Whether you’re planning a weekend tryst, or trying to persuade your parents to check into a hotel instead of crashing in your extra bedroom, Oyster Hotel Reviews is a fun resource to use.  Like a Michelin guide for temporary lodgings, Oyster sends in anonymous reviewers to make judgments according to a defined set of criteria. The website just launched in D.C. The Washington Post recently published a lengthy article about Oyster and other hotel review guides.

Oyster ranked local hotels by “Best Value Hotels” “Best Luxury Hotels” “Best Boutique Hotels” “Best Kid-Friendly Hotels” “Gay-Friendly Hotels” etc. It also apparently prides itself on the number of photos posted with each review. The description of The Jefferson comes complete with 259 photos. The Post story also captured one Oyster reviewer in action:

“We don’t stop at the pearl rating,” said Begeny [the aforementioned reviewer], who had previously worked with the New York Police Department, investigating firearm incidents. “We want to show every cranny. There’s no detail left unnoted, especially the bathroom.”

Begeny had spent the night at the hotel (per Oyster’s methodology, overnights are compulsory), where he went through the motions of being a regular guest without an agenda. “I want to see what they do without any requests or demands — if the hotel takes the initiative,” he said…

Before checking out, Begeny embarked on a full tour of the property, inspecting every obscure hallway, peering into every public room and roaming the outdoor grounds, his lens nudging its way into every scene. At the fitness center, he snapped shots of cardio machines and the spa treatment door, then noted the lack of staffing at the front desk. “From what I can tell, no one ever seems to be here,” he said. “I checked when they opened this morning, yesterday and now. It’s pretty safe to say they don’t staff that desk.” (He later learned that desk assistance is seasonal and that someone would return in a few weeks.)