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10 Ways Hotels Use Promo Photos to Fake You Out

It's amazing what a little cropping, staging, and retouching can do to make these hotel photos look much better than the real thing. reveals the most common tricks of the trade.

1 / 10

Mandarin Oriental, Miami

The Mandarin Oriental’s pool is small in real life, suitable only for a quick dip… nothing like the vast, blue expanse of water in the marketing photo. Check out these other things your hotel staff doesn’t want you to know.

2 / 10

Aqua Hotel, Miami

This model will have a tough time going surfing in The Aqua Hotel Miami’s “pool”—which is in fact no bigger than a hot tub. If he somehow could surf in there, it would need to be added to the list of most unusual surfing locations in the world.

3 / 10

California Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

This hotel’s website promises rooms that feel like a tropical island paradise, and backs up the claim with colorful photos. The real room—while clean and comfortable—looks bland in comparison. Here’s the real reason hotels use white bedsheets.

4 / 10

Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

All too often, mega resorts market their beaches as pristine, serene, and romantic; in reality, most are anything but. Take, for example, the above photo of Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Crowded with lots of chairs and lots of people, it’s the opposite of deserted. If you’re looking for a truly secluded vacation destination, consider these 30 secret island escapes around the world.

5 / 10

Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort and Spa

The Grand Palladium Bavaro’s buffet looks a lot more appetizing in the resort’s seemingly 1980s-era website photo. The differences between these two pictures are a lot easier to distinguish than these cleverly altered photos.

6 / 10

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.

The Hyatt Regency Washington D.C. is certainly located near the U.S. Capitol building, but not as near as the hotel website’s photo, taken with a zoom lens, indicates. Another way hotels are duping you: this creepy way hotels can spy on their guests.

7 / 10

JW Marriott Ihilani, Hawaii

The quiet beach paradise depicted in the JW Marriott Ihilani Resort Oahu marketing photo does not seem to be quite so serene with ongoing construction from the Disney Vacation Club Resort next door. You’re better off booking these hotel views that should be on everyone’s bucket list.

8 / 10

Riu Palace Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Couples planning to say “I do” could celebrate their big day at some seriously unusual wedding venues, but at the Riu Palace Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, they might encounter a few unexpected guests at their ceremony. Nothing says romance like an uninvited onlooker in a leopard print sarong.

9 / 10

Sofitel Los Angeles

The framing of the Sofitel Los Angeles’ website photo makes the pool look like it belongs at the world’s most luxurious resorts. In reality, it just hides the looming presence of Macy’s.

10 / 10

The London West Hollywood, Los Angeles

When a hotel stages a photo with everyday items—a laptop, say—it’s easy to forgive. But this artfully staged photo of a terrace goes beyond the realm of probability. If you discover your hotel room isn’t what you thought it would be, you can still make the most of your time there by following these 22 tips for a better, safer hotel stay.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest