A discussion started recently on Chowhound.com, about the relative merits of the Restaurante El Bajío's recently updated web site.
My friend and fellow foodie, D.L. Glidden, complained that the site was not user friendly, and was designed in a "cutesy way" to show off the skills of the web designer.
I countered that at least a menu was posted, however cutesy, plus information on the new branches of this venerable and justly acclaimed restaurant.
This mild disagreement gave me inspiration to begin collecting some of the worst examples of web sites from the Mexican hotel and restaurant sectors.
A contender for First Place Worst Site is that of the trendy (read "expensive", with minimalist decor) Hotel Condesa DF.
Not as repellent, but uselessly annoying is the website for the Hotel Stanza. D.L pointed out that despite the deceptively simple home screen, the "Bienvenidos" and "Welcome" give a false impression that there will be language options. However, those bienvenwelcomes do nothing. When you click the "Entrar" button, you will enter a world inspired by Alice's encounter with the Caterpillar. But at least there's a clearly posted rate chart, and inquiries are answered promptly.
Not geographically distant is the Hotel Milan. where you are at least given the option of viewing the site via Flash or html. If you choose Flash, you'll be taken on a pulsing urbane journey with accompanying pulsing music, where, finally, you'll be deposited at the HTML site. The latter gives the facts in a dry but useful manner.
(Update, March 22, 2010: The Milan website has gone all Flash. If you fill out the reservations request form, you may never receive a reply, as the staff doesn't check the mail. If you would like to stay there, call. It's a nice hotel.
A clumsily designed but pleasantly naive site is that for the Grutas de Tolantongo and resort. I like the way the silly green cacti fill up as each page loads. The water sounds are pleasant. The rotating logo on the homepage is hilarious. Not so nice is the weird navigation as you visit each part of the website.
Update: The Tolantongo website, while still flashy, has been updated, and is easier to navigate, but no longer so amusing. It's just clunky. I miss the old version.
I'll point you now to what I consider an ideal Mexican lodging website:
La Posada de San Antonio B&B, in Morelia.
- One page!
- No animations!
- Everything you need to know, at a glance.
- The rates are clearly displayed on the home page.
I'll leave you with this challenge: navigate the magnificent, baroque, cluttered web site of Rincones de Mi Tierra. (I admit that although it's very complicated, it can be enjoyable.)
NEW! The Mother of all Hotel Flash Websites. I'll let you explore it without my comments. (Except that you might want to go make yourself a sandwich while the front page loads.)
UPDATE: D.l Glidden's wife discovered this sporting Flash web site— http://www.frankiesfreshfish.com/
Catch one if you can!