Occasionally, because of this we host guests who seem a bit confused by our keyless no hassle check-in, our modern streaming tv system and custom blend of vintage and designed decor.

As avid travelers ourselves, we encourage all vacationers to be proactive about their choice of accommodations. The first thing to do is consider what YOU like about other places you have stayed. No one place can ever be all things to all people. The perfect vacation is made by knowing what the perfect vacation means to you. From there follow the links off the generic booking engines to a hotel's home site. Check out their room options and amenities. Call the front desk, often small places have a small staff. By speaking on the phone guests can get a feel for the vibe of the hotel and the desk can answer any specific questions. Google the name and location of a couple of your choices and see what might pop up. Look in google images as well!

Below are 8 more great tips on finding a place to stay from the website Thrillist! Our additional comments in red!

8 Ways to Spot a Crappy Hotel When Booking Online

Originally Published on 7/17/2015 By Nadia Imafidon

Nothing can ruin a trip faster than arriving at your hotel to find it's located in a sketchy 'hood, falling apart, or plagued with one of these 99 problems. And that the amazing online deal you thought you got actually means you'll be sleeping ON TOP of the comforter and with a chair propped in front of the door.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of online tools and telltale signs (from review sites and Google Maps to weird photos and bed-bug registries) to help tip you off that you might be booking a crappy hotel. Here are eight of the them.

The photos are artsy or distorted...

It's listing a room, not curating an art exhibit. For no reason (other than being sneaky, really) does a hotel need to post creative, artsy images of its rooms. Close-up of a flower vase in the lobby, but no shot OF the lobby? Red flag. And if the photographer used a fisheye lens (which widens the shot), there's a good chance the rooms are probably small. Same goes for the excessive use of filters.

Check out our room photos by clicking on the "photos and details" link on OUR ROOM PAGE

… or the photos are way too good

On the flip side, be wary of pics that look too perfect. A staged, almost Photoshopped shot of the hotel pool or an unobstructed beach with a sexy woman in a bikini seems pretty perfect, right? But what you're not seeing is the construction site next to the diving board or the pesky giant building behind the dunes, both of which have been conveniently cropped out. Take a look at Oyster's Photo Fakeout section to see some examples of deceptive marketing. And always look at actual guest photos on travel review sites, rather than just marveling at how gorgeous the place looks in the hotel photo gallery.

You are not going to find any photo trickery with us. We like to think our unique design speaks for itself!

The website is straight outta the ‘90s

Or is riddled with typos. Or seems belligerent at times. Don't get us wrong, there's nothing like a good throwback Mistral font to elicit fond memories of the early web, but let's put it this way: if the managers/owners aren’t taking the time to present their hotel in the best light online, it’s highly unlikely that they're spending a lot of time tending to the actual hotel either.

We custom built our WEBSITE to match our design and business aesthetic. 

Google Maps reveals the TRUTH

And we're not talking about Paul Pierce. To see how well maintained the exterior of the property is, plug the address into Google Maps. If the outside looks run-down, chances are the interior is in similar condition. Sure, the images may be a few years old but you can at least then call to ask whether the place has been recently renovated. Also, take a look at the surrounding area to see if the hotel really is at the center of everything. They can say all they want about location, location, location, but you can use Street View to verify whether or not that’s a stretch.

Last I checked google maps street view was still showing the property pre our purchase and renovation. It's actually kind of fun to check out the google maps street view as compared to now. See below

pre renovation hotel site

The previous view from Tinker St.

The view from Orchard Lane pre reno!












current photo of the white dove


Duh, the reviews are really bad

Do your homework and see what other people have recently said about their stay. If they are predominantly negative -- and were written last week -- it’s a no-go.

Check out our reviews FACEBOOK Tripadvisor Airbnb Expedia

And the manager is negative online

If the property's managers are responding to complaints on review sites in an aggressive, defensive, or hostile manner, they are likely unhelpful and rude in person as well. Avoid hotels on their worst behavior.

We like to respond to every review online. Sometimes to highlight comments in the review, other times to clarify comments for future guests, occasionally to apologize and note that we hope to do better!

It's listed on the Bed Bug Registry

Nothing's worse than crawling under the covers to find things crawling on you. The Bed Bug Registry is a one-stop database for anyone who's encountered/reported bed bugs at a hotel. Do a quick search -- if your dream resort shows up, best abort the mission.


The website reflects the location and not the lodging itself

Red flag if you’re reading accounts of the surrounding block, neighborhood, city, etc., but nothing about the actual property. And if they're paired with photos of the skyline or beach, and not the rooms, it’s a no-brainer -- the place is a dud.

Our website really strives to introduce our hotel because really, what introduction does the "most famous small town in America" need! But we do offer an in room tablet loaded with local suggestions and day trips in our surrounding area! We are also always available by phone to answer or suggest any local guidance you need. Just give us a ring! (845)306-5419


We are nearing the end........

of renovations! AHHHHHH yes! For those of you not living in Woodstock I wanted to post some exterior shots of the hotel. It has made quite a splash around here. We even had someone drive into the guard rail while staring at it! Lots of people stop and photograph it, I can't wait to get the sign up. First a screen shot from google maps of what the property DID look like..... rockotel, theme hotel, The White Dove Woodstock

Still working on it but nearly done........

hotel Woodstock NY, theme hotel


A word about the color selection and the name. A few people have asked why the building is purple but the name is The White Dove. We named the hotel after the famous dove (actually a catbird) sitting on the guitar on the Woodstock '69 concert poster. Being that the hotel is themed on bands that played that concert. But we also like the fact that a white dove is a symbol of peace, a huge inspiration for the entire baby boom generation and the world. We believe in the possibility of a peaceful, more conscious world. And so comes in the color. As an artist I also believe in the impact of our environmental surrounding on our psyches and the power of symbolism and color.

The color purple is  associated with royalty, luxury, extravagance, creativity, and magic. For centuries and globally it has been seen as a sacred color, representing what is often unseen but felt in our world. The color purple affects both mind, body and spirit, creating alternating waves of calm and passion, igniting creativity and a sense of higher connection. Mediating on purple opens the third eye to the sacred and helps align oneself with the greater universe.

These are all things that happen when we listen to music as well, especially the type of intensely creative and psychedelic music that came out of the 1960's.

So the paint job is the physical representation of the music we built the hotel to honor. It ascends in color to nearly white because white is the color of peace, of clarity and illumination, all things we hope to achieve when we take a break from our daily grind and venture out to explore the wider world.

So welcome to The White Dove, we hope your stay with us brings you a feeling of luxury, bursts of creativity, waves of passion and a restful easy feeling.

Peace ★♥☮

Erin and Martin

Custom Wallpapers

One of the specialized design features we wanted to have here at The White Dove was customization. We felt it was important for our guests to experience an environment they wouldn't be able to find anywhere else. In order to pay homage to the individualization and innovation of the of late 60's, the timeless creativity that flowed from the souls of the musicians, the design plan incorporated reworked vintage, hard to find and limited edition artwork, custom upholstery and hand designed wallpaper. This is not your grandmothers wall paper! Wallpaper design is experiencing a revival. Companies such as Brooklyn's Flavor Paper started the trend about a decade ago, employing hand done screen printing methods and hiring street artists and hip graphic designers to come up with outstanding creative designs. In recent years digital printing technologies have made it possible for anyone to print images on a variety of substrates and surfaces, creating a new world of affordable customization for artists and designers. One of the first online accessible companies to target individuals interested in custom textile printing, Spoonflower, added wallpaper printing to it product offerings a little over a year ago.

Originally we were looking at a possible licensing collaboration with Flavor Paper on the series. In the end our designs are very specific the musical influences they represent. We decided to keep them exclusive to The White Dove and have them printed with Spoonflower. There are four designs, one for each suite.

The Garden Suite takes it's inspiration from the famous song written by Joni Mitchell and preformed by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young at the Woodstock concert. It's wallpaper reminds one of blotter art. The illustration style is inspired by 1960's textile artist and animator, Malcom English. The scenes are images inspired by the lyrics, pictures of actual concert attendees and the final words said from the stage.

white dove garden wallpaper

custom wallpaper

Our Station Suite is inspired by The Grateful Dead. It's wallpaper incorporates "the roses and the ribbons".

custom wallpaper

custom wallpaper

Heart is based on the musical styling of Janis Joplin. Her wallpaper incorporates images relating to both her music and personal style. Song birds, pearls, peacocks, album cover art and whiskey bottles.

erin cadigan custom wallpaper

erin cadigan custom wallpaper

The Experience Suite is a nod to Jimi Hendrix. The wallpaper design is based on a classic repeat pattern called damask. Damask is a an opulent style that calls to mind the flamboyant clothing Jimi wore. The individual motifs show the flying eyeball as Jimi, famously related from Rick Griffin's Fillmore poster.

erin cadigan custom wallpaper

white dove custom wallpaper


These prints are the exclusive right of © Erin Cadigan. Erin Cadigan is the owner and designer of The White Dove Rockotel in Woodstock, NY. Erin has a background in rock poster art, textile design and fashion. In recent years she has been a visiting instructor at Pratt Institute Brooklyn teaching students color theory, design basics and how to create repeat patterns. For more information on repeat patterns, printing methods and textile design check out her textbook Sourcing and Selecting Textiles for Fashion